By John Foster, Ballard Maritime Academy
Ballard High School students in the Maritime Academy enjoyed a beautiful day Wednesday sailing aboard the 133’ wooden Schooner Adventuress. The group beat the rain and had excellent wind in Elliott Bay to really put the vessel through her paces. For most of the day, the winds were blowing from 15 – 20 knots and more, perfect for a vessel this size. We regularly topped 10 knots, which is pretty exciting on a 98-year-old vessel. She performed admirably.
The students were divided into five “watch stations” and rotated watches while underway. The watches included: Life aboard a schooner, nautical skills/mechanical advantage, watersheds, plankton nets, and charts and navigation. During the watch rotations, students were able to take the helm and steer the vessel through Elliott Bay’s busy vessel traffic, as well as raising and lowering the ship’s huge sails.
It’s a great team-building exercise. The students have to work together to get the sails raised and properly set, then work together on plotting their course and keeping a lookout for other vessels and hazards in the water. The cruise included sophomore, junior, and seniors enrolled in the program.
The Ballard Maritime Academy is a three-year program at Ballard High School that focuses on hands-on learning through integrated projects and experiential adventures. It introduces students to careers on the water in the maritime industries and marine sciences.
The main point of this cruise is to get the three classes together out on the water, sailing a tall ship on Puget Sound.