Wednesday, May 01, 1996

SEA May 1: Key West Airport

...Our watch got to do a lot of sail handling right before we came alongside in Key West. On the 1900-2300 watch we did five practice tacks while I was at the helm. On the 0700-1300 watch, we played chase the buoy. We came close every time, but couldn't get the boat hook on the buoys. We ended up tacking 5-7 times. We also ended up being too early for our Pilot, so we had to tack around more. In those 10 hours, we figured we tacked Westward about 12 times, maybe 15.


It felt good though -- to realize the difference between the first couple of weeks and the way we made Westward move that day. Everything was smooth and Westward moved through the wind with ease. There is no feeling like that and no words to describe it to someone who has not felt it. This was only compounded by the fact that we realized that we were the last ones -- the last watch -- to sail Westward in W-144. She is a beautiful ship and it was a good trip...


...Anchor watch that night was harder than normal. The winds and tides were playing tricks with Westward. At one point, the wind was on the Beam. The danger of dragging anchor was high. I didn't get much sleep that night, I didn't want to think about leaving Westward. We hung out on the boat as long as possible Monday and then we went to the hotel where Sarah V.'s dad got us a room . But the days in Key West were totally different. The crew of W-144 came together very well, but it was Westward that bonded us. Outside that world we are separate people with few connections....

...The best part of these 3 (2 1/2) days in Key West was working on Westward and Cramer. I got to tar the rig!! And I learned to repair servings. I loved working with the boats...

Boarded plane out of Key West at 1738.

Postscript: When the Westward was sold, some of our crew went up to Woods Hole to visit it one last time. 




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