By Axel Short

Picking up a rudder at Staten Island


Today the senior class went on a trip to Staten Island to pick up a rudder with Privateer. The trip took us about 3 hours to complete, and we worked as a team. Using the crane on Privateer, the rudder was picked up by two hooks because of its sheer weight, and once it was aboard,  we took it back with us to Pier 101 (Governors Island).  The video above is showing how we attached the hooks of the crane onto the rudder, and how we lowered the massive object onto wooden placeholders on board.

Pivot Points


Today our class learned about pivot points. The pivot point on a power boat changes locations, determined primarily by whether you are in forward or reverse. While in forward, the pivot point is generally 1/3 of the way to the center of the boat from the bow. This crucial point of interest is where your vessel will turn around. Instead of heading directly in the direction in which you wish to head towards, your vessel will generally  maneuver around the pivot point and gives you a less accurate final destination. If the pivot point was directly on the bow however, you would have the power to maneuver as you please. This being said, when in reverse, the pivot point is in fact directly on the stern. This allows for ease of navigation while proceeding backwards. The use of the word “generally” as mentioned earlier is in place to indicate that this is not exactly the case for all vessels. Every vessel is different and the crucial pivot point may vary on the next vessel you set foot on. So be safe and watch out!

The Serenity


Today our class took a trip to the Serenity at South Street Seaport. The Serenity is a very large commercial vessel used to take tourists and others to the Statue of Liberty and around Lower Manhattan, New York. We got to experience what it was like to undock, as well as dock, the boat from within the wheel house. This was a unique experience that the other passengers aboard did not receive. We were able to talk with the captain and the crew and found out the ins and outs of the industry, specifically in regards to the Serenity. I learned that they got paid well.  However, they needed to work strenuous hours for their checks. This experience as a whole gave me an idea into whether I would like to work on a commercial vessel in the future and helped better my understanding of what goes on behind closed doors on the water.

Jumping off a 35-foot cliff in Greek Islands

This summer I walked down 275 steps from a Santorini cliff’s edge to the water. As I approached water level, I had to walk along the side of the rest of the cliff without the aid of the continuous steps. As I tip toed my way through with a fast beating heart, I found an old lost novel written by a man who had been past the same spot. After taking a picture of the piece of art I had found, I continued on my way. Finally, I reached the water. I quickly took off what minimal clothing I was wearing because of the blazing heat and jumped in. In the water I saw a massive rock sticking out of the surface a couple yards away and swam over to check it out. I found that it was an old lighthouse that was out of commission on one side, and a watching deck on the other. I decided to front flip off of the watching deck, just for the laughs. After doing so, I jumped in for the video. I had a great time, and did not get hurt. Did it for the culture! IMG_7100.MOV

Knot Tying Boards


The Junior class studied knot tying and line splicing techniques for a month long unit. We were taught four knots we had been taught in class and three different types of splices. We then individually created knot presentation boards using those knots and 4 new knots that we taught ourselves. After gluing down each knot and splice in our own unique way, we labeled each one with a description of its names and uses.

Personally, my favorite knot that I researched and tied for my board was the handcuff knot. The handcuff knot requires a specific sequence of binds such that the final product has the appearance of a handcuff used for holding together two objects. In the maritime world however, this knot is used not only to bind two items together, but also to fasten around two winches in order to raise a sail with ease. Having researched its uses and how to tie the knot, I feel prepared to put it to good use once I sail next: which hopefully will be soon!

Plotting and Navigation with Charts


During this week, the junior class studied how to plot navigational routs with tools such as parallel rulers and dividers. These tools helped the students mark coordinate locations on a well thought out and strategized path to reach their final destinations. The dividers allowed the students to measure precise distances from one target to the next by using a scale on a “to-scale” chart. Every specific interval on the paper was equivalent to a nautical mile and helped the students and their peers find exact distances that they needed to travel. In addition to these techniques, the students used compass roses to discover the direction in which they needed to plot their trip, as well as the degrees in which they moved relative to “true north” and “magnetic north”. After plotting their trip on chart paper with meticulous planning and precision, the students will then execute their plan on the Vessel Operations simulator and see if their planning takes them where they desire to go.