Sea History 020 - Spring 1981

Page 33

Eisenhower House, Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI 02840


A National Sail Training Ship for the United States The need for a n American-designed and built full-ri gged ship sailing under t he Stars and Stripes, manned by American men and women a nd ca rrying American youth on voyages to di sta nt lands beco mes more apparent with eac h passin g day. The progress of th e European nations a nd the acq ui sition of two more sq ua rerigged sai l trainers by o ur South American friends serves to point up the fact that the United States is fa lling farther a nd farther behind in the wo rld wide sail training movement whic h serves to bring the nation s of the planet closer together in friendship a t sea. We do, of co urse, have USCG Eagle, but her program limi ts her to carrying Coast Guard perso nnel '." Her sc hed ule has kept her from participating in a ll but three of th e interna ti o nal Sail Training Races over the past twenty-four years, a fact regretted by o ur friends abroad. We have Regina Maris and Westward, both splendid ships doin g a superb job in oceanogra phic research , but their program s are limited to college-age yo uth work ing in marin e science programs, and their registra tion s prevent them from engaging in sail trainin g programs for the hig h school youngste r aged 15- 18. At present writin g Gaze/a Primeiro is forb idden by the Coast G uard to carry tra inees, and muc h ex pense will be needed to enable thi s 100-year-old vessel to pass inspection . Fortunately a gro up of ent husiastic former crew members, call ing th emselves "Sail Gazela" are ha rd at wor k to accomplish thi s . Schoo ner Brilliant operated b y M yst ic Seaport, is th e only U.S. flag vessel sailing as a full time sail trainer for American boys a nd girls. And she is limi ted to ten weeks of summ er crui sing not more th a n 20 miles offshore This co untry needs a full-ri gged ship of new d esign a nd co nstructi o n , ab le to pass all appropriate requirements, to give o ur yo un g boys and girls the same o pportuniti es as exist in England , Norway, Germa ny, the Netherlands, an d man y ot her nat io ns. Captain Bowker of Brilliant has posed th e question for us:

"How long must A merican y outh be robbed of their God-given right to dare? How long shall American youth be *Our organization did put a crew of youngsters aboard fo r th e Eag le's cruise from New London to Curtis Bay for lay up fast fa ff-a valuable innovation! SEA HI STO RY, SPR ING 198 1

denied the opportunity to join with the youth of other nations in proclaiming ' We, too, are residents of planet earth; we, too, share in your dreams for a world at peace, with friendship for all?' " While we, as a nation , do foc us every fo ur yea rs on the international Olympic games, we a re a lmost tota ll y unaware of the in ternational mingling an d exc han ge that is accomplished by "Tall Ships" events. Shouldn 't A merican yo uth be given the opport unit y to jo in th e yo uth of o th er na tion s in these gatherings-to share the cha llenge of the sea, the testing of self, a nd the fee lings of mutual accomplishment a nd camaraderie at the journey's end? For this is the meanin g and th e p urpose of th e biennial " Tall Ships" gatherings, a nd we are almost a lways conspicuous by o ur a bsence. W e are absent because we do not have a ship tha t is licensed to sail a broad a nd operate sa fely upon the high seas. Surely it is possible for this nat io n to ac hieve what man y smaller na tions, far less a fflu ent, have achieved and are achievin g. The construction of such a ship is a measure of how mu ch we care abo ut our yo uth, and how much we care about world unity. Much is given fo r the preservatio n of o ld ships and th e maritim e heritage, and rightly so; but what a bout the co ntinua tion of that heritage by thi s generatio n, a nd the o pportunit y to the coming generation to fulfill th e drea m of going to sea under square ri g, which is awa kened in them the sight of our great museum ships, from Mystic's Charles W. Morgan to Honolulu' s Faffs of Clyde? Let us set to th is task with a wi ll. The American Sail Trai nin g Associati on is prepared to fulfill its obligation, under its charter, to promote sail trainin g through the const ructio n a nd operatio n of a sail tra ining sh ip , to be avai la ble to a ll yo uth s regard less of race, color, creed, or national origin ; to eq uip her, man her, a nd sail her upo n the high seas with her sisters from many nati ons. Now is the time to start. Maldwin Drummond, former Chairman of the STA a nd Trustee of th e World Ship Trust has said : "No tim e is ever th e ri ght time for fu ndraising a nd if one waits for such a time, nothin g wo ul d ever be achi eved. " Tell us of yo ur feelings, yo ur talents, yo ur wish to co ntribu te. Any fund s com-

mitted will be held in a special tru st against th e day of drawing plans, a nd refund ed if we do not succeed. But failure is not a part of our plan. Let us return t he American flag to its place in th e van of those who sail the seas in th e spirit of friend ship, a nd wit h understa ndin g of the common needs of all. BARCLAY H . WARBURTON Ill

"Pride and Accomplishment" Sixteen year old Janice Ameen, a Girl Scout from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was the hitoftheASTA annual dinner. Having sailed aboard Youn g America on a sail training cruise last summer, she captured for us the excitement and impact of her experience. A ll of us encoun ter problems a nd worries during o ur lifetim e. Most of us worry abo ut how we look a nd what others think of us, whether th ey' ll like us and accept us. Sometimes we pretend to be what we aren 't just to please others. We also wo nder where we a re go ing in Ii fe, who we are as individuals, do we fit in . At sea there are no electric bills, phone bills or cloth in g bills to pay. There is no place to spend the money you earn . There is no need to dress up, for there is no one to impress. This has to be one of the greatest aspects of sailing; society is miles away. At last you can be yo urself, and if yo u are not sure what yo urself is like, there is time to find o ut. Each sunri se a nd sunset takes o n a specia l meaning. Sitting up in th e crow's nest with ocean in every direction yo u can fee l the tranquility. There is time to just think abo ut everyt hing yo u have done, time to think of a ll th e things yo u have yet to do . There is no limit at sea. You can be yo u and not be doubtful or a fraid. Being at sea offers yo u a sense of pride and acco mplishment. Seeing the sails set and fee ling th e power of the wind moving th e boat, yo u rea li ze that yo u are a part of it a ll. You have ha uled those lines until yo ur ha nds stin g and your back aches and th e result is a boat gliding through th e water, powered by Nature. At sea I have lea rn ed what teamwork is, what understa ndin g is, how good it fee ls to lik e yo urself a nd what yo u are doing. The ocean has so much to offer each one of us. You will never reall y kn ow what kind of a person you a re until yo u go to sea. JAN ICE AM EEN


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