Sea History 023 - Winter 1981-1982

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DAY'S RUN Report of the American Sail Training Association

Something Our World Desperately Needs by Barclay H. Warburton, III President, American Sail Training Association What is meant by sail training? The term covers many activities and it is therefore difficult to come up with a narrow definition, nor am I convinced that a narrow definition would serve our purposes. It might be well, therefore, to review our purposes, so that as we go about our work, we will have some clear aids to help us stay on course. The first purpose of the sail training movement which shines as a steady fixed white light before us, is to promote international goodwill and friendship among the young people of many nations. This purpose is carried out by the biennial international sail training races, organized by the STA and the ASTA, and there is no other activity in which we can engage that compares in importance to this world-wide movement to bring about greater understanding among the peoples of the planet. The gatherings of the "Tall Ships" speak to the maritime heritage shared by all the seafaring countries; they speak to the bond which links us all together-the sea; they speak to trade and commerce and the interchange of ideas; they speak to the aspirations of youth-adventure, challenge, and growth in a world at peace; they speak to the protection and preservation of our environment-of clean air and clean seas; and finally, they speak to that great longing shared by all peoples for a planet at peace, where mankind can realize his dreams of self-fulfillment-free from want, fear, hunger, and impending planetary destruction. It may seem inappropriate to some to say that these naval vessels are truly the .ships of peace, but I submit for your consideration that it is not out of place at all, for it has always been the sailor-the seaman-who has, because of his voyages to far places, understood the commonality of all peoples, and who has therefore been in the van of those who strive to bring the peoples of the earth closer together in greater understanding and tolerance. -It matters not whether the sailor wears a naval uniform, a merchant officer's stripes, a yachtsman's cap, or the work-worn clothes of a fisherman; it matters rather that the sailors from every nation have two things in common: ships and the sea. It is through these shared interests that they speak a common language and have an understanding for each other's needs. The International Sail Training Races bring the ships of peace together-be they naval vessels, commercial ships, school16

"The successful handling of these challenges provides for growth of character, that indefinable quality which contemporary educational and charitable institutions turn away from with a groan because they can't measure it. " ships or yachts-and they exemplify to a world teetering on the edge of self-des- ¡ truction that the peoples of planet earth can go about their business peaceably; that they share much in common; and that, just as their aspirations of friendship, harmony, and understanding can be realized aboard these ships, so can they also be realized in every other human endeavor. Truly, as Captain Jurkewicz said, "The sea can be our bridge," That is the first great purpose of sail training, and in all our deliberations, in facing our various problems, we must never lose sight of the beacon of international goodwill that drews us onward. The second purpose of sail training is to provide as many young people as possible with the opportunity to place themselves in a challenging atmosphere; an atmosphere that encourages them to give of themselves the very best they have to offer; an atmosphere that demands sacrifice, courage, trust, and a willingness to push themselves beyond any preconceived limits. The real challenge in life is to make ourselves do those things we do not want to do: it is easy for all of us to do the things we want to do, but the young man or woman who finds himself or herself cleaning a foul-smelling head when he certainly doesn't want to, or turning out of a warm bunk to go stand watch on a cold, rainy windswept, open deck when he doesn't want to, or who has to force himself to go aloft when he is damned scared-these youngsters suddenly discover new levels of acceptance, accomplishment, and pride, and they recognize that inner growth has taken place . The other area which contributes so much to their growth is facing, possibly for the first time, the difficulty of living for a protracted period of time in very close quarters with a lot of other people. To handle this requires control, tolerance, and respect; control of one's emotions, tolerance of another's faults and shortcomings, and respect for

another's need for their own bit of space. The successful handling of these challenges provides for growth of character, that indefinable quality which contemporary educational and charitable institutions turn away from with a groan because they can't measure it. But it is character which, above all else, is so desperately needed in our world today. We can develop wonderful systems and marvelous machines-computers with undreamed of capabilities and nuclear weapons with unlimited powers of destruction; but if we don't have men and women of character to control the products of science, what earthly use are they-other than as additional means by which to destroy ourselves more rapidly. Sacrifice, courage, trust, effort, selfcontrol, tolerance, respect-these are the qualities of character which the sailing ships create in their creators. The creative energy between man and ship flows two ways; from the builder of the ship into his creation, and from the ship back to those who are privileged to sail in her. The building of character in aware and conscious human beings is the second great purpose of sail training. Without such youngsters the ideals of a bridge of friendship expressed in our primary purpose are not attainable. And obviously we cannot achieve either of these purposes without ships that can go to sea and cross the oceans. That is the purpose of this conference: to find solutions to the restrictions that keep American ships from getting to sea. Certainly we have the skills needed to build seaworthy sailing ships; and, without question, we have experienced seamen who can man our ships and sail them anywhere in the world. What we have lacked over the past few years, it seems, has been the will needed to identify the problems and work at them until the solutions were found. I believe we have the will to get to these solutions in the person of George Nichols. Even though George has been at sea most of the past year, he has still found the time to get to Washington and enlist the aid of Captain Tom Mills, whom I believe will prove to be of enormous help to us. With the interest and ability of people like Erik Abranson, whose letters to various US Senators have stirred up some real support for sail training, and with the wholehearted dedication of all of you who believe, as I do, that American boys and girls must not be denied the right to join in SEA HISTORY, WINTER 1982