Sea History 031 - Spring 1984

Page 54


Sailing School Vessels Council by Thomas R. Wesch/er Vice Admiral, USN (ret.)

As the sail tra ining community waits fo r the Sailing School Vessels Act to take effec t o n April 15, 1984, the Council of Educatio nal Shipow ne rs, w hi ch initiated the legislati o n, is foll owing it through to successful imple me ntati o n . O rganized in 1CJ"77 th rough effo rts of Co rwith Crame r, Jr. a nd Barcl ay H . Warburto n, III, the Counc il was o rig inall y a committee of the A me ri ca n Sail Training Assoc iati on . Its purpose was to offe r a fo rum fo r ow ne rs to a ir and solve commo n proble ms, and also to prov ide guida nce to ASTA's Board of Directo rs in ma king ASTA programs most effecti ve for the sa il trai ning wo rl d . About te n o rga ni zati o ns at a ny o ne time made up th e Counc il. Sailing School Vessels Act By the fa ll of 1981, th is Committee identi fied th e need for new legislation to govern sail tra ini ng ships. In essence, these ships we re being regul ated as small passe nge r vessels, w ith all the rul es fo r passenge r comfo rts o ne mi ght ex pect . Req uire me nts for compartmentati o n, stability, and the like fl owed mo re fro m the characte risti cs and mode rn co nstruction of powe red ships than fro m traditi o na l sailing ship no rms. And tra inees had no separate status ; they we re e ithe r passengers o r c rew. Thus ma ny sound and histo ric sa iling ships were excluded fro m sail tra in ing, a nd insura nce rates stayed high . A maj o r effo rt in the first nine months of 1982 , led by He nry Do rmitze r of New Engla nd Histo ri c Seapo rt , c ulminated in the Pres ide nt sig ning th e Sailing Sc hool Vessels Act o n Octo be r 15. ASTA and the membe rs of the Co unc il of Educatio nal Shipowne rs have wo rked dili gentl y fro m that time to provide draft regulations fo r implementati o n of the act , to be cons idered by the Coast Gua rd. A team of nearl y fo rty expe rts vo lunteered most of the effort to achieve thi s. Throug h the ir coo perati ve effo rt , a 150-page docume nt was app roved by COES me mbe rs and presented to the Coast Gua rd in August 1983, whic h is now mov ing through the Fede ral bureauc racy. Thanks to the effo rts of o ur me mbe rs and fri e nds, a sy mpath eti c interpretatio n of the new law appears likely-and the April 15 date (th ought too early by some) has beco me realistic. The new regul ati o ns sho uld bring o ur maritime he ritage of traditi o nal sa iling


ships back into our ha rbo rs as the sail tra ining vehi cles for to mo rrow. School Vessel Accreditation A compa rable actio n has been go ing o n in the fi e ld of acc reditatio n . To be accepted as a sailing school vessel, the ship asserts it is educationall y o riented w ith courses taug ht aboard in sail training a nd , pe rh aps, in o the r marine o riented subjects-marine scie nce, literature, history, nava l a rchitecture, a nd the like. The Coast Gua rd has po inted out its inability to pursue the valid ity of these assertio ns without s ig ni fica nt new effort. The Coast G ua rd would be aided by be ing able to o bserve an accred ita tion progra m within the industry whi ch assures th at the re are sta ndards for (a) what co nstitutes sail training, (b) w ho is a qu al ified instructo r, and (c) what is a legi timate and suffic ient program . The C O ES acc red itati o n committee, chaired by M s. Nancy Hug hes Richa rd son , Girl Scout M arine Consultant , is the g roup address ing this issue . Note th at th e Coast Gua rd reta ins com plete auto no my. COES Autonomy Legal counsel had recomme nded over the past eig hteen mo nths that the Co unc il of Educatio nal Shipowners become an auto no mo us o rgani zatio n so th at it could functi o n mo re effectively as an a id to ships (an industry representative) and to use r organi zations (schools, coll eges, individual s, no n-profit groups) , and so th at it would be legally sepa rate fro m the A me rican Sa il Training Associati o n to insure o bjecti vity and limited liability. ASTA app roved di vestiture in June 1983, a nd COES ratified the action and adopted a new charte r at a meeting Octobe r 26 in Annapo lis. Officers elected we re : Pres ident-Captain George N ic ho ls of Ocean Research and Educatio n Society; Vice Pres ident-Captain Francis X. Bow ke r of Mysti c Seapo rt Museum ; Sec retary/ Treasure r- VADM Thomas R . Weschler, USN (ret .) of ASTA . Membe rship today sta nds at e leven regula r, two prov isional a nd twenty indi vidual members. The fl edgling o rganizatio n will re main unde r th e general umbrella of ASTA until the end of 1984, receiving finan c ial and administrati ve suppo rt from the m until then so that they ca n continue to concentrate o n impleme nta ti o n of th e Sailing School Vessels Act .

Barkentine Our Svanen, owned by Douglas and Margaret Havers , conducts a training program for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.

Eleventh Annual Sail Training Conference by George W. Crowninshield T he U nited States Naval Academy was th e scene this past Octobe r for the Eleventh A nnual Sail Training Co nfere nce spo nsored by the A me rica n Sail Training Assoc iatio n. O ver o ne hundred co nfe rees fro m th ro ug ho ut the U nited States as we ll as Canad a , Austra lia and Great Britain shared the ir thoughts and ideas in this two-day confere nce a nd ag reed it was the best eve rsurpass ing a ll o th ers in numbe rs, inte rest and s ha ring . Dr. Geo rge Nichols, Jr., Chairman of the Sa iling Schoo l Vessels Council a nd Director of Ocean Resea rch and Educatio n Society in G lo uceste r, Massachusetts, rev iewing the hi sto ri ca l bac kg round of sa il training in this country in hi s key note address, co ncl ud ed th at th roug h the passage of the Sailing School Vessels Act we now have the oppo rtunity to proceed full speed ahead and that the future of sa il tra ining can be golden if we a ll ma ke a co mmitme nt to ma ke it so th rough o ur own effo rts. Pane l disc uss io ns included "Acc reditati o n of Sail Tra ining Prog rams," led by Na ncy Ri cha rdso n of the Girl Sco uts of A me ri ca, and " Safety Procedures ," led by Lt. Ge ne ra l Ro be rt C . Ta be r, Vice-Commodo re of the Nava l Academy Sailing Squad ro n. Terry Linehan presented an illustrated re port o n the Ta mi Ca noe proj ect (SH 30 :38-9) , and re ports we re hea rd on sai l tra ining prog rams aboard the Seattle schooner Adventuress , the Virginian Galleon 's Lap, th e Canadi a n Our Svanen a nd G reat Brita in's Sir Winston Churchill a nd Malcolm Miller. Reports we re heard o n plans for a Pac ific Ta ll Ships Race in 1986, to uching o n Vancouver, whe re Expo '86 will be in progress, and fo r Op Sa il ' 86 in New Yo rk Ha rbo r, celebrating th e IOOth birthday of the Statue of Li berty. Vice Admiral Sir David Stevenso n desc ribed plans for th e Australi a n Bicente nni al in 1988, whic h it is hoped will incl ude Tall Ships eve nts. Po inting to co llateral effo rts, atte nti o n was called to th e wo rk of Marine rs Inte rnational, a British-based organizati on dedicated to getting people to sea unde r sail , with a n invaluable newsletter Windjammer; and to the Ame ri ca n Sailing Assoc iati o n , whi ch proposes to license a nd certi fy instrui cto rs in sa il tra ining. SEA HISTORY, SPRING 1984