Get On Board: Tall Ships Training Teaches Teamwork

Schooner Wendameen  Photo from Tall Ships Portland, Maine’s Facebook Schooner Wendameen

A sailboat is like a human body in motion. Think of a runner's lungs, musculature, skeleton, and other organs functioning together in tandem, in one body, to move forward. Like a part of the body performing a specific function for the whole, sailors on a boat can be thought of as organs in a locomoting system. Take away a single sailor, the vessel does not function at top capacity. On the other hand, with all team members working hard and striving, you’re speeding through the deep blue on the way to a better understanding of yourself, the rest of the crew, and your place in the world.


Maine students have a chance to learn this important lesson of group cohesion as it pertains to seafaring, and earn high-school credits in the meantime, on training voyages aboard the 124-year-old Lettie G. Howard. The event's part of Portland’s Tall Ship festivities this month, and these training trips are quite an adventure. Students return from their voyages changed, and empowered. Sixteen-year-old Naomi, for example, said, “You leave all the petty attitude ashore. You’re united and going through the same thing, whether it’s good or bad. It’s a really great way to forge friendships.” The price tag on enrollment is high (go to for registration info), but may be the most valuable experience in your youngster's life so far. 


But that’s not the only thing about Tall Ships Weekend. Even armchair sailors or Portlanders with a pirate costume they’d like to flaunt, who want to walk aboard a tall ship while it’s moored here from August 4 to August 7 will have a chance. Free tours of the 295-foot (a football field is 300 feet) Coast Guard training vessel the Eagle, and the Rhode Island-based at-sea education tall ship the Oliver Hazard Perry will take place on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m. and well into the evening at Portland Ocean Terminal (40 Commercial St).


Talk to the crew and the students as you’re admiring the sheer size and restful power of the ship you board. We’re not saying you’ll be transformed from landlubber to old salt by the time you walk back down the gangplank, but you might get a few ideas about that twenty-one-footer you were looking at on Craigslist.


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Last modified onWednesday, 02 August 2017 10:45