Tuesday, May 4, 2010

2010 Old Salts Regatta

This past weekend was the annual Old Salts Regatta, a competition between sea scout ships from throughout the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. Because the Petaluma Sea Scouts currently don't have enough crew members to compete in most of the events, they combined resources with the Santa Rosa Sea Scout ship, the SSS Orion. Both crews mustered aboard the SSS Compass Rose at 1700 on Friday afternoon and we were underway shortly thereafter.

The tide was in our favor and we were clear of the Petaluma River in no time at all. It was a gorgeous day on San Pablo Bay:
San Pablo Bay

We were crossing San Pablo around dinner time, so Don was grilling some burgers:
Don Seiler Cooking

I was on the other end of the food line:
Shawn Thorsson Eating

I'm not sure why, but I was pretty exhausted that afternoon. As a result, I ended up passed out shortly after dinner and didn't wake up even briefly until we were all fast alongside the SSS Gryphon at their base in Redwood City.

On Saturday morning, I woke up just in time to make it to breakfast where I learned that I'd been volunteered to serve as event director for the Bucket Brigade event. This meant that I would spend the day stuck in one spot making sure that all of the crews competing in that event would be scored consistently. Don was assigned to assist me. More on that later.

One of the other officers ended up being free to follow the crew around and see how things went for them. Mostly she ended up just taking pictures while they were competing in the various events.

Here's some of the shots she got...

Piloting quiz (a tabletop navigation test for four hand-picked crewmembers):

Ship knots (all hands required to participate, scored for accuracy):

Sailing recognition (all hands required to accurately identify components of a sailboat):

First Aid (a hands-on practical event with "injured" actors):

Heaving line (all hands given three tries to reach a target with a heaving line):

Sailing (a hand-picked crew runs a set course and is graded on technical proficiency):

There were other events as well, but I haven't got pictures of the Flotilla Drill, Mariner's Quiz, Mystery Event, Radio Communications, Breeches Buoy, Scuttlebutt Drill, or any of the others.

Meanwhile, Don and I were running the Bucket Brigade event. For this event we have two 55-gallon barells. One is full of water, the other is empty. Between them sits a stack of buckets. Each crew must start from the position of attention, standing in a line several feet away from the buckets. Each crew gets sixty seconds to move as much water as they can from one barrel to the other. The winner is decided by measuring how many inches of water were moved into the empty barrel.

This is a recreation of an old-school method of bailing out a boat that's taking on water. Ideally, the crew lines up at arm's-length intervals, a person on one end scoops up buckets full of water, they pass the full buckets down the line, and the person on the other end dumps them overboard and then passes them back.

In practice, each crew got so excited about the time limit that they ended up just grabbing buckets, dunking them, and then running them from one barrel to the other. Usually they ended up in a massive, wet traffic jam.

When crews were competing, Don and I were all sorts of professional:

However, since this event wasn't counted towards the competitors' overall scores, most of the time we were left alone to entertain ourselves:

Sunday morning there were a handful of final events held to break ties and establish bragging rights. Then it was time for the awards ceremony.

The combined crews from the SSS Compass Rose and the SSS Orion managed to do fairly well considering how little practice they had done. They were given an overall class rating of Schooner (the second highest class award) and placed in several of the events. Most notably, they took first place in Piloting which they said they "totally bombed."

Either way, they looked pretty pleased with themselves:
Sea Scout Crew

I was just happy to get a rare chance to dust off my Sea Scout dress uniform:
Shawn Thorsson Scout Dress Blues

The voyage home came off without a hitch. It was another nice, calm, sunny day. All the while I kept thinking of how great it would've been if I was out there with the Heart of Gold instead. Oh well.

Upon arrival, all that was left to do was a quick freshwater washdown and then secure the ship:
Field Day
...until the next exciting adventure.

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