Maritime Experience Day on The Eye of the Wind
Several youngsters from St Maarten-St.Martin had the opportunity to go on board The Eye of the Wind in January to experience a day on a Tall Ship and take an active part in the sailing.
Students from the SBO Maritime program, the Maritime School of the West Indies, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, the Classic Yacht Club and others were invited aboard by the ship and the Caribbean Sail Training Association.
This season, the one hundred-year-old German ship is based at Fort Louis Marina in French St. Martin. And although the ship takes paying passengers on one and two-week trips to various islands, it offers, through the Caribbean Sail Training Association, berths for trainees.
The day started at 8.30am when thirteen youngsters, five supervisors and two members of the St.Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Club were welcomed aboard the ship.
Before sailing, the visitors were given instructions and a safety briefing by the first mate.
Captain Julius then gave a lesson in the theory of sailing a Tall Ship, using ship designs and ship models, so that everyone could understand what running such a vessel entailed.
When the briefings were over, the ship left harbor and set sail towards Anguilla.
During the voyage the youngsters were given instructions by the ship’s crew on how to hoist and trim the sails and everyone was actively involved.
Hoisting sails on the two masts was a heavy job with much hauling on the many ropes and halyards.
As The Eye of the Wind sailed back and forth between St Martin and Anguilla, the sails had to be changed and hoisted several times and this gave the youngsters ‘hands on’ experience.
Due to the big swells, the visitors were not permitted to climb the masts. Safety is paramount and climbing the rigging was considered too risky for a nonprofessional crew.
Around noon, lunch and drinks were served courtesy of the International Liquors and Tobacco Trading Company.
Carrying her crew of tanned and now experienced Tall Ship Sailors, The Eye of the Wind returned to Marigot around 4:00pm.
Bodine Beentjes, one of the enthusiastic participants from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, described the day as successful and very educational. “Being able to sail The Eye of the Wind was a wonderful experience. I learned so many new things that I could never even imagine before boarding the ship. I learned some interesting information about the Ship’s history and got a chance to meet the lovely crew. I had so much fun, even though there was a lot of work to be done,” Bodine said. She added, “If I got a chance to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat.”