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At-Sea Summer

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2012) Permanent link   All Posts
 Michael Klakring 27 July

My summer training has finally come to a close, and just like everything else at the Academy, it certainly flew by. I left off somewhere toward the end of Ocean Racing. We finished the season with Block Island Race Week, which was an awesome time. Its five full days of sailboat racing, with hundreds of boats, awards and tent partying every night and the island itself is a great time. The Glory crew earned our first trophy of the season, getting 3rd place in the “around the island race.” Ocean Racing was a great experience where I made a lot of friends and had the most fun I have had at school, while still doing training. Immediately after BIRW, the four 3/c that were Ocean Racing flew to Charleston to meet with Eagle. After a cancelled flight, meal vouchers and an apologetic coupon from Delta Airlines, I made $100 by the end of the day!

Eagle was an interesting experience. It was a lot different than Ocean Racing. The first leg was from Charleston to Boston, a long one of nine days. The weather was very hot but the sailing as great. We actually set full sail for the parade out of Charleston harbor. We did a few parades throughout the six weeks, including a Coast Guard/fireboat escort into Boston and a two-lap parade of sail with almost 40 boats on the way out of Halifax. I learned a lot on Eagle. The six weeks are split up into three training segments, one on deck, on engineering and one support. I missed the support segment due to ocean racing, much to the disappointment of my division, as that segment consisted of mess cooking and cleaning the boat. The engineering segment was very informative, included diagramming all of the boats pipes and systems including the engine room, sewage and potable water systems as well as Damage Control training in fire fighting, de-watering and de-smoking. The segment concluded with a drill where we donned full firefighting equipment and fought a fake fire. This training is important for everyone to know. We actually had a real fire alarm go off while in port in Boston. Luckily there was no fire.

The on deck portion of the training includes watch on deck, which consists of sailing the boat when the rest of the crew is asleep and the work day is over. In addition, we became helm/lookout qualified during this segment. A lot of sign-offs were required. Passing the board (test) required knowing sound signals, light signals, distress signals, what to do in the event of a man overboard, how to respond to rudder commands and how to report sound, visual, and aerial contacts. Steering the ship is more difficult than it seems and being on bow lookout is a great responsibility. We stood an especially vigilant watch between Halifax and Rockland, Maine when fog limited our visibility to 25 yards. Hearing boats around us and seeing what little we could was extremely important in these dangerous conditions.

I am home now, about to leave for a weeklong vacation. I’m hoping time will stop flying by for the next few weeks… Feel free to email me with questions; I still have access to my email! Thanks. Michael.G.Klakring@uscga.edu

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