‘Adventuress’ crewmember steps onto schooner and into maritime world

After sailing on Adventuress as part of Sound Experience’s 2015 “Fantastic Voyage” (FV), sixteen-year-old Joseph Pearson returned this July on a scholarship to participate in the inaugural Level 2 program. And in the six months since, the connections he built on Adventuress have allowed him to continue exploring the maritime world.

Joseph learns the ins and outs of line handling on FV 2.

Joseph learns the ins and outs of line handling on FV 2.

On an invitation from former Adventuress captain Wayne Chimenti, Joseph — a homeschooler from Portland, Oregon — is now living in Port Townsend and serving as an intern and apprentice at the Community Boat Project and Force 10 Sailmaking and Rigging.

Joseph describes Fantastic Voyage Level 2 as a “homecoming.” In addition to new crew and participants, he returned to find many familiar faces, as well as the steady presence of Adventuress herself. Says Joseph, “FV 2 makes you feel very powerful. You’re dealing with this enormous vessel. At first you feel very small, but then you’re able to work as a team, manipulate the sails, and go wherever you want to go… The crew gave us a lot more freedom to control the ship.”

His favorite memory from FV 2 is closely tied to this deepening sense of competence and control. He recalls sailing one day with the ship heeled over: “I was on Bow Watch and manning the foresail lifts when we tacked. Jesse [the First Mate] was directing crew and participants on deck and I could hear him saying, ‘Joseph has the bow figured out.’” Asked what he learned during his time on Adventuress, Joseph lists skills both large and small: “Manning a very large ship, making Ballantine coils, understanding the shape that a sail wants to be in, working vigorously with people I’d just met, and being ready and willing to jump in and help on deck.”

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During the trip, Joseph shared his desire with Captain Wayne to someday build and sail his own boat. Wayne, who spent thirteen years as one of Adventuress’ main captains, is an expert mariner, rigger, sailmaker and educator who took the helm once again for FV 2. He currently lives on Marrowstone Island and runs the Community Boat Project (CBP) — a nonprofit that partners with local schools to offer shop space and various accredited maritime-themed and on-the-water programs for young people, including a multi-day longdory journey called Summer at Sea. Wayne and his daughter Nahja also own and operate Force 10 Sailmaking and Rigging, a traditional sail loft with a reputation for excellence.

At the end of FV 2, Joseph signed up for an email list to receive information about the Community Boat Project. A few weeks later, he received an invitation from Wayne to serve as an intern at CBP and an apprentice at Force 10 for several months this winter. As a homeschooler with a deep affinity for boats, Joseph had the flexibility and the passion to take Wayne up on his offer. He arrived in the Port Townsend area in early November and has since assisted with CBP classes and helped make sails for the brigantine Matthew Turner, a sustainable tall ship being constructed in the Bay Area. Lately, Joseph has been using the industrial sewing machine, doing handwork, making eyelets and attaching reef nettles as he learns how to draft and cut out sails. Summing up the experience, Joseph says, “I get to make things. I get to learn more about how boats work. And I get to meet new people.”

He also gets to sail on the CBP longdories — the same craft that are used for the Summer at Sea program that will set out from Anacortes directly following the end of the 2017 Fantastic Voyage Level 2. The longdory used for Summer at Sea is 30-feet; it has both rowing and sailing capabilities and a centerboard rather than a fixed keel, which means that it’s much more sensitive to the movements of those aboard. Says Joseph, “You have to keep a lot of variables in mind. Rowing is a very different experience — following the lead and getting into the rhythm. On a longboat you feel closer to the water.”

Joseph paints the anchor chain at the recent November Work Weekend.

Joseph paints the anchor chain at the recent November Work Weekend.

While Joseph gains experience on different vessels, he recently had a new experience on Adventuress too. Helping at the November Work Weekend, he saw the ship in her “unmade” state — meaning no booms, no rigging, no deck boxes. Says Joseph, “Adventuress felt so open… [The Work Weekend] was very relaxed, a nice small community. And the food was delicious!”

During his two days aboard, he cleaned and repainted the anchor chain and helped clean the forepeak. Looking ahead to the summer of 2017, he describes the nature of the two vessels — schooner and longdory — that will once again set out on the waters of the Salish Sea: “Adventuress is a large vessel with lots of people and lots of work to be done. Once you start sailing and exploring, you feel a whole lot of teamwork and community. On the longboats, you have to find the perfect balance. There’s no engine, so if you want to go somewhere, you have to row or sail. There’s not many people, so you get to know them really well.”

What’s happening with Adventuress in 2017?

Fantastic Voyage Level 2 is back for 2017. Teens will live, sail and learn aboard the historic schooner Adventuress as they voyage through the islands and choose a different anchorage each night. This Level 2 program is designed to offer returning teens a chance to expand their sailing skills and knowledge of the marine environment. Participation in a previous Fantastic Voyage is encouraged, but not required. The program runs August 6-11 out of Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. Click here to sign up!

This year, Sound Experience is excited to announce another on-the-water opportunity for young people between the ages of 14-21. The Community Boat Project, a like-minded nonprofit helmed by past Adventuress Captain Wayne Chimenti, is offering Summer at Sea, a 12-day longdory voyage that departs from Anacortes and takes place directly following Fantastic Voyage Level 2. Preference on this program will be given to those who have sailed on an overnight voyage aboard Adventuress in 2017. The trip runs August 11-22, allowing teens to step off of Adventuress, spend a night in Anacortes under the supervision of Summer at Sea, and embark the next day. For more information about Summer at Sea, click here.

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