Introducing the Stowaway

After reviewing scores of applications and video auditions from qualified candidates, Mystic Seaport has selected journalist Ryan Leighton, of Boothbay, Maine, to stow away aboard the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest surviving merchant vessel, during her 38th Voyage this summer.

As the stowaway, Leighton will be immersed in all aspects of the 19th-century whaleship’s 38th Voyage — living on board the ship with the crew, handling the sails and lines, steering the ship, and most important, sharing his daily experiences through a blog and social media platforms.

Ryan Leighton

Ryan Leighton

“Ryan proved he has the ‘sense of the adventure’ Mystic Seaport was searching for from the outset of the stowaway contest,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president of Mystic Seaport. “As a successful journalist, he has relevant experience and the necessary skills to fulfill the role of the stowaway aboard the Morgan’s most documented voyage ever. In addition to his enthusiasm, we are confident Ryan will bring his tireless work ethic, his ability to adapt to new situations, and his creativity to the 38th Voyage.”

Leighton, who graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and advertising and a minor in history, had been waiting for a unique and extreme opportunity such as this.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to become the stowaway is because it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sometimes the most satisfying feeling is not knowing what tomorrow will bring,” Leighton said. “Typically, stowaways are forced to remain hidden below deck, but with this opportunity, I will be able to insert myself into the daily routine of the ship. I want to take chances and be creative in order to make this journey as exciting as possible. My goal is to fully immerse myself, so that others are able to live vicariously through my videos and stories.”

Leighton will watch, inquire, learn, participate, and use his creative energy to share the voyage experience with the general public through blogging, videos, social media, and activities in the port cities. He will be a key player during events and exhibits at each port of call with an opportunity to explore the community and meet its people.

To quote Nat Wilson, the Morgan’s sailmaker, ‘it is the only way to carry the ship’s future forward because the living memories are all gone,’” Leighton said. “Sailing is a big part of the New England heritage – It’s how we got here. And what better way to learn about the past then to relive it in the present?”

Leighton will come aboard as the Morgan‘s stowaway on June 2.