First sea trials successful!

On Saturday, June 7, the Morgan went to sea with a fully functioning rig. A nice northerly breeze blew down the Thames River and she left the New London City Pier with wind in her sails.

We were towed to the deeper waters of Long Island Sound. Once we were out there, a swift, steady breeze picked up and the real fun began.

For the first time in my life, I felt the cool breeze at my back while standing aboard a square-rigger. I worked with the crew to help the Morgan capture the wind. With pine tar streaked across my shirt, and fine manilla fibers clasped between callused hands, I pulled, hauled, handled and tied lines until my muscles ached.

A lot of attention has centered around the Morgan’s sea trials, and this weekend she proved up to the task. By 12:50 p.m. on Saturday, the starboard side was healing 2 feet out of the water, and she was cruising at 7.3 knots. She proved capable of tacking on a dime, and was more nimble under sail than everyone expected.

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The best part was watching all the moving parts of a ship. The pulleys and chains, cables and lines are still a little unfamiliar, so it’s going to take some time for the crew to get used to sailing her. But by the end of this voyage, we should be working like a well-oiled pocket watch.


I’m starting to learn the daily routines associated with sailing a square-rigger. The lines are becoming more familiar with repetition, and now I’m allowed to go aloft to furl and unfurl the sails.  Here’s the view I had from the topgallant yard while sailing into New London Harbor.

Looking forward from the topgallant sail!

Looking forward from the topgallant sail!

My latest nickname

The crew is fun to work with, and I’ve enjoyed the new nicknames I’ve earned thus far. “Stowie” appears to have fallen by the wayside. Yesterday, they called me “Harpy.” On Sunday, they called me Scuttlebutt,” which is actually very appropriate.

“Scuttlebutt” is a nautical term. The potable water on a ship used to be stored in a “butt,” a small wooden cask. “Scuttle” means “to cut a hole in.” So basically, the “scuttlebutt” was a cask with an opening from which sailors could get their drinking water. Since sailors commonly gathered and talked around the scuttlebutt, the term became slang for gossip aboard ship. Since my job is to share stories with you, I think “scuttlebutt” suits me well. Of course, it may change by tomorrow. This crew is a creative bunch!

Highlights from the day

Here is a video I took from the chase boat on Sunday. It gives you a 360 degree perspective of the Morgan under full sail, and if you pay close attention, you can hear my shipmate Cassie yelling “scuttlebutt” from the port side.

It has been one week since I’ve stowed away on the Morgan, and I’m really settling into the life of a sailor. In fact, judging by the smell I’m currently emitting, I think it’s about time for a shower.

We’ll be in New London tuning the rig for our first transit next Saturday, but stay tuned because there are more adventures to come in New London.

Yours truly,

Ryan the Stowaway, A.K.A. “Scuttlebutt” (for today anyway)