This past summer I was chosen to be SSV Tabor Boy’s Executive Officer (XO), the highest student position on board the school’s 92’ schooner, a 105-year old classic tall ship. I have had the privilege this year of leading the student crew in our many adventures on the water together, building friendships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. We have worked together through scorching calm sails, tiring rough sails, and harrowing emergencies on Buzzards Bay. Each time we made it through the day, handling every situation by ourselves as high school schooner sailors under Captain Geil. As has been tradition for the 65 years the vessel has been at Tabor, we consider ourselves more a family than just a crew, and I have never had a more valuable mentor than Cap. Upon graduating in May, I will have learned lessons, made memories and built relationships that I will never lose.
As luck would have it, I am pleased to share that June 2019 will open a new chapter in Tabor Boy’s history.
The schooner has sailed countless times to the island of Bermuda, but never in its 105 years has it raced. Our “pathway” to our entry into the 2019 Marion Bermuda Race began during the summer of 2018 as we played with the thought of serving as an escort vessel. When we later proposed this to the Beverly Yacht Club, the idea was well received, but it was quickly suggested that we should join the race in a one-on-one challenge with Spirit of Bermuda! Commodore Willie Forbes invited Captain Geil and me to attend a dinner at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) in November to meet in person with race organizers and representatives of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation. That evening, David Goodwin (Chairman of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation) “threw down the gauntlet!” This was followed with some good-natured banter including a generous offer to give us a two-day handicap! We accepted the challenge, countering by wishing the Spirit of Bermuda crew good luck in beating a bunch of high school kids!
We’re now preparing the vessel for the offshore race and, during the spring, the student crew will undergo an increased level of training to be ready for the event. Tabor Boy and Spirit of Bermuda would be forming their own tall-ship class in the race. We can only hope that this duel will lead to further training vessel involvement in the Marion Bermuda Race, and we are proud to be taking part this year. We look forward to blue-water adventures with a mostly-student crew, to learning valuable lessons on the sea and to practicing our celestial navigation skills. Most importantly, we are pleased to be associated with BYC and RHADC and to share in the friendly competition and comradery that is the Marion Bermuda Race!