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Bosun School Graduation

Friday was a day of celebration as the Bosun School students graduated from the 14-week land-based marine skills development program they’ve been part of since the end of August. A hearty congratulations to Agnes, Eva, Gabe, Heather, Samantha, Aase, Mike who came to us from Mystic Seaport and Tammy who made sails on our last world voyage and at Bosun School, from all of us at Picton Castle!

Thursday, the day before graduation, was also the day of the final exam for the students. They had a written test to do, plus a practical demonstration of skills. The written test included questions on drawing and naming parts of a block, describing rigs of different types of vessels, boxing the compass and drawing and naming the lines in a typical mooring alongside situation. For the practical exam, students had to make a sailmakers eye splice, to take complete charge of and bring the 23 foot longboat alongside under oars as the coxswain, make three accurate heaving line throws in a row (after tons of practice) , sharpen their own knife to perfection and more. They have been working at gaining knowledge and skills in areas such as these over the past three months, so everyone passed the exam.

In front of a crowd of friends and supporters including Lunenburg Mayor Laurence Mawhinney the students graduated on Friday. Captain Moreland talked a bit about the Bosun School and what it is intended to do, what the students have been up to during their time in Lunenburg, and thanked people and organizations in the local community who have contributed to the Bosun School including Michele Stevens of Michele Stevens Sail Loft for the day the students spent with her learning how a modern sail loft works, Jay Langford of the Dory Shop with whom they built a 17 foot boat from scratch, Dave Westergard for the use of his schooner Sea Change, other schooner owners including John Steele, Tom Gallant, Edward Peill and more for having the students sail as crew with them, Ralph Getson and Angela Saunders of the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic for the day of programming on seafaring history and shipbuilding including a tour of the huge schooner Bluenose II being rebuilt nearby, and Richard and Sharon Orpin for the donation of the Tahiti ketch Symphony on which the students learned some boat repair and maintenance skills. Eva spoke on behalf of the students, saying how much they all enjoyed their time in Lunenburg and how welcome they felt here. Students were then presented with their certificates and a few things to add to their ditty bags and take to their next vessels.

The certificates the students received listed the skills they’ve been introduced to and have practiced during the Bosun School. That list includes:

Liverpool wire eye-splicing (and lots of it)
rope splices, including long, short, eye, sailmakers, hawser
knots
parcelling and serving
seizings and whippings
extensive small boat handling, including skiff with motor, small sailing vessels and rowing as crew and coxswain
long boat handling under oars
dropping and picking up a mooring, landing small boats at a dock and alongside the ship
sail making, including grommets, roping, ditty bags, sail repair and canvas work
painting organization
handling heavy gear, sending yards down
coatings and mixtures
wooden boat building, including clench nailing, planing, caulking
overhauling blocks
overhauling spars
rigging
slushing and tarring
lashings
cordage knowledge – synthetic and natural, mooring lines and chafe gear
tackles
making a mooring
bosun’s chair, safe practices aloft
cooking for a crew
knife sharpening and tool maintenance
tool making – serving tools
downrigging – sending down sails, running rigging
general ship’s husbandry
adaptation and overcoming
baggywrinkle
using tools for efficiency – handy billys, etc
ratline seizings
outboard engine inspection and overhaul

The ceremony was followed by a potluck supper that included everything from chips and dips to potjie (a South African dish), seafood chowder, salads, macaroni and cheese, frittata, cakes and cookies, yum! People mingled and talked, and as the evening wore on guitars and violins appeared and Chief Mate Michael (just returned from a voyage in the Fullrigger Danmark) and Katelinn started off the music. Luckily for us, Lennie Gallant brought his guitar. So did Tom Gallant, and they traded songs back and forth for a while. Catherine McKinnon brought out her violin and Katelinn played the whole night. Another fabulous evening at the Dory Shop, this one a special one in honour of the students who worked so diligently at advancing their skills here in Lunenburg these past three months.

Agnes receives her certificate
Eva speaks on behalf of the Bosun School students
Gabe receives his certificate
some of the assembled crowd watching the graduation

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