Sixteen Dublin sailors went to the Mystic Seaport this weekend for a weekend of specialized sailing instruction and nautical history. Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country.
More than a museum however, Mystic Seaport is also one of only 29 U.S. Sailing Community Sailing Centers in the country. This designation is only offered to organizations that can demonstrate that they offer the highest quality of sailing instruction available. The Community Sailing Center is located on the Mystic River, a tidal estuary that boasts consistent wind and relatively little boat traffic.
The weekend centered around three sailing clinics with members of the Community Sailing Center at Mystic Seaport. The team practiced and raced in Mystic Seaport’s fleet of Dyer Dhows - single-person dinghies primarily designed for honing fundamental sailing skills and one design racing. Sailing these "simple" vessels was not so simple...on Saturday there was 8 knot winds and gusts to 15 knots and Sunday practically no wind. With our sailors being used to two person 420 boats, these boats proved challenging for some of our new sailors.
As part of the trip, students not only visited the Joseph Conrad, but slept on board. Built in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1882, the Joseph Conrad is a 110 foot square-rigger once used to train young Danish men for the merchant service. Today, permanently moored in Mystic, she’s fitted out with bunks, flush toilets, showers, heat and electricity. The weekend included a planetarium show, night time flashlight tour of the Charles W. Morgan and museum village, meals at the Galley Restaurant and a rigging climb aboard the Joseph Conrad as a team building experience.