This co-op term I am employed at The Drummond Island Tall Ship Company as an intern deckhand on the Schooner Huron Jewel. The Coverts (who own this company) live on Shelter Island, which is off the coast of Drummond Island, and have two small one-room cabins for their employees. Every day I wake up around 7:00 a.m. and go to the main house to eat breakfast and converse about the day’s schedule. After, we have to take a small motorboat to Drummond which takes about 20 minutes on Lake Huron. Then we load into a car and drive to either the workshop where the 78-foot schooner was originally built or to the marina where The Huron Jewel lives now.
I was glad to arrive in pre-season April because it meant I was able to help rig the boat and get more acquainted with the maintenance that is required annually. It was a really empowering moment when we put the boat in the water a couple of weeks ago after spending the majority of my stay prepping her for the sailing season.
My first sail ever was a five day trip to Beaver Island. I have to admit it was intimidating that my first sail would be so long but, in retrospect, I am glad I got so much experience right off the bat. Within the first two hours of the trip, we were sailing at 10 knots. For a sailboat of this size, this is extremely fast! The wind was wild and it made managing the lines a little nightmare-ish. I’m really glad that the other employee, Amelia, is the senior deckhand because, without her instruction, my first sail would have been quite a bit more hectic. Having worked on three tall ships before Huron Jewel, Amelia is very knowledgeable about sailing and it has been amazing working alongside her. Overall, I have learned a lot about sailing and about what creates a positive work environment for me.