Monday, August 11, 2008

Brad Holderman

Brad Holderman
MMSD Volunteer Crew

HMS Surprise - 10 August, 2008.

A day of training and continuing preparation of Surprise for the northward sail to San Pedro for the Los Angeles Sail Festival. First, up training, a most important issue. Old hands from this past November and May are combined with new crew assigned to the ship for the August sails.

I had an odd feeling about me today. A confidence I hadn't felt before. My prior exeriences aloft had been pathetic, my kness to drum rolls the moment my foot would touch the footrope. Today was different though. I had been on Surprise long enough with the same group of people that simply with that, going aloft seemed a reasonable effort. Also, one is limited to what one can learn trapped on the deck. The fact that I've lost 40 plus pounds since the last time I attempted laying aloft didn't hurt.

Without hesitation, I opted for the course yard, but asking at the same time of Greg Carothers that he babysit me while up there. I also went up last, ensuring I would be located close to the shroud, in case my knees hadn't forgotten there old rythym. "STEPPING ON STARBOARD!" With an acknoldgment by the other topmen, the new footropes seemed sturdy beneath my feet. With the other pluses mentioned previously, the knees weren't knocking. I felt more comfortable aloft than I had ever felt as we put the mains'l in her gear, asking questions all along the way.

During the training, the crew bumbled about slightly, as you might expect, re learning and re grouping. But it wasnt very long and we had remembered our steps along the process. For me, I had had a good day of training until the moment Captain Welton gave the order to clew up the t'gallant. I was on the sheet, made the dreadful error on the sequence of events and proceeded to ease the port t'gallant sheet. "WHO LET GO OF THAT SHEET?!" Ugh, me, your mainmast port pinrail captain. I quickly hauled it back down and got in sync with things, refocused on what I was doing.

With sails doused, back aloft to furl. Again, comfortable.

With the training for the morning finished up, it was now time to start hammering out as much repair and refit still left to do. I found myself with David Litzau and Bert Creighton on the prow, creating a game plan for relashing the starboard boomkin. The boomkin had been broken a month prior. By the time we had figured something out, lunch was called. For me, my children were on their way down, my day of volunteering was at an end.

As I left, Scott Herndon was out on the now-lashed boomkin, re-rigging the block and stays. The remainder of this week at home will be spent making sure I have everything I need for 5 days aboard Surprise. Economics, logistics and the plain and simple desire to live 5 complete days aboard ship have HMS Surpise as my home address from August 14th to the 18th.


Brad Holderman