Adrian was a trainee aboard a tall ship at the age of 15, during a semester at sea and was recently the Captain for a season aboard Alma, the 1891 National Historic Landmark scow schooner at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Below we celebrate his volunteer work and welcome him as brigantine Matthew Turner’s professional first (really, first) First Mate!
Where do you come from, and were you involved with boats there?
I was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. It is a fairly landlocked region of midwestern Canada but I was given an opportunity to get on the water and sail when I was 15 years old and that experience helped lead me down the path of a working mariner.
How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner?
As a working professional sailing on other ships in the Bay Area, and being on the Sausalito waterfront, it was hard to not hear about the tall ship being built! When the ship was being framed and planks spiled (Spiling is a technique used in building wooden boats in which a smaller component is used as a pattern against which the outline of a larger component can be drawn), I would drop in and visit and see the progress made…an awe inspiring project to observe and one I would later participate in.
How long have you been volunteering with the Matthew Turner?
I started volunteering on a regular basis a year ago, focusing on the rigging aspect of the vessel. One of the things that has always attracted to me to traditional tall ship sailing is the old style rigging. I love square sails and working with three strand line, tucking in splices, moving heavy and obscure objects and slathering it all in pine tar. I love the challenge of designing and building projects 130 feet in the air. It is a peaceful place to work and be at one with oneself.
What is your favorite task here, boat-building or otherwise?
Coordinating with others, developing plans and implementing ideas, just the whole visionary process to creating this magnificent ship into a working vessel that will shape the lives of thousands of kids and inspire future generations.
Is there anything specific you’ve learned while volunteering here?
I have learned about a whole new ship while also learning how to work with many new people and forming new relationships. This is the first time I have been involved in building a ship from the keel up so it has presented many rewards and challenges along the way.
Do you plan to continue working on boat building after Matthew Turner is complete?
It is my intention to stay involved onboard the ship once building is complete and the ship has been certified. I am going to be part of the full-time professional crew, overseeing the safe operation of the vessel and assisting with the dissemination of the mission. It’s also my hope to make some long distance off-shore passages with Matthew Turner when the time comes!
What is your next adventure?
Matthew Turner is my next adventure!