How did you hear about the educational tall ship Matthew Turner and Call of the Sea?
Ironically, I had just arrived in Honolulu after Transpac 2017, and was reading through a tattered edition of Latitude 38, and was startled to read about the launching of the Matthew Turner! I was floored that this project was going on for several years in my own backyard, and for some reason had never heard about. As I live in the South Bay, I resolved to drive up to see what this was all about on the first weekend back to the mainland.
Where do you come from, and were you involved with boats there?
I lived in Venezuela and New Jersey before really discovering the ocean in Aruba in my teens, whereupon I quickly sailed the paint off of my Sunfish in the steady 15-knot trade winds for 5 years. I have 8 brothers and sisters, and when we were motivated as a team we could wash the family station wagon in 3 minutes flat. I have always been fascinated by teamwork, and the compounded effects that are derived from a collaborative effort. When I moved to the Bay Area after college, I promptly started crewing on any vessel that would take me. We had fun in the early days on a Valiant 40 going down the coast for the annual Newport-Ensenada Race, and delivering her back to SF Bay. After racing for 25 years in the Bay and off the West Coast as far south as Puerto Vallarta, I hooked up with some great teams and started doing Hawaii races.
How long have you been volunteering with the Matthew Turner?
I have been volunteering with the Matthew Turner for just over 2 years now. I typically work on Saturdays, as I run a software consulting firm during the week.
What is your favorite task here, boat-building or otherwise?
Another sport I took up after college was rock climbing. We’d drive up to Yosemite and do 1-day or 2-day climbs. I distinctly remember hanging 900 feet up the vertical granite of Washington Column, swinging on a 9-mm rope, and just feeling ultra-alive. I’ve found that if you cover the contingencies (to the best of your abilities and knowledge at the time), then there’s full license to enjoy the experience. The other climbing stories will have to wait to be told around the scuttlebutt, or during our essential after-work debriefing sessions. When I came aboard the Matthew Turner, I instantly gravitated to the tasks related to rigging – worming, parceling, serving, splicing, seizing, etc. I thoroughly enjoy laying aloft with the full knowledge that the procedures in place are designed foremost for safety, and knowing that the other members of the Rigging Team are top-notch team players. Working alongside Adrian has greatly increased my knowledge of the craft and all things related to square riggers.
Is there anything specific you’ve learned while volunteering here?
When I arrive at 60C at the start of the day, I consciously resolve to learn about 10 new things before sundown. It’s not uncommon to work with a skilled rigger or wood worker and exceed that number twofold. The other day I was helping to lay the cabin flooring down, and hit my goal by lunchtime. It’s great learning from the skilled team members on the wide variety of tasks related to the Matthew Turner project.
Do you plan to continue working on boat building after Matthew Turner is complete?
Yes. It’s been fascinating working with skilled master craftsmen, riggers, and shipwrights at every turn. The leadership gives ample room for volunteers to push their own limits and make an impact. I look forward to contributing more as I continue to learn from the leaders, and in turn pass the knowledge onto others.