On Friday, we RiverU students boarded the Hudson River sloop Clearwater at Beacon for a sail. The day promised rain and, as we pulled into the parking lot, it began to sprinkle. As the rain slowly increased in intensity, we met the crew of the Clearwater who gave us a tour of the sloop.
We helped the crew ready for departure. At this point, the rain was becoming the defining theme of the day. We motored out into Neweburgh Bay. The crew set us up in position, and we hoisted the Clearwater’s sails. They weigh three thousand pounds, I believe. We split up into groups, and the crew taught us about sailing.
One crew member, Carlos, taught my group about charts (which are maps for waterways), and about tides. It rained so hard we went below deck. Afterwards, the rain slowed and we went above deck and helped with steering the rudder. We then ate a lunch of tacos. After lunch, we had a moment of silence and peace, which was channeled into a lecture about the history of the Hudson.
The day was now hot, sunny, and still. We split up again, and first extracted DNA from strawberries, then took turbidity measurements with Professors Shane RogersPh.D. and Tom Langen Ph.D., two of our RiverU instructors. We motored and sailed back to the Beacon dock, helped dock the sloop, and went home.
We learned a lot on the Clearwater. Ironically, because the winds were so calm, we didn’t go very far on the river. It still was a fun day. We will go on an overnight sail next week.