What happens when 34 pupils take over a traditional sailing ship? Do they get lost in the Atlantic Ocean? Do they collide with another ship? Or do they even sink? None of these answers is true. But what happens instead? I will explain it to you.
Taking over the ship means that 34 pupils on the “Thor Heyerdahl” do all the jobs that normally the adults do. There is a pupil captain, a pupil project manager, two pupil mates, a pupil engineer… The adults only take care that nothing gets damaged, nobody gets hurt and that we don’t do the worst faults in the world. So the pupils can “control” the ship and everything that happens on it. We take over the ship three times. The first time was when we arrived in the New World, the second one is now on our way to Bermuda and the last one will be when we sail through the Channel of England. Each time the ship handover get longer and more difficult.
This time, the focus is on navigating without GPS, just with the stars, the sun and a sextant. Our “real” captain has covered all the GPS monitors and we had to hand in our cameras which are able to receive GPS signals so that we have no other possibility to know where we are. The last two days we weren’t able to see the sky because there were so many clouds and so we didn’t exactly know where we were. Finally, today we have been able to shoot the sun and calculate our position. In the next few days we will be allowed to look on the GPS monitors again so we will see how well we calculated our position.
Although we have so much work with navigating the ship, we still have to clean everything. And of course we have to do our sentry duty. It is a bit strange that some pupils are the heads of the watches and have all the responsibility for the ship. If there are other ships, they have to change the course. If the winds suddenly change, they have to change the sail positions. Many things to do…
So all in all, taking over the ship means a lot of responsibility for the pupils, but also a lot of room for us to do what we think is right. We all enjoy to sail the ship on our own and do our best to reach Bermuda on time.