|Back to School?|
PMY senior editor Bill Pike recently spent two days teaching a two-hour "First Mate Class" to Sea Ray owners intent on sharpening their line-handling and other seamanship skills. the two-hour seminars, which took place at Sea Ray's Merritt Island facility, covered such topics as the proper use of heaving lines, hand signals for anchoring, tips on applying the rules of the road in real-world situations, a few navigational tricks of the trade, and a no-frills approach to emergency radio procedure. They were aimed primarily at first mates, of course--not captains, although numerous Captains attended. Teaching aids included the complete deck of a 50-foot Sea Ray, a fully outfitted steering station (on wheels), flares, fire extinguishers, life rings, and lots of other safety equipment, as well as numerous heaving lines and mooring lines so each participant could practice knots, hitches, and line-handling techniques individually.
"Fun thing to do," says Pike, a self-described hands-on boater who hasn't ventured into a classroom setting since graduating from Great Lakes Maritime Academy over 20 years ago. "But I was getting a little hoarse toward the end of the deal, and my throwing arm was wearing down."
Sea Ray asked Pike to do the seminars as part of its annual Yacht Expo, a gathering of owners interested in stepping up to larger vessels. There were reportedly 350 owners and their families on hand for the event which, in addition to Pike's seminars, featured classes on electronics, boat-cleaning tips and techniques, and a great class on cooking onboard offered by Linda Ullian of the Southern Living Cooking School.
"She makes a heck of a homemade ice-cream sandwich," Pike marveled, a claim that was apparently based on several very thorough taste tests.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.