The Ancient Mariner Regatta is in less less than 4 days. That’s all. Just 4 days. I find myself feeling that same “top of the roller coaster” sensation I do every year. I’m sure many others feel it as well.
Some Scouts who are approaching their first AMR may have strong apprehension. Concerns of being able to deliver the skills they practiced for so long may flood their minds. I assure you even the salt Bos’n and Bos’ns Mate feel that same thing. “Can I lead my Crew to the victory we want?” They can and will.
To that end even J.O.’s and Officers have their own version of excitement; unfortunately it doesn’t come from competing anymore. For adults we revel in seeing the Crews strive for their goals. To witness young men and women achieve things they have striven for is an amazing reward. Believe it or not the Staff and Committee of the Ancient Mariner Regatta feel the energy is building up.
Here are some memories and advice from them along with some photos of AMR 2012.
Advice and an AMR memory from Josh Gilliland (AMR Chairman), National Sea Scout Committee Member and Mate, S.S.S. Gryphon:
“Be positive, be organized, and have a plan. Work events by “zones.” For example: heaving line, semaphore, and international code flags are all on the Flight Deck. Go there and do them all. Don’t do one and come back for the other two. Also, be sure to pay attention to your flotilla and pulling boat schedule times. If you are late, the judges have no way to work you in later in the day.”
“My first AMR was in 1991 at Coast Guard Island. The Gryphon and several of the other boats were docked astern of the CG 378′s. The smaller boats were on the small boat marina (which no longer exists). I remember the spectacle of the size of the Fleet, the number of Sea Scouts, and the slow lines at the Coast Guard galley.”
Advice and an AMR memory from Leslie Feyling (AMR Registrar), Skipper, M.S.S. Tradewind:
“Make a schedule for your Crew to try to complete all events, but be flexible. If you see rope climb is empty as you go by it take advantage of that opportunity.”
“One of my favorite pass times at AMR was the Crew sing-a-longs while waiting for meals. When AMR was held at Coast Guard Island, we would often wait outside the mess hall for our turn to go eat. While the Crews were waiting we would break into songs, cheers, or chants singing together or seeing who could be the loudest.”
Advice and an AMR memory from Nathan Shellhorn (AMR Operations), S.S.S. Chaser:
“Don’t put off your Ship events. Each year there are certain events that almost no one does the first day of competition, then everyone is waiting in line on day two.”
“Cheering with everyone else when they finished announcing the Schooners…”
An AMR memory from Mike Marzano (AMR Safety and Finance), Skipper, S.S.S. Gryphon:
“My first AMR was in 1970. One of the main things I can recall is the different opportunities to look past competition and get to know some of the other Crews and just have fun.”
Advice and an AMR memory from Kevin Trujillo (AMR Chief Judge), XO, S.S.S. Makai:
“Sportsmanship is not just a cheering factor. Everything counts towards it. If you’re paying attention to your Shipmates that are competing while you look on, how you treat each other when something goes sideways, even how you report in to an event, and even making sure everyone gets a chance at events (ie not using the minimum number for an event when the maximum is possible). Sportsmanship is continuous.”
“In 2005 I was my Ship’s Bos’n and Drill Cox’n. We had never really been able to get drill right. Too many Crewmen missing practice or not really focusing. That year was the first time we qualified in drill. It was my greatest accomplishment while competing.”
Here are some final thoughts from the AMR Chairman.
“All of us who run AMR do so out of the love for the Regatta. The AMR is special, the high water mark of Sea Scout events. Literally nothing matches the scope and prestige of our Regatta. Many Sea Scouts spend months preparing for the event and we aim to make sure it is amazing.
I view my role as Chairman as ensuring today’s Sea Scouts have a regatta experience better than the ones I enjoyed in my youth. I love this Regatta. After 23 AMRs I love being part of its history. I am dedicated to honoring its past and building a bright future.
Good luck. I wish you all success.”
Prepared and edited by
Chief Judge, AMR
The Old Salts’ Regatta was a huge success this year and I know my Crew enjoyed it thoroughly. As always our Crew cruises to Redwood City on Friday night so we’re there in the morning. Cruising to regattas is always great because we get the opportunity to work on rank and advancement during regatta season. It was a pretty relaxed cruise and we all had a good time. We tied up outboard the Liberty at around 0015 so we got more sleep than we hoped for!
Saturday morning we woke up for some early training and planning and then headed to the warehouse for some great morning chow and the regatta brief. As soon as we could we set out and started our events. First off was heaving line where we got to try out our new chants. The whole day was then an all out battle over what crew had the best chants. Tiki Too won it and earned the sportsmanship trophy. Before we knew it events closed and it was time for lunch where we could barely eat because we were so pumped up.
Once we finished lunch it was time for what we had trained so hard for. Scuttlebutt! The first run went by like a breeze and on the second run we took it easy so that we could set up for our third. On our third run nothing seemed special until our cox’n, Don, started shouting 30 seconds and told us to break it down. That’s when our crew had the longest fifteen seconds of our lives to finish the run.
Afterwards we took on drill and breeches buoy. We then finished the day with marlinspike and radio. After events closed it was time for scuttle off. A lot of the crews, including us, struggled in scuttle off and the best time was the Challenger’s great 51 seconds.
That evening it was time for the dance and I know it was one of the best my Crew has been to. Some of my Crew wasn’t sure about going but as soon as the got out on the floor they had a great time. The next morning it was regatta relay and we were all pumped up for that too. We did pretty well but the Northland made it and took the relay. After changing into our blues at the speed of sound we got ready for awards where we got recognized for our hard work. We earned many high placings, and although we didn’t earn any extra laurels my Crew was proud to receive our awards and pose for our pictures.
The cruise back was pretty quick and relaxed, but when we got back to Brisbane a few of us stayed behind. We finished of the day by helping Mr. Trujillo get his pilot’s license. For me it was a perfect weekend and I know most of the crews could say the same.
Stbd. Crew Ldr, S.S.S. Makai
Last year the Sea Scout Ship Decisive (Ship 11, Kauai, Hawaii) participated in the Ancient Mariner Regatta for the first time. The experience is one we will never forget. Not only was it a great learning opportunity, but we all had a fantastic time!
There were many events that we had to learn how to do, but we were able to pull them off and receive a Schooner rating in the end.
We also had the opportunity to meet many other scouts that share our same passion. Everyone was extremely friendly, making us feel at ease with this new experience. We became especially close with the Sea Scout Ship Albatross (Ship 72, Martinez, CA) when we cruised to the regatta with them on their boat. (Our Skipper was a member of the Albatross when he was a youth)
They also taught us how to do the Breeches Buoy and Boatswain’s Chair. We have a lot to be grateful for towards them.
I am delighted to be able to rekindle the friendships that I established last year and I know that our new members will be just as pleased with making new friends this year.
Before even competing in AMR, the real challenge this year was acquiring the finances to get there. Having to fly across the Pacific Ocean can be quite costly so to help abate the expenses we organized fundraisers.
For the last few months we organized car washes, bake sales, and sold Makahiki (Scout-O-Rama) tickets. With the help of our community were able to raise the money we needed.
We are very thankful for everyone’s support because without their funding there would be a lot less of our Scouts going to compete this year.
Based on the advice of other ships the best way to prepare is to practice, which is exactly what we have been doing. Besides Elijah and I, the rest of the crew is new and have not been to AMR before.
To say the least, we have our work cut out for us to teach our new members the skills they need to compete and regain that Schooner status or better. However, I have confidence we will do well and enjoy another great time on the USS Hornet.
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Aloha Council Boatswain
On Saturday April 6th Martinez, California was electrified. It was charged with the human energy of 13 Ships coiled and ready to strike for the accolades on the line at the 33rd annual Seafarer’s Regatta hosted by the SSS Albatross.
The day started at 0800 when colors were raised and ended around 2300. To start out the regatta every crew member received a quiz and split up to take it. When that was over, each crew was left to schedule in their events to make sure they were finished by 1700. Unlike the rain and wind we endured last year, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. To hit things off crews started at events like compass and knots and proceeded into the day at the bigger events such as scuttlebutt and breeches buoy.
Every event was well coordinated and the judging was great. At 1300 crews broke off and events closed for lunch. After lunch was over crews picked up where they left off at their events. Mystery event, which boatswains signed up for ahead of time, was a large game of scrabble in which crews went head-to-head, using code flags instead of letters. At 1700 events closed and everyone got ready for the dinghy race finals which started at 1730. After dinghy race ended it was time to eat! With the competition behind us, crews gathered together and enjoyed tri-tip steak and potato salad for dinner. It was then time for the dance where we enjoyed socializing, dancing, and just listening to music. In the middle of the dance the crews all gathered once again to enjoy the award ceremony and see how they fared. This year, the Challenger took first place, closely followed behind by the Albatross (separated by only 2 points), in third place the Tiki Too, fourth place was Makai, and fifth place was Compass Rose.
After the award ceremony had finished, it was time to depart, and the crews slowly begin to disperse taking with them the memories and experience they gained, looking forward to the next regatta right around the corner.
- Written by the Crew of the S.S.S. Challenger of Redwood City, CA
Tags: Ancient Mariner Regatta, Boy Scouts of America, Regatta, Regatta Skills, Sea Scout, Sea Scout Regatta, Semaphore, Training
The Ancient Mariner Regatta takes place every Memorial Day weekend (5/24/13-5/27/13 are this year’s dates) in Northern California. Ships from all over the Bay Area, Southern California, and as of late several other states attend to compete. For many Ships going to A.M.R. is a trivial planning process; something automatically accomplished and repeated yearly. For others the thought of traveling to Northern California seems daunting. However, there are a few clear steps that can be planned out so that any Ship, regardless of location, can attend A.M.R.
First and foremost does the Crew want to go? Make sure the Crew is aware of the benefits of attending such an event. Testing their skills, a unique experience, and the chance to socialize with Ships from many different communities are all great reasons to attend A.M.R. If the Crew is unfamiliar with the event provide material from AncientMariner.US or the Ancient Mariner Regatta Facebook group. They will see other youth with determined faces during competition and big smiles during the social hours or awards ceremony.
As with any event can we provide the required adult leadership to make this trip possible? Memorial Day weekend can make it a little easier since most companies provide that day off. Take a look at your calendars. It is encouraged that as many adults from a Ship as possible attend to both gain experience and help the Regatta operate.
What are your travel options?
Can this be accomplished by personal vehicles?
Are there other Ships near you that are going to attend that you could share the cost of charter transportation with?
Is an airline flight necessary?
What is your return timeline?
All of these questions and more are necessary. Large travel costs can be a deterrent to many Ships, but there are several ways to mitigate that factor. Donated airline miles, service club donations, fundraising ahead of time, and anything else you can think of will help make A.M.R. more than a dream.
Currently AncientMariner.US has preregistration for the event open. If you plan on attending you should do this as soon as possible. This will cover necessary information such as number of youth/adults, medical or dietary specific needs, berthing arrangements, etc.
A.M.R. has both medical and talent release forms that are required for the event. In addition to that you will need a Tour Plan approved by your Council.
Like anything else A.M.R. has an attendance cost per Ship and per individual Scout. This can also impact how many Crew you can get to attend. The cost is $75 per Ship and $75 per individual. Fundraising or donations can also be a solution here.
A.M.R. Boarding Guide:
All Ships (not just first time attendees) should be familiar with the current year’s version.
If it is your first year this will help you by showing the event plan of the day for each day, give a list of requirements for the Crew (ie. Bos’n meetings, awards ceremony, service watch, etc.), and requirements of adults (ie. judging assignments, check in process, etc.).
With this you can also plan your training for the competition events of the regatta.
These 7 steps will help guide you to success in planning your Ship’s logistics to get to the Ancient Mariner Regatta. I hope to see many new faces this year as we get ready for our 61st year of competition, Scouting, and fun!
Ancient Mariner Regatta
Sea Scouts, being one of the best kept secrets of the Boy Scouting world, not only requires to be looked at in a different light but it requires different techniques for recruiting and supporting this ever so active and diverse program. Sea Scouts, being as dynamic as it is, not only needs the support of their adult officers, but family as well to keep it going.
Each Sea Scout unit has its own unique way of recruiting and in many cases it is successful for these programs, but one method that reaches farthest into the community and beyond that is having the involvement of family members. Our primary way of recruiting revolves around family oriented events. Simple things like crab feed dinners or days where the kids can show to their families what they’ve learned really helps involve the family and give them an idea about what goes on in the program. When parents are informed of their child’s progress more likely than not, they want to be able to contribute to that. It is my personal experience that the more family is involved the richer scouting becomes because not only does it have the officer support on the inside but it has the help of family on the outside. Many tight knit families and parents who are overly supportive go out of their way to enrich their kid’s life, and if that means aiding the program in events or other functions that’s what they’ll do. It’s is incredible what can get done with the help of the youths family members. Although not all parents are involved in these programs we find ways to gain their support and involvement. For my program it is required that all parents donate some of their time to activities. I think that this especially helps because it in a way makes the parents get involved in their kids’ lives and in the programs as well. Things like helping host events or making dinner for the kids on especially long weekends makes all the difference.
From the kids to their families and from the families to the community, the amount of incoming support as well as getting word out about the program is unthinkable, and when word gets to the community, the more of an influx of interested youth there are coming in.
Sam – Boatswain SSS Albatross
Are you interested in helping build the New Century of Sea Scouts?
We are now accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Western Region Boatswain. Applications are available for download here. Applications are due by May 1, 2013.
Interested Sea Scout candidate must meet all of the following qualifications:
- Be a current or past Ship’s Boatswain; or a current or past wardroom officer of the Regional Fleet (Region)/Flotilla (Area)/or Squadron (Council); or a current or past officer of a Teen Leaders’ Council of the Region/Area/Council/or District.
- Be recommended and approved by his or her council.
- Be a current primary registered Sea Scout in his or her council. Must be a registered youth in Sea Scouts during their complete term of office.
- Be able to attend the BSA Regional Meetings as requested.
The duties of the Western Region Boatswain include:
- Represents Sea Scouts BSA at:
- National meetings (when designated)
- Regional activities and meetings (Monthly Phone Conferences, Events such as Safety @ Sea, Southwestern Rendezvous, Ancient Mariner Regatta & when designated)
- International activities and meetings (when designated)
- Council activities (when invited)
- Special projects/task forces (as assigned)
- Will serve as the youth representative on the Western Region Sea Scout Committee.
- Is responsible to the Western Region Commodore (volunteer) and the Region Adviser (professional) for Sea Scouts BSA.
- Supports the programs and activities designed by the Boy Scouts of America.
- Supports the Boy Scouts of America in training of Sea Scout youth and adult leaders.
- Promotes National, Regional, and Area activities, Programs, and Awards.
- Serves as the liaison from the Region with other youth leadership of Sea Scouts.
- Agrees to wear the National Standard Sea Scout uniform and identity items as suggested by the Regional Commodore (paid for at own expense).
Tags: Boy Scouts of America, Sea Scout, Sea Scouts, Seabadge, Western Region
The goals of Seabadge include developing volunteer management, mentoring and communication skills to help Sea Scout Ships.
Sea Scout, Boy Scout and Venturing attendees came from Seattle, Southern California, Arizona, Oahu and Kauai for Seabadge. The course instructors were from Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Orange County. It was a very diverse course.
Trained Sea Scout leaders are vital to successful Sea Scout Ships. There is no way to focus on youth without having dedicated volunteers who are educated on Sea Scouts and how to mentor youth.
Nothing is better evidence of this than the first period of Sea Scout growth in the 1920s, when 500 leaders a year were being trained to operate Sea Scout Ships.
Going to Hawaii
Seabadge Hawaii was a successful adventure that provided Sea Scout volunteers quality material to help their Ships. The adventure began on Thursday for many attendees and staff who fly in a day early to Kauai. The local Sea Scouts hosted the visiting Sea Scout leaders on the SSS Decisive.
I came in one day earlier to help with logistics. I attended the SSS Decisive’s Wednesday night meeting. I was impressed with the Scouts, their energy and organization.
Their main meeting topic was booking flights on March 8 for the Ancient Mariner Regatta. At least one Sea Scout is applying for SEAL and another for the Eagle cruise. Another Scout working on her Quartermaster was given a sextant for the Celestial Navigation requirement.
The crew did their part to help prepare for Seabadge by constructing a Mast for the Landship ceremony.
The Mast will be used at future Decisive meetings.
A Boy Scout (a younger brother of a Sea Scout) and his Cub Scout friend attended the Ship meeting, enabling the crew to post 8 Sideboys for me to board.
I gave each an AMR challenge coin.
Sailing The Course
The Seabadge course was held at Camp Allen Feye.
The Camp cook prepared some of the best food I have ever had at a Seabadge.
However, it did rain buckets during the course on Saturday.
The course was an in-depth look at what makes a successful Sea Scout program.
The material covered Sea Scout traditions and the purpose of Scouting; mentoring and counseling of Scouts; mental and emotional development of teenagers; teaching methods; marketing; and many other sessions.
The two Seabadge crews were also given several small group projects, including planning a summer cruise.
The overall theme to the course is “Focus on Youth.” The instructors zeroed in on how to empower youth, small unit leadership and best practices in working with Sea Scouts.
All Seabadge attendees must complete a “Rutter” to successfully pass the course. The Rutter includes setting different goals, including planning a long cruise of at least 5 days. Once the Rutter is completed, the Seabadge attendees will be entitled to wear the Seabadge pin.
Two Things to Remember
There are two important things to remember:
1) We are here for the Scouts; and
2) It is supposed to be fun.
We did our best to make Seabadge educational and fun for the attendees. Good food was key. We also gave everyone Seabadge t-shirts and a hat.
Additionally, we stopped for shaved ice on our way to the airport and took a group picture overlooking Waimea Canyon.
Those who went home on Monday had an extra adventure with a short cruise on the SSS Decisive. We were lucky to see humpback whales, including an amazing breach.
The Western Region prospectively has three course directors lined up for the next three years. Between 2014 to 2016, one Seabadge course can potentially be offered annually along the West Coast.
I strongly encourage those who want to attend Seabadge to leave their home port. The greatest impact Seabadge can have on a leader is meeting leaders from completely different geographic areas. Seeing the diversity and commonality between diverse programs truly enables leaders to return home with new ideas on how they can help youth in Sea Scouts.
Tags: Ancient Mariner Regatta, Boatswain, Regatta, Sea Scout, Sea Scouts, Western Region
And the race is on! While preparations for the annual Ancient Mariner Regatta are part of a yearlong process, it always seems that once the New Year rolls around, crunch time officially begins. And with every turn of a Sea Scout manual, every practice test taken, and every run of Scuttlebutt or Breeches Buoy, the level of excitement and anticipation gets higher and higher.
Everyone has their own reason to count down the days until AMR – it could be the unique experience of living on the USS Hornet, the fierce and thrilling competition, the chance to meet Scouts from all over the country during Ghost stories or over ice cream, or simply the opportunity to strut your ship’s stuff after a year of hard work and preparation. I too, have my own reason for the count down calendar decorating the walls of my dorm room, and it’s simple. My first AMR with the SSS Morning Star marks the beginning of my Sea Scout career, and it has been the most unbelievable ride since. And whether it’s on a bus stuffed with Scouts, or driving a VW bug as a grad last year with two of my closest friends (that incidentally broke down on the side of the road en route to the Hornet), making the drive up to Alameda always reminds me of that first weekend, and how lucky I am to be a part of the world of Sea Scouting.
I am thrilled to be returning as this year’s Regatta Boatswain because it gives me the opportunity to be even a small part of the team that works so tirelessly to make AMR the unique and eye opening weekend that it was for my freshman self and has continued to be every year after. For me, it’s the ultimate way to cap off my scout experience.
I lived and breathed scouting all throughout high school, and although I love being a student at Boston College, I have definitely missed the competition and camaraderie that you can only get from being a Sea Scout. Since that first Memorial Day weekend, I have had the luck (and resulting high blood pressure) to have competed in every AMR event during one year or another, scoring highly in some and not quite so high in others, and have attended everything from Boatswain meetings to Ghost Stories.
I sprained my ankle during Drill Off my Junior year and hobbled around on crutches the remainder of the weekend, and crushed a finger during Scuttlebutt the following year, so I say that I have, quite literally, put my heart and soul into this competition.
I have wonderful memories of being Drill Coxswain for three years, where we managed to make it to Drill Off five times between AMR and Rendezvous, without ever quite getting our hands on that trophy. (Luckily, I have a younger sister who’s ended that streak for our ship.) I served as Boatswain’s Mate and eventually Boatswain for a ship of wonderfully enthusiastic, dedicated, crazy girls who made me work hard for my position every single day, and who made me a better teammate and leader over the years.
I had so much fun returning last year as a grad, judging Semaphore and Fleet drill, watching my shipmates continue to compete, and doing my best not to intervene and pass on some of the advice I’ve learned over the years. But while last year was amazing, I know that this one will be even better.
I am so happy and honored to be your Regatta Boatswain at the 2013 Ancient Mariner Regatta, and promise to dedicate myself and put in the time and energy to play even the smallest role in making AMR the fantastic weekend that it always has, and always will be.
Tags: Ancient Mariner Regatta, Boatswain, Sea Scout, Sea Scouts
Sabrina’s responsibilities will include supporting event operations and staff requesting her assistance; being a resource for Sea Scout Boatswains who have not attended the Ancient Mariner Regatta before; organizing the Multi-Ship & State Color Guard for the Awards Ceremony; and many other responsibilities required for a successful regatta.
Ms. Flood-Wylie will act on behalf of the Regatta Chairman as an ambassador to Sea Scout Boatswains from California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Arizona, who may have questions on how to prepare for the Ancient Mariner Regatta. We want every Sea Scout Ship to enjoy the Regatta and “be prepared” for a weekend of competition.
Sabrina stated the following on her Regatta Boatswain application:
I want to be the Regatta Boatswain because I believe AMR is a truly special event that unites Scouts from all over the country, and with just the right mix of tradition, respect for our country and our organization, and good old fashioned competition, it demands nothing less than these Scouts’ very best. I learned valuable lessons about teamwork, respect, decorum, in addition to all of the practical knowledge and skills that are required of a sea scout at AMR. And I would love nothing more than to be even a small part of the team that works so tirelessly every year to make AMR the unique and eye opening weekend that it was for my freshman self and has continued to be every year after.
Ms. Flood-Wylie is an Ordinary Sea Scout, has earned Girl Scout Silver Award and is an active member of her community, whether at college or home. Sabrina’s dedication to the Regatta is greatly appreciate and we look forward to the 61st Ancient Mariner Regatta.
Ancient Mariner Regatta Chairman