Friday May 24, volunteers gathered to begin work for the Ancient Mariners Regatta. The Equipment Crew had been hard at work since 0900 that morning to make sure AMR was set up for success. Upon arriving at the USS Hornet, we began to set up registration tables, inspect berthing compartments, and do our parts to make sure things would run smoothly. After all our preparations were complete, I was asked to help escort crews to their berthing compartments. Throughout the evening, the Regatta Boatswain (Sabrina Flood-Wylie, M.S.S. Morning Star) and I walked crews down to their compartments, sorted out overlapping crews, and did our best to keep things running smoothly. This process continued into the early morning to make sure every crew was assigned their racks. By Saturday, 0100, it was time to hit the racks, as we all had an early morning and a long weekend ahead of us.
Saturday, 0600 came all too soon, and it was time to get up and moving. Every crew in Torpedo was doing their best not to crush each other in the tight quarters, and everyone was able to get ready for the day ahead. By this time, breakfast was ready to be served and every crew was ready to eat. As soon as everyone was done eating it was time for the Opening Ceremonies, which ran quickly and smoothly. Then, all Event Directors met to make sure everyone had all the paperwork and information needed. At this point it was time for me to set up Semaphore, making sure I had tables set up, and a way to complete my paperwork in the much dreaded wind of the afternoons.
By 0900, I had multiple cards turned in and a crew waiting to compete. So after a quick talk with the Skipper of the Decisive, my judge for the day, and sorting out some minor equipment issues with the help of the regatta staff, we were ready to start running crews. The day started strong with multiple crews having memorized the semaphore alphabet. Crews stayed positive through waits and mistakes showing us their sportsmanship with great attitudes and some amazing chants. As the crews slowed down, my judges and I took turns watching pull boat races from the flight deck, and enjoying the general feeling of excitement that runs rampant through AMR.
After lunch, it was much of the same with the addition of some heavy wind and a few close calls with paperwork trying to fly away! As the afternoon came to a close, we began to pack our gear up and head down to the mess deck for another great meal. Then, for some, it was time to make those last second drill corrections, and for others it was simply time for a great show.
It was time for DRILL OFF! The Mystic Yankee, Mariner Q, Albatross, Makai, Morning Star, and Tiki Too all put on amazing drill routines showcasing precision, expertise, and creativity in every maneuver.
Then it was immediately time to go into Fleet Drill, with the entire fleet formed and a brief explanation given, the event of pure skill and endurance began. As the ranks began to thin and the maneuvers grew quicker and more complex, the true nature of the competition came out. The precision required, and sportsmanship developed began to show in the graceful departure of many seasoned crew members, and the number of fresh crew remaining. By the time the maneuvers moved to underway commands it had already been a long event. The commands became more sophisticated in their order and the precision required of each crew member increased. In the end, they were whittled down to two, Michael Semprevio of the Makai, and Rachel Thommen of the Morning Star. After what seemed like an eternity (33 minutes and 26 seconds to be exact), the final command was given, a right face, and the mistake was a matter of a half second of execution with Michael winning. Rachel immediately congratulated him, followed by the ecstatic crew of the Makai.
As the crews thinned out it was time for more evening festivities with tours of the bridge and engine room, ghost stories, a showing of Star Wars IV: A New Hope, in honor of Geek Day, and swing dance lessons in preparation for the dance on Sunday. By the time all my tasks were complete I just wanted to rack out, I never imagined judging and helping with all the extra tasks of the regatta could be just as, if not more, tiring than competing, but it was.
Once again, 0600 came all too soon and it was time for another day of AMR, with one immediately visible change, a hot breakfast that boosted energy and morale for all. Afterward, it was time for crews to go to World Kinship or Divine Services. While this was happening, those of us who ran Berthing on Friday night had to go through and inspect every compartment making sure they were neat, clean and safe. Immediately after, it was time to get events up and rolling.
Once again, the enthusiasm of the crews and the willingness to learn from mistakes was astounding. Every crew wanted to know where they could improve and, regardless of how they did, had an amazingly positive attitude. After a quick lunch and a lot of grading, it was time for the last few hours of competition! As the last few crews came through there was a sense of relief, the judges were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and the crews were seeing the shine of their respective trophies.
As events closed there was one more simple task, Uniform Inspection. Crews jockeyed for room in the berthing compartments and the heads, and the hanger deck filled with crews running through every uniform with lint rollers, checking every last detail and generally perfecting their uniforms. As the inspections began to wrap up a live swing band began to play for AMR’s second formal dance aboard the USS Hornet. While the festivities took place, scoring was still working diligently to ensure every score was correctly recorded and each award was accurately printed, and a small group of officers began the last minute preparations for the Pass in Review.
As the live band began to approach, their final song there was an elimination style swing dance competition. The winners were Erin Tomanek and Josh Waggoner. After winning the dance competition Josh added a surprise marriage proposal. After the proposal, the DJ started and the dance continued into the night. As the dance went into the night everyone was having a great time on the dance floor or in the Galley playing board games. There were smiles everywhere.
The next morning there was more jockeying for room to get into blues for the awards ceremony. Mr. Meza, from the Albatross was in charge of the Pass in Review and had the Regatta Boatswain practicing her boatswain pipe call while other officers prepping crews and attending to every detail. As soon as the boatswains returned from the Boatswains Meeting, we were ready to start the Ceremonies.
The color guard preceded the fleet and every ship marched into the formation. The Colors were presented and there was a short ceremony in recognition of Memorial Day. Then the presentation of awards began.
First, the Makai had the honor of being recognized as the 2013 National Flagship, and then the top five ships in each event were recognized. After place awards were recognized the moment every crew was waiting for, the class awards. As the last Schooners were called, the excitement in the room was palpable, and as Mr. Gilliland announced the end of the Schooners, the fleet exploded into applause, as every ship not yet called knew they had achieved Clipper. Next came the special awards, the Sportsmanship Trophy awarded in honor of Charles Elliot was given to the MSS Odyssey, Drill Off was awarded to the Makai, Michael Semprevio won Fleet Drill. Tiki Too won the new Navigator Award. For the only the second time since its creation Mr. Gilliland had the pleasure of awarding the Great Republic to the crew that qualified in every event, Mariner Q.
AMR 2013 was an amazing success enjoyed by crews, officers, and spectators alike. Now it is time to start work on the next year of training and competition.
Western Region Area 3