VIDEO: At school while at sea

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For more than 50 years the schooner Tabor Boy has taken young students at Tabor Academy in Massachusetts to sea under sail.

The remarkable 92-foot training ship has played a significant role in helping the academy transform adventurous teenagers into confident young adults.

In the December issue of Soundings, Jim Flannery wrote an in-depth article on the challenges facing sail trailing programs today. Accompanying it was a story by Peter Mello, who sailed aboard Tabor Boy in the 1970s.

Filmmaker John Rice, who directed the documentary “Tabor Boy: 100 Years at Sea,” has written an article on the making of his film about the 50-year-old schooner and the sail training program, which was launched 100 years ago.

Here’s a taste of the imagery in Rice’s documentary.

“I suppose the beginning of production on my documentary about the sail-training schooner the SSV Tabor Boy began when I was 15 years old,” Rice explains in his essay. “It was then, as a new student at Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, that I first went offshore on Tabor Boy, a tall ship of the finest kind.

“For seven weeks, I sailed to Bermuda, the Bahamas and back to the U.S. I was young and green, but nevertheless was immediately given responsibilities that would transform my life. I was asked to take the helm of the 92-foot schooner at night in heavy seas with eyes steady on both the compass and a rough and steep following sea. I had to manage with the fear of going aloft in the rain to furl the heavy cotton square sails that seemed to weigh a ton. I was tasked with all the mundane chores of life at sea, like washing dishes for a crew of 22, chipping paint, making baggywrinkles and polishing brass fixtures for hours. It was a hard journey, but it was also exhilarating to feel for the first time the rhythm and joy of going offshore.”

Click here for the full essay and to watch Rice’s entire 48-minute documentary.