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We received this letter from John Packers who completed our ASA 106 DELMARVA circumnavigation cruise in October of 2000:

The Delmarva Circumnavigation trip, 10/6-13/2000 was the most fantastic trip I have ever taken.  I have never worked so hard, been so tired, felt so exhilarated or sailed so much.  As one of our crewmates put it “that was a profound experience.”  We were challenged to our very core, but found strength in each other.  What continued to amaze me during the whole trip, was the way we pulled together as a cohesive unit, all sharing tasks, none felt slighted because each, in turn got a chance at all assigned tasks.  Captain David Appleton allowed each one enough room to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes without endangering ourselves, our crewmates or the boat.  David is a skilled teacher and a great sailing companion.

David asked us to review the cover letter that he had sent before the cruise. I think that his letter covers quite completely the requirements and rigors of the trip. If anything, being prepared for the trip cannot be overemphasized. The physical, intellectual and spiritual demands should not be underestimated. I did try to prepare myself by reading and rereading the school material. The trip did challenge me in more ways than I could have ever imagined! I can not stress the importance of being prepared. So much is packed into those few days.

Now that I have the trip to look back on, I support David in his comment that this trip should only be for those who have had the experience and training necessary to successfully grow from the experience.  I know this is a judgment call from the school.  In some cases a personal interview might weed out those that are along for the ride and unprepared for the extreme challenge facing them.  I liken this particular trip to the outward bound of sailing.  You need to be prepared emotionally, physically, and intellectually and be willing to participate as a team and to learn and thrive in that environment.  That is not to say that my fellow crew members and I were not prepared.  I think that all of us did in fact have the skills and abilities and the drive to succeed.  I think that our team did that and more.

John Packers

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