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~ A Cut Above ~


We received this letter from Peter Schloss who completed his third ocean training cruise with us in November 2007

Capt. Tom Tursi
Capt. David Appleton

Re: ASA 108, Offshore Passagemaking, Nov. 2000, 2004, 2007 

Dear Tom and David.

Last month I completed my third passage with the Maryland School of Sailing and Seamanship (MDS), from Norfolk to St. Thomas. My first passage was under Tom in 2000, second was under Jeff Papps in 2004, and the most recent under David this year. In the course of this last voyage David remarked that my repeat enrollment was unusual, but not unwelcome. He asked why I was reprising the experience for the third time, and whether I would likely do so a fourth time. I hope that this letter provides some explanation and insight into my reasons. 

First of all, I had assumed that there must be other students that have completed an ocean passage with MDS more than one time. MDS had not discouraged my repeat enrollment, indeed, I was welcomed each time. Second, an open ocean passage in November, spanning nearly 2 weeks is a unique “once in a life time” experience that does not have to be limited to “once” in a lifetime! Finally, each of my journeys, though with similar itineraries and curriculums, were distinctly different.  

Each passage included a unique blend of sailors. Each of my shipmates brought onboard their distinctive life experiences, sailing skills, and personalities. In each voyage the way the sailors coalesced into a crew was beyond prediction. Furthermore, my contribution to each crew was as dependant upon my skills as it was upon the needs of the other members. We each “grew” to fill the needs of the vessel and trials of our voyage. In each voyage we encountered different challenges of climate, navigation, and equipment. Therefore, I have not repeated the same voyage three times. Rather I have enjoyed the challenge of three distinctly different voyages which were each titled “ASA 108, Norfolk to St. Thomas”. 

Finally, this particular ASA 108 “class” also provides an opportunity to my family. On each of the occasions that I sailed with MDS, my wife has flown down to St. Thomas to meet me. We then were able to reunite in “paradise”, our near two week separation having “made the heart grow fonder”. 12 days at sea provide an opportunity to reflect and evaluate land based priorities. I have found that the voyage refreshes appreciation for many things that I might otherwise take for granted. Suffice it to say the week that I have spent with my wife on St. Thomas/St. John after each voyage has been intensely romantic… a great “gift” to a marriage already blessed by 30 years. This last occasion my wife was accompanied by two of our adult children and their spouses. We all had a fabulous time, “making memories”. 

Thank you both for your contributions to my learning and experiences as a sailor. Thank MDS for the opportunity to complete a real ocean passage, not just once in this lifetime, but three times. If you will have me, I will be back for a fourth unique experience.

Best Wishes,
Pete Schloss

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