Elissa Lengthens Her Wake

The headsails are being set for the last time this year,

to dry out after last night’s rain .

In the next few days most of the sails will be unbent

Elissa Lengthens Her Wake and sent down for the winter.

The tarring down of rigging will resume and one by one the yards will be sent down for maintenance. The work never stops.

Elissa demands over 300 hours of it each week. The staff can only provide a little over half of this.

The rest comes from volunteers, some of whom are new and completely green and some of whom have been with the ship for years.

This human presence is the life of the ship.

One of the most important things to grasp about a sailing ship is that it is built upon principles opposed to modern living.

In today’s world the emphasis in mechanical design is on removing the human element ,

on evolving ever more sophisticated tools and machines to minimize the need for human intervention in ma intenance or operation.

A sailing ship, on the other hand , is the stark minimum of mechanical contrivance that only works with a max imum of human effort.

Elissa ‘.s maintenance requires no sophisticated tools or shipyard facilities.

Elissa Lengthens Her Wake What it requires is the constant laying on of hands.

In washing decks, oiling rails, tarring rigging, touching up paint, shifting moorings, it is the frequency and constancy of the effort that counts.

The highlight and focus of this effort is the annual program to sail the vessel as inspiration

and reward to all her people. In 1983 we decided to postpone the sails until late October.

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