Thursday, July 7, 2011

The tall Ship Gloria and one very nice cadet

The Gloria

A tall tale but so very true

The Gloria is a tall ship from Columbia South America. In February 1992 she came to the port of Charleston SC for a good will visit. While in port the public was invited for a guided tour of the ship. The guides were all naval cadets from Columbia. I arrived there too late for the tours. However the ship's Captain did permit me to tour the ship and assigned one of the naval cadets to guide me. His name was Cisar Montengro and he could not speak a word of English and I of course could not speak any Spanish. However that came to be only a minor handicap as he was very good at being a tour guide. TThe Gloria dockside

After the tour was over I asked Cisar commanding officer who spoke English if I could take Cisar out sailing out in the harbor of Charleston the next day. Of course the had to translate all this in English for Cisar to understand. Permission was granted and Cisar was eager to go sailing with me on my sailboat the "Rambler".

The next day I arrived early in the morning for a day sail in the harbor with Cisar. A cold front had moved in and the winds where really howling at about 25 knots of sustain winds with higher gusts. A good day for racing but not a good day for a pleasure cruise. Worse was how was I going to tell him what needed to be done and when. Winds this high is no time to explain how to handle the sails especially when we needed to tack which is often in the harbor. I did not need to worry about that as Cisar just started to doing what needed to be done without me telling anything. He turnout to be a very good sailor and even though he had never seen my sailboat he knew how to do things as well as I did. I thought he would like sailing past his ship so we set sail to do just that. As we went by the Gloria all the grew recognized Cisar and started to hollering at him. He was easy to recongnized as he was dress to kill in his navy blues.

Looking down on the deck of the "Gloria"

That is me in the bar room aboard the Gloria. I never have seen a boat that was so well appointed as this was. No I didn't have a drink. I think this was only for the officers

(This is the Rambler named after my high school annual. Cadet Cisar and I went sailing on it out in the harbor when the Gloria was in Charleston 1992)

We did have one exciting time while returning to Ashley Marina where I kept my sailboat at. The knew Ashley River bridge was under construction and there was no way I could go under it where the channel was. Too much stuff dangling of the side of the bridge for me to clear it. The bridge height from the water to the bottom of the bridge is 55 feet at high tide and guess what my masked was 55 feet high and it was high time made even higher by the high winds blowing the water up the Ashley river. I had to get Cisar back to his ship before 5:30 PM or he would be in trouble with his commander.

I had no choice I had to get under that bridge even though it was too low for me to clear it with the mask. I sure did not feel like losing it either. Since the wind was very strong I adjusted the sails to capture the wind enough to heal the Rambler over to about 25 degrees thus lowering the over all height low enough to clear the bridge, I had to inch my way and watch to be sure I did clear it. Only my radio antenna hit the bridge but no harm was done. The only real worry I had was if the bridge piling block the wind enough for my boat to pop back up straight and then hitting the bridge. But I am a good sailor and was pretty sure I was going to make it.

Cisar Montengro

My tour guide

Cisar is in full navy dress ready to go out sailing in the harbor. Not the kind of clothes one would wear to go out sailing in rough weather. I guess that still had to wear their dress uniform to look good for the public.

I often have wonder what has happen to him over the years. Could he now be a admiral in the Columbian Navy?

The figure head on the tall ship Gloria

I think all tall ships had to have a figure head for luck or something like that. I always wanted one for my sailboat but then again it would have look sort of stupid on it.