2018-05-03 / Life in Leelanau

First ocean gale proved to be humbling experience


HOME AT last. Citadell junior Edward Marshall returns home after his three-month voyage on the Spirit of South Carolina schooner. He is pictured here with his father, Ed Marshall (right). HOME AT last. Citadell junior Edward Marshall returns home after his three-month voyage on the Spirit of South Carolina schooner. He is pictured here with his father, Ed Marshall (right). Sailing is an adventure no matter where in the world the ship’s mast is set.

That has been true for Leelanau County native Edward Marshall. “Growing up sailing on the family Laser and with the Leland Yacht Club sailing school, I started to really enjoy being on the water,” he said.

Now a rising junior, the grandson of the late Ed and Mallie Marshall of Leland Township was selected to participate in the the Citadel’s first “Citadel at Sea” program.

Marshall said the northern Michigan waters gave him the basic techniques needed for much bigger waters and bigger boats.

“I had a base knowledge of how sails worked and what the names of lines were,” he said. “Tall ship sailing is way different from small boat sailing in that there is a lot more at stake if you something fails and if you get caught in a storm or gale you can’t just go to shore and wait it out.”

As one of 15 participants, Marshall helped crew Charleston’s iconic Spirit of South Carolina schooner from Jan. 18 to April 18. During the semester-long voyage, students sailed the 140- foot tall ship to the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

It was quite an adventure.

“I would have to say the highlight of the trip for me was learning how to sail a two masted schooner on the open ocean as well as the some of the more exciting experiences we had while underway,” Marshall said. “The first leg to San Juan, Puerto Rico. we hit our first squall, or storm, that turned into a full gale that lasted for three and a half days. Looking back, it sucked in the moment, but the thrill of being on deck with waves crashing over side while it was still dark was a good adrenaline rush.

“The first gale really showed all of us how dangerous and unforgiving the ocean is. It was a humbling experience that put into perspective what sailing on the open ocean was like during the age of sail, and if I were given the opportunity to do it again I would.”

Return to top