Bravo Team: Setting Sail on the Historic Schooner Martha

Last week, Bravo Team was invited to sail on the 1907-built B.B. Crowninshield schooner Martha. This was the culminating visit after Bravo Team contributed to re-rigging and refreshing Martha for the sailing year in the two previous weeks. Bravo Team students bent on sails, set up sheets and running rigging, slushed the bowsprit net, and even cleaned the bilge!

Our mate, Sean, recalls being very grumpy the morning of the sail because there was absolutely no wind when driving into town, but Puget Sound didn’t let us down! After assembling at the boat and bending on a final staysail, Captain Emma took us out and sails were raised. The breeze was gentle at first but heading northeast into the sound proper the wind came in earnest and Martha tore along with a bone in her teeth and halyards humming. The channel gave us a good time and sent us back to the relative calm of Port Townsend Bay where we enjoyed a more leisurely sail in front of town and a very well-deserved snack.

Going from a historic thousand-pound longboat to the seventy-foot-long purebred racing schooner Martha is an amazing experience and provided a contrast in how large and small boats are handled, which is very important for anyone who works in the maritime industry. A casual shove off of a looming dock won’t exactly cut it on a bigger boat, and handling the sheet of Martha’s staysails is much different from the bedsheet-esque lugsails of a longboat.

As Bravo Team prepares to wind down for the season, experiences like these are a wonderful way to bookend celebration and learning to a great year.

Martha operates as a sail training vessel, teaching students of all ages the skills of sailing and racing. Learn more about the Schooner Marther Foundation at