The Evergreen State College

Maritime Literature

Summer, 1999

Resolute broad reaches down Upright Channel in light air

The Maritime Literature program combined the experience of sailing with the enjoyment and analysis of literature about the sea.  During the first two weeks students attended mornings classes on land in which they learned about chart reading, sail theory, inland navigation, weather and rules of the road.  They also seminared on maritime literature readings.  In the afternoons, students applied this instruction to practice on the water.  For weeks two and three of the program, we traveled aboard the college-owned sailing vessels Seawulff and Resolute, practicing sailing and other aspects of seamanship with an emphasis on inland navigation.  The itinerary included Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.  Each student spent at least two days as first mate, a responsibility which included developing the day’s sail plan and performing signficant piloting duties throughout the day along with a variety of others duties as required by the captain.   Throughout the voyage,  U.S. Coast Guard licensed sailing masters provided instruction in the operation of the sailing vessels, sail theory and basic seamanship.

For seminars, students read and discussed the following works of fiction: “Benito Cereno” and “Billy Budd” by Herman Melville, “The Secret Sharer” and “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, “Seed of McCoy” by Jack London and Sea Runners by Ivan Doig.   They also read and seminared on several pieces of complext maritime poetry.  The literature was chosen for its importance in representing major literary trends and influences.  Students prepared response papers which they then revised based upon the seminar discussions.  The literature seminars were generally lively and sophisticated; students who were well-practiced in the study of literature helped expand the analytical skills of less experienced readers.  Additionally, because the students were sharing close quarters while reading, writing, and thinking about the same texts and experiencing many of the very activities explored in the texts, a very strong learning community developed which encouraged constant reflection upon the literature as it connected to the lived experience of the trip.

Finally, each student wrote a more formal piece of literary analysis based on one of the texts discussed in seminar.  The class met and critiqued the first drafts of these papers; this provided a second round of discussions on the readings, extending each student’s understanding of the works in question while providing direction for revisions of the essays.
4 credits Maritime Literature
4 credits Nautical Sciences

Syllabus, Maritime Literature, Summer 1999

8 quarter hours/second session
Faculty: Sarah Pedersen (ext. 6647), Dean Olson (ext. 6433)
Special expenses: $125 for food, boat expenses (fuel, moorage, etc.)
Special equipment: foul weather gear, sleeping bag

This program introduces students to sailing, navigation and piloting of inland waters, and to the pleasures of reading and interpreting maritime literature.  Following two weeks of introductory workshops, students will spend two weeks sailing Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.  Students will be responsible for all vessel activities, will read assigned maritime literature, write response papers, and seminar on the texts.  Upon return to Olympia, students will write an extended formal essay on one piece of literature from their quarter’s reading.  Credit will be awarded  in maritime literature and nautical sciences.

Weeks 1-2 (July 26-August 5)  MTWTh 9AM-1PM Lib 2127

Monday, July 26

I. Class Business: Introductions/Class Roster, Syllabus, Covenant, Itinerary, Budget, Packing List, Medical release, Waiver, Food Committee/Food Survey, Sailing schedule
II. Sailing dynamics, Vessel displacement and rig discussion

Dockside introduction to the boats, vocabulary, knots, safety gear
Meet at Swantown Marina, Dock A, end of second pier –3:00 PM  (Directions to Swantown: Head north on Capitol Blvd until you reach the roundabout at the Farmer’s Market.  Take the first right. Take the second left and proceed to last parking lot on the right.  There are lots of signs to follow.  Dock A is the last dock before the boat ramp.  You may park in the gravel area without a permit

Tuesday, July 27

I. Points of Sail, True and Apparent Wind, Sail Shape
II. Literature Seminar: “Joseph Conrad” by Malcolm Lowry and “Argonautica” by George Seferis.

Afternoon: Sailing-- Time TBA—Crew Overboard Drill

Wednesday, July 28
I. Charts
II. Literature Seminar: “The Dry Salvages” by T.S. Eliot.  Re-write on previous day’s poetry seminar due; response paper on Dry Salvages due.

Afternoon: Sailing--Time TBA

Thursday, July 29
I. Compass use
II. Literature Seminar:  “The Rose” by Theodore Roethke; “A Lover’s Quarrel” by Sam Hamill.  Rewrites and response papers due.

Week II

Monday, August 2
I. Business: Food report, budget, etc.
II. Plotting & dead reckoning (DR)
III. Literature Seminar: “Billy Budd” by Herman Melville.  Notes and Response Paper due for seminar

Afternoon:  Sailing & Piloting—Time TBA

Tuesday, August 3
I. More plotting & DR
II. Literature Seminar: “Billy Budd” continued.  Rewritten response paper due.

Afternoon: Free

Wednesday, August 4
I. Position Fixes
II. Literature Seminar: “Benito Cereno” by Melville.  Response paper due for seminar.

Afternoon: Sailing & Position fixes—Time TBA

Thursday, August 5
I. Trip Business
II. Rules of the Road
III. Literature Seminar: “Benito Cereno” continued.  Rewritten response paper due.

Afternoon: Free

Friday, August 6
Final boat preparation, provisioning, stowing

Weeks 3-4 (August 7-22)  Travel

Itinerary & Assignments—All dates and destinations subject to change due to weather or other considerations

Sat. August 7 Olympia to Port Madison
Sun. August 8 Port Madison to Oak Harbor
Mon. August 9 Oak Harbor to Spenser Spit via Deception Pass
Tues. August 10  Morning seminar: “Seed of McCoy” by Jack London.  Response paper due for seminar.   Afternoon lay time
Wed. August 11:   Spenser Spit to Sucia Island
Thurs. August 12: Lay day at Sucia Island.  Morning seminar: “Secret Sharer” by Joseph Conrad.  Response paper due.
Fri. August 13: Sucia Island to Reid Harbor
Sat. August 14: Reid Harbor lay day: Heart of Darkness.  Response paper due.
Sun. August 15: Reid Harbor to Garrison Bay (hiking)
Mon. August 16: Morning seminar: Heart of Darkness continued.  Rewrite due.  Afternoon in Roche Harbor for showering, provisioning, etc. Travel to Shoal Bay
Tues. August 17: Shoal to Doe Bay and back to Spenser Spit
Wed. August 18: Seminar: Sea Runners by Ivan Doig.  Response paper due.    Anchorage TBA
Thurs., August 19: Travel to Port Townsend.  Brainstorming on essay topics.
Fri. August 20:  Port Townsend to Port Blakely
Sat. August 21: Port Blakely to Filucy Bay
Sun. August 22: Return to Olympia

Week 5 (August 23-26)

Tues.,  August 24  9-1 L2127
Reading and discussion of first drafts of expanded essays.

Wed.,  August 25
Second draft of essays due to faculty offices by 5:00 PM.

Friday,  August 27
Scheduled conferences on essays with faculty

Evaluation conferences by request the week of August 30.


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Madeby: Capt. Sarah Pedersen
Last modified: 09/27/1999