Winter 2018

Imagine an Air Force officer working at the US Naval Academy. Imagine that same officer teach- ing seamanship to Midshipmen. Believe it or not, that’s where I was and that’s what I was doing. It was the summer of 1993. I had been working with eight Midshipmen for about a year. We spent every afternoon of everyday on the Chesa- peake Bay on a 44-foot sailboat named Valiant . We did everything together. It was time for the checkout cruise. We would be gone three weeks – Annapolis, MD to Bermu- da and back. The morning we left, there were reports of storms. The sky was dark as the rain started. We finished putting our supplies into the hold of the boat. I looked at the sky and felt the cold wind and pounding rain. As we pulled out, I wondered what it would be like in the middle of the ocean in a boat that could easily fit in a swimming pool. The Mid- shipmen were looking to me for guidance. I was praying I would not let them down. by BOB DUDLEY Preparation is priceless It was supposed to be a relaxed cruise to Ber- muda. I had visions of barbeques on deck every afternoon with nice, quiet, chats under the stars every night. The weather was not cooperating with my vision. It took 24 hours to make it to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. By the time we hit the Atlantic Ocean, everyone on board was soaked to the bone and would stay that way the entire trip to Ber- muda. It started as a little sprinkle, annoying but tolerable. Now the rain came in sheets, washing over the boat, biting in every bit of exposed skin. It would take four more days to make it to Bermuda. Should we continue in this weather or turn back and try again after the storms. This was a final exam in the seamanship program. It wasn’t a leisure trip to a tropical island – as much as I wanted it to be. It made no sense to turn around for something as mundane as a storm. We decided to finish the trip. Though is seemed like an eternity, we had only left the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay two days The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord. (Proverbs 21:31) 22 | WINTER 2018 ON A MISSION