Flint School e-Museum

Sobering Moments

Ships are dangerous and we were particularly subject to the elements.   Most of the big events were never captured on film because they were sudden and/or at night.  Some of them were nearly disastrous, fortunately no one was ever really hurt by accidents at the school. 
Some events, such as the bow sprit breaking, would spook parents.  So, Director, George Stoll, would demand that we kept these mishaps a secret for the most part.  He humiliated anyone who took pictures of the broken bow sprit below, but for an adolescent, what an irresistible story.  (George wanted us to be Objective in our views of reality and naturally, as long as, it reflected positively on the school or was kept private.)

webMarbellaSpainXMas78-AfterBigStormWashedUpConcreteRoad.jpg (15726 bytes)

Marbella, Spain, Christmas Break 1978 - The day after big storm washed up the concrete road on the break water.

webTeQuestForeDeck-StMaloFrance-Feb78-DarkWinterForAFloridaBoy.jpg (10995 bytes)

For some of us Floridians, this was a real novelty - snow!  TeQuest's Fore-Deck-St Malo France-Feb 1978

webTeVega-InSt.MaloFrance-DarkDaysOfWinterLaundry-PKStevens.jpg (13475 bytes)

TeVega - St. Malo, France - Dark Days of Winter & Laundry washing in bucket! - P.K. Stevens

webTeQuest-UnsecureBrokenBowSprit-Bermuday-Apr77.jpg (17166 bytes)
teQuest-Unsecuring the Broken Bow Sprit-Bermuda-April 1977

Three days out of Guadeloupe on our journey to Spain, we encounter strong head winds and swells.  The bow would plunge into the waves and we were under full sail.  I was on TeVega's bow watch and the huge waves breaking over the bow and warm water were thrilling.  In the middle of the afternoon, teQuest's the hand made shackle that held the bow sprit cable down, broke.   Sails were torn and the steel masts permanently bend slightly aft.  The crew (staff and students) did an excellent job of lowering the sails quickly to take the load of the mast.  I heard that the sound of the bow sprit collapsing made quite a steel wrenching sound that echoed through the ship.

 webTeQuest-JW&DanHiggins-ReadyForBowSpritReattachment-Bermuday-Apr77.jpg (15995 bytes)
teQuest - JW & Dan Higgins-Ready for the Bow Sprit Reattachment-Bermuda - April 1977

Other Big  and Scary Moments
redball.gif (927 bytes)   Sail to Cadiz 1978.
orangeball.gif (927 bytes)   Collision between teQuest and TeVega in Antigua - Fall 1976.
yellowball.gif (923 bytes)   Blizzard in the English Channel from Dover to St. Malo - Feb 1978
purpleball.gif (949 bytes)   Tidal Wave in the Harbor of Nice, France -  Fall 1979.
greenball.gif (931 bytes)    Near miss of the submarine

blueball.gif (946 bytes)   Todd Stout's Hauser whip-lash
-----Original Message----- From: Chet_Reitze@gillette.com [mailto:Chet_Reitze@gillette.com] Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2001 12:41 PM To: Todd Stout Subject: RE: [free-thinkers] Stout Hawser incident

I'll never forget that hawser incident - port quarter Te Quest. George was frustrated trying to dock the ships because it was his 3rd try - Jim was on vacation with Ells if I recall correctly, and he generally handled docking of the rafted ships as a rule. The wind was blowing briskly right off the dock and we could not get our lines out to the dock fast enough before we were blown into the harbor - too far for the big ropes to reach.

George had just put the ship at about 1/4 - 1/2 for another pass at the dock. As Te Quest accelerated, everyone seemed to catch this but you (Todd). But at no time did anyone give you the order to cast-off your line, which had been used as a spring just seconds before. Everyone on Te Quest's fan-tail stared at George waiting for his order, but George was looking forward unaware of your plight. You simply stayed on station, until the thick line got real skinny, then all the water wrung out of it, while it twanged like a banjo string being tightened, and then C-r-a-c-k!

The unraveled end came right at you and hit you square through the life rails. You were pretty bruised (all over) I recall, but since it had unraveled, your injuries were pretty minor. Had it remained intact, I have heard stories of broken hawsers cutting a man in half.

I watched your entire incident from just a few feet away, fully expecting Todd Stout to be in two pieces when it was over. I remember thinking, let the damn line go Todd, you stubborn $%* (no offense). I may have said something to the same effect, but I cannot recall. You had some nerve, Todd, I will give you that! I remember backing away from you as the line got ready to snap, but you were red faced, holding on to it at the cleat like your life depended on it.

Hello, PK, Tono, Ann and everyone. Hope you are well.

Regards, Chet Reitze

-----Original Message----- From: Todd Stout [mailto:todds@stoutsolutions.com] Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2001 6:36 PM To: Chet_Reitze@gillette.com; Free-Thinkers@Yahoogroups. Com Subject: RE: [free-thinkers] Stout Hawser incident

Wow, you remember a lot more about that incident than I do! I've always assumed that it was because I got the crap whacked out of me, but it could be due to foolish events during my later, public-school youth!

And, while I wish that I could say that my "stubborn-ness" to hang onto the hawser was brave, I think I was probably just too "programmed" to follow George's directions during docking (scared, not to) to think about my well-being!

Oh well! Thanks for the detailed description. Maybe it will stay in my memory now! It's great to hear from you. - Todd