Location: West End, Tortola

San Souci’s last full day of their session brought the trip around full circle with a bittersweet closure. We started with a morning race to Peter from The Bight. Each staff member commented on how the progression of the students’ sailing skills came to a head during the race. None of the students aboard San Souci had much sailing experience prior to this trip, and the first sail of the session was the roughest sea day of the summer. Some students got seasick but maintained positive attitudes and did not complain, which was impressive. Although their spirits were high, it was clear there was a lot to learn in terms of sailing within each student. During the race this morning, the winds and swell were also intense and the boat was thrashing in the water similarly to how it did on the first sail day. The only difference was that the students were sailing the boat this time, and with minimal guidance. Although we did not win the race, the handwork and progression of the students laid out in front of the staff made each of us very proud. Most importantly, they seemed to be proud of themselves. Zack, Diego, and Charlie were eager to grind and ease the jib sheets even as the boat was heeling right out of the water. Lomax worked hard on the weather helm, keeping us from heading too far upwind. Getting the jib out quickly at the beginning of the race was easy with Aiden and Santi on the jib furling line and Natalie and Lottie pulling out the jib sheets. Alina made sure to film everyone on her GoPro and to keep the energy high throughout the race. Ro and Keegan stood by the main sheet, easing and grinding it in to keep our sail trim tight. Thalia made sure to shout out some “Kee-ay Ka-chou’s” (a term San Souci dubbed for pulling on lines) to cheer on the other shipmates on the jib and main sheets. It was a delight to watch San Souci come together as a team and sail fast. Their teamwork excelled in not just the race but also in living aboard and scuba diving. They encouraged each other to do well on their scuba tests and by the end of the session had meal time and clean up running smoothly. The San Soucians started out as open-minded students coming into a new environment with not much to expect. They all left as competent sailors, scuba divers, and as friends. It was a delight to watch each of the students on San Souci grow in a different way during session 2, and the staff is proud to have been even a slight part of it. We hope to see them next summer!