Traditional Sail Training and the Brigantine St. Lawrence II
The Sail Training Vessel STV St. Lawrence II (SL2) was designed for traditional youth sail training in 1952, the first such program in North America. Now it is the longest running and finest program in the world, attested to by numerous international awards.
What is traditional sail training all about? Essentially, our program is experiential learning which involves teenagers in becoming crew members of a working square-rigger. They are not just passengers, or pupils taking academic courses aboard, they actually sail the ship. Adventure and challenge in a unique, unfamiliar, and self-contained environment teaches lessons that go far beyond the traditional sailing skills required to operate a sailing ship at sea. The discipline that the sea imposes on those who would master it develops character and a real sense of responsibility. Crew members must learn about taming the powerful forces of nature and, in doing so, they discover a latent toughness and ability to survive within themselves. They become a valued part of a close-knit, mutually dependent community. Crew members stand watch day and night, take a turn at the wheel and complete their fair share of all the jobs, both those as exciting as working aloft, and as tedious as galley clean-up. The emphasis during life aboard is on duty, reliability and mutual trust.
The SL2 is owned and operated by Brigantine, Incorporated, a volunteer-run, federally registered charity. The Board hires a full-time professional Captain — a 150 Ton Master, licensed by Transport Canada — and a licensed First Mate for the summer sailing season. The senior crew comprises 3-4 Watch Officers with a similar number of Petty Officers. All these are youngsters who have worked their way up through the system, starting as raw summer trainee recruits “before the mast.” Anyone aspiring to officer status is required to put in a lot of time during the winter season, acquiring further training and participating in getting the ship ready for the sailing season. The success of the entire program rests upon the tradition among this group, of duty to “their” ship.
SL2 displaces 35 tonnes, is 60 feet in length on deck, with a beam of 15 and a draft of 9 feet. Total working sail area is 2500 square feet. She has a 125 h.p. diesel engine and a 10 kw generator, a propane stove, electric refrigerator and freezer. Navigation, communications and safety equipment include radar, GPS and VHF radio, 2 x 25-person life rafts and EPIRB. Up to 28 officers and trainees are accommodated in three cabins, separated by watertight bulkheads and doors. Her maximum speed is about 8 knots.
After 60 years afloat, over 20,000 teenagers have crossed her decks and SL2 has accumulated an impressive collection of Tall Ship honours, including visits to New York in 1964, ’76, and ’92. Among other far-flung destinations, she has sailed, often several times, to Chicago, Boston, Halifax, and Quebec City. Most recently she led the Parade of Sail in Montreal’s challenging harbour in 2012, and was featured in 2013 Tall Ships Great Lakes events in Toronto, Hamilton and Erie, PA. In 2014 she will sail to Charlottetown, PE to commemorate the 1864 Conference which led to Confederation.
Brigantine, Incorporated is entirely committed to the continuation and renewal of this remarkable, innovative, Tall Ship adventure program, instilling responsibility in all the young people who sail on SL2.
St Lawrence IIRig: Brigantine
Length: 22m (72′)