Day 04 S/V Kaisei: The Ship

7 08 2009

Friday, 7 August 2009
Lat: 32° 22’ N Lon: 129° 37’ W

Kaisei under sail

Kaisei under sail

The platform for our mission is the square-rigged brigantine, Kaisei. Built in 1990 at 180 gross tons, she is 151’ stem to stern, 128’ long on deck with a 25’ beam, topped with a main mast of 98’ over the waterline. She sets 15 sails and uses 80 lines to control them. She previously sailed as a Japanese sail-training ship before beginning operations with Ocean Voyages Institute in 2004.

Her captain on this environmental research mission is Mike Smith, a man with a lifetime of salt water in his blood. He has spent over 4,500 days at sea, with more than 1,000 days on square-riggers; he has held his captain’s license for over 25 years, skippering everything from yachts to tugboats.

This is the second voyage, aboard the Kaisei, for Adrian Thibeault-Stone; who first sailed her at age 18 from Okinawa to Yokohama to Hawaii and California. He is now back, five years later, as first mate.

Perhaps the sea’s quietest and most competent bosun is Norton Smith, a well-known single-hander. An accomplished ship’s carpenter, on this mission he is in charge of creating the important capture technology and equipment, along with Melanie Smith, his niece.

Cathy Strohecker is sailing as chief engineer; overseeing the engine, generator systems, water, refrigeration, pumps, air conditioning, and all their attendant details, she keeps watch so that others may work on the science.

Electrician Mike Daley maintains and repairs all the ship’s electrical systems; including satellite communications, AC/DC power systems, and navigation equipment.

We could not go to sea without a great cook willing to spend long hours in the galley turning out wholesome meals. Jocelyne Turner, another seasoned member on a second Kaisei voyage, does just that.

Marine educator, Dennis Rogers and his crew of deckhands includes our youngest crewmember, 18-year-old Ryan Morris, Ale Lyman, from Hawaii – on her second Kaisei voyage – Kiwi Hamish Currie, Lisa Angus, and Karen Hawes.

In a time well before plastics were invented, America had the world’s largest fleet of sailing ships. It seems an eco-friendly and symbolic way to begin our three-pronged mission: to search for solutions on board the Kaisei with her talented complement of mostly volunteer crew.

Follow our expedition online at




One response

8 08 2009
shannon morris

Hi Ryan,
Your family is watching the voyage. We wish all of you well.

Love you.

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