Seniors Set Sail

By Chelsea Bailey '16

grads.jpeg

The
whole group of graduates, enjoying some summer sun!

 

            After the graduating class leaves
Olin in May, many of them take the summer to celebrate and relax before
beginning their jobs in late summer or fall. It's a time to explore new things
and reward themselves for having survived the past four years.

So how are the '13 grads spending their summers?  For the first post in this series, I spoke to
Geoff Pleiss and Margaret-Ann Seger about a sailing trip they took with two
other grads, Liz Threlkeld and Casey Karst, and Olin professor John Geddes.

 

How did the idea for this
trip come about?

Geoff:
I'm not
exactly sure where the idea came from. John had invited Margaret-Ann,  Casey, and Liz on the trip and told them to
invite one more ... I think?   One day in
early March, Margaret-Ann asked me if I wanted to come. A few days later we
booked flights!

Margaret-Ann: John threw out the idea early in the semester and a few of
us jumped at the opportunity. I mean, how many times do you get the chance to
spend a week island-hopping, learning to sail, and snorkeling some of the most
beautiful coastline in the world?  It was too good an opportunity to turn
down!

 

What was your favorite part
of the trip?

Geoff:
I think I
liked living on the boat the best. John's boat was our lodging for the week, as
well as our transportation, and where we ate most of our meals. I really
enjoyed waking up to stunning views of the shore and having a nice relaxing
breakfast on deck. It's hard to beat that!

Margaret-Ann: I really liked learning to sail. Obviously we only learned a
fraction of all there is to know, but starting to see how it all comes together
was really cool. I'd been sailing on a little Laser with Ert (senior Robert
McMullen) the week before down at the MIT sailing pavilion and figured the
mechanics of sailing must be similar for all boats, but it's a completely
different experience on a bigger boat. Like Geoff, I'm aiming to take sailing
classes in San Francisco this fall. I figure if I can learn to sail in the San
Francisco Bay, no waters will be too daunting after that!

 

Did you have any first time
experiences?

Geoff:
I had never
been sailing before. John taught us sailing in the typical Olin
"do-learn" fashion - he gave Liz the helm and told Margaret-Ann and I
that we were in charge of the sail. I don't think any of us expected the boat
to tilt as much as it did - I think we were all afraid that we were going to
capsize at first, but we made it across the Sir Francis Drake Channel without
much trouble at all. Overall, it was relaxing and enjoyable, and I've already
signed up for sailing lessons later this summer.

I
also got to go scuba diving for the first time since getting certified. Warm
water scuba diving is so much better than cold water! We could see so much
more, and we didn't even have to wear wetsuits.

Margaret-Ann: I snorkeled alongside Sir Richard Branson's yacht Necker
Belle! Turns out the weekly charter price for that boat is $110,000. Casual,
you know.

Other first-time adventures: we weathered a storm the first
night. That's the only time I've ever seen John scared- it was the middle of
the night and he was convinced we were drifting. We got up on deck to try to
get our bearings and check the anchor. It was torrential rain and howling wind,
and I kept thinking, "Great, so this is what we signed up for." Fortunately,
that was the only weather hiccup and it was smooth sailing (literally) for the
rest of the trip!

 

What advice would you give to
someone planning a similar trip?

Geoff:
Do it by
boat. We got to see so many more islands than we would have otherwise. Plus,
living on a boat is way more relaxing and fun than staying at a resort.

Margaret-Ann: Make sure you don't get seasick! We were lucky that everyone
in our group had great sea-legs, but it really was a gamble as none of us had
spent significant time on boats before this trip. It would be a miserable
holiday if you couldn't take the constant rocking motion.

 

Any other exciting plans for
the summer?

Geoff:
In a week
and a half I'm off to Europe for a 2 month bike tour with Helen
Oleynikova ('11). We're starting off in the Netherlands, then traveling through
Belgium, France, northern Italy, and ending up in Switzerland. All of our
traveling will be done on bikes!

Margaret-Ann: I'm headed to Sweden on Friday for six weeks to visit family
and friends. I've invited a number of people to swing by and visit, and it
looks like Reyner and my cousin Clare have taken me up on the offer so it will
be fun to show them around. I'm also planning to pop over to London and Oxford
for a week to see some old friends. I'm really looking forward to my time over
there!

 

lizcasey.jpg

Liz
and Casey relaxing on the boat. Taken offshore of St. John, USVI.

 

 

lizhelm.jpg

Learning
to sail! Liz at the helm. Taken offshore of Tortola, BVI

 



stjohn.jpg

A
view of the shore at St. John, USVI. The island looked like it was from a
Bacardi commercial!

 

johnsboat.jpg

John's
boat moored off Tortola, BVI. This picture is taken from his Dinghy.

 



sunset.jpg

Sunset
from the beach at Cooper Island, BVI. We went to shore one night for a nice
dinner.

 

eyecandy.jpg

Island eye-candy

 

iguana.jpg

An
iguana joined us for lunch.

 

Posted in: Because I Wanted To, Just Plain Fun