Originally published in Castine Patriot, July 19, 2018
Family, friends await T/V State of Maine ’s arrival
Training ship returns to home port
by Anne Berleant
Family and friends of midshipmen who spent 70 days at sea gathered at the Maine Maritime Academy waterfront, waiting for a glimpse of T/V State of Maine to appear in Castine Harbor on July 14.
“The anticipation…” murmured one parent leaning against the railing and peering out into the distance.
Estimated to arrive about 12:30, the 500-foot vessel stopped in Searsport to pick up parents invited on board for the final leg home, and arrived closer to 1 p.m.
On land, other parents were tracking the ship’s progress for the last two miles of its journey just as they did when the ship was in foreign ports of call.
“I checked the blog and tracked the ship,” first-year parent Alison Welch, of Hope, said. “It was nice to know when they were in port.”
With ports of call this summer in Spain, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Spain, the training cruise also gave the 246 cadets on board a taste of the international aspect of life as a merchant marine.
“I would email and when he wouldn’t answer, I knew he was on watch or busy,” parent Sherri Racioppi said. “I knew he was in good hands.”
Students pursuing U.S. Coast Guard merchant marine certification must participate in two 70-day cruises to fulfill the at-sea training requirement.
“It’s a milestone in the students’ academic career,” MMA Director of College Relations Jennifer DeJoy said. Gazing out as the ship slowly inched towards land, she added, “It really blows my mind that something that big can float.”