Terrifying ordeal for a group of 48 high school students and their 16 teachers when their sailing ship, Concordia, suddenly sank off the coast of Brazil.
From The Canadian Press:
The ship’s captain, William Curry, has said although the Concordia’s crew had prepared the day before for what they anticipated would be rough weather, the ship suddenly keeled.
When it keeled again the ship’s sails were exposed to the powerful wind and within 15 seconds the boat was lying on its side and began to sink. The captain said it slipped beneath the waves 30 minutes later.
The rafts were the worst part.
Tattered and torn from a frantic escape, the inflatable remnants of the S.V. Concordia were salt baths, filled with vomit, human excrement, and people.
“You do what you can. We were together, and alive,” 16-year-old Sam Palonek said of the 40 hours she floated in the Atlantic. “We just sang to keep our spirits up, keep us laughing. It was the most important thing.”
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Disney medleys. Even “Happy Birthday” was trotted out for a boy celebrating the occasion in a nearby raft.
“We started singing “American Pie,” but we got to the line, ‘That’ll be the day that I die,’” she said. “We axed that.”
The Globe and Mail reported:
It was, for most of them, the trip of a lifetime, sailing around the world, keeping up with their math and biology in between. The Concordia is a sturdy, steel-hulled tall ship, stretching 188 feet with three masts and 15 sails. It was built in 1992, specifically to become a floating high school. It had set sail on Feb. 8 from Recife on Brazil’s northwest coast bound for Montevideo, Uruguay, with a mix of mostly Canadian students continuing on from September and about a dozen who were just starting out on a trip with the Class Afloat program.
Tuition wasn’t cheap – about $40,000 for the year – but this was no five-star voyage, as one parent explained Friday. The students attended classes during the day, slept in close quarters and were expected to swab decks and share night-watch duty, and the fire checks and sail manoeuvres that this entails.
“This is the life of a sailor,” one student recounted earlier this month in a post to the web. “It is tiresome, stressful, difficult and unconventional, but it is fulfilling beyond belief.” And certainly an adventure, travelling to ports like Singapore and Egypt and Malta, no sailing experience required.