MYSTIC – Mystic Seaport is pleased to announce that the Chief Mate, Second Mate, and Third Mate have been hired for the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. The 1841 whaleship will embark on her commemorative voyage May 17.
Sam Sikkema will serve as Chief Mate. A sailor of small boats since he was 5 years old, Sikkema has been professionally sailing on square-riggers for the past 10 years. He just signed off from the Norwegian ship Sørlandet on a sail training cruise that took the vessel to Southern Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. He has also sailed on the Niagara, Bounty, and Picton Castle.
Sikkema’s interest in maritime preservation is in trying to experience what it was like to sail the ships back in the day. “With a lot of ships we are only guessing because they are replicas or whatnot, but here with the Morgan we actually have the original form, and the original type, and it’s well documented so we can actually take it out and see what it can do,” he said. “That’s going to be very fascinating.”
Before arriving for work at Mystic Seaport, Sikkema will spend the winter aboard Picton Castle in the Pacific Ocean. He is a native of South Haven, Michigan, (home of the Michigan Maritime Museum) and presently makes his home in Leander, Texas, when he is not at sea.
Sean Bercaw will be sailing as Second Mate. Bercaw has a long history with the Morgan and Mystic Seaport, dating back 30 years to his time on the Museum’s Special Demonstration Squad. Since then, he has sailed several times aboard Elissa, and worked for Sea Education Association (SEA) for many years as master of the Corwith Cramer, Westward, and Robert C. Seamans. He additionally has worked as mate, engineer, and master aboard a host of other vessels. Bercaw has also spent considerable time in whaleboats as part of the Demonstration Squad, racing in New Bedford and working with other rowing organizations. He holds a 1,600-ton Ocean Master license and has advanced wilderness medical training.
Roxanne “Rocky” Hadler will be sailing as Third Mate. Hadler starting sailing aboard Elissa and has gone on to work aboard Niagara, Kalmar Nyckel, Bounty, and the SEA vessels, among others. She has spent considerable time aboard traditional square-rigged vessels and holds a 500-ton Ocean Master license. Hadler will be sailing aboard Cramer with the spring 2014 Williams-Mystic class at the end of January.
The three crew members will be joining Kip Files, the Captain of the Charles W. Morgan‘s 38th Voyage. Files, who arrived at Mystic Seaport and began work last November, has been charged with hiring the ship’s crew and preparing and equipping her for the voyage. As the owner and captain of the 132-foot, three-masted schooner Victory Chimes out of Rockland, Maine he is no stranger to sailing large ships with no engine. He is also the primary captain of the 207-foot barque Elissa, owned and operated by the Galveston Historical Foundation and Texas Seaport Museum. Files holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master Ocean License for Inspected Passenger Vessels of up to 1,600 Gross Tons and he has been a master of traditional sailing vessels since 1978.
Sikkema will arrive for work at Mystic Seaport in April and Bercaw and Hadler will come aboard in May.