Boy Scouts sailed high seas of adventure


"Batten down the hatches! Let out the jib and steady as she goes!"

Eleven Boy Scouts and five adults from Craig got the chance of a lifetime to sail the high seas.

After two years of planning, the scouts headed for California to set sail on the Argus.

The Argus is a 105-foot long, 50-foot tall sailing ship built in Denmark in 1905. The ship hauled lumber, cement, spices and grain over the Baltic Sea around the turn of the century. With its service to Greenland and Spain at an end, the Boy Scouts of America bought the ship in 1972 and sailed it to Newport Beach, Calif.

The ship has become a training ground for the scouts to learn about sailing and about themselves on the high seas.

The scouts from Craig headed to California and made a quick stop at Universal Studios theme park before boarding the Argus for five days of high adventure.

"Being from Colorado, we don't get the chance to sail a ship of this magnitude," said Don Laib, one of the parents who helped organize the trip. "It was a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved."

The ship's captain and first mate gave the rookie crew a crash course in sailing. The boys had to become proficient at hoisting, lowering and trimming the sails, cooking in the galley and swabbing the deck. The boys were divided into three separate sail stations before it was time to set sail with their destiny in their hands, ready to take on what the ocean would throw at them.

"It wasn't a cruise," Laib said. "We had to learn what to do and how to sail the ship while being careful. It was a great lesson in responsibility and in teamwork. It was a great way to see the coast of California."

The crew became a good bunch of sailors as it headed up the coast hitting such famous ports as Avalon, Catalina Island, Two Harbors, Long Beach and back to Newport Beach.

"I was really impressed with how everyone worked together and accomplished their tasks," Laib said.

Along the way the boys snorkeled when they weren't working the sails or taking their turns on anchor watch.

Bob Lipes, one of the scouts on the ship, said that it was the trip of a lifetime and there were many different challenges along the way.

"It was my first time on the ocean," said Lipes. "One of the toughest things was not getting sea sick. A couple of people got sick there were a few times where it got pretty rough out there."

The trip was funded by different events put together and worked by the scouts including working at Grand Old West Days, selling Christmas wreaths, Huck Finn Days, the mine rescue luncheon and shoveling snow. The boys appreciate the communities support that helped each of them raise the $700 needed for the trip.

Troop members who earned their sea legs on the trip were Harvey Preston Sr., Harvey Preston Jr., Chris Preston, Cheryl Lipes, Bob Lipes, Randy Runyan, Jacob Ross, Tim Baily, Richard Baily, Terri Reno, Chris Goode-now, Nick Goodenow, Don Laib, Diana Laib and Tyler Laib.

If you happen to see one of them give them a hardy "I matey." said ask them about the trip.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.