The Nation: Life on the Tall Ships

What is life like below those graceful, billowing sails, aboard the tall training ships that helped the U.S. celebrate its Bicentennial? It can be most unromantic, or at least uncomfortable. The below-decks area reeks of a mixture of boiled cabbage, floor cleaner, diesel fumes and sweat. Quarters are often hot and always crowded, as human comforts give way to the need for stowing rope, extra sails, vital blocks and rigging. Aboard the Irish Phoenix (left), caged chickens provide fresh eggs for meals that are generally good, if not graciously served. Gently swaying hammocks on the Norwegian Christian Radich (below left) provide...

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