During my Fulbright year in London, the executive director of the UK Commission, John E. Franklin, wished to explore the possibility of sending future UK Fulbright Scholars on a “team-building” voyage aboard the Malcolm Miller, a ship of the Sail Training Association. To test the scheme, I was given a berth and assigned to the schooner’s mizzen mast crew (photographed) for a week spent sailing along the west coast of Scotland.
Most of the 40 people aboard were citizens of the United Kingdom and British commonwealth; I was the sole American. Every day was a comparison of language and lifestyles (my first encounter with Marmite!), filled with laughter and a great deal of hard work (the ship’s mizzen sail was one of the largest in the world, and it took a lot of muscle to hoist it). At one point, the captain teasingly announced that the ship would “take the American home,” and thus we sailed due west for several hours. As a music historian, I was also thrilled to sail past Fingal’s Cave, the sea cave that had inspired Mendelssohn. I look back at that voyage as one of the greatest joys of my life.
Alyson McLamore – Fulbright to The United Kingdom 1988