Ahoy shipmates,Strong winds last night kept everyone alert during their watches as we sailed up Spencer Gulf. At midnight we tacked and headed back south with a view to setting ourselves up for Youth Crew command day which starts tomorrow. Unfortunately the boisterous conditions caused a chain pennant which attaches the jib halyard block to the fore topgallant mast to part in the middle of the night. This necessitated us bearing away from the wind to allow crew to work safely aloft while completing some temporary repairs with a snatch block and stout line which, once in place, allowed us to furl the jib.At 0900 we tacked again and made our way back towards Wedge Island to obtain a lee to work in and there effect more permanent repairs to the jib halyard block. Once completed we set full sail, turned to sea, then put the youth crew through their final paces prior to their taking responsibility for the ship tomorrow. We had them setting and furling, clewing up and brailing in sail with minimal intervention from staff, in between two further tacks (for a total of 21 tacks and wears so far this voyage), as we manoeuvred to anchor in the relatively confined waters of North West Bay, Wedge Island. We had hoped to make for a different anchorage tonight but the minor damage from last night precluded us from making the required distance to windward for my preferred anchorage off York Peninsular.But North West Bay will do. We are at anchor in its deep blue waters, surrounded by steep sandstone cliffs. West Rock lies just below the sea’s surface a short distance away and marks the northern entrance of the Bay. Long, low swells have rolled across the vast uninterrupted expanses of the Southern Ocean and now gather themselves to expend their remaining energy, breaking over this large immoveable rock, its dark round smooth slippery surfaces occasionally revealed as the swells slither backwards, their final fling exhausted. Meanwhile, amongst this awesome scenery we, the small crew of Australia’s national sail training ship, having taken our fill of another delicious deck barbecue, take a moments rest as the Youth Crew elect their command teams for tomorrow’s coming challenge.Yours Aye,Captain Bob
Light south east wind, calm seas, slight swell, clear skies.