Wind 240 at 10 knots, Sea .5m and swell negligible
Welcome to Day 2 of our magnificent adventure under sail. Following a well deserved and much needed night’s rest, the Youth Crew were woken up at 0630 by Sail Master Guv, who treated us to a refreshing and invigorating morning swim complete with rope swing, just to get the heart started. It was a brisk, but beautiful morning and we enjoyed a breakfast of barbequed bacon and egg rolls, fresh fruit and yoghurt. After breakfast the Youth Crew experienced their first ceremony of ‘colours’ followed by the morning brief at which they met ‘Salty the sea-dog’ (Jen), whose job it is to explain the nautical origin of some expressions in common use in the English language. On completion of the brief it was straight into cleaning stations (this activity is known as our ‘Happy Hour’ and it even has its own little song . . . it grows on you!). Our wonderful friends in the Spirit of New Zealand sailed into Man O’ War Bay, Waiheke Island to join us mid morning. Soon after this both crews were off on a shore adventure to explore and discover. (There’s a quote about that somewhere!) Spirit of New Zealand runs a similar program to ours and has far reaching impact on the youth of New Zealand.
So exploring Waiheke Island both crews strolled over rolling hills and enjoyed beautiful scenery filled with greenery, vineyards, rugged coast line and majestic ocean views. We arrived at an old World War II gun emplacement and underground defence complex, “Stony Batter”. It was part of the Auckland coastal defence system covering the Hauraki Gulf to ensure that enemy shipping was stopped before it came into range of the city during WWII. Luckily Auckland was never attacked and the guns were never fired in anger. It was all a pretty interesting insight into the history of the area and a very enjoyable 3 hour walk.
We returned on board for a latish lunch and prepared to continue our adventure at sea. As conditions were favourable, we took this opportunity to sail from our anchorage. This is not normally attempted on day 2 because of the experience levels of the Youth Crew. However our team had already proven themselves up to the challenge with a magnificent “thrown in the deep end” performance yesterday during the Parade of Sail. So we were willing to back their abilities. Using the power of sails alone, strategically set and furled at precise times we manoeuvred the ship from anchorage, turned to the direction we desired and we were off. We did a sail past on the Spirit of New Zealand to bid them fare winds and following seas. Yet again our experiences shared with them just seem to add a little magic to our collective journeys and we are very grateful for that opportunity. Our trust in the Youth Crew was well founded as they did a great job and then consolidated their line handling, deck safety and sail setting skills as we set the majority of our sails as we transited out of the Hauraki Gulf.
A good afternoon of sailing with very favourable conditions was experienced and we even managed some sightings of whales and albatross. After another wonderful dinner full of choices, the sun set and we settled into watches over night. Later in the evening the wind shifted and we were headed for land. So the ship was sent to Tacking Stations and the Youth Crew successfully demonstrated to me that they were capable of closing up and altering the course of the Ship during the night, even when it involved waking the majority from their slumber.
So our Youth Crew are into their first night at sea. This will involve keeping 4 hour Sea Watches through the night, during which they will keep the Ship safe performing duties as helmsman, lookouts, setting and furling sails as required and conducting below deck engineering rounds. The intention at this time is to spend 2 nights underway at sea to make some ground towards Wellington and consolidate the knowledge of our team on board. Spirits are high and life is good!
Captain Dion Curtis