Command Day had arrived. We had been training hard for the last week in preparation for this day. We weighed anchor at 0930 from Watson's Bay on Sydney Harbour. The crew were all ready for the long day that we had ahead of ourselves. Just the night before we had been cruising around darling harbour in preparation for our part in the Australia day celebrations. The wind was a very calm 0-5 knots from the south west as the anchor came up. We proceeded to prepare the ship for the day ahead by firstly setting the main staysail closely followed by the jib and then the main. Once we had these sails set we unfurled the topgallant staysail and proceeded towards Sydney heads.
The minutes ticked by, still no change, we had been sitting just inside the heads for some time now. The breeze had completely died off now and the crew was having trouble just keeping the ship on a straight course. The youth crew had been given waypoints that we were to proceed through over the course of the day.
The command team met in the navigation room to discuss what our options were. The decision was reached to ask the Captain for the use of the engines for six nautical miles so that we could, firstly get out of the heads then proceed to our first waypoint. Just as the engines were being turned on the breeze filled in and we no longer required them.
The navigators took fixes constantly so that we could not only reach our waypoint but also do it in the quickest time. After 30 or so minutes another meeting was called for the command team and we again came to a decision, our decision was to miss out a line of waypoints in order to reach the other six and therefore giving the ship the greatest chance for success.
Our second waypoint came slowly as the breeze dropped. The command team again met to discuss our options. We came to the decision that we had to head back to Sydney harbour without proceeding through any more waypoints as we would arrive back at anchor past our time limit.
All hands to tacking stations, prepare to wear ship! Was the call from our XO of the day. The ship completed the wear without any hiccups and the navigators plotted our course back to Sydney.
We arrived back through the heads with an hour to drop anchor and get our sails down. We dropped anchor in Hunters Bay within time limit. Our beach assault team then rowed into Balmoral Beach. They managed to get thirty six people to join in with the singing of the national anthem with them.
Command Day was a great success and was a huge team effort, all those involved gave it their all and were happy with the overall result.
Youth Crew Captain