Day 9 of our amazing voyage was in full swing from the moment the clock rolled over to midnight. Attempting to make our second waypoint for Command Day, we were making good time until we were faced with quite the challenge. Strong winds, rain and not the calmest of seas (seems Captain Damien hadn't been utilising his connections to calm the seas) made for an interesting night. As we started to drift off course, we planned and tried a few different things. After a few of these ideas didn't bring much in the way of success, it was time to pull out the big guns and set our larger sails, the mainsail and the jib. At watch changeover with as many hands on deck as possible, we set the sails and wow, did we make some progress. So much so, we had to furl the jib to slow down as to not reach our destination too early! We made the 2nd waypoint at 0140 and all hands were called to tacking stations to wear the ship to set us on our new course toward our destination, all were awoken from their slumber to come up on deck and bring us around in the rain and wind, with not one complaint. Amazing stuff.
After a full on night of sailing, waypoint 3 was made at 0720, which saw us arrive just south of Whitsunday Islands. The ship was put in the very capable hands of the staff as they took us through a very narrow stretch of water toward our anchor point just off Whitehaven Beach which, as Navigator Matt assures us, has the whitest sand in Australia.
The morning brief had a different twist to it today as it was held by the Youth Command Team. Following in the enormous footsteps of the staff, we gave our spill of where we were, how far we had travelled overnight and the plans for today. The morning brief was finished off with another of our tasks, the Youth Crew singing the Australian national anthem to 5 different tunes. For those of you reading at home, you will be very surprised how well Advance Australia Fair fits into songs, most amazingly, Pretty Fly for a White Guy by The Offspring.
Cleaning stations followed the morning brief and once completed, we aimed to finish as many tasks as we could. Starting with our Boat Assault Team to the beach to claim a slice of land for the youth of Australia and sing the Australian national anthem relayed back to the boat via VHF, create a hammock on midships which could support the weight of the entire youth crew, all climb aloft for a photo and various other activities of which every person was involved with and succeeded. Only one task remains which is a slideshow tomorrow (Monday) night which I'm sure the crew look forward to viewing as to collectively recount our time aboard.
On the commencement of Command Day at 1345 (we snuck in a little extra because we loved it so much), we handed the ship back over to Captain Damien and the crew, with a debrief from the staff reinforcing what we had achieved. To complete the day after a quick break which was welcomed by all after the eventful night, we ran through all we had gained from Command Day and what we could take out of it. I would also like to just let the Youth Crew know that what we have achieved, we can look back on for the rest of our lives and say we were part of something special. Every single person from the command team, to the cooks, to every person on watch, did an amazing job and what we have done could not have been possible without input from each and every person.
Youth Captain Brennan