Currently at anchor just of the breakwater at Morgat, France and enjoying moderate NE winds with nil swell. Current temperature is 12 degrees.
Welcome to day 45 of our voyage. Rather than write anything special tonight I will handover to Captains Derry and Ann so that they can tell all about their experiences in command of Young Endeavour throughout this enjoyable but equally challenging Command Period.
Until tomorrow, take care.
Captains Log: 07 June 15
Bonjour from Morgat,
We made it! Congratulations Crewies, we successfully navigated and sailed safely our way from the south west corner of the Bay of Biscay to anchorage position in Morgat, France.
For this edition of the Captain’s Log, we’ve decided to give our wonderful crew a break and give all our fantastic YE supporters a glimpse into sailing this fine vessel from the eyes of the two command day captains.
With no further adieu, let us go back 48hrs to 1000hrs Friday 5 June…
Command of STS Young Endeavour was officially handed over to the Crewies with a presentation of Telescope of Challenge and the Captain’s hat. After a brief 30 minute planning session engines were switched off and we set about increasing our sail volume to catch what little breeze was available to us. Very early in the piece, the decision was made to embrace the romantic notion of sailing a tall-ship and attempt to traverse our course with as little assistance from the engines as possible. As a team, we felt that this was a vision that would allow us to gain the most knowledge, best experience and most enjoyment from our 48 hours in command.
We certainly cut a fine figure with a full press of sails (Jib, Forestaysail, Main staysail, Topgallant staysail and Main sail) however we struggled to achieve a desirable speed due to the light and variable winds. Ever conscious of our rapidly increasing SOA (Speed of Advance), the decision was made to power up the motors once more (in order to make some ground toward our first waypoint) and position ourselves to capitalise on the strengthening winds forecast for the mid-afternoon.
As planned, we cut the engines just after 1600, heaved a sigh of relief when the wind picked up soon after and were overjoyed to find ourselves clipping along at 7.5kn on a well balanced ship with a good 10 degrees of heel by 1800. Our remarkable cheffos (Atlanta, Reina and Tim P) put on a superb feast in what was surely their first time cooking in a kitchen with a 10 degree slant. Although our first waypoint led us approximately 4 hours north-east and increased our SOA considerably, we purposefully struck out toward it because it could be reached under sail and therefore resonated with the vision that we set out during the planning period. After 18 hours of good sailing, a tagged waypoint and three near flawless tacks, the entire crew felt reasonably vindicated that the decision was a good one and there was a tangible energy running through the ship. A huge mention must be made of our incredible World Voyage shipmates, who put in the hard yards waking up for a 2330 tack and still managed to complete their watches to a high standard with good humour, fine spirits and plenty of coffee and soup. Fatigue management was an ever present concern among the leadership team and we were conscious of the unfortunate Bubblegum Watch, who were the worst affected by the wake-up and the watch schedule from the previous few days. As the command period rolled on into its second day, fatigue management within the leadership team became an issue as well – our fearless Navigator, Officer of the Watch and Sailmaster (Lach, Tom and Tim) were burning the candle at both ends as they did a superb job of planning the course of the ship and the activities onboard.
By the end of the first day, we had ticked off ten of the 17 tasks assigned to us by the staff. Once again, the spotlight needs to shine on this incredible crew, who took it upon themselves to organise several tasks (and ran them to perfection). No voyage would ever occur without the occasional hiccup and special mention must once again be given to the entire crew for their calm heads and measured responses to a couple of small conflicts that arose over the course of the day. It was even more admirable to see all and sundry take it upon themselves to learn from the experience, resulting in a marked improvement in several areas in the second day.
As mention in the previous Captain’s log, at 1015 on day 2 engines were heard rumbling in action again. Our SOA was increasing and it was decided a bit of mechanical assistance was needed as the wind was not in our favour. Sails were still set as we were optimistic that the winds would change as forecast. Unfortunately the winds did not change and was decided at 2300 to furl sails and set a direct course for our third way point. As we headed directly into northerly wind it got a bit bumpy on board again and for those on watch it was incredibly cold. Thankfully our 12 berth disco had been earlier in the evening, as it bears the brunt of rough weather and would have made for some incredibly interesting dance moves.
At 0830 today we hit our third way point. We had planned to tack at this point but other vessels in the area made this a bit of a risky manoeuvre and decided against it. We were ever mindful of arrival time. At this point we had to request permission from Captain Gav to extend our arrival time at Way Point Four from 1000 to 1130. As we motored closer to land there was an increase in the amount of recreational sailing vessels out. This kept those on watch on their toes, as these smaller vessels tend not to always show up on radar. Thanks to some stellar navigation we hit our fourth and final waypoint bang on 1130. It was unfortunate that we not able to set the square sails as weather conditions did not allow. However we think we did a pretty good job with the sails that were set.
Our hard working Engineers Ali, Jarrod and Pip have kept the ship engines and other mechanical aspects in fine working order for the duration of our command period. They conducted planned maintenance and defect rectification. This included replacing the stern light on the ships 4.7m RHIB, cleaned sea strainers in the engine room and changed the sacrificial anodes. They weren’t able to completely escape the cold of the upper decks as they had to manually defrost the freezer. Possibly the most important engineering job is the coordinating and running of Ropeys. It was a spectacular effort and was thoroughly enjoyed as the Crewies were not the spectators this time. To the Staffies credit, they participated 110% and provided much laughter to all. Just prior to lunch today the engineers saved the day as the fresh water pump stopped pumping. In no time they had the problem sorted and the entire crew was relieved they did not to find alternate means of fresh water.
To round out this edition of the Captain’s Log, we have a brief aside from Derry and I – summing up our 48 hours in command of the STS Young Endeavour.
Cap’n Doyle: From my perspective, seeing Voyage 4 crew’s commitment to achieving goals as a team and functioning simultaneously within several different cogs in well oiled machine has been the overall highlight of my time as Captain and of the command period. I’m immensely proud of everyone onboard and of our achievements in the first 24 hours. Similarly, I was blown away by Cap’n Carroll’s ability to step straight in at 1000 and pick up the ropes of the captaincy without a pause in her stride. It was a huge pleasure and a great honour to be elected captain from amongst such a strong field of sailors and gain the chance to work with Lach, Ann, Harker and Tom within the leadership team. I was equally honoured to step in beside the World Voyagers on command day 2 and haul ropes with this unforgettable bunch of people. As our good Navigator once said, “You have to be a bit sideways to step aboard this vessel, but the great thing is that everybody else onboard is a bit sideways as well.” I don’t think we’d have it any other way…
Cap’n Carroll: I agree with all that the dashing Cap’n Doyle has said. The Command period is designed to test our limits as a crew and I believe that we tested them and at certain points found them. It is an exercise in teamwork, decision making and sailing. Throughout this 50 hour period the crew maintained high spirits, worked exceptionally well as a team, kept good lines of communication and achieved 16 of the 17 set tasks. I’m sure many of us will look back on this time and in years to come and think, yep we sailed our nation’s sail training vessel the STS Young Endeavour across the Bay of Biscay under our command. Everyone on board deserves full credit for the effort they have put in and I can’t fault any of the Crewies. A special thanks is also required to the Staffies, their support, humour, participation in Ropeys and occasional piece of advice was greatly appreciated during our command period. This is very consistent with your behaviour throughout the voyage and we think you’re a special bunch of people. Thanks Staffies!