Wind: 220 / 12 kts, Weather: overcast and passing showers, Swell: SW 2.0 m, Temp: 15 deg. C
Ahoy there Shipmates,
Overnight the ship remained on an ES Easterly course making an average speed of 9 knots.
After the morning watch had eaten breakfast and had time for a shower we had the morning brief in the café as the ship was rolling a bit and the decks still wet from the overnight rain and spray kicked-up by the wind. The brief was followed by the usual Happy Hour and then a bit of time off before the afternoon watch went through for lunch.
At midday the update on the race positions came in and we were very pleased to learn that we had made up one place overnight. We had overtaken Oosterschelde and were now placed 5th behind Lord Nelson, Tecla, Spirit of NZ and in the lead – Europa. The results also revealed we were making best speed and making-up ground on all ships!
During the afternoon we had round three of ‘Rope Races’, which included a ‘Staffy Rope Races’ round, followed by the second of my Sail Theory briefs, during which I talked about sail plans, go and no-go zones for the square sails and the fore-and-aft sails, the sequence of initially setting sails, sail trimming and the cause of weather and lee helm.
Next Sail Master Matt demonstrated how 3-Way Chats run, with assistance from the 3 A/Watch leaders Pru (B), Tom (W), Sarah (R) and the A/Sail Master Matt. The Returnees then had an hour to prepare for 3-Ways, which is a public speaking and memory challenge where the crew are divided into groups of 3, one from each watch. Each member of the group has to memorise the following information about the other members of their group: name, age, family make-up, home location, occupation, any pets, an interesting fact and then their favourite movie/book/TV show. The chats started at 1530 and each member of the groups didn’t find out which of the other two members they would ‘play’ until immediately beforehand. As you can imagine it is a challenge for the participants but a great way for the whole group to learn more about each other. The last thing, favourite movie/book/TV show has to be mimed and there is always stiff competition between staffies and youthies to get the most correct answers. After another of Luke’s delicious dinners, we settled into night watches, hopeful we would continue to make-up ground on the other Tall Ships.
Until tomorrow, take care.
Finally, the clouds have broken, revealing glorious sunshine and rolling waves – a welcome change from the recent choppy seas and dreary skies. We’ve put away the wet weather gear, and have finally been able to dry clothes above decks rather than in the engine room. Sea-sickness, at last, seems to be behind us.
The change in weather has brought about a greater change in the crew. We’ve finally been able to resume our daily activities such as rope races, happy hour, and sail theory, and have had a welcome afternoon of sunshine on the decks. Three-way conversations gave us an opportunity to get to know our shipmates a little better, and there is definitely an improved sense of camaraderie in the air.
The Returnees have indulged in sunshine, socialising, interesting costumes, and music. As I type, Blue Watch is being serenaded by the dulcet tones of Dougie on the flute, while down below decks, an assortment of video footage is being edited. With enough footage to make a feature-length film, the keen film-makers of the voyage have compiled a sneak preview of highlights that we hope will be ready by morning brief tomorrow. Families, stay tuned, as we hope to have the footage uploaded by the time we reach Auckland.
Our meals have continued at an excellent standard, and the cataclysmic fear of food flying halfway across the ship has abated, at least for now. Our resident master chef – the king of culinary delights – would like to send a shout-out to his beautiful girls Abby and Leah.
Today was ‘Hug an engineer day’, and the returnees planned a sneak-attack on Sumo.
Rainbows have provided some recent highlights. Red Watch was able to confirm that double rainbows have inverted colours. Blue Watch also witnessed a spectacular sight when a rainbow was visible by moonlight.
Overnight, we moved up to fifth place! With continuing good speeds, we have renewed hope of gaining ground on the other ships in the next day or two. Every blip on the radar gives us hope that the other ships will soon be in sight.
Sunset has come and gone, and we sit atop the mast in the serene darkness. The stars shine boldly above, and the moon occasionally pokes her head out from behind the clouds to send ripples of light dancing across the water. Here, in the darkness I sit, with nothing to see in any direction but the sea and the sky. And here, among people who mere days ago were strangers, I feel united. It’s moments like this that tell us; this is what we came for.
-Matt and Meg
Ps. Blue watch rules!
Meg would also like to send a shout out to her friends and family back home. Daniel, I hope you had an amazing birthday. Tam, I hope your wedding day was beautiful. Also hello to Matt, Brydie, Caitlin, and Chelsea.