Ambassador Story
23 April 2017

Friendships through Storms

“When I look back at my time on the Young Endeavour, there are so many moments that I remember so fondly.

Moments that make no sense to anyone that wasn’t on Voyage 07/17.

From calling in Blue Watch, to “classic white watch”, dancing to the doorbell music every time Brett came out of the engine room, watching dolphins skim along the side of the boat and learning so much from Captain Mike, and the whole team on-board.

But there is one moment that sticks so vividly in my mind, that even now, I can feel every single part of it. Command Day.

I’d finished my midnight watch, where I had been helming for about an hour in gusts of up to 40 knots of wind. Something we hadn’t felt on the boat before now. At this point in time, the ship was ours to navigate and helm safely to our next anchor point.

I did one more round of checks on the Engine Room and temperature levels before our watch handed over to the next watch. I left them at 12:30AM with the words “if you need an extra hand, please just come and get me”.

At 2:20AM I was woken, shaken by the ankle. A sail needed pulling in on deck.

Heavy-duty wet weather gear pulled on over bare skin, and my harness tightened, I went up onto the deck. The boat was rolling side to side, heaving under the pressure of too many sails in too much wind. The deck was illuminated by the flood lights; the same lights that illuminated the white wash of waves every time they broke over the boat.

A lot of crew was clipped onto the side of the boat, unable to combat the frustration that is sea-sickness. The remainder of the crew had lines spread out across the deck, ready for what would be an almighty feat of teamwork.

I remember standing up on deck, at 2:46AM, with a rope in hand. I looked down at what looked like a scene cut from a movie; people being pushed along the deck every time the boat rolled, but who always got back up.

People who started off as strangers but now were family. A situation that a week ago would have sent us all running home, but now we were tackling as a solid team.

I won’t ever forget that night. If I get given the chance to go back to just one moment one more time, it would be the moment where a team got a ship through stormy weather and thrived.”

Lisa McPhee