Captain's Log
5 September 2000

The Rescue Mission

Things were going great yesterday evening until about 2000 when the ship came off its course and with all three square sails set and no headsails, being way out of balance, the sails went aback. After two 360’s, the YC finally figured it out and got us underway again. It became one of those unique YE challenges that makes the command day so worthwhile.With the ‘rescue’ mission cancelled, the ship tacked at 0400 and started working northwards back towards Sydney. Today has seen the YC go from strength to strength as they have sailed the ship very well. At 1315 the final tack was completed to lay Sydney Heads and the ‘finish line’ was in sight only a mile away. Having already weathered quite a tempest during the voyage, one would think that we have had our fair share of strong winds. Mother Nature had other ideas though. A sudden wind shift from the west and an increase of wind speed to over 40kts came without warning. The ship was way over canvassed and we were forced to bear away and run with the wind. Sail was quickly handed in, however it meant that we would not be able to sail to our command day destination. The YC were disappointed, however, their performance has been very good and this should take nothing away from their accomplishments and should all feel very proud.The ship motored into Sydney Harbour in the very strong westerly winds and anchored in Neutral Bay at 1500. The strong winds also prevented the Beach Assault Team from strutting their stuff so that event will be put on hold until tomorrow. This evening we will debrief the command day where we will all sit down and discuss the highs and lows of command day and what we learnt from the experience. Tomorrow will be a busy day as well conducting a half-day sail in Sydney Harbour.YC entry by ‘Captain’ David Thomson (age 22 from Brisbane) ‘An adventure at sea under sail’. This is indeed what we have received, particularly during command day. We have been pushed to our limits and forced to think and act outside our comfort levels.Yesterday afternoon at 1400 I took command of the STS Young Endeavour on what has been an experience of a lifetime. Learning to and testing my ability to lead a crew, plan strategy, solve problems and importantly achieve objectives are lessons I will remember and cherish forever. After an interesting and deeply honest debriefing I am confident the entire crew shares my thoughts.After taking command off Broken Bay at 1400 Sunday we bobbed around waiting of breeze. For me the times we have spent in no wind gives some idea of the doldrums, something we all learn about in Primary School geography but never really experience. Finally, after some sail changes made necessary by the fierce cold front of 3 days ago a 10-15 knot north easterly came in, with which our southward track could begin.By 1500 a hypothetical call for assistance was received from a distressed charter yacht off Port Hacking. Affording all possible assistance became our mission for Command Day. By dusk the sea breeze has died and once again we waited for more wind, during which the YC attended a disco on midships. With a westerly blowing we reached the location of the stricken vessel with further news of their already successful rescue. Happy to achieve our secondary mission we tacked and headed at the best course towards Sydney. With the northerly wind we plotted at 070 and so headed out to sea.In the early morning the northerly strengthened to 25-30 knots. With all main sails set we made a quick ride of 10 knots. I become increasingly worried of the forecast wind change from the west, this making our sail back towards the coast difficult. Luckily the northerly held and we could sail close-hauled making several tacks towards the heads. By now the crew was executing all boat handlings with skill and swiftness. Equally the Navigators plotted accurate fixes.On the final few tacks towards the heads the wind shifted and strengthened to 40 knots from the west ��� this making our course impossible. We furled and clewed up sails, started the motors and headed in to the harbour.Command day has been a success, by the time the westerlies came all crew and officers knew their roles and the ship was sailing well.Being Captain has been a great experience that I encourage others to strive for.It has been another huge day in the officeChat tomorrowAndrew (and Dave)


33° 51' South / 151° 13'


Current Situation at 1800: At anchor Neutral Bay, Sydney Harbour, Wind W 25 kts, Temp 20C, Clear