Captain's Log
Voyage 14/22
9 December 2022

Day 7 – Command Day preparations

Ahoy there Landies!

At the crack of dawn, Red Watch was at the helm sailing up the coast past all the lights of Sydney and Wollongong. After the slight distraction of a shark fin spotted off the stern(!), we made our way past Baronjoey Headland and Palm Beach of Home and Away into the Hawkesbury River/Dyarubbin. All three watches completed their sail setting and furling test under the strict eyes of Engineer Sumo and Captain Mike before we weighed anchor in the beautiful calm waters among the cliffs, jellyfishes and scenic river houses of Broken Bay.

Red watch leader TJ presented to us about important flag signals and Morse Code for clear communication between boats both during daylight and at night, wrapping up with an engaging experiential game of Morse Code whispers using torches that can be seen very far away.

After another superb lunch and chill time for washing on deck and enjoying the calm waters, we had an epic all-areas revision game of Ropies, culminating in a zooper doper chugging relay between the watches. Some understood the instructions better than others, resulting in unfortunate disqualifications but lots of laughter with a side of brain freeze.

A literal highlight of the day was the whole Youth Crew going aloft on the foremast, climbing out on the footropes of the topgallant, topsail and course yards to heave up the sails, tying the gaskets securely on. It was quite challenging for some, but a fun bonding moment for all of us to be up there together in the sunshine and cool breeze.

Later in the arvo, Captain Mike briefed us on the different leadership positions up for election, allowing some Youthies to begin pitching their ideas and campaigning for votes. After another beaut barbie on deck backed up by the sweet tunes of JB, as well as Midnight Oil, we held our Command Day elections! Our amazing suitability shipmates (actual Navy peeps) helped us out with the conduct of fair and honest, but also fun, elections.

As the sun was setting, we created an on-deck lounge room with our sleeping bags and fenders, tucked into some yummy ice creams and fresh popcorn, and enjoyed an incredible short documentary on the Peking. This was the largest tall sailing ship of its time (1929), carrying eight tonnes of cargo around Cape Horn, only powered by the manual work of the giant crew. The film was black and white, filmed in the ’20s in crazy conditions (e.g. five square sails aloft, only holding on with bare hands), and with a running commentary by the cinematographer recorded in the 1980s.

All tuckered out from a massive day, we headed to bed to sleep for as long as possible before our one-hour anchor watches checking on the ship overnight. What a happy, successful day at sea.

Stay around to hear about Command Day tomorrow!

– Lizzie and Ada