Halloa, Beach Bums!
Today, the eight day of our voyage, was Command Day. The youth crew awoke to find that within the next few hours the entirety of the ship and its contents (crew included) would be under their guidance and protection. No pressure. The day started with the raising of the flag and a heroic cry of ‘All Hail the Banana!’ – our favourite fruity snack. It tastes the same coming back up! Afterwards was a clean of the ship and then short ceremony wherein the Ship was fully placed in the hands of the youth crew. With 27 tasks to complete, our day was to be packed full of action. Or so we hoped.
Already beginning the tasks; we sent out our ‘Beach Assault Team’ (six youthies rowing a rubber dinghy – coxswained by Navigator Josh) to shore to collect our navigation waypoints. While the BAT was away, a thorough secondary cleaning of the Ship was underway and youth captain (Arkady), sail master (Keanu) and officer of the watch (Sarina) sat down to prepare for the day ahead.
With the return of the BAT and our navigation waypoints charted we set off out of Port Jackson with a fierce westerly wind behind us. After deliberation and albeit some hesitation, up goes the cry, ‘Set the Main Staysail!’, and we are finally underway under our own hand.
With the Main Sail, Main Staysail, and Forestaysail all set we almost entirely miss our first way point – chalk it up to too much gusto – but we counter it by tacking the ship and making for the second waypoint, aiming to head to the other waypoints and then pick up the first one on the return journey. This plan was not built to last however. Winds of over 40 knots and swells as high as 3 metres bar the path. Conditions worsen as we find ourselves in a desperate sprint away from a mighty squall – Weather simply not fit for eight day fresh sailors. After discussions and compromises the youth crew face the fact that reaching that third point simply can’t be done. No matter, we still managed to enjoy the current sail and test our limits against the early marks of a storm. The ride back into Sydney only reinforces the idea that it was a good idea to turn back, with much heeling and pitching sending sprays over the command bridge. Above deck; all high thrills and adventure! Below deck; a few green gills and chocolate milk spills.
Making it back to Sydney, we anchor and conduct a quick brief to an exhausted crew. Some tasks completed, some tasks not so much, and beaten by the weather we turn in for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we rise to the challenge once again, determined to get through the tasks and make well of the latter half of command day.
On behalf of the V18/23 Youth Crew
- Arkady Walker, Youthie Elected Captain.
Thanks Arkady for your narrative of today. Unfortunately the weather go the better of us today and shortened the time we could spend at sea due to deteriorating conditions. We are now anchored in Hunters Bay, Sydney Harbour. We will complete the remaining Command Day activities and tasks tomorrow morning. Until tomorrow.
Yours Aye, Captain Mike
Weather: Showers, Wind: West South Westerly at 7 knots, 22 deg. C, Sea: Nil, Swell: Nil