Endeavour adventure: Day two – training, drills and systems checks

31 March 2010:  Breakfast begins at 0700hrs and unfortunately it’s raining. After the first mate’s quick briefing for the day the crew begins prepping and training.

The crew’s first job was to re-familiarise themselves with the safety aloft system, sail setting and reefing in the rain. Oh well, I guess it’s best to get used to the dampness.

Reefing means to shorten the sail, which is no mean feat considering Endeavour has up to 17 sails that altogether contain 10,000 square feet of synthetic canvas.

For the safety aloft system and sail setting, training is essential. There is a system to selecting what sail is set in different wind strengths and conditions. While there are traditional and modern means of weather forecasting, there are occasions where all hands (all of the crew) are needed. For example when conditions get so bad that everyone is called to manage the sail – usually in the dark hours of the morning and 100 feet up the masts!

Today we also ran through the emergency fire drill where we simulated a fire from the galley – apologies to our catering officer.  I am pleased to report that the first response unit, followed by our second response unit (with breathing apparatus) and our emergency diesel fire pump managed to extinguish the fire and save our lunch.

After lunch the crew was back to cleaning and stowing after a large truck load of victuals (food supplies) arrived – lucky our galley was saved from fire!

Then it was all hands on deck again to form a human chain to carry 500kgs of meat below deck (aft) to the freezer. There is no demarcation on this vessel – when a job has to be done it gets done together!

Below deck Endeavour has a walk-in freezer and fridge that can store food for many months at sea. This is crucial with 56 hungry sailors on board and no convenience store out at sea. A happy crew is a well-fed crew.

There were also plenty of other jobs completed today. We installed a new satellite system to communicate through the internet, and a systems check of our radio communications and navigational aids.

Yours aye,
Captain Ross Mattson

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