HMB Endeavour: Sydney to Jervis Bay Voyage – Day Three

Monday, 19 April 2010

Noon position Lat 34º01.7’S  Long 151º32.3’E
Becalmed, 15nm due east of Botany Bay

Day’s run 33.4nm

Shortly after noon we sailed along with James Craig off our starboard beam and 8 sails set! We were heading nor’ east away from the coast, waiting to catch the sea breeze to help push us south.

Preparing to wear ship

Most crew and voyage crew alike who were not on watch were resting down below or lying in the sun on deck. We heard the familiar “Bing Bong!” on the ship’s PA system and first mate Ben asks for ‘all hands’ to don harnesses and muster on deck – we are going to wear ship. When Endeavour wears we turn her stern through the wind and in doing so change direction. It is much easier for vessels of Endeavour’s type to wear rather than tack (putting the bow through the wind).

The light turned to liquid gold as the afternoon watch (1200 – 1600hrs) drew to a close and all we could hear was the gentle babbling and slapping of the water against the hull. As we waited for dinner to be called we passed the entrance of Port Jackson, heading south east.

During the dark of night the gentle breeze abated to nothing and the light airs caused problems for those on watch. Mainmast topman Amy and her upperyardy Nick were forced to wear ship during the first watch (2000 – 2400hrs) with only a third of the number of hands usually required. It was slow but they completed a successful wear.

As the night rolls on Mizzenmast have even more work to do during the middle watch (0000 – 0400hrs). The light airs are causing more havoc than if we had a decent breeze behind us!

Dawn broke to find Darbey, foremast upperyardy, and some voyage crew on the main topgallant yard unfurling in the glow of sunrise.

The water is deep blue and flat as far as the eye can see. The clouds are soft and white hanging in the bright sky and bulk carriers loom on the horizon like dark menacing hulks. The movement of the ship is minimal, just a gentle roll back and forth.

Just as everyone is lulled into a peaceful stupor we hear the cry “MAN OVERBOARD! MAN OVERBOARD! This is a drill!” The crew run to their emergency stations and the topmen and upperyardies guide the voyage crew with their sail handling until the ship is hove-to (the yards are braced in a way that the ship comes to a standstill).

Our rescue boat team - Tom and Nick, with 'Eggbert'

It soon becomes apparent that the victim is ‘Eggbert’ (the float for our anchor) and as he becomes just a small speck in the water the rescue boat is launched and he is safely back on board within a matter of minutes.   

As noon approaches and the adrenalin fades, our captain Ross, second mate Dirk and navigator Dave take noon sightings with their sextants and  assure us they know where we are!

All’s well.