Day 2 Portland – Hobart

Getting to grips with the futtox

Latitude; 38°23.06’S

Longitude; 141°44.5’E

Distance run in the last 4hrs; 11NM

Average speed; 2.75KN

Weather; Sunny skies, temp 26°, force3 N x NW winds, seas slight

It is 1250 by the time we drop the anchor again, this time a few nautical miles offshore. The training continues but it takes all day to get the crew acquainted with the ships procedures and routines. There are a lot of tired faces come tea time, but there is still one more crucial thing to learn, where to string your hammock and who your neighbour is. Believe me it makes all the difference if you get a snorer!  Tonight it is anchor watch and so the crew will only have to participate in an hours watch each.

It is a dark morning but it is good to see that most people are still in their hammocks and have managed to obtain a little sleep on their first night. There is a lot to get used to, the smell, the sway, the sights and the dreaded sounds which are far, far away from the normality of slumber land. Talking of strange unfamiliar sounds, there is a very bizarre sound this morning which makes me wonder if I am actually on Endeavour. During the night it appears a considerable amount of crickets have taken residency in the rig, they sing and chirp along in chorus all morning.  When we have hot Northerly land breezes then we do tend to get an array of interesting bugs and creatures wandering the decks and climbing the rig.

Jiminy cricket trying to find his way home

We have a quick happy hour this morning, but we are keen to get away while the wind is blowing steady at 15 knots. The plan is to sail off the anchor and we are going to set the Foretop sail to do so, as it is just the right size for the wind strength and easy to handle for our chosen manoeuvre, which is to have the wind push us off the anchorage for our head (bow) to fall off from the wind.

When at anchorage the bow of the ship will always point into the wind so what we needed to do, to allow us to sail off the anchor, is to use the Foretopsail aback so that the bow of the ship will fall away, then we will have the wind abaft the beam so that we are able to just set our sails and sail away…..

All watches go up aloft and get their first experience of stepping out on to the yard, an experience that Jim describes as being ‘tense’ using every muscle to feel comfortably balanced up there. It is just as tense for those on deck as we get a small shower of crickets who have been hiding out in the furled sails. It is up to Foremast to weigh anchor and Mizzen mast and Mainmast to set the foretop sail. There is a lot of weight in the anchor cable because we don’t have the engines to come forward on to the cable, which takes off some of the weight and so Foremast get to experience just how it would have been to weight anchor back in the 18th century. The ship beautifully manoeuvres to plan and then it is all hands to work together to set the sails. Next up is the Main course, then Fore course, Main topmast staysail and Main topsail. Chief Officer Dirk makes sure that the crew learn how to work together by encouraging them to shout ‘heave’ in unison while hauling, after he shouts out ‘two, six’. This is the most effective way to ensure everybody is working at the same time and not making the work twice as hard.

It is now time to set the spritsail.

All is well.

sailing off the anchor

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