Tuesday 24 September was the first time the ship has been at sea in quite a while and the professional crew were up early to square away the ship and prepare for their 10 day voyage. An excited voyage crew had joined that morning at the museum and they were placed in watches after being introduced to their watch leaders and the rest of the crew.
As always, the ship has attracted a wide range of interesting people with some coming to experience the 18th century sailing environment, others joining to be a part of the tall ship sail in company and others still coming back in Endeavour to relive their amazing experiences on-board during the 2011/2012 circumnavigation.
After the ship had anchored in Athol Bay, the voyage crew underwent some training and familiarisation around the ship, ensuring they were ready for the next stage of the voyage. For many in this group, this was their first experience in a square rigged ship and in some cases, they were overcoming the challenge of climbing aloft.
After the training had been completed, the Captain put the ship through a variety of emergency drills making sure the crew were ready for any event. The drills included a man overboard evolution and after a buoy was thrown over the side, the voyage crew took their positions, bracing the cro’jack and launching the sea boat. At the end of a long day, everyone was ready for dinner and their hammock.
The second day started off very well, after a good night at anchor. Despite the long Day 1 and an early rise, the crew were keen to go and after clearing Sydney Heads began setting sails in perfect conditions. Mainsails, topsails and staysails were set and on cue, the wind filled in and the ship started gaining speed.
A short while later, the training undertaken the day before was put into practice. With the call of “all hands on deck” the voyage crew carried out their first wear and tack. As positions were manned and topmen prepared to make the calls, the ship was suddenly surrounded by a pod of dolphins, playing and dipping under the bow, another sea boat drill followed after which all on board settled into a regular sea going routine. Eighteen knots of nor’ easter breeze, carried the ship south and by nightfall, she was off Jervis Bay. A last call for all hands celebrated the birthday of one of our voyage crew with a cake especially prepared by the chef on-board, Nigel.
Day three on Endeavour and the routine was starting to fall in to place. With all the crew up, the morning deck scrub commenced, but at that morning’s crew meeting, the captain announced that instead of the normal “Happy Hour”, sail handling was to commence immediately. Explaining that the weather report indicated bad weather on the way, sail was to be reduced and reefs were to be put in the courses and topsails.
After the sail handling, many of the crew went below deck to try and get some well-earned shut eye after the almost three hectic days. Rest, unfortunately, is only for the wicked and the winds picked up almost immediately. By early afternoon it was blowing 40 knots and by late afternoon the wind was blowing at about 45 knots with gusts above that. Topsails had been taken and ship ran before the wind with a fore course, main and fore topmast staysails. Following and fairly uncomfortable day and night, the wind eased and by first light on Day 4, the ship was sailing on a broad reach to close the coast. After only 48 hours at sea, Endeavour had covered over 250 nautical miles and was some 90 miles offshore.
All is well