International Fleet Review voyage – Day 6

After an exhilarating sail through the night, Sunday 29 September dawned bright and sunny. For some of the voyage crew, the sight of Sydney sky scrapers came as something of a shock but such is life in a square rigged sailing ship. You can only go where the wind allows. At the morning brief, the captain announced that the ship had covered over 500  miles since sailing and he was expecting to cover another 250 before the tall ship entry on Thursday.

Crew member at bracing station

Crew member at bracing station

A sailor’s work is never done and after the happy hour ritual of cleaning ship, all hands were called to bracing stations. Wearing ship this morning appeared to happen with ease, as the crew are now getting used to sail handling and working lines. Two watches were then called to shake out the reefs in the main and fore topsails followed by setting the spritsails and jib. Even with this amount of sail, the ship was reduced to a pedestrian three knots in very light airs.

After lunch an ‘all hands’ call was made but this time not for sails. Our Bosun, Ben, skilled in the art of cannon management explained the finer working of the ship’s main armament. Pointing out that the guns were cast from the original cannons jettisoned from Cook’s Endeavour in 1770, he proceeded to load and prime the required battery.  The captain’s order to fire the starboard cannon, elicited the response of ‘fire in hole’ and every grown man’s toy blasted into the Sunday afternoon atmosphere.

Ben about to fire the canon

Ben about to fire the canon

After the excitement of the cannon firing, a navigation lecture was held in the great cabin by the Captain, where he explained the concept of the noon sight. Reducing the problem into two dimensional geometry appeared to strike a chord with those present and tomorrow ten or so budding navigators will shoot the noon sun and produce a latitude. It is hoped they will all be in the same hemisphere. Attendance at the lecture might have been made attractive because the alternative was an afternoon of ship’s husbandry. Many hands set to scraping, sanding and repainting the rails and deck boxes.   One other point worth mentioning was the close passing of a merchant ship this morning carrying the blades for wind generators. Referring to both ships, one erudite voyage crew commented, ‘old wind, new wind’.

Many hands set to scraping, sanding and repainting the rails

Many hands set to scraping, sanding and repainting the rails

Another great day. With close whale watching over and the northerly wind building, a contented team went to dinner.

All is well.

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