On Day 4 of the HMB Endeavour replica’s first voyage of the season, we woke to a lovely sunrise on the Hawkesbury River. It was time to pick up the enormous 2.3 tonne bower anchor that we’d rigged and dropped late on day 2. Even better, it was time to go sailing!
With the anchor safely lashed to the rail (along with a bit of that Hawkesbury River mud) we loosed sails and poked our nose outside Broken Bay late on Thursday morning. We found moderate swells and strong winds – mostly southerlies, which did not bode at all well for actual sailing back to Sydney.We had six sails set and for a while the wind looked as though it would allow us to set more, so both watches sent crew aloft to loose topsails (square sails) on the fore and main masts.However before the sails were loose and ready to be set, the wind picked up and we found ourselves re-furling the sails as quickly as possible.
For those who aren’t familiar with sailing, in stronger winds a ship will carry less canvas than she would in light winds. You may have seen pictures of Endeavour with most of her sails set – this would only be the case in light winds.
In strong winds, the smaller, higher sails could be torn, carried away altogether or put too much pressure on the ship’s rigging, which could pose a hazard to the ship. In this case, with 25-30 knot winds blowing and a relatively small crew on board, we were only able to safely set a small number of sails.
Still, the few sails that we’d set were certainly enough to provide plenty of hard work furling towards the end of the day, once we’d started the engines and turned around to head back to Sydney.
A few brave voyage crew joined the professional crew in the rig despite the rolling swell to bring in the ship’s two biggest square sails – the fore and main courses. It’s important the Endeavour’s sails are securely rolled up and lashed to the yard so that the sail can’t blow out and flog about in the wind.
The weather was against us all through the night as we motored into a headwind in order to get back to Sydney for the end of the voyage on Friday evening.We look forward to welcoming a new crew aboard Endeavour on Monday for the Botany Basics voyage to Newcastle!
– Suzannah Marshall Macbeth