Diary of a Tall Ship’s Novice – Portion two, Days 3 – four

“Seasickness and going aloft” 0600 hours – early start off to catch the tide and head off to Poole by means of the Western Solent. Powerful winds continue but otherwise mostly dry, so scuppers are under water. Reefed the top sails and proceeded beneath storm keep sail and reefed tops’ls, exiting the Solent to the north. Poole Bay fairly choppy causing numerous attacks of sea-sickness.

Lunch was eaten in watches on the mess deck. Everyone hanging on to the table to keep put on the rolling ship. Not a day to be greedy and we were all glad to get back on deck for a horizon verify.

Did a bit of relief function in the galley as the mess guys were having a rough time of it. Even though not immune from sea-sickness I can normally cope if I’ve gone effortless on the food and alcohol the evening before. Our yardsman was not also pleased with the motion, but performed gallantly on the yard. The motion of the boat need to have been drastically amplified up there, and I was warned that standing directly underneath him was not smart.

We reached the entrance to Poole harbour – up the Swash Channel.Old Harry standing out clear, but unsurprisingly no nudists in Studland Bay. We managed to preserve sail in Poole harbour as far as the turn for Town Quay, where we moored portside to be next to the marina. Had my first trip up onto the yards to hand the tops’ls. Discovered the yardarm much more safe than it looked, standing on a foot rope and leaning out more than the yard. Glad we had been clipped on twice to a wire jack-keep. Having stowed tops’ls I climbed out on the bowsprit to assist with flaking the jib. All stowing completed we tucked in to dinner of thick pork chops followed by rhubarb crumble and custard. We’re undoubtedly fed properly with very good wholesome meals. Off to the pub for a pint ahead of turning in for the night with a enormous sense of achievement, regardless of foul wet climate.

Day four – “coffin dodgers” Up at 0600 hours. Poole Town Quay has wonderful new showers!Advised to have porridge to settle stomachs, but it wasn’t essential as we sailed in calm seas towards Lulworth.

The captain asked if there have been any Yacht Masters on board. As I was one, I was presented the helm to practise Man more than Board. Undoubtedly need a lot more practice and think my method out in future. I found it a lot more tough than usual to see exactly where the wind was coming from, and had to take into account that by swinging the yards, I could use their windage to manoeuvre the ship even although the sails had been furled. The captain operated the engine on my instructions and I identified it odd giving commands to such an eminently superior sailor. I managed to come alongside the MOB on my second try – the captain’s comments were quite complementary. Then the skilled Cox showed us how it was carried out, coming neatly back to the MOB in no time at all…good to know that we’re in safe hands if anything goes wrong.

West towards Weymouth, keeping nicely off the coast to avoid the army firing ranges. We had been hardly moving in light wind so dropped the rib for a photo shoot round the ship. Then sails were hoisted and we headed for Lulworth Cove. The plan was to enter cove below sail (engines on standby for safety),drop the anchor and spin round on it below sail, swinging the head round 180 ° to quit neatly in the centre of the cove ready for departure. This demands great teamwork and precise timing. The crew were referred to as to bracing stations – back the principal yard to swing the stern round, brail up the square sails and drop the jib and remain sails. Wonderful ship handling for such a tight manoeuvre.

Weighed anchor and headed off to Worbarrow Bay. We cleared with the MOD that firing had ceased for the day just before sailing in, anchoring and dropping sails. Took the rib ashore for a walk to Tyneham – the village taken by the war workplace, which in no way fulfilled their guarantee to return it to the villagers right after the Second World War. Extremely moving to believe what a honey pot it would have been if it was not in the midst of a military bombardment location. From the shore Royalist looked a image lying at anchor with just her spanker set – presumably to support preserve her steady at anchor, like making use of the mizzen on a ketch or a yawl. Returning to the ship we stowed the rib, set the sails and weighed anchor for Weymouth.

1100 hours – I’m on mess duty in the pantry, serving meals, making tea, washing up etc. All cooking is completed by our permanent crew cook.Had a lunch time talk on celestial navigation on the way to Weymouth but I couldn’t practise with a sextant due to mess duties. Climate was warm and sunny for a adjust and we noticed an older crew member lying flat out on the deck. One particular of the youngsters asked if he’s nevertheless alive, “you can never ever tell” she said “with these coffin dodgers”. “Coffin dodgers?” “Yes, old folk who are still alive but dodging their coffins”. Hmm – so that’s what the younger generation contact us “wrinklies” now.

Classic entrance at Weymouth, mooring at Town Quay for dinner of chicken and cheese pie. Off for a luxury shower and then to the King’s Arms for a pint or two prior to hitting our bunks at 2300 hours. What a contrast from yesterday – blue skies and glorious sunshine.

A day to bear in mind when we get back property. …….

to come – “tight turns and mud”, “fog and farewells” and “back to blighty”