Finally, we have arrived in Jersey and it’s a sunny Easter Sunday afternoon. It almost makes the last 48 hours seem like a dream! First of all we set off from Southampton with a weather forecast only for those brave enough to read it and a weather map that looked a bit like a zebra’s backside! It was lashing with rain and we gave our foul weather gear and wellies a good work out! Isn’t it typical that as soon as we were underway, smoko was announced and out came the sun, albeit the wind was gusting 30knots and was bitingly cold at that! As we came west along the Solent, the wind veered (as forecast) and we had a superb sail, although it meant that the watch had to be extra vigilant for all the other sail craft making the most of the good sailing weather. The new voyage crew were taught how to brace the yards and set the sails. We came up as far as the Gurnard Ledge, then we weared ship (turned about) and came to an anchorage off Yarmouth Roads. Many of our voyage crew are enjoying their first time at sea, so coming to anchor for the night was pleasant and made for a relaxing night all round, especially as many of us have been working long hours to ensure that the winter’s refit of the Lord Nelson was completed and she was ready for her new season. Talking of which, those of you following our progress would maybe like to know that we have achieved the following:
We now have a new sign on back of the ship positioned higher on the stern. We also have new engines. The generators have been refurbished. The foremast and main mast have been rewired, inspected and reset. Apparently a coin was placed under the masts in keeping with the tradition that signifies when a shell becomes a ship – and it is also supposed to signify good luck!
The bridge has been relaid and the brass plaques refurbished, polished and reset. As the stern ladder has gone, Lou suggested that we now have enough room for a beach umbrella, table and chairs - uhmm, more fundraising first I think! Robin Knox-Johnson, famous for single-handedly sailing around the world non-stop, has also been on board recently with Solent radio for a good look at our improvements. Lloyds insurers have also been and given us a ‘clean bill of health’. We are now the proud owners of six new shower curtains which were very kindly donated by the JST Southampton branch. We have new heads (toilets) in the starboard midships area, paid for by money secured by the JST Dublin branch. HENRY’S VILLA HAS GONE! In its place now exists two much roomier foc’s’les, sporting four pairs of bunks plus a single one each. No longer are there any pipe cots in the fo’c’sle, and it feels more spacious and represents a great deal of hard work, particularly those of our many maintainers and volunteers who have kept everything going over the long winter months – but I digress......back to LN 738.
All hands were called at 0545hrs so we could get off the anchor soon after 6am. Then the weather picked up with the sea swell sending us pitching and rolling – this laid a few of our crew low, experiencing a nautical form of ventriloquism or ‘mal de mer’ as its sometimes also known! We stayed at sea overnight, happily it had settled to gently rolling and I must admit I am happy to report that we all bounced back quickly today (Sunday) as soon as we came alongside Jersey – or was it Alec our 2nd engineers birthday cake that made all the difference? As I type, most of the crew are making the most of their shore leave and exploring the island. I’m sure many stories will follow.....
Rachel MP LN