Day 4 and what a privilege for me, as the new Chief Executive of this wonderful Trust, to be given the chance to recount some very special memories from the assisted climbs day. On the fourth day of my first ever voyage with the JST I had risen to the dizzy heights of messman and had been chopping onions, so thankfully had an excuse for the tears in my eyes as I saw some new friends make their climb. For some it was the first, others not, and for one who has sailed with the Trust since 1987 he has probably lost count of the times he has gone aloft. For everyone, however, there was a binding and overpowering sense of achievement; everyone felt the triumph and also the pain of the challenge. Carefully and with painstaking dedication, the permanent crew gently encouraged and accompanied my friends aloft, with all below never doubting for one moment the safety of the climbers. Having spent a good deal of my younger years at sea, and only really feeling just about safe enough to look after myself, I was in awe of these hardy and supremely experienced mariners who make the voyage crew experience what it is. Today I gained memories that will stay with me for along time.
Back from my reverie with a bump (or actually a swift kick from Jilly – reminding me I was messman!) we sailed just before lunch, and then set about feeding our triumphant team another of Cookie’s masterpieces, as Tenacious forged on into a long and gentle swell with light airs and brilliant sunshine. How does Cookie Dave make macaroni cheese so good – and on his wedding anniversary too!.
Bidding farewell to the beautiful and peaceful community of Riposto, who had taken us so generously to their hearts, to their enthusiastic smiles and waves, we promised to return. The wonderful message of the JST goes worldwide, crossing any language boundary; you only have to look in the eyes of the voyage crew to see their exhilaration and achievement, whatever their physical ability.
Heading gently back towards Malta, and looking for some wind, there are a few days left yet and no doubt some more special stories to come, which we will share with you, but suffice to say, the JST has gained another passionate convert!
Alex Lochrane (Fwd Port Watch)