The afternoon of 6th November found an influx of Voyage crew joining the LN for the journey round to Milford Haven. ‘Plan A’ said Clare ‘is to leave first thing on Friday morning, go down the Channel and get out to the west before turning north for Cobh, where we will have a night of culture and song, before a quick trip over to Milford Haven where the ship goes into dry dock. Depending on the Port management, there may be a chance for all to see Nellie naked battered bottom!’
Friday morning saw the departure of Ross, a young student, who had injured his hand prior to coming on board. Having a couple of broken bones is not recommended at the end of a voyage let alone at the start. However Cas who normally travels as Bosun or 2nd Mate, got the proverbial sandbag around the back of the neck and found herself getting a worms eye view of what it’s like ‘dahn below’. This meant that the voyage crew now outnumber the PC by one. Another PC member and we could play Rugby!
The day had dawned with a faint tinge of pink in the clouds. If the old proverb is true it should have been a blood curdling crimson! However, the clouds cleared and we puttered out of the harbour and down the Solent, past the Needles where we felt the first gentle motions of the seas. At Smoko, Tim was hauled off his death bed to celebrate his birthday like it or not! (That’s one way to spend your birthday – feeling sick, being sung to by fellow crew and then in bed alone at 1830hrs!!) Lunch was soup and already there were some absentees. At about 1430hrs, we braced the yards sharp up to starboard thus almost doubling our speed to 2.7 knots! On Aft Port first watch at sea, we had 100% attendance. However with Cas going on Galley duty at 1700hrs and Stan who had earlier left the Galley not appearing, and Peter the Watch Leader suffering, we were down to two to steer, do look outs etc night having fallen!
Supper was sparsely attended – only five participants – but as some had two dinners, Gerry the Cook knew his efforts hadn’t been in vain.
At midnight, being a three-watch system, we were on watch again, wind and seas getting higher and against us. At 0100hrs Peter WL again left, the scratchy feeling he had in his throat made him think even his toe nails were coming up. Had he waited until 0200hrs he could have had a couple of Lucifer’s (ginger chilli biscuits) made by a small grocer in Piccadilly, just the thing for a dark and stormy night! However with an air temperature of 13C at 0200hrs in November in the middle of the Channel, is not too bad at all, even when it is gusting up to 45 knots! At about 0330hrs it started to rain, not heavily, but enough to make it a joy to wake the next watch! ‘It’s blowing like ****** outside and I’m going to bed in 30 minutes ha ha ha!’
Breakfast was almost cancelled, only three takers, and we’ve only been going 24 hours!
Happy hour was even better as it only took a few minutes. At early dinner even Peter the Watch Leader ate and all four of us appeared on the bridge, on time for the afternoon watch. Peter left after an hour having tasted his Lasagne for the second time. As the watch wore on, more and more dire weather reports appeared. At 1600hrs we put up the inner jib and the mizzen staysail. Shortly after it was River Helford or bust, the F9 is upon us. Then it was supper, then it was taking in all sail and so the day draws to a close with us hoping to anchor about 2100hrs tonight.