Temporary Watchleader, Sean was expecting a quiet First Watch, when he took over at 8.00pm. Unfortunately, shortly after 9.00pm, a member of the voyage crew was taken ill, and the doctor on board decided he should be hospitalised. As we were only 100 miles from Lands End, the coastguard decided to send a helicopter on a medivac to repatriate him. The watch cleared the afterdeck of the spanker sail and boom, and all other removable items. This was supervised, and substantially done by the permanent crew, who then evacuated all the voyage crew, save the helmsman, to the lower deck. This was done in a very calm and professional manner, and could easily appear to have been an exercise.
Shortly before midnight, the helicopter appeared over the horizon, spotlights ablaze, and matching Tenacious, which had all her deck lighting on. The pilot then spent about 30 minutes positioning the helicopter and lowering the hi line to the ship, where the permanent crew collected it.
Luckily, the weather was fine, with only moderate winds. The winchman then descended the line, harnessed the patient to him, and returned to the helicopter within 15 minutes, which then flew off to the mainland.
We were all very impressed by the skill and professionalism of the Helicopter crew, Tenacious is not an easy ship to approach from the air with all it's masts and rigging, and that of the permanent crew, who acted calmly and in an expert manner throughout. So much so, in fact, that the off duty watches did not know anything had happened until breakfast the next morning.
We are pleased to report that we have since heard that the patient is in a mainland hospital, and receiving all the expert care he needs.
On a lighter note, this morning was Iain's birthday, and as he is a keen guitarist, the cook baked a cake in the shape of a guitar. In the pursuit of modesty, only 2 candles were placed on it, which he blew out with no effort.
Chris & David FPW