Yesterday was the first early start for me and my watch- we managed to avoid one of the night watches because we were in harbour. I'm afraid it wasn't to last.
After breakfast we were shown our harnesses and most of us had a go at going aloft- and suddenly those 'little clips' on the harnesses became our new best friends. Being around 20metres in the air on a yard arm is thrilling, but it's nice to know you're attached to something other than thin air.
Quite soon afterwards, we left the dock with a great stream of other tall ships-however in spite of the mood setting fireworks the night before, getting out was a tiresome process. We were first into the lock and we sat there for a couple of hours - it's a very big lock! Finally, we were free- if only to come back down the river a few hours later for the parade of sail. I think for myself and most of the rest of the crew it was the first time I'd actually BEEN the tourist attraction.
For me personally, the two top thrills of the day are pretty hard to choose between. One is that I got to go up by myself as we set the sails for the first time (it was all for show) and I went out across the yard arm on the lower topsail to do some real work- made me feel like a proper sailor, even if the rope got stuck.My other experience that rated pretty highly on the Tall Ships Awesomeness scale was doing our night watch, from 8pm till Midnight, and being able to steer the ship and 'park' her at an anchorage by the mouth of the river.
I doubt I'll ever feel the same thrill behind the wheel of a car, and my aching cheeks remaining as testimony to my persistent grin all four hours.
Today we start the Tall ships race, and thought a little sleepy, I just can't wait!
Ella, Forward Starboard Watch