Hello from Southampton, and welcome to the first day of the Boat Show! The day began nice and early, with a Happy Hour of extreme joy and bliss in which time we got the ship ready for the public. Decks were scrubbed, windows cleaned, brasses brassoed and white work wiped until the ship glowed. Despite a delay of having to move the ship back a wee bit so the chaps at a reputable powerboat firm opposite could have a better view past our gorgeous traditional rig and onto their shiny plastic showboat beyond in the marina, we still managed to get all the dressed overall flags hoisted with John and David’s extreme efficiency, and jib stowed with just about reasonable and slightly questionable (Craig’s) efficiency, the ship was opened to the public.
At just about the same moment, it was time to say goodbye to the departing crew of LN731, who, after an enjoyable week travelling from Great Yarmouth to Scheveningen, through the Dover Straits and finishing with a lumpy crossing back from Cherbourg, brought the ship safely alongside in Southampton last night. We are now joined by a team of hard working volunteers (and Terry’s equally hard working guide dog Kent) who have been onboard all day helping with the open ship and telling the public about the work JST does. While the bulk of the volunteers worked on deck and around the ship, a smaller, highly secretive and professional group of sewing and stitching experts were busy in a dark corner of the ship supervising the hopeless and threadily confused Craig attempting to repair the JST house flag. While Bosun’s Mate Sarah had done a professional job sewing the lettering back on, my attempts to hem the edge of the flag with whipping twine and were a little agricultural to say the least. Credit should also go to Cadet Ben who is patching the flag as we speak, and Alpha Cadet Chris who has been imparting slightly too much advice to be healthy for a young boy. Despite being hours behind schedule, involving far more people than first expected and far exceeding budget in terms of coffee breaks and fig rolls, the millennium flag is due to be hoisted back again tomorrow morning. If you want to see this great spectacle of engineering, bosunry and pure love, or in fact you want to see more of what JST does; the fantastic facilities on board Lord Nelson or meet the crew, then come and see us at Berth 101 throughout the Southampton Boat Show.