Welcome to the Irish Sea and a force 8 gale!!
My previous helming experience on the voyage was nice and relaxed and was done in shorts and tee shirt. Today was something a little different.
On being woken for an early breakfast we were warned that it was a bit windy and that it had just started drizzling. Not a problem we thought, but things soon took a turn for the worse. Full wet weather gear was required as the rain soon started coming in horizontally and the sea was very rough with waves of at least 5 meters. (Or maybe 3!) Helming took all of my concentration as the ship was bucked and turned all over the place by the strong winds and waves.
Not surprisingly not many members of the crew appeared for lunch!! Instead they were curled up in their bunks feeling sorry for themselves as seasickness took its toll.
Those that did venture out found moving around the ship fairly difficult as she was pitching and rolling all the time and judging when to take a step proved challenging for some.
Now for the good news...
Shortly after 3pm it was announced over the tannoy that the winds had dropped , so we all went out on deck ready to do battle with the sails and their weird sounding names!
I put myself forward to climb the rigging and release the sails so they could be set. I can be a bit crazy like that sometimes!!
So with my full harness on and my heart in my mouth I climbed the foremast up to the second yard. What I didn't appreciate until I got up there was, that even with the reduced swell, the mast still moved an alarming amount.
Oh well, I thought, I can't go back down now. So with expert help and guidance from Bosun David we undid the ropes holding the sail in place, which was scary in places as sometimes you couldn't actually hold on to the yard with your hands and had to rely on balance and luck to stay upright, though we were harnessed on.
We released the sails from the second and first yard and climbed back down to the deck. Only then did I realise how much I had enjoyed the experience.
I just hope someone got a photo of me up there!
The whole crew then worked together to set sail on both the fore and main masts and after much pulling, puffing and encouragement the sails were set.
All this was done whilst the ship was rolling heavily and we were all glad it was over.
So with the sails set and the ship heeled over at 20 degrees evening meal was taken by the few remaining people not suffering from seasickness, which was eaten quickly to avoid the food sliding off the plate.
Yet another excellent produced by Graham the chef and his team of helpers.
How they produced the quality of the food in these conditions I'll never know.
All in all it's been quite an eventfull day that none of us will forget for a long time, for many reasons!!
All the best
Dom, Aft Stbd watch