The reversion to normal service in the weather department didn't put off the Leadership at Sea group from accepting the challenge of getting a bucket of water up the foremast and back down the mainmast without spilling any.
After the usual scams of freezing the water or putting it into bottles or stretching a tarp over the bucket had been vetoed by the Bosun, they started knitting with heaving lines and the bucket made its precarious way from mast to mast and back down to the deck. The fact that by the end of the exercise everyone involved was soaked to the skin was entirely due to the foul weather, and the major cause of the minimal loss water was the wind ripping across the surface of the bucket creating a sea state that could officially be described as rough.
Oddly enough the chance to see the sea in shades of grey rather than the by now familiar blue seems to have been enjoyed by all. We had a superb sail through the night with just about every sail set at speeds of up to 10 knots. Those in bunks on the port side enjoyed a night's sleep safely nestled into the side of the ship, those on the other side had to trust to their lee cloths.
This morning, with the rain departed to the east and some patchy sunshine showing over a rough sea, we were sailing merrily along on course for the ship's next destination of Gdynia in the Baltic until the Captain reminded us that we had to drop some people off in Aberdeen which meant handing all the sails and motoring head on into a force 6 wind and a churned up sea.
Plan A had been to anchor for the night south of Aberdeen and make a surprise arrival from the wrong direction, but at the moment as we struggle to make just 2 knots, that Plan A looks destined to go the way of all its predecessors. We await further bing-bongs. Since work on the sundowners has already begun, charts are being scoured even as I write for a suitable place to anchor and drink them.
Those joining the ship in Aberdeen are advised to bring sunglasses. Not because the weather is expected to be sunny, but as protection against the glare of the new paintwork on the deckhouse applied by the BMs and some volunteers from the voyage crew and the brasswork that has been the subject of much-needed attention during Happy Hours.
Richard (Fred's Apprentice BM)