Have you ever wondered what happens in those gaps in the sailing programme when one of the ships is not at sea? Do the permanent crew sit around in the sunshine drinking tea?
Not so, and the days before Lord Nelson set forth to Glasgow were typical of such times. The crew were busy on maintenance including the messy business of cleaning out the onboard sewerage system, involving many of the watertight doors being closed to reduce the spread of smells. Finding one’s way from point to point in the ship required knowledge of all the possible diversionary routes. Into this organised chaos came two groups of trainee watchleaders, seven for the JST and fifteen for the Girl Guide trips due to start at the beginning of June. The watch leader courses were run over two days so the ship was well filled for the overnight stay. A quayside barbecue laid on by the Cookies Dave & John and Chris the Mate allowed everybody to mingle in the evening sunshine. Throughout the two courses, the trainees studied ship’s routine, emergency evacuation drills and practical seamanship. All those things required to make sure that your future voyages are both safe and enjoyable.
As is inevitable, a stores delivery arrived early in the morning and all hands were required to load and stow it away in the deeper recesses of the ship. You will have no idea of the quantities of food required to serve up to 50 meals three times per day until you taken part in this process. Later in the day the bar stores arrived and the same routine was required to lay down the basis of a number of pleasant evenings in the “wine cellar” below the bar floor.
No sooner had those two groups departed on the Tuesday afternoon, when JST supporters from the Southampton Branch arrived to prepare for the launch of the Pumpkinfest, an annual fundraising event in aid of the JST, to be held in October. (Check the website www.jst.org.uk for further news). Small parties visited the ship throughout the Tuesday afternoon and were entertained to cakes and drinks and the challenge of entering the pumpkin festival.
Peace returned in the early evening as the Watchleaders for the next voyage came on board to settle in and prepare for the arrival of the Voyage Crew on the next day.
So, no peace and holiday time here for anybody!
Phil Watts WL trainer and W/L Fwd Port LN 744