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12/02/13 - Tenacious
The Boatswains' Tale.
It was an early call to all hands with the pipe for all hands to turn "turn
too" being made at 0630 in the morning. Yes "O six hundred" standing for "O
my god that's early" but you're on the Tenacious now and a day's full of
adventure is about to unfold.
The voyage crew emerge one by one to their mooring stations and the pilot is
welcomed aboard. The gang way is then swung back onto the ship and the
ships RIB (inflatable boat) is then launched to act as a push boat if
required and pick up the now stranded lines men.
The morning is an overcast one and there is a brisk chilling wind blowing
in. I realise I should count myself lucky as most of you reading this will
be snow bound with the central heating on full but I only packed one jumper.
It was cold on the RIB and by the time I picked up the linesmen I was ready
for the a cup of coffee. I was also now very hungry because of the smell of
bacon had been making its way across the harbour entrance for quite some
As I was the Officer of the Watch I took my leave from the breakfast
debating soiecty of the upper mess and relived the captain. The SW force
wind would be perfect for sailing from Siracusa to Reposto.
After the morning meeting the voyage crew were split into their watches and
mustered by their mast. As bosun I usually take responsibility for the
Foremast and duly briefed the keen faces in attendance that we would be
setting every sail on the mast with exception of the royal. This required
the climbers in the watch to climb up to the yards and untie the gaskets
which hold the sail onto the mast (we call this putting the sail into its
gear). For some this was their first time aloft since the first days up and
over and now there was the added challenge of climbing the rig whilst the
ship was rolling. Luckily the sea state was slight and there was very
little roll. Those first steps on to the rigging can be quite challenging
but I was pleased to see that every climber went up with initial confidence
and little persuasion from the Bosun!
Then the teamwork started, setting every sail on the mast takes some effort
and one of the great things about Tenacious is that it does not matter who
you are, or what your particular weakness or physical disability is you are
an important part of the team. Our foremast wheel chair user Daniela was
placed in charge of casting off the buntlines for the port side whilst the
heavier ones of us myself included huffed and puffed on the pulling the
sheets. One by one, the rolls of canvas bellowed into tall white sails
Tenacious accepted very one with a new lift of speed. It was the perfect
conditions. Crisp air, slight seas and 5-6 knots of speed. In fact once we
did set the royal (after I had been pestered by the entire members of both
fore watches) and John, the captain was getting worried about being early. I
was asked to throught some lines on th chart which kept us sailing without
having reduce sail, so I took us in land.
Daily routines then took hold of the ship, happy hour (the inappropriate
name for cleaning) and then lunch.
Due to the early start most of the crew took advantage of quiet time, whilst
some assist me with jobs aloft where the view was majestic.
All seemed well until afternoon smoko was served. One of the on watch
commented that the clouds were forming in the direction from which the wind
was blowing and wisely Richard the 2nd Officer took the decision to reduce
sail immediately . Another abandoned cup of coffee later, the sail had been
reduced. During this time the wind increased to up to 35 knots and the rain
threw itself down on to the deck and again the crew of the ship pulled
together to work as a team to get the ship safely through the squall.
After the excitement we were soon at the entrance to our next new harbour in
the port of Repesto we would be soon mooring the ship after a satisfying day
There were many tied people on board but we had gained the privilege to be
so and tomorrow presented the opportunities to explore our new surroundings.
Life on the open sea. I truly have a great job!
Ben Swain the Boatswain.