Captain Simon has blogged about how great it feels to be moving, as we depart Sharpness and head towards Portland.

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She’s out! The ship left Sharpness this morning, bound for Portland.

Darren relieved me last week after we got the ship out of the Drydock; he and the team are now on their way down the Bristol Channel, butting into fresh westerly winds to start with. I gather some folk went down to see the ship off this morning. It’s always nice to have someone around to wave the ship off, so thank you for making the effort – or were you just making sure she left?!

I spent much of my last week before leave working on the Ship’s Certificates, there being rather a lot of them. We have two main regulatory bodies to whom we must demonstrate that the ship is safe to go to sea and to do our job. The first is Lloyds Register; they look after the hardware as it were – the structure of the hull, the masts and spars, the main engines and generators, the equipment to ensure we comply with international regulations concerning oil, air and sewage pollution as examples. Then we have the MCA who are perhaps more about the systems and how we operate the ship. They look at all the Deck and Engineer Officers’ Certificates, check that we have procedures in place for working the ship, for training people and for using the various pieces of navigational, engineering and safety equipment. I’m pleased to record that the issue of our myriad certificates has been approved.

As always, we’ve been amazed and delighted with the number of folk volunteering their time and effort to come and help onboard. I know very many more people offered than we could accept – partly down to the usual issues of working in a commercial shipyard – but mainly down to Covid-19 restrictions. A big thank you is due to those who helped onboard, but thanks also to those who responded to the Tenacious at Twenty campaign and to all of you out there who continue to support the Trust in the various ways you do. We wouldn’t be here without you!

So, what now? We’ll be busy in December getting the ship ready to begin the charter work with the Royal Navy, a great project helping to develop the leadership and team skills of young sailors. Afterwards, we’re very much hoping that Covid will permit a more normal spring and summer doing our usual job – going sailing with lots of you!

Captain Simon

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