Day 1 Friday 15th November

The small but select crew joined Tenacious this afternoon full of excitement for the passage to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Time was spent getting to know each other and getting settled in to cabins and bunk spaces with a bit of time for familiarisation with the ship.

Following a nice first dinner of chilli con carne, we had a brief safety briefing followed by time to chat in the bar and get an early night. Day 2 (Saturday) kicked off with bacon, egg and beans for breakfast then straight into the full safety briefing and talks on helming and watchkeeping, rope handling and bracing the yards. After lunch, those who wanted to climb the masts were fitted with harnesses and allowed to climb to the first platform under supervision.

The pilot joined at 4.30 and we cast off for a 2hour cruise down the river to the open sea. The highlight was passing under the double decker road and rail bridge and the old town of Belem with the castle and monument to Henry the Navigator. When we reached the sea, we set a couple of headsails and the mizzen staysail to give some support to the engine and dampen the swell which was giving the crew the chance to get their sea legs. We on forward starboard watch did the 8pm to midnight stint which passed uneventfully apart from a few ship sightings. With only the watch leader plus 2, we were helped by a young lad from Shetland (Rory) who seemed to know his way around the ship.

We’re on afternoon watch now on Sunday and having a nice sail with the two lower topsails having been set this morning. We’re heading almost southwest with a steady Force 5 WNW and sunny sky but a cool breeze. We’re heading for a stopover in Madeira where we should arrive in about 3 days. That’s all for now!

Fwd Starboard watch.

***

Day 3/4 – Will’s Transformation.

Having spent the previous day as messman, divorced from his watch for a
cruel 24 hours Will relished the prospect of returning to the bosom of his
watch, and finally coming to grips with the Atlantic Ocean. If only he had
enough to eat.

That night was clear and full of stars, the sea was empty. Empty of ships,
that is, it was full of water. Will took it all in and said nothing. The
ship rolled and bounced along, Anne grabbed onto things to avoid taking a
tumble. Bits of the ship, that is. Apart from when she grabbed onto Will.
Will smiled and said nothing.

Will’s wheelchair was by the lee rail of the bridge and he was attached to
that same rail by his safety belt. The horizon moved up and down behind his
head like a see-saw. Onwards towards Madeira, Tenacious moved on, like a
ship in the night, which was kind of a coincidence. Will gazed god-like on
the surface of the waters and said nothing.

220 was the course, Will, sat in the chair, gripped the wheel easily like an
old trucker. The rest of the watch huddled in the gloom, lost in their own
thoughts. Will steered the ship. 220. He wasn’t lost. He said nothing.

After the watch was relieved we went to the upper mess. Tea all round, and
apple crumble.
Will took a mug of tea and said, “I really enjoyed that watch.”

***

Tuesday 19th November

Greetings from Tenacious in the middle of the Atlantic.  We are a day’s sail
away from the island of Madeira.  Beautiful sunny day but sadly not much
wind.  We are entertained by birdwatching a charming flock of Goldfinches
who have hitched a ride.  We continue to enjoy Cookie Micah’s yummy meals
during the day and stars at night – including shooting stars, rising moon
and a spectacular Milky Way. Our Dutch Captain, Jeroen, estimates our
arrival at tomorrow midday.

Signing off from Aft Starboard Watch Led by
Lucilla and followed by Douglas, Stuart, Bridget and Vicky