Nellie is currently sitting quietly at anchor in the Solent, 2 cables north of the West Lepe buoy. It’s very quiet and a bit lonely on watch at the moment with only the sound of the man at VTS on VHF channel 12 (he sounds like a very nice chap) to keep me company. The picture on the radar hasn’t changed in nearly 3 hours, I’ve done my chart corrections, have finished polishing all of the brass in the chartroom and so I thought it was time to pick up the blog machine!

We left Weymouth yesterday evening at 1700 after two weeks of maintenance there.  We have achieved much with a small but skilled and enthusiastic team of maintainers including Tobias who came all the way from Auckland!

Bosun Dave and his team of BMs (Lydia, Tobias, Craig, Vicky and Stu) have replaced the mizzen cranlines and many ratbars, the whole rig has been re-tensioned plus Sarah repaired the main t’gallant, fore course and spanker (all three sails were casualties of the races against Tenacious).  Doug has been doing lots of electrical work including sorting out the illumination level of the bridge rudder angle indicator.  Betty spent her time repairing curtains, ensigns and engineer’s boiler suits, Penny and Pauline played with the rubber seals on the stormboards and became very familiar with the aft pump room whilst Diana became an expert on ‘Metalbright’ and the DOTI boat wire.

Bradley and Mary-Anne discovered hidden woodworking skills, Darren turned  his hand to all manner of tasks whether on deck or in engineering, JB spent days riding up and down on the port bridge lift (allegedly doing something engineery to improve the ride quality) whilst Ruth drove around Dorset and Hampshire delivering and collecting essential items for the ship.  All the while, Bill was in the Galley helping Cookie Dave keep us fed and watered. Maintenance really does make use of all manner of skills and knowledge!

We would like to give a huge thank you to all of our maintainers and volunteers for your hard work, enthusiasm, willingness to ‘muck in’, learn new skills and discover parts of the ship you didn’t know existed. (Apologies if I didn’t mentioned you by name).

We are due to commence weighing anchor at 0630 and will then be alongside in Southampton for a few more days until, like the swallows, we head south for the winter and start our voyage to Lisbon.

Lesley, Second Mate.