It has been a busy few days for Lord Nelson and her crew.

On the 18th the reminder of the voyage crew joined. Some had arrived early to help out during the maintenance period where not only rigging and engineering systems were serviced and repaired but lots of sanding, varnishing and painting got done.

In order to avoid working during the peak of tropical heat, we have been getting up at 5.30am and starting work at 6 in order to finish up at 1pm.

Joining day is always a busy day, but the 18th was especially so because in addition to the pre-voyage briefings and stores arriving, we were asked to move the ship about 20 meters aft to make space for another vessel. We also had a surprise visit from a group of local children and their leaders for an impromptu tour of the ship. After this, we received our first briefings we proceeded with “Hands Aloft”, where everybody who wants to climb gets the opportunity to climb up to the first platform and then out onto the topsail yards. The view is always spectacular and especially for those of us not comfortable with heights, it is a great achievement.

After dinner we were given the opportunity to explore the town of Recife.

On the 19th we started with rope work and bracing training. At Smoko we celebrated Jane’s birthday with a lovely cake, after which we had the full mate’s briefing on the ship’s routine and ship safety, and then the evacuation teams practised assisting wheelchair users up to the weather deck in the event of the lifts failing. Afterwards we had our first evacuation drill where we practice getting to our muster stations and donning our life jackets in case of an emergency.

After that more stores arrived and some voyage crew had the opportunity to climb down into the galley store to help put everything away. Many of the crew where surprised to see how much food it takes to feed a full ship’s complement but all of us are happy to know we will not starve.

After lunch we had shore leave to explore the town some more and many spent the evening supporting the team of their choice at the big screen in the fan zone.

On the 20th we went to harbour stations right after breakfast. Leaving the quayside was slightly unusual as we had been offered the service of two tugboats free of charge. Captain Barbara completed the manoeuvre without a hitch, as usual. Then it was time for Smoko and another birthday. This time we celebrated Iddy with another delicious cake.
As we passed the pier heads, it was time for those comfortable aloft to loosen the gaskets in preparation for setting sail. By lunch time we had almost all square sails set and where heading north, towards the equator.

After lunch it was time for Forward Starboard’s first watch at sea. After 2nd Mate Jim’s briefing on helming (i.e. steering the ship) and keeping a proper lookout we settled down and took turns practicing what we learned.

As our first day at sea draws to a close, some of us are a little unwell as they are looking for their sea legs but all are in good spirits and looking forward to this adventure. 26 miles down, 2200 to go until our first stop in the Caribbean. Our first way point however will be crossing the equator where those of us who have not yet done so will be inducted into Neptune’s court.

Lots of love to all who we left behind,
Forward Starboard: Amelia, Beth, Brian, Chris, James, JC, Jim, Jude and Margaret