Battle of the Barques 2018

29th September – 5th October

The battle is on

The 2 ships were alongside QE Terminal in Southampton. Before the voyage crew arrived, in the morning various members of Tenacious crew came for a wander around lord Nelson scouting out objects to hide or kidnap. The battle was on.

The voyage crew arrived in the afternoon and had the safety talks and evacuation drill. This was followed by hands aloft for everyone who wanted to go up. Some climbed up with assistance, others were hoisted up in their wheelchairs, Karen went the hard way she hauled herself up to the platform using the self- ascending gear a new challenge for her after many voyages on board. Those who did not need assistance climbed in their watches up the foremast.

Whilst this occurred the rotters on Tenacious were holding our cooks assistant Naomi to ransom. They took a photo of 2 permanent crew Micah and Maikel (with their faces blanked out!) holding bananas to her head and said they would exchange her for 4 non-disabled crew and a pair of size 4 wellies.

The Captain and a BM took over a pair of size 2 wellies as 2 +2 makes 4 and laid out 4 people on the dockside comprising of boiler suit bodies, glove hands and faces. The exchange took place they kept the real pair of size 4 wellies to be returned at the end of the voyage.

Dinner was welcomed by all the crew after their efforts getting aloft. After dinner we had a lovely birthday cake which had been made by Hammie to celebrate Jots 80th birthday. What a way to celebrate such a milestone, what could be better than being on Lord Nelson at the start of the battle.

After happy hour of cleaning the ship after dinner, we all made our way over to Tenacious and had some prosecco which Jot had brought with her, a glass was raised to Jot by both crews together for this occasion.

So, with all the crew on TNS on board you would expect a bit of vigilance for the lookout for retaliation. Its ok they were safe, and so was the lizard that lives in their chartroom, it was feeling a bit cold and neglected, and hid inside a coat of someone who stopped and talked to Maikel on the gangway before heading back to Lord Nelson for its holiday on the winning ship. Well Lord Nelson has won the past 3 out of 3 Battles so of course it wanted to come on here.

Jo- Medical Purser

Day 2

Set sail from Southampton on Saturday morning taking the busy route out past The Needles. After a water balloon broadside from Lord Nelson at Tenacious, we finally set off on the first race.

Barbara, our fantastic Captain, and Captain Darren in Tenacious, ensured that both ships had a close and exhilarating start. We had a favourable tide and gusts of up to 35 knots wind. Having got fully under sail we really started to move. A top speed of 12.5 knots was achieved, with a 20 degree heel, that made walking an interesting challenge, all sails doing their job. As a novice to tall ships sailing and this ship, the Battle of the Barques was a baptism of fire (and water!) and taking the helm at such a pace was thrilling. However, the rougher sea conditions ultimately took their toll of quite a few of us and in the end the permanent crew had to step in to cover for my Watch who were falling like nine pins into numerous sick bags! A great way to make friends….

The first race ended in a victory for Nellie – hurrah! – once the adjusted calculations had been sorted out, though without the handicap, she finished 9 minutes ahead of us. Great cheering amongst the whole crew at breakfast after such an exhilarating night’s sailing. Day 3 was more leisurely, and an overnight in Dartmouth was much appreciated by everyone – including the local hostelries who saw a bump in their takings as a result!

Back to sailing on Day 4 and a ‘standing start’ race saw the crew on the Nellie achieve a record-breaking 7 minutes 21 seconds to have ALL sails up and set – great work by everyone. However, it became apparent that the Tenacious’s speedier build was giving them a real advantage in this straight line, down-wind race and so some creative thinking was called for from the Bosun and BMs. In the pursuit of speed, no sail was left unfurled! Even a Bonnet triangular sail was rigged to the very top of the main mast  – with some seriously brave (and vertigo free) individuals doing a sterling job in getting it up. When even THAT wasn’t enough, the team resorted to a varied selection of duvet cases, sheets and scarves to get every last push from the changeable wind!

A large pile of cut oranges suddenly appeared in the afternoon, clearly at Jo’s insistence to avoid an outbreak of scurvy amongst the shipmates, and at least the more sedate speed of this race let everyone finish their books, have a snooze, or simply catch up with each other – and I now have a rather good recipe for Jamaica Ginger cake and rum trifle that I will be trying out when back on shore. Thanks Peter!  

This second race was won by Tenacious as, despite all our efforts, she finished well ahead. Deciding race tomorrow!!! (Helen Cooper)

The Third Race battle of the Barques 2018

Race Day 3 dawned bright and sunny, with slight seas and very light winds, yet all to race for! Happy hour after breakfast was the perfect opportunity to begin limbering up for the Battle ahead. Cunning plans were hatched to ensure that each member of the crew knew precisely where they were required when the cry, “Braces in hand, down to one turn” was given. Like Henry V’s

Shakespearean troops we awaited like “greyhounds in the slips” for the call for action.  The anchors of both Nellie and Tenacious were weighed to one shackle and then we were off!  Excitement and adrenalin took over as we set sail after sail, determined to make this the Defining Victory.  Once all squares, the spanker, upper spanker and some fore and aft sails were set, we were able to look around and to our surprise and delight saw Tenacious behind us, though apparently beginning to gain ground.  

Then came the wearing of the ship around a way point, so eloquently explained to us by Captain Barbara before the race started, yet a wild frenzy of activity when the moment came: “hand this sail”, “brace that mast”, “reset the course”, “hands to the spanker”, “steady on the helm” ……… as we headed for the line.

Tenacious, approaching from behind, looked glorious with all sails set and we momentarily envied those who could enjoy the sight of these two magnificent barques racing together.  Tenacious’ sleek form closed in towards us on our port side and her crew lined her decks, waving and singing. The excitement and beauty of sailing so close together was exhilarating, and despite our determination to clinch the victory, our crew took up their song and music filled the sunlit afternoon as we raced towards the finish, Nellie storming across just 30 seconds before her JST sister.  A glorious victory and a testimony to Captain Barbara’s skills as a tactician and an inspirational leader!

Kate Senior

Aft Starboard watchleader  

Photo credit Max Mudie