Tenacious 391

20th – 23rd December 2013

We arrived in Barcelona ready for our exciting Christmas voyage on the 20th of December. All of the voyage crew seemed full of energy, and we were all raring to go and enthusiastic to meet everyone else. We spent the first day in harbour, learning the ropes (literally!) and finding out the ship’s routine.

After a chilly start to the morning, the sun came out for our first venture out of the port. As we left, some of us struggled to find our “sea legs”. We had our first chances to climb the rigging whilst out at sea, in order to release the gaskets so we could set the square sails. Whilst we were doing this, we were lucky enough to see some dolphins who were playing in the wake and followed us a little way. Eventually we were ready to set the sails, and everybody was shown how to brace the yards. We all enjoyed the first watch, and Rita was particularly keen to learn how to helm the ship- taking us almost 15 degrees off course at a time, but we had to laugh!

Despite the cold, we braved lookout duty too, doing star-jumps to keep warm- but trying not to wake up our crewmates in the cabins below! We learnt how to fill in the weather log too, although after four hours in the cold the smell of lunch wafting up the stairs was almost too much to bear. We were relieved to tuck into a delicious meal- the cooks are definitely keeping us well fed! Josh, Jacquie and Hector from our watch had the job of “hoisting the Christmas tree” to the top of the mast, and then they went up with Katie the bosun’s mate to secure it to the top of the mast- we were all feeling very festive by then, especially as the rest of the crew had been decorating below deck.

After just a days sailing, we reached the beautiful island of Menorca, and it was all cameras on deck to snap the scenery on arrival! We came alongside in sunny Mahon, and were surprised to be spending the 23rd of December in shorts! We had a chance to go ashore and had a lovely filling meal with our watch, as well as those of us who are old enough sampling the local tipples as well. We met some of the locals too.

Our day alongside in Mahon was spent doing ship maintenance, and climbing the rigging -Hector and Jacquie climbed to the top of the main mast to touch the top and enjoy the view. Those who wanted to do assisted climbs had the chance to, and we all helped to ‘belay’ Rita who was really chuffed with herself, and so she should be. We all helped hoist Sue’s wheelchair up the foremast. Some of us went ashore to enjoy the sunshine and the local shops. We have now left Mahon, and are looking forward to spending our Christmas Day in Majorca. (We’re not quite so enthusiastic about our early morning watch though!) As a watch, we are also very grateful to our lovely watch leader Cate who has done a fab job of keeping an eye on us all! Also to the permanent crew who have been very good at teaching us all we need to know, in both formal sessions, and offering advice/ answering questions.

Lots of Love, and an early Happy Christmas from Forward Port! (Cate, Josh, Hector, Chris, Andy, Rita, Jacquie)