Saturday afternoon’s entertainment was a talk by First Mate Fliss on square
sails. She explained the names of the different sails, the ropes that
control them and how to find the ropes on the pin rails on deck. The two
lowest sails on each mast are traditionally rigged; the other three are
in-yard roller furling. Despite the excellent talk, not all Aft Starboard
watch members are fully confident of being able to find the right ropes yet.
We haven’t had that much practice raising and lowering the sails because the
SE trade winds are so wonderfully consistent, enabling us to sail along at
an average of 6 knots, day and night.
Last night’s night watch (8pm to midnight) was cloudy, meaning we weren’t
able to continue with our tentative study of Southern hemisphere
constellations, but this morning (Sunday) dawned bright and fairly
cloud-free. Morning briefing carried the welcome message that today was a
‘day off’ with no happy hour!
Graham, our sailing vicar, held a well-attended service by the foremast.
The first hymn, Amazing Grace, was accompanied by Maggie on a low-D whistle,
and with several voyage crew members with fine singing voices, we made an
enthusiastic and joyful sound. Despite the impediments of the noise of the
wind and a pair of underpants dangling from the washing line overhead,
Graham managed to provide a fitting and uplifting service.
The wind is expected to drop tomorrow, so the plan is for some of the voyage
crew to bend on the main course (the big sail on the main mast, for those
not able to attend Fliss’ talk). The sail had temporarily been stored in
the forward on-deck PH head, under the inflatable paddling pool, and the
voyage crew assisted BM Mike in getting the very long and heavy sail out on
to the deck, while the other Bosun’s Mates filled the paddling pool.
After another delicious lunch Aft Starboard are on for the afternoon watch.
With an average sea depth of 4500m there is a little sea life to observe,
and no other ships in sight, so those of us not steering or looking out are
enjoying catching up on light reading or helping Second Mate Rowan with
meterological observations. The sea temperature was measured at 25 degrees.
Roly, our self-appointed tea steward, continues to keep us well supplied
with tea and biscuits. Cumulous clouds are starting to gather; hopefully
they will have cleared by midnight, when we are on watch again, so we can
see the wonderful Southern stars.