My First Days Sailing.
After 24 hours below decks in the Galley on Mother watch, I finally got to spend my first shift on deck manning the sails. The previous day had been heavy on my stomach and without a view of the horizon in sight, had taken it's toll on me. As much as I had enjoyed being part of the working crew, keeping all the guys on watch fed and watered, I was eager to get my piece of the action. It arrived on the morning of 17 March when we were taken off of mother watch to assist the in watch in changing a sail. We had done this in practice when we were safely tied up in the harbor at JSASTC, but out on the sea was a different kettle of fish. We had to cope with wind knocking us off balance, sea water being thrown over us and lots of things going on a the same time. Then, to make it worse, Richard the skipper turned us into the wind so we felt the full force of the apparent wind. This proved a challenge, but we all came through unscathed with a successful sail change.
After lunch things settled down a bit and my stomach had returned to normal. We headed upstairs for our first watch of the trip and upon climbing into the cockpit the sun was shining. Surely a good sign. We went through taking a reef out of the mainsail and putting it back in again. This maneuver is used for reducing or increasing the area of the mainsail in adjustment to the wind. This went without a hitch and the next bit was even better. They let me take the helm and I felt like the trip was really coming together and I was catching the sailing bug. To top it all we had a solitary Dolphin swimming alongside the boat. This was an experience you'd often just seen on TV, but it was a hundred times more amazing in real life.
Overall I have had a fantastic trip full of new experiences, making new comrades and achieving an awful lot for someone who has never been on a yacht in his life. The Instructors and more experienced crew members have been superb and have been more than happy to answer of all my questions and teaching through practical lessons and not just the usual 'death by PowerPoint that you usually get. A welcome change. As I head back onto my evening shift I am pleased on my progress. I now look forward to watching the sunrise on my early morning shift, something I await with baited breath. 'I could really get into this' I think to myself. Will I be doing it again? I think so!
Steven 'Mahogany Blonde' Warren
(Steven is closest to the camera in the picture)