A day in the life of a Libertad Crew.

Paul Huntley
Thu 11 Dec 2008 07:35

15:11.09N 47:34.46W

Thursday 11 the December 2008

As can be seen by our position we are making good progress towards St Lucia. The trade winds have re-established themselves with a vengeance and are between 15 to 25 Kts so under the twin poled out Genoas with some serious reefs in we are making between 5:5 and 6:0 kts.

Our daily lives are very much routine, but I thought you might like a shippers view of a day in the life of Dave (Needham) What motivated him to join the crew on Libertad,I am sure he has asked that question more than once on this trip. In normal life he is a manager at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. His duties are many and varied from driving the giant boat hoist to towing in yachts or power boats from the outer harbour to more mundane task such as working out shift rosters for the staff.

His interest has always been with the sea despite starting his career as a railway man at Eastbourne Station, back in the days of British Rail. He has been a crew member of Eastbourne Lifeboat for more than twenty five years rising through the ranks to be senior helm on our inshore lifeboat (The same as Coxswain) and during this illustrious career has been recognise for his bravery on a number of occasions, I won't embarrass him by giving you the details, as you can see he is a man that has the respect of many including the crew of Libertad.

He goes about his duties in a quiet confident manner, His watch tonight was from 20:00 hrs 22:00 hrs this is the easy watch when often you have company to chat with, however he is responsible for the safe passage during his watch so if sails need reefing or repairs need doing ,its down to him. He had the task of cleaning after dinner before taking his seat in the cockpit. Two hours on watch seems short until you’re up there alone on a wild night with the boat barrelling along in pitch black nothingness, it seems to go on forever, to hear your watch mate stirring to take over from you is a welcome sound. With five crew onboard we have to stand two, two hour watches in every twenty hours, so Dave will be on watch again at 06:00 hrs, He will be taking over from me in just under an hour and he will take us through to breakfast.

Apart from normal watch keeping we have regular cleaning duties throughout the boat I am sure you can imagine five guys using the heads (toilets) in a rough sea the need cleaning on a daily basis. The galley is another area that gets very well use and needs to be kept clean.

As you can tell sailing a small boat across an ocean is a real team effort and having someone like Dave as part of your crew is a real bonus, His wife Tracy and two children will be waiting for him when he arrives in St Lucia, and I suspect that will be some special welcome, The children have been following his progress at school with their class mates, they must be the envy of them all spending Christmas in St Lucia. I have a question for those children , can you tell which group of islands does St Lucia belong, is it the Windward or Leeward Islands and can you find out what those names mean, you never know you might sail there yourselves one day.

That's all folks from the skipper of Libertad (wake up Dave it's your watch)