Day 5 – Sailing

Bow spirit - popular place to be!

Bow spirit - popular place to be!

This morning we had the 0800-1200 shift so it was breakfast first with croissants and then on shift. We put out more sails today, as the wind eased we can get more sails out like the top gallants and so on. If the wind picks up then you start to take in some of the upper sails.

That was pretty busy and then we were on watch proper, I spent much of the time on the helm, we were sailing fore and bye which means following the wind, this was much harder as you are reading the wind in the sails etc. We had all but about two sails up before long, that would have been great to see from a distance but there wasn’t time to get the rescue boat out to get some pictures. With the bow spirit sails up it also meant that you had to climb out on to the the bow spirit for the foreward watch, the view was awesome from there – apparently. It was so popular soon everyone was lined up to have a go and I missed out by the time our watch was over. Hopefully I’ll get another go before the voyage is over.

Captain Ross gives a lecture on wind systems

Captain Ross gives a lecture on wind systems

During the watch Ross gave another lecture where he explained about sailing with the winds, the different wind systems on earth and why early sailors did things certain ways. Even today they are very much dictated to by the weather and the voyage was planned considering this. For example in the lower latitudes at about 40deg you have the Roaring Forties running west to east that a lot of early sailors used. You also have the north trade winds running east to west. Cook knew that he had a limited windows of opportunity however and he was able to sail around the Cape of Good Hope instead and shorten his voyage to Tahiti.

With this voyage we’ve had favorable winds most of the way however once they reach the coast of Western Australia it’s going to be much harder going than this. Also they plan to cross the Great Australian Bight in summer which should be a much more favourable time for it than winter with gales etc.

John on the sextant - Celestial navigation 101

John on the sextant - Celestial navigation 101

Pretty soon we had passed Dunk Island and soon it was time for lunch – meat wraps. After lunch, we had another lecture where Ross explained about the different sails, what they were called and which ones were used when. After this was celestial navigation which was actually very interesting, I also got to use the sextant. It’s nowhere near as difficult a it had previously been made out to me, I think the harder bit is just the mathematics, allowing for height off the deck etc.

Now I should really get back to designing our maps, although apparently Jimmy is also a bit of an artist so he’s going to have a crack at drawing the boat etc.

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