MY TALL SHIPS RACE JOURNAL DAY 7 – (10/07/2015) – Blew a sail, rogue wave soaks hubby, and I feel a long way from home!


View from window at breakfast.  The photograph does not do the movement of the ship any justice.  She was very roly!

Up early this morning for breakfast in the upper mess, I am on watch from 8 am to 12:30 pm and hubby is on mess duty.  Even though the sea is rough and the ship is rocking from side to side with waves slamming into her, and I am jammed up against the port bulkhead in the upper mess to stop my wheelchair from sliding any further, it was nice to start the day with a hearty breakfast of freshly caught fish from yesterday’s catch.  A big thank you goes out to the medical purser and pals for their fishing skills!


Photograph courtesy of another crew member


Photograph courtesy of another crew member


This is yet another day that I cannot stomach (excuse the pun) lifting a pen and note pad to write my journal.  I am still using the voice recorder on my mobile phone.  I have written this next part exactly as it is on the recording.

I have just come off watch after a very bumpy, wet and windy morning.  A couple of rogue waves came over the deck; one got hubby who was at the vegetable locker on the starboard side at the time, soaked him and his boots completely through – they were never meant to be waterproof from pouring the equivalent of a skip load of water in the top of them!  The same wave managed to get me and I was inside the chart room at the time trying to get extra layers on to battle the cold.  The tail end of the wave was blown by the wind right through the aft door into the chart room on the starboard side!

Yes, it has been a bit wet and a bitter cold morning.  I came off watch about 20 minutes early.  The rest of the watch had been rotating inside to get warm during the watch.  I had stayed up top the whole time so that when I did go down I would be able to strip out of wet clothes and not worry about having to find the energy to put them back on again to finish a watch.  Also it gave me time to get stripped out of wet clothes ready for lunch.

There was a bit of a panic though at lunchtime.  I thought hubby had been lost overboard because no one knew where he was.  My mind went into overtime and I was imagining all manner of horrible ends.  One of the other crew members went in search of him and he hadn’t gone overboard, thank goodness, he was doing something or other on mess duty. My mind was in turmoil for a few minutes though with my heart beating a little to fast for comfort.

With the weather being so foul we blew the outer jib, it had ripped from the clewline. There was a bit of an hour of frantic work and sorting out sails so that we were able to carry on.  Certainly a well done to all the crew involved.

We are heeled over to the port side at the moment with the way that the sails are set, and the waves are quite high.


Photograph courtesy of another crew member showing the heel of the ship below deck.

We are currently sitting in last place in the race.  One of the vessels, Sorlandet, has already arrived in Alesund and we are the other end of the scale in last place.  We have been told by the permanent crew that we do have enough time to make it to Alesund and that they don’t really want to retire the ship.  However if they have to retire, they will do to make sure we get there on time.  It would be a bit of a shame if we do have to retire the race, but in another way I am thinking let’s get to Norway and have a little look around as well!

It is pretty rough out here at the moment.  It is blowing between 30 and 40 knots, about force 8 on the Beaufort Scale.  I think all the crew are a bit down hearted, I just get that general feeling from the ship.

We have had a good watch though with a lot of singing to keep our spirits up and we have just come down now for our lunch.

The people on my watch looked after me very well this morning.  Made sure I was kitted up, made sure I got across the open deck from the upper mess and up on to the bridge.  Also made sure I got back down safely too.  We are blessed with having a really good group of people especially considering the age of most (16 or 17, and into their 20’s).  Hubby and I are the oldest!  A fantastic job by them all.

I am now back in my bunk after making the decision, or should I say having the decision made for me, that I am not doing watch tonight between 8 pm and 12 midnight.  My pain is off the scale, I think this morning’s watch took a lot out of me.  It was very wet, very wild, very windy.  I was very tense for several hours.  I got myself very cold, and I am surprised I warmed up quite quickly from this considering when I get very cold I stay very cold.  It has just drained me today.  My foot is swollen.  I can’t get a shoe on my foot, so I wouldn’t be able to get a boot on my foot either meaning I would not have any footwear to wear out on deck.  So the best place for me to stay this evening is below decks and in my bunk.

Captain D has just gone through the cabins and spoke to me, asking “you are not going out on watch tonight are you!”  As in he wouldn’t advise me to go out on watch, which was very nice and considerate, I wouldn’t expect anything less from him as he is such a lovely captain to sail under.  He thinks the weather is easing so it will make the voyage a little bit easier.  We are making good time, however if it does lighten off too much then we will be putting the engines on and motoring our way to Norway so we don’t miss out on the festivities in Alesund.

My little watch is very lovely.  They all looked after me very well this morning when hubby was on mess duty.  Very proud to be on a watch with them all.  They made sure I was ok.  I just think it was really funny when a couple of the younger members of the watch were asking about how old my child is and I told them “he is 21, older than most of them here on the watch”.  They all just laughed and I said now you know why I feel so old!  And they said again today that I am not old, I am the queen of the watch!  I thought that was very sweet.  It’s nice being the queen of the watch.

Hubby has gone on watch, he is doing 8 pm to 12 midnight, and then tomorrow we are on 12.30 pm to 4 pm and then on 12 midnight to 4 am.  I desperately want to do that watch, which is one of the reasons why I have banished myself to bed and not tried to struggle through tonight’s watch.  I need to get a good night’s sleep tonight so that I am be able to do tomorrow.  The midnight to 4 am watch is one of my favourite watches on board.  I feel a bit down hearted that I can’t join in this evening as it is all a lot of fun on watch. Although saying that we haven’t got H to rally the troops today.  He is on mess duty with his wax back in his hair bless him!

So far so good, we are on day seven, half way through it.  Probably only about another 4 days left at sea I would imagine, then some festivities in Alesund, and then we will be going home.

It is amazing how time flies when you don’t realise it, on board you lose track of the days. In fact a lot of people today have been saying “What day is it?” “What day is it!”  You seem to work the days on your watch chart not knowing really what day of the week you are on.  All you know is what watch you did last so you know what watch you are doing next.  It is really bizarre . Yet I knew that was coming before I even boarded Nellie, still doesn’t make it any less strange.

Our song the twelve days of sailing Lord Nelson has come along great.  Now we just need to perfect it so we have a song to sing in the crew parade.  I am thoroughly enjoying the craic even though I have not been involved in a lot of sitting up and chatting, purely because I just don’t have the energy, however I have enjoyed what I have done.  This is the main thing.

I think hubby is actually enjoying it now even though he did get soaked earlier on today on mess duty when that rogue wave came over the ship.  He got a complete and utter soaking of sea water right the way down into his boots, so his sailing boots are drying at the moment on top of the tumble dryer to try and get some heat into them.  It was quite funny though, had quite a few people in laughter.

I have been really naughty today, I have had brownies.  I had them on this morning’s watch.  So my stomach is not too grand, it’s a bit sore with having had gluten.  I had to have a piece though, after all we were soaked, we were cold, and I needed some comfort food to keep me going.  Hopefully though after a good night’s sleep and a good long rest I will be back to normal tomorrow.

I was just taking a glance through my photos and it just made me think that Northern Ireland and home feels a very long way away at the moment.  Feels like I have been away from it for ages.

Missing my son.

Missing Pup (my dog) and I hope she is ok in the kennels.

Sorry I didn’t get chance to spend a lot of time with my parents when they were over just before we left.  Hopefully I will get over to see them in a few weeks and spend some time with them.

Yeah, I just feel a long, long way from home this evening, a long way!





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