MY TALL SHIPS RACE JOURNAL DAY 8 – (11/07/2015) – Sunshine, oil rigs and making sense of spaghetti!

This is the last entry I have to make using my phone to record my journal.  The sea sickness is subsiding and I am beginning to feel I can go back to writing my journal in my penguin pad.  It is a great feeling when sea sickness subsides, you suddenly feel normal again and wonder how you survived the days you did with feeling so sick.  The woozy head has gone, the constant nauseous feeling has gone, and I am feeling so much better.  The recording today started with this conversation between me and hubby

Me – “I can’t remember what we did today.  What did we do today?”

Hubby – “What did we do today!  Got up.  Went out set some sails.  Had breakfast.  Set more sails.  Came back, had a talk.  Had dinner.  Went on watch.  Did some shopping. Came back to the cabin”

Me – “There you go, you summed it up nicely I don’t need to do my blog now!”

I still had to do my blog though, the journal would not have been complete with so little information in it.  So I continued to record the following on my phone.

Got up today feeling better than I had for days and I was really looking forward to my breakfast.  I think the last few days I have been eating because I know I have to eat to keep my energy up however I have not really felt like eating because of feeling sea sick.  What I have found in the past though it is better to be seasick on a full stomach than on an empty one!

We had our morning briefing on the port bow, luckily no happy hour today!  We went on to do some bracing and sail trimming as the wind is now coming from the aft starboard side. My job was to let off the royal on the port side after which I went over to the starboard side to help haul on a sheet.  Haven’t got a clue which sail it was for I just pulled on the thick rope that everyone else was heaving on.

After setting the sails we had a very well earned smoko, the time of the day where we all gather on deck, or below depending on the weather, to sup a cup of tea and eat cake!  With the sun warming our bodies and feeling hot from the work we had just completed smoko today was on the main deck.  I didn’t have cake I stuck to my gluten free biscuits, don’t want to go making my stomach bad again. The good thing is that the sun has come out, after such miserable unsettled weather this is so nice to see.

After smoko a talk had been arranged about the different types of sailing vessels.  With this we also had some lessons on the various parts of the ship and setting sails.  This talk was carried out by Richard.  It was a very interesting and enjoyable talk which made sense of all of the spaghetti on deck. Below are some of the resources used during the talk.

At 12 midday my watch was called to the mess for lunch, we are on an early lunch because of being on watch at 12.30 pm.  I was in for a lovely treat.  I had the most delicious tasting mackerel ever.  I have never tasted fresh fish like it, it was one of the ones caught the other day.  It was the best piece of fish I have ever had.  With it I had some really tasty soup too.  The only problem I am suffering with today is from eating the two brownies yesterday – got real bad pain on my stomach, well I suppose that’s what I get for having something with gluten in it.



On watch in the sunshine

After lunch we were straight out onto watch.  It was a lovely afternoon, the sun was shining, it was warm, and I didn’t need my top coat on.  The sea is glistening and sparkling with a million diamonds.  If it were not for the slight chill in the air from being so far north we could have been absolutely anywhere that we could imagine.  However we know that at the moment we are in the North sea, having not quite reached the Shetland Isles. There are no landmarks to see north to south, east to west, except on the horizon in every direction is a city of strange shaped objects.  We are basically in the middle of an oil field – with oil rigs and drilling platforms all around us, absolutely fascinating.


Oil rigs and platforms in  the distance

Once our watch was over at 4 pm we decided to go shopping, yes we went shopping in the North Sea! One side of the lower mess was miraculously turned into a clothes and souvenir shop. Spending loads of money I treated myself to a fleece, t-shirt and a cap; hubby has bought a few things as well.

I had a good conversation with our watch leader B about leadership at sea and what the young people taking part needed to do for it.  This was because one of the watch members doing leadership at sea had a blindfold on today to help make them aware of diversity and the issues people with disability face.  They have the option of blind, deaf or using a wheelchair.  H chose to be blindfolded for the watch.  It was enlightening to listen to her thoughts on how she felt through the watch.

Overall it has been a peaceful day.  The ship has not been rocking and rolling too wildly, although she has had her odd silly moment where she will roll a little further than expected.  She seems to have her own unique way of moving, which just as you start to get into the rhythm of she bucks the trend and does something a little out of the ordinary to keep you on your toes.

At the moment we are just waiting on dinner before resting and going out on watch tonight between 12 midnight and 4 am.  My pain has come down a lot, which is a relief.  My foot keeps swelling which is why I am just resting here on the bunk with my foot up before dinner.  Maybe I will have a half hour shut eye, although I don’t want to sleep too much before dinner as I won’t be able to sleep this evening before going on watch tonight.  I just need to make sure I get enough rest.  I am going to be taking my night time tablets at 7 pm which will hopefully give me a bit of sleep before watch at midnight.  Fingers crossed the weather will stay fair and it is not going to be raining.  I really don’t want another wet watch being cold and damp.  I anticipate that it will be cold though, I just don’t want it to be wet.

Whilst recording today’s entry a bing bong announcement was made.  It’s strange how you get used to something and learn to stop what you are doing and to listen to what is being said.  I didn’t even stop my phone from recording I just stopped speaking into my phone and listened carefully to the announcement.  This is the only announcement I managed to capture on my phone.

From this point on I move back to writing in my penguin pad – seasick no more – hooray!

After dinner everyone went on deck to brace the sails ready for the night ahead so no one would have to be disturbed during the night.  As we are on a midnight to 4 am watch I have decided, for pacing reasons, that I am better off staying below and resting.  I am really desperate to do this particular watch as it is one of my favourite times of day to be out on deck.  I really don’t want to put this opportunity in jeopardy by going back up on deck to brace the sails.  I don’t want to over tire myself or make my foot swell too much especially as I need to be able to get my boots on to go on watch later.  At least I am recognising when I need to stop but I do hate feeling so restricted, my heart is leaping to run up on deck, get involved and be there where it is all happening but the sensible part of my mind is saying don’t be stupid, you will wear yourself out and no you are not going!

Being down below when everyone is up on deck has given me time to think about the voyage this far and to think about life on board Lord Nelson.  When we first came on board everyone was new.  Some knew each other from previous voyages, however many like ourselves knew absolutely no one else on board.  I have been lucky though as I know the Captain from sailing on Prince William and also I had got chatting to one of the watch leaders on line before the voyage.  Even so it’s always hard getting to know new people, well I find it especially so as I am not great in social situations at the best of times and would tend to be a listener and not the talker in new company.  There were people at the beginning of the voyage that I thought I would get on well with and others maybe not so well.  In fact I have got on with almost everyone on board, however there are one or two who have become people I would rather avoid.  I know that seems mean in such a small company of people however I think it comes down to the way people gel in a team.  When there is only nine or ten people in a team they would gel better as a whole than when there are forty odd.  With more people potentially more cliques form.  This happens because some people will be drawn to others of a similar nature.  It is rare for a group of more than ten people not to start forming cliques within the team and this you can certainly see happening with a very small group of people.

I really thought that I would gel more with the older generations and others of a similar age, however it has been the total opposite.  Whether this has been pure fluke in respect that most of my watch is under 30 and me and hubby are above 30, I don’t know.  Maybe it would have worked out differently had we been in another watch but I don’t think so because I have also gelled with other young people from the other watches not just those from my own.  I have found some of the older people to be a bit challenging.  No manners and no respect for diversity.  A good example of this was at dinner this evening.  H on my watch is doing leadership at sea and one of the tasks is to experience what challenges a disabled person faces by either using a blindfold (blind), ear plugs (deaf) or wheelchair (mobility issues) for a day.  H was using the blindfold.  Bless her, she did very well earlier on watch steering the ship using the talking compass.  It also unnerved her a little not knowing who was around her, not being aware of what others were doing and feeling a little isolated.  She was eating her dinner this evening and doing a marvelous job of it when one of the older generation (R) said

“Hello blind girl, isn’t it about time you could see again.”

Yes it may have been said in jest but I don’t think he understood the concept of the exercise.  Also at our table was a lady who is blind and I found his attitude to be very disrespectful of others with disabilities, not just this evening but at other times as well. One of the watch leaders did challenge him on his comment by asking if he wanted to wear the blindfold for a watch to get a feel for what this girl was going through; also to help him understand the challenges a person who is blind faces in everyday life let alone on a tall ship in the middle of the sea, and to feel how isolating being blind can make you feel.  He shrugged it off with a snide remark that his wife would call him blind so he didn’t need to act it too!

There are a couple of oldies on board with a similar attitude and they can also be quite rude too.  Hubby made tea for one the other morning, he didn’t have to but he did (he is kind and generous like that) and not a thank you or an acknowledgement came from her mouth.  Again this evening one of the people from the oldies clique, P,  was doing mess and handing out cream into the fruit bowls, she made sure her clique had a good scoop of cream yet when she got to my hubby she barely gave him a drizzle.  When hubby asked P for a bit more she tutted and reluctantly gave him some!  I just feel there is no need for rudeness although I understand that we are all different and the world would be a boring place if we were all the same.  Luckily I can ignore attitudes such as these and it certainly won’t be spoiling my experience of racing in a tall ships race.

Hubby and I have both said that we are so glad we are on the watch we are on.  In the beginning I was a bit anxious as to how we would get on with the younger ones, however you know what, I am sitting here writing this on day 8 thinking how lucky we are to have a great bunch of young people to work alongside.  So many different backgrounds and characters from the loud morale boosting H to the quite and shy  A.  They have all played a brilliant role in the watch from being the song master (H) to the tea maker (S).  It’s not all been plain sailing, there have been times when I have thought “give us some peace” but those moments have been fewer and far between than I thought on the very first watch I stood with them all.  They are all just fabulous, so much so that when hubby  was on mess duty in those swirling roiling seas yesterday I fully trusted my watch to get me from the main deck up to the bridge.  The only part they didn’t do was crossing the main deck between the upper mess and the door to go up to the bridge.  The main deck is fully open to the elements and is very scary when the ship is pitching from side to side like some kind of demented bucking bronco intent on throwing you off.  The Medical Purser D got me across this area because it really did take some strong arms and legs and a lot of control otherwise I may have gone for a fast roll overboard with the way the ship was lurching and pitching in the rough sea.  Once across the main deck my watch instantly took over and did the rest, including making sure the lifts were ready for me to go up the two levels.  Those that know me personally will also know that I don’t trust many people to take control of my wheelchair especially in dangerous situations.  So for me to let youngsters manage me in my wheelchair in a swirling sea with a ship lurching this way and that really shows how much respect and trust I have in all of them.  I can’t say it enough they are just absolutely brilliant.

I have found that as the voyage has gone on the permanent crew are less on edge too – again just like me they are having to learn to trust us their crew and would have their own worries on how the crew will manage, interact and react to different situations.  They have to form their own bonds and trust with us and the longer we are aboard the easier this will come.

I did say to hubby on day 5 that just as we get used to being on board it will be time to get off.  I can’t believe that this time next week we will be nearly home and my trip of a lifetime will be over.  In my blog on day 5 I said that an Atlantic crossing on a tall ship would be out, in fact I believe I felt that way about any other voyage too.  Today I am not too sure!  I know from that statement alone that I am enjoying it.  I know that on day 5 if I could have reached land I would have been off!  No different if I remember rightly from my trip on Sir Winston Churchill.  It does take a few days to settle into the routine and rhythm of the ship.

When we were on watch between 12:30pm and 4 pm today we had 295 nautical miles left to the finish line, estimated time of arrival at current speed and direction – Tuesday at 0200 hours.  However the winds are to lighten and move to an easterly which is no good for us as there is a 70 to 80 degree no sail window and an easterly wind would put us in that window. If this happens we are likely to retire and motor on in to Alesund.  If we reach the finish line under sail then there will be another 30 nautical miles to reach Alesund.

Being such a nice day today a few of us had our cameras out a bit more than on other days so here are a few more photographs from today’s sail taken by other crew members.  It was certainly a great day for going aloft (which sadly I couldn’t do) and for taking lots of photographs.

I can’t believe I am sailing in the North Sea.

I can’t believe how far north I am!

I am truly blessed for the opportunity which would not have been possible without hubby or the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

Here’s what my watch had to say about the last 24 hours on the Lord Nelson’s blog

July 11, 2015

11/07/15 LN872

The ship awoke to a stormy sea yesterday.

Still in the reach of St.Kilda’s, athough making way slowly. The ongoing watch was enthusiastic to the morning’s watch ahead, looking forward to keeping spirits high with lots of singing and the creation of the ’12 day’s of sailing’ song. The wind picked up and the peace was shattered when the outerjib blew out, necessitating lots of running around to furl it and to set the inner jib. The rest of the watch was spent singing away in the rain, although we also got to see a minke whale.

The tasty cod and chips for dinner was quickly devoured by a very hungry crew and gave us the energy to go back on watch at 8pm.

Today, after a drizzly morning, where we did some bracing and sail trimming, the sun arrived, just in time for the afternoon watch. We are currently making a speedy 5 knots in the right direction.

B, S, B, N, G, H, A and H


2 thoughts on “MY TALL SHIPS RACE JOURNAL DAY 8 – (11/07/2015) – Sunshine, oil rigs and making sense of spaghetti!

  1. You are amazing in doing what you did. I could never learn all the directions that you had to take on, especially in a wheelchair. I’m so glad that there were some people(youngsters) that were kind and you could trust. I love the pictures too! What a wonderful experience for you both! I bet your son was very proud of his mum!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I am determined to get my journal finished before the year anniversary of signing onto Lord Nelson. It’s nice though being able to look back on the adventure by doing what I am doing


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