Duty watches – a closer look

Ship: Pelican of London
Date: 31.03.2024
Nautical position: 37°55.0N 050°19.4W
Geographical position: North Atlantic
Etmal: 156 nm
Total: 10000 nm

Right now we are on our second Atlantic crossing on our way to the Azores and the normal daily ships-routine is running. Of course this also includes the duty watches! As you know, we have four hours of watch per day (the watchleaders have eight hours) and the watches include steering, lookout and standby (that’s when you‘re having a break of lookout and steering).

Schülerin auf dem Nordatlantik

But what else is going on on watch? What else do we have to do? Let’s take a closer look!

The Logbook and Medobs

The Pelican-Logbook is the book in the wheelhouse in which the duty officer reports all important information about the weather, the swell and so on. There’s also a trainee-logbook, in which we can do it ourselves to learn how it works.

Medobs is basically the same, but it’s online on the wheelhouse-laptop and it’s a bit more detailed. For Medobs we also for example have to measure the sea temperature, which is not essential in the logbook.

Mopping the lower alleyway

The watch from 20:00 – 00:00 in the evening has to mop the lower alleyway, because it is used the whole time and therefore it gets dirty very fast! So it has to be cleaned every evening.

Chart work🗺️

Normally the duty officer marks our position into the chart every hour, but now the duty officer sometimes asks us to do it, which is good for us to practice 🙂

Schüler:innen beim Lookout

Point of contact cleaning

Point of contact cleaning is the task of the 4-8 watch twice a day. All you need is a clove and a sanitizer bottle and then you clean the parts of the ship that are touched very often. It takes about 10 minutes and is very important to do to keep the hygiene that is necessary on a tallship. Mostly a standby-person is doing it.

Safety rounds

Sometimes the duty officer asks the standby-person to do a safety round. I assume it’s quite clear what is meant by that: You have to go around the ship and check if everything is fine, mainly in the galley and in the laundry-corner.


Sailhandling also sometimes has to be done and it’s the job of the duty watch. When the wind changes, the sails or yards have to be adjusted to the wind direction. We have to set the sails or we hand them or we brace the yards. If the duty watch needs help, the duty officer calls more people up to help by an announcement.

Heads and showers

Heads and showers has to be done by the 08:00 – 12:30 watch in the morning; it is cleaning all toilets and showers. This is very important as well, but also quite exhausting, especially if we have very high waves.

Collecting sign-offs✍️

On our first Atlantic crossing we all were focused on getting sign-offs for our level 1 in our learning books. Now, some of us are doing level 2 and therefore we‘re using the watches to get our knowledge tested by the duty officer and to get the sign if it goes well.

Schülerin an den Mooringlines

What to do when you’re on standby

When you’re having a break of lookout and steering (mostly 3×30 min. per watch) you‘re mostly just chatting with the others, f.ex. the two lookouts or you have to do the logbook or medops. Also, you can read, or you can learn for level 2, because in the wheelhouse there are books in which are all the information you have to know. But often you also just sit and relax 😉

What else is going on on watch?

  1. On daywatches we’re allowed to listen to music on a music box. It always depends on the captain if we’re allowed to, but currently we are, so we often have songs playing on the bridge which is very fun!🎶
  2. Also we sometimes sing shantys together to practise them or just for fun 🙂
  3. My watch is often playing the game ‚Who am I‘. It’s a cool game to play together on watch.
  4. Microwave-Popcorn is very loved on watches, especially on my watch. Sometimes two people in my watch are going down to make popcorn, and then we have a great snack :)🍿
Schülerinnen an Deck

Today‘s events

Today we had two very exciting things! One thing that happened today was probably our best speed: The Pelican hit 13,4 knots! (->only for a couple of seconds, but it is still very cool!).

And the second thing is…. We hit a total of 10.000 nautical miles today!! It’s a crazy amount of miles we’ve done in this journey so far! I was told that there was a little celebration in the wheelhouse.

Our average speed is currently changing a lot, today in the morning it was about 9-10 knots, but in the evening it dropped to about 4-5 knots. In the late evening we had to turn on the engine again, because we were too slow. Apart from that, we also had a Happy Hour at 10 o’clock in the morning (which was a bit annoying because I had watch from 4-8 and I actually planned to sleep until 11 o’clock😅).

After the Happy Hour the Pelican was happily clean again. The weather today was not very good, it was windy and wet. In the evening we did our weekly reflection in our learning books and watched a documentary about Liane’s dad who did an Atlantic crossing in 2003, it was very interesting! That’s it from our day.

P.S.: Hallo und frohe Ostern an alle at home🤗🥰 ich hoffe, ihr habt gutes Wetter. Wir kommen Europa immer näher und meine Seekrankheit ist mittlerweile wieder viel besser 😅 ich vermiss‘ euch!

P.P.S. Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Papa! Ich weiß, war gestern, hab den Tagesbericht verpasst, tut mir leid. Hab dich ganz dolle lieb und hoffe, Du hast einen leckeren Kuchen bekommen! ❤️
Auch alles Gute zum Geburtstag an dich, Lotti! Auch gestern, ich weiß, upsi. Ich hoffe, Dir geht’s gut und Du hast eine schöne Feier gehabt! ~Karoline

P.P.P.S.: Liebe Anna, lieber Papa, liebe Mama, ich hoffe, euch geht es gut und ihr hattet ein schönes Osterfeuer bei Andreas und heute einen schönen Tag. Mir geht es supersupergut und ich hab‘ euch alle sehr lieb. Grüße vom Nordatlantik❤️❤️ ~Lena

P.P.P.P.S.: Halloo, ich hoffe ihr, die das lest, habt alle schöne Ostern. @Mama, Icky und ihr andren Minis, ich hab‘ gedanklich mit euch die Osternacht gefeiert. @Timi und Papa, ich hoff‘ ihr lasst mir ein paar Schokoeier übrig. Hab‘ euch lieb<3 Liebe Grüße Annaa

P.P.P.P.P.S.: Grüße nach Hause ich hoffe, ihr habt schöne Ostern🐣. Ich wünsche euch viel Spaß beim Osterei, Hefezopf, Stockbrot und Bratwürstchen futtern (yummy yummy 😋), wir hatten heute leider weder das eine noch das andere😢. Ich freue mich darauf, möglichst bald wieder von euch zu hören und vermisse euch ganz doll ❤️❤️ Dicker fetter Schmatzer 😘❤️ ~Nele

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