Position: Back on the Atlantic Ocean
Geographische Position: 26* 41.’1 N 076* 12.’2 W
Etmal: 118 (10.115)
Each of us spend four hours per day on watch. Most people already know that, but what is it exactly that we’re doing during that time? I’d like to make todays daily report about our watch routine and how we actually sail on the Pelican.
Out of the five people of one watch only three are active at the same time, each either for thirty or fourty minutes (depending on the watchleader) at once.
One of them is called the helmsman. Standing behind the wheel, it’s their job to make sure we’re going into the right direction. They steer a certain course they’re being told by the officer of the watch.
The others are called lookouts and that’s what they do: one each stands on either side of the ship to look out for anything in the water: bouys, trash and most importantly, other ships. Anything they see also has to be reported to the duty officer. At some days, we don’t see a single ship, which can make the job of the lookout seem quite boring and even unnecessary. But they aren’t to be underestimated or even forgotten about, their job is equally important as the one of the helmsman.
The others, who remain on standby during that time, get certain other jobs to maintain the ships safety and hygiene such as point of contact cleaning, heads and toilets, keeping the logbook or doing met-obs.
The met-obs, short for Meteorological Observations, have to be done once every four hours, which means one time during each watch. With them, we observe and collect data such as temperatures, weather phenomena or wave patterns in a computer program to be send back to England for scientific purposes.
On standby, we also have to be available for sail handling operations such as setting or handing sails or bracing the yards. The ladder we have to do particularly often. Bracing describes the act of moving the yards around the mainmast which, at occasions with a lot of wind, same as setting or handing all squares at once, usually requires all hands on deck to pursue the act.
The four squares are called Course, Topsail, T´Gallant and Royal, from bottom to top. All of them are made fast to the yards, which are called the same as their according sails. When they’re being set, some of the students have to climb up the mast to loosen the gaskets, with which the sails are tied on to their yards to prevent them from flapping around in the air.
Each yardarm (one half of the yard) usually has five to six gaskets and on one of the yardarms approximately two people are necessary to untie them. Because of that, the setting of the sails can sometimes take up to 45 minutes.
When they’re being handed later on, people have to go up again to tie the gaskets back on. Even when we’re under engine because of a lack of wind or, as we’re experiencing the situation at the moment, we’re going against the wind, we still have some of our sails, for instance the spanker, the fore-gaff or the staysail, set to use up less fuel.
Many of the students dislike the sail setting or find it to be annoying, because we have to let go of our current activities without a warning to help, but on the other hand it can also be fun to do with everyone, especially if the weather is quite rough and it’s somewhat chaotic because everyone is stepping on each others feet when the big waves come.
PS: Greetings to Heiko and the rest of my family <3