Keeping the Pelican safe and steady – how to!

Date: 27.03.2024
Nautical position: 3439,2 N 05929,1 W
Geographical Position: North Atlantic
Etmal: 102 nm
Total: 9475 nm
Ship: Pelican of London

At sea sometimes it happens that there is a storm where we have no other choice than to sail through. To do that safely there are some ways to handle the rough weather.

Schülerin am Steuer

Helming orders

If the wind is very strong, steering can be pretty difficult. Sails like the Spanker-Trysail, the Foregaff or the Staysail are likely to be still in use even when the wind blows with 40 knots of speed. They push the Pelican to the leeward side (the opposite side the wind comes from). To keep the wind on the right side of the ship there are helming orders. It can be very dangerous when wind comes from the wrong side into the sails, because they can be damaged or even ripped.

In heavy weather with high waves and strong wind the duty officer tells you how to steer correctly. Today, for example on my zero to four watch our captain told me to steer between 5°-10° to starboard.

Whenever helming orders are told, the duty officer basically shouts the sentences: „xy° to port/starboard” (means, that the person helming has to steer the rudder xy degrees to port or starboard).

But this is not the only order, the officer also can shout: “hard to port/starboard” (means that the person helming has to steer the rudder 35° to port or starboard), “ease to xy°” (means that the person helming has to ease the rudder, for example from 10°-5° to port or starboard) or “midships” (means that the person helming has to go back to midships, 0°) and the person helming must repeat his command and do it as fast as possible.

Tacking and Wearing

If the wind direction changes it might happen that we have to wear ship. Therefore we wait until the ship starts coming around and brace from sharp to port/starboard to sharp to the opposite side. Then the headsails and the spanker boom need to be sheeted onto the other side as well.

Then you have the wind on the opposite side of the ship. If we are sailing close to the wind we have the possibility to tack. Tacking is similar to wearing and even faster, however tacking is not as easy as wearing is. For tacking we need more wind than we would need for wearing, because we have to go through the zone where we can’t sail (30° to port – 30° to starboard).

First we sheet the spanker, then we let the headsails back so they push the bow. When the ship comes around we brace the Squaresails and after that we bring the headsails onto the other side. Today on my zero to four Watch we were tacking from starboard to port.

It was not that helpful so Captain Chris pulled out the “Uno Reverse”- Card and we had to tack back to starboard tack. With that we wasted about 2 and 1/2 hours of time but we had very much fun and it was better than standing on lookout.

The day

Today was big swell with a heeling of up to 35° and lots of wind the whole day through. So everyone who wanted to go out had to wear a harness and be clipped in for safety reasons. The galley people had to wear a harness the whole day long because it is very slippery in the galley.

P.S. von Eva: Hey Mama, ich wünsch‘ Dir alles alles Gute zum Geburtstag und hoffe, Du hattest einen schönen Tag und hast Dich wenigstens ein bisschen feiern lassen!!! Ich denke ganz arg an Dich und drücke Dich fest von hier aus 😘🤗 ich freu‘ mich schon, wenn ich Dich bald in Person umarmen kann, Deine Eva

P.P.S.: Der Geburtstagsbrief ist schon unterwegs

P.P.P.S.: von Anna B.: Hallooo ihr daheim, der Nordatlantik ist wirklich bouncy, aber ich mags sehr. Nur dass man nicht ohne Harness raus darf, ist räudig. Hab‘ euch ganz doll lieb und ich freu‘ mich auf Amsterdam🫶🏼

P.P.P.P.S.: von Luise: Alles alles Gute nachträglich zum Geburtstag liebe Kerstin! Ich hoffe, dass Du einen ganz tollen Tag hattest und ihn mit den drei Prinzen voll genießen konntest. Alle Liebe, Luise

(Leider hab ich’s am Tag selbst verpennt, mit Ablegen war gut was los…)

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