Maintenance on the Pelican

Datum: 28.02.2024
Nautische Position: 13 ° 44‘7 N 079 ° 47’8 W
Geographische Position: Karibische See
Etmal: 134 sm
Total: 6908 sm
Schiff: Pelican of London

About the day

Today was a day like any other. I had 0:00-4:00 watch as usual. While most of group A and I were sleeping, group B saw dolphins swimming under the bowsprit for the first time since we came back on board.

While they were standing on the foredeck, a wave came and drenched all of them. We were supposed to listen to Falks pathway today, but a couple of us, including him, are still a bit seasick. Because Lenka didn’t present her pathway yesterday, she will be holding hers today.

Eine Schülerin steht am Steuer.

Upkeeping equipment and the Pelican

As anyone who has been on Pelican or any other sailing ship knows that sailing boats, especially big ones like these, require constant upkeep. This can be lines, entire sails, parts of the ship or machinery.The day watches do this almost every day, additionally to their normal watch duties.

Ever since our Atlantic crossing with Adam, the day watches spent their time sanding down the capping rails, five bars, pinrails, and kevelbars. For this they use sandpaper, usually 80 grit and get the coating and top layer of wood off.

Afterwards, they move onto higher grits to give the wood a smooth feeling. Then after sanding, they move onto coating. The stundents use a clear coating and put on seven to ten coats on and after drying they’re done and move onto the next stretch of wood.

While they are down on deck doing this, our bosuns and the dayworker are up aloft fixing parts of the rigging. There is a lot to be done there as well.

Schülerinnen ziehen an Seilen

Ratlines have to be replaced, the leather parts have to be oiled and rigging has to be blacked. Sometimes we even replace lines, as wear and tear makes them fragile and we don’t want them to snap. We also spend a lot of time prepping for the upkeep. We need to make soft eye splices, polish blocks or prepping harnesses to go aloft.

On the Atlantic, we spent a lot of time painting the Pelican, as we want her to look pretty and polished. For this, we have to mix paint, tape off the area we’re going to paint, prime and finally we can get to painting.

There was also the plan of rerigging the outer jib. Currently, the outer jib is a rolling jib, which is unusual. The outer jib is old and needs to be replaced. The plan was to replace it and rig it as a hoisting jib.

However, as Janice, our permanent bosun, was not onboard during our Atlantic crossing, this was not done. This also just shows that on sailing ships not everything goes to plan and you always have to be ready to improvise.

Schüler*innen arbeiten auf dem Deck.


As cleanliness is also a big part of keeping Pelican looking good. We have a weekly happy hour, where we clean the deck, the messroom as well as the salon and all of our cabins. There is also daily cleaning to be done like mopping the green mile, heads and showers and point of contact cleaning.


Every couple of weeks our second mate, currently Gonzo, inspects all of the safety equipment onboard. This includes all the life vests, immersion suits, life rafts, life rings and flares. Should anything be broken or not up to the safety standards, it is fixed or replaced.

Our bosunry team also does monthly checks on the 14th. This includes checking every harness as well, as the according lanyards and carabiners. They also check every safety line onboard, as well as the safety wires on the yards.

The rib, its safety equipment, the rescue aloft and high line kits also get checked every month. The high line kit is used in case we need a helicopter rescue and a helicopter has to land on the port side of the bridge.

I hope this gave you a greater insight about our daily life and routine checks we make to keep the Pelican in good shape.

Schüler*innen sitzen an Deck.

P.S.: Hello an alle zu Hause. Mir geht’s gut, ich bin auch nicht mehr seekrank. Ich freu‘ außerdem sehr auf die nächsten Stops. Hab‘ euch alle ganz doll lieb und ich freu‘ mich auf zu Hause in zwei Monaten.

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