Watchleader – sleep deprivation, fridge cabin and a hammering anchor

Datum: 01.03.2024
Nautische Position: 18° 00‘8 N 208° 15‘6 W
Geographische Position: Karibische See
Etmal: 149 sm
Total: 7186 sm
Schiff: Pelican of London

If the ship sinks and everyone is gone, the watch-leaders decide. The hierarchy on board is very strict. This means that the watch leaders stand above the teachers in the ships hierarchy. So if the ship comes to sink and if all the professional crew was gone, the watch-leaders would have to decide whether to leave the ship or not. This fun fact proves how much responsibility relies on those young adults. On board we have four of them. At the time we got Marie, Luise, Rosa and Jael.

Sleep deprivation and fridge cabin

The watch-leaders don’t have school indeed, but their amount of watch is doubled in comparison to the trainees. Their role on board is to be the spokesman between trainees and professional crew, as well as to supervise the watches all day long. So instead of only having four hours of watch from 16h to 20h they will also have the watch from 04h to 08h in the morning.

That is so because of the A and B parts of a watch (so Rosa has Main A and Main B to supervise during the day at the moment). In total they have eight hours of watch per day, which makes their a routine very exhausting. But I must say they also have some privileges. To start with more knowledge about sailing because of their daywork weeks between watch changes.

On top of that, they have the flexibility on free shore leave, since they are older than 18 (except for Jael). I must say I am also quite jealous about their cabin in the front of the ship. Their air conditioning is working very well (better like ours), so they can enjoy a cool cabin (sometimes too cold), although I must mention that the air comes out of the drystore and so the smell isn’t very pleasant sometimes in their accommodations.

This smell wasn’t very welcomed during Biscay, especially when they were seasick. Another minus point on this cabin is the anchor which is smashing everytime the swell is stronger against the forward part of the ship.

A little bit of responsibility for us

Since two or three days our 1st mate Ali has decided to let the trainees experience the watch-leaders role during watch. So in every watch a new watch leader is chosen amongst the five or six trainees on duty. This person has to handle the handover from the incoming and going watch as well as the occupation of the three positions during watch. This means appointing trainees for helming, starboard and port lookout and also for tasks during the watch like point of contact, cleaning or emptying the trash.

Karo took over today’s Main B watch from 12h30 to 16h as a watch-leader.

How did you manage the responsibility?

It wasn’t so much responsibility, I just had to tell everyone what they should do. That was actually very funny, because I sent Emma down to empty the trash from the wheelhouse, but instead of her I got the thanks from Gonzo. And I could decide who had to do lookout and helming, but you have to pay attention that everyone does roughly the same.

And you have to pay attention to the preferences of the people, because most of the people don’t like steering and some like doing the trainees logbook and others not. Most of the time half of the watch was in the rigging to stow the course and topsail, so we only had three people to do all the three jobs, including me and we had no standby-time. So I steered three hours and Emma and Jonathan did pretty long lookout, but I think it was a nice watch.

Marie – a real watchleader :), would also like to state a few word about her routine

It seems like little responsibility, but it isn’t. As a watchleader you have to not only organize that everyone is doing the same about of work, but also motivate them and be there for them in every situation. Everything what is happening within the watches has to be supervised by us and checked, which involves constant attention.

This 24/7 supervision can be pretty exhausting. For example in the bay of Biscay: Most people in my watch were ill, so I had to constantly check on them if they were able to do anything. We managed to make our way through Biscay, but only with the support of the few non-seasick trainees and my involvement in the background.

I must recon that we are more involved in the professional crew’s routine, but this also involves being ready for any situation anytime. This sort of pressure to anticipate every crew’s move leads to the feeling of not having a break. All in all being a watchleader has advantages (not doing heads and showers, only supervise it:) as well as disadvantages. But I really enjoy the position, because of the chance to get to know more of the nautical field and to work with the professional crew more closely.

The usual ship’s routine…

Today’s routine was the typical ship’s routine. So school for B watches in the morning and watch in the afternoon and the opposite for the A watches. Watches can be pretty dynamic, but only with everyone’s help. Funny moments (see down below, Nivea need to sponsor our next trip to the Caribbean islands!!) are often there.

Most of us have the same work ethic, which means helping everyone who needs help. Taking over 30 min of helm or lookout, when somebody doesn’t feel well, isn’t unusual. Thank you to everyone on board!! Let’s have two wonderful last months during this incredible journey.

P.S.: Viele Grüße an meine Familie ich vermisse euch sehr ❤️❤️❤️ An Larie und Sonni: Fühlt euch ganz dolle umarmt von mir! – Erik

P.P.S.: Liebe Mami von Erik, Sie tun uns aufrichtig leid, da Ihr Sohn Ihnen NOCH NIE eine Geburtstagskarte gemalt und Ihnen diese unbeschreiblich tiefgründige Freude verwehrt hat. Sagen Sie uns einfach Bescheid, wann Sie Geburtstag haben und wir schicken Ihnen eine wunderschöne Geburtstagskarte oder kommen persönlich vorbei (wir wohnen ums Eck), damit Sie einmal dieses unglaubliche Erlebnis im Laufe Ihres Lebens haben können.

Hochachtungsvoll, Nele S. und Grit B. 😘❤️

P.P.P.S.: Küsse und Umarmungen an alle Zuhause, ich muss schon sagen, ich vermisse euch alle sehr, erst recht eure tieferen Temperaturen. Hier scheint die Sonne und bald geht es nach Kuba, danach sollte es etwas kühler werden. Ich hab‘ euch alle lieb ♡

Bisous mon petit Papa et ma petite Marion!! La neige que vous vouliez m’envoyer n’est pas encore arrivée, peut-être que la connection n’était pas très stable 🙂 Je vous aime très fort et vous me manquer!! Bisous à Péquélou! ❤️🥰 – Emma

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