SSN 720 Voyage Blog (Day 7)
This is my last blog and instead of telling you everything myself, I thought I’d let the experienced, tough, smart, capable, friendly and hard-working voyage crew tell you everything good / bad or about themselves!
“I liked the sound of the wind while sailing under the stars, when we were on night watch, and the sunsets, then sunrises that we saw. I’ll take that with me.”
“The wind, that wind you know”
“Adventure time-not copyrighted!”
“Tea is the best thing you can have”
“Movement in the water shakes the ship-have some Yorkshire tea!”
“I liked the Chartroom, it looked smart and very buttony”
“I’ll be missing you!”
“Great experience, great friends!”
“Don’t talk about ropes!”
“No more knots, please!”
“Ilayda” (she keeps it short and sweet!)
“A long night of sailing, there was a strong wind and it felt like we were going at a million miles (knots) per hour!”
“It came from Yorkshire”
“ Great banter!”
“I’ll be missing you.”
And last but not least…
“BBBUUUUUMMMMLLLLAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” (There were a few of them!).
We left the anchorage at Sandown Bay at the Isle of Wight and began our journey to Southampton, which took several hours. When we arrived, we had some time to start packing our bags before Dinner. For many of us who are Muslims, today was a special day “Eid”. Clive the Cook had made Chicken Curry with Samosas and Bajis.
This was very much appreciated.
After Dinner, we had the Captain’s end of voyage meeting with everyone in the Mess. This was followed by more inter-watch competitions. These started with a tug of war on the quayside which Red Watch won. Then we had some games in which needed to listen to each other and organise ourselves into certain groups. All good fun! Then it was to bed for the last time.
Mia Kitty Barbe-Wilson (Poppy)
SSN 720 Voyage Blog (Day 6)
Lots of great sailing from Dartmouth heading east along the English Channel. We changed course slightly a few times during the Watches in order to make the most of the winds. Of course we had the daily routine including our not so favourite, “happy hour” and Captain Dave’s jokes at the morning meeting. Are we going to miss those?
The weather improved and we had an enjoyable sail, although some people were sea sick. Lunch of vegetable soup and jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings was quickly devoured by hungry crew. We used the afternoon to practice knots required for the RYA Start Yachting Certificate and the eagerly anticipated inter-watch knot competition. First Aid Purser, Saskia, opened the Ship Shop to sell souvenirs like fridge magnets and key rings. We were also allowed to buy a chocolate bar and soft drink.
Our destination was Sandown Bay at the south east end of the Isle of Wight. Before we approached the anchorage, we hauled on lines and put the square sails in their gear. Then, Watch by Watch we went aloft to stow the sails for the last time on this voyage. Most of us enjoyed climbing and were sad that this was our final time.
After we anchored in Sandown Bay, we had our evening meal. Spicy beef and rice followed by caramel “Angel Delight”. We made decorations for tomorrow’s celebration of Eid. Then the interwatch knot competition. Youth Mentor Mike said that this was a new way of doing the competition and thanked White Watch Leader, Emma for organising it. All the action took place in the Waist, so that we could watch and cheer from the Boat Deck. It was exciting and we all made a lot of noise supporting our respective Watch members. The last round was the Watch Leaders.
Red Watch won overall, even though their Watch Leader, Ian, came last in the final round. Then it was time for bed but at least at anchor there were no Watches for Voyage Crew.
SSN 720 Voyage Blog (Day 6)
This morning, all eyes were fixed on the port of Dartmouth as it got smaller and smaller behind us. These eyes were an obvious give-away of sugar overloads after stocking up in Dartmouth (green tea for me!)
We were debating whether hash browns looked like chicken nuggets at breakfast, when we were told about a social climb-although none of us could think what was social about climbing 35m above everyone else, there were excellent pictures! (a lot of legs flailing makes for a great slideshow-I’m thinking school assembly folks?) The view was stunning when we set the sails, letting them fly loose against the wind-the sun glinting off the turquoise water was enough to wash away all fear about being clipped to a single line on the yards.
Steaming jacket potatoes with baked beans and curiously orange cheese (still tasty!) melted all over was lunch-giving us some energy to sit through a demo on knot tying. Bowline, slippery clove hitch, reef, round turn and two half hitches and gasket hitch knots were the minimum learnt by the eager watches in preparation for an interwatch knot tying relay the next day.
Some more free time, (mostly sleeping-or a very well-needed shower and a bit of a scrub for some of us) and an early dinner of curry or sweet and sour chicken for the vegetarian hoards (veggie veggie veggie, oi oi oi!) geared us all up to go on watch all night long-get your gloves and extra layers guys!
By Mia-kitty Barbe-Willson
Voyage SSN 720 – Voyage Blog (Day 4)
Stavros had been powering away all night along the southern coast of England by engine, heading into the wind, so no sails today. From midnight till 4:00 a.m. Red Watch was on duty on the Bridge, ready in harnesses at 11:30. So they yawned their way till four, swapping lookouts (apparently not the best view!), steering the Ship and gazing up at the stars clearer and brighter than ever – and past the Isle of Wight.
By the end of Red’s time, White Watch groggily made their way up to the Bridge to relieve the Red’s who were not so groggy to leave.
It felt like more than one day already by this time because of the awkward sleeping patterns this morning.
There was a spectacular sun rise this morning during white watches turn at the helm which took away from the feeling of the ship swaying side to side in the waves.
7:20, Red and Blue watches were called to the mess for breakfast, tomato, egg and sausage, which was just at the time that we had entered rougher waters.
We then played a type of last man standing during our cleaning hour (Happy Hour) this morning before lunch, finding out who had the strongest stomachs and who could withhold the choppy water, then a race to get your harness on, clip yourself to the side of the ship and let your previous breakfast fly-a worthy excuse for getting out of cleaning the heads!
Ironically, straight afterwards was lunch. Cheese and onion pasties with beans cooked by the Galley staff (probably the most valued people on board to us)
Most of the work had been completed and no-one wanted a repeat of this morning so there was a lot of free time where people could catch up on sleep and socialise with the other Watches. Most people congregated in the mess to play many (many, many, many…) games of cards.
Just after dinner, we had arrived just outside Dartmouth to be met by a Pilot boat. The Pilot who boarded the Ship, had experience of weaving in and out of the rocks at the mouth of the river Dart so that we could safely enter the port and we could moor in their dock.
We were the biggest vessel in the dock, attracting lots of attention from the locals and tourists. We are probably on many cameras scattered around Dartmouth.
We left Stavros for the first time of the voyage to get onto dry land, stocking up on sweets (too many perhaps?) from Dartmouth’s one and only ‘supermarket’.
Just afterwards, we headed to a nearby park to have a kick around with a football and some ‘chill’ time, finally getting a good, long, night’s sleep on Stavros S Niarchos.
By Louie Sacarello
Voyage SSN 720 – Voyage Blog (Day 3)
After a beautiful sunrise, with the sunlight reflecting off calm seas, we left our overnight anchorage near Margate. We all slept well because there were no night Watches while the ship was at anchor. “Happy Hour”, which is cleaning the inside of the ship, followed breakfast. At the morning meeting for the crew, Captain Dave told us one of his jokes and because we didn’t laugh, he told us two more!
We headed south at first before turning east and passing through the Dover Straits, where we saw lots of ships including Ferries passing to and fro between Dover and Calais. The wind was against us and so we could not sail but continued our journey along the south coast of England under engines.
This was our first real day at sea. It was a bit rough for some of us and a lot felt sick and were lined up on one side of the ship, with a sick bucket and beaker of water. The line of people, was like a new ‘Green Mile’, with everyone wearing a harness and tied to the ship. No risk of a man over-board while vomiting.
Voyage SSN 720 – Voyage Blog (Day 2)
No sleepy-heads and lazybones were spared the gruelling 6:30 wake up call this morning! After a lot of red eyes were rubbed and tooth and hair brushes wrestled with, we all dropped into our seats for breakfast-an eclectic mix of cereals, fruit, porridge and cooked food.
We’d been moored to West India Quay all night-it was a stirring sight (in more than one way-take sea-sickness tablets guys!) to see the soupy Thames slop and splash around us as we grinded into action past the O2, through the Thames Barrage as it let us out grudgingly and the QE2 bridge.
As we got onto open water we had a taste of climbing the masts-going up and over-climbing the rigging across a platform and down the other side, mostly with our bare (and dainty!) hands!
We all like to talk about the weather, but sadly there were no grey skies or freak sleet and hail to grumble about. Blazing sun and a robust wind gave us a very healthy appetite for lunch which was cream of cauliflower soup (how exotic!) and some mouth-watering burgers! (Veggie, halal and meat.)
After our scrumptious and pleasantly filling lunch we had a very informative talk about working aloft (working up the aforementioned masts)-and of course the safety guidelines, by Bosun Kim- it was very interesting. After this, the brave amongst us climbed back up the rigging and along the yards to get a taste of working aloft with the sails. A few however, stayed down and with wobbly legs took photos. Once everyone was down and relaxed it was time for dinner, white watch had to go on watch though. Dinner was pies, peas and potatoes, it was very nice especially knowing that cake and custard were to follow-mmm! Shortly after dinner we anchored just off the coast by Margate- this was a relief as it meant nobody had to stay up till stupid ‘o’clock on watch. After a bit of relaxation and watching the beautiful picturesque sunset, youth mentor Mike provided some great entertainment- “the boat races”, a small block of wood on the end of a piece of string that we had to wind up and see who wound it up the quickest. In the end the scores were: Red with gold, White with silver and Blue took bronze. After this we all had a lovely warm shower and got ready for bed. Tucked deep in our sleeping bags the seasickness was forgotten and sleep welcomed by exhausted but happy Stavros crew.
By Mia-kitty Barbe-Wilson and Freya Samuel-Smith.
SSN 720 – Voyage Blog (Day 1)
We arrived at the ship in West India Quay (Canary Wharf) around lunchtime. We all had brought packed lunches of sandwiches, crisps and soft drinks. Students from five different schools in Tower Hamlets and a teacher from each. None us had been on a tallship before and it seemed a bit scary but awesome at the same time.
We were introduced to our Watch Leaders who showed us to our Cabins and the bunks we were going to sleep in during the voyage. Then after we had unpacked, we were called together for a meeting in the Mess to meet the Captain and the Crew.
The afternoon was taken up by lots of training about safety, living on-board the ship, helming (steering the ship) and seamanship. With all these lessons it was a bit like school but with all the lessons crammed into an afternoon.
We got fitted with safety harnesses for climbing in the rigging and waterproof trousers and jacket in case it rains. When it was time for us to have our evening meal, we were all happy because by then we were hungry. We had chilli and rice followed by ice cream.
In the evening we had a quiz organised by Youth Mentor Mike and he explained that this was the first of the competitions between each Watch. White Watch were the winners of the quiz. After this we had time for showers and then we were told to go bed to get some sleep before more training tomorrow while sailing down the River Thames. We were all excited and it seemed like ages before people started to got to sleep.
Martin Atstopas and Jason Fox.