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SSN 821 summer adventure

Wed 23 August – Fri 1 September

Entry Seven

Only a short trip today but one of great interest and significance. We upped anchor after breakfast and navigated our way just round the headland to Teingmouth. Our visit was significant in being the first the Stavros had ever made to the town and we later found out that we were the first square rigger to visit in almost a hundred years. Our first challenge though was getting into harbour, according to the figures we would just clear the bar at the entrance at high tide. With the pilot on board in we went and cleared the bar, the crowds who had come out see us and the boats who gathered around us unaware of the nerves on board. Successfully moored we had lunch and then the social climb with all trainees climbing the mast. This was followed by the egg drop competition clearly won by Red Watch, and clearly lost by Steve the youth mentor who was chosen as the target for the two successfully unbroken eggs. Following dinner we had the Back Beach Shanty Boys come aboard to serenade us before a run ashore to discover Teingmouth and to lose a pair of glasses in the sea: you know who you are! Back aboard and our minds turned to leaving and crossing the bar, would our leap of faith help we wondered?

Entry Six

On Monday Morning we awoke to a very foggy Cherbourg, and although it was early Monday morning the quay around us was full of locals fishing in the dock. After breakfast was cleared way we had some shore leave in Cherbourg, we spent the time discovering the town whilst in search of an ice cream in the 27 degree heat the fog had lifted to reveal.  We left Cherbourg to cross the channel, heading for an anchorage in Torbay for the night after lunch. We had hoped that the winds would pick up and we could sail across but our hopes were dashed and so we had to motor across. Again we spotted Dolphins but they didn’t come and play this time. As we crossed we were treated to a spectacular sunset, and as darkness drew in we were treated to a guitar recital and sing-song on the focstle. My watch was watch on deck as we approached our anchorage under a clear starlit sky spotting stars and even the Milky Way. On approach to Torbay it was interesting to watch the way in which the ship was navigated to its anchorage and how the lights of Torbay spread out before us.

Hillary – Blue Watch

Entry Five

Woke up in Alderney to a beautiful morning, clear skies and very hot. We left the anchorage and set sails on the Foremast and Mainmast to take advantage of what little wind there was. The view from up the mast was stunning and working on the yards great fun as I was right out on the clew end on the upper topsail. What little wind we had combined with the tide pushed us across to Cherbourg and following lunch is was time to haul in and stow the sails, followed by getting the ship ready to dock. We took aboard the pilot at 4.20 and headed into the ocean liner terminal berth that was to be our mooring. Lots of people were on the quay as we arrived fishing and had to move fast to avoid losing their lines. Following mooring and dinner we were allowed time ashore to discover Cherbourg and returned to play one last game of cards before turning in.

Sophie –Blue Watch

Entry Four

Saturday was a long day, woken at 3.30 for our 4 till 8 am watch, we were so tired but were looking forward to sunrise which turned out to be truly stunning. The highlight of the morning was watching a pod of dolphins swim with the ship, at one point we had 20 in the bow wave. But as fast as they arrived they were gone. As we crossed the channel heading to Alderney we had an inter-watch knot race, which white watch won clearly tying nearly all there knots on the first attempt. We arrived at Alderney in the dark and dropped anchor tired and ready for a good night’s rest.

Ed – White Watch

Entry Three 

As we were moored in Cobh last night we were woken at 7.30 and had a one sitting breakfast. This was followed by bracing practice ready for going to sea, we had lots of practice. We sailed from Cobh heading for Lands’ End and then onto France. As the wind was against us we motored, but went aloft to practice sail handling and stowing on the Foretop mast staysail, this took most of the morning and we also got to go out onto the bowsprit. After lunch the 2nd Officer Neil taught us about distress at sea looking at all the various pieces of equipment on board the ship, how they would be used and when. This had all been done whilst we settled into standing watches and helped us settle into the rhythm of the ship. The watches also allowed us to start completing the quizzes we had been given for the interwatch competition. As we motored on through the night we collapsed into bed when our watch was finished, learning that sleep can be a precious commodity.

Ren – Red Watch

Entry Two 

On the second day we started to train properly on deck, perfecting our coiling technique and our bracing station rotation. I am a member of the easing team slacking of the lines on the course. We practiced this on both masts and then it was time to prepare for our departure from Cork.

We were given the first watch and navigated our way out of Cork harbour, sailing down the estuary to Cobh. I realised just how much teamwork was involved when docking a ship of this size when we came alongside in Cobh. We were given shore leave in Cobh, on return we played games which helped to bond us together as a team and get to know each other better.

Greg – Blue Watch 14

Entry One

After arriving on board Stavros I was welcomed by everyone I met and settled quicker than I expected. After everyone arrived we were assigned watches and introduced to the permanent and volunteer crew. Almost immediately we learnt the basics of sail bracing how to helm the ship and the safety alarms and our muster stations. At 8pm our training finished and we were allowed shore leave in Cork and headed out as a group to explore the city. Back in the mess by 10pm we had fun playing cards for a bit finally turning in tired after travelling and training.

Everyone seemed really happy with the group and the ship which beat all expectations.

Sophie – Blue Watch 2