Sunday, May 21, 2006

All at sea

To paraphrase Captain Rum (Blackadder II), "We'll sail round and round the Balearics until we get dizzy, and then set sail for home!"

I didn't know anyone else on board, which was not useful upon arriving at Palma airport. I grabbed a taxi and instructed the driver to cruise along the sea-front until I was able to spot a likely candidate amid the forest of masts. The only square rigger was a bit of a giveaway.

Prince William

Training Ship Prince William is owned by Tall Ships and organises both youth and adult sail training 'holidays'.

Upon arrival, the forty-seven of us were split up into three watches and given duties, safety briefings and a few rules. Then came the bit that involved climbing up the rigging. The ratlines, the rope ladders that hold the masts, were OK, but sliding out along the yards to put the sails in gear (and to hand them afterwards (which is nautical language for 'putting them away')) was a bit more hairy. Like Bruce Dickinson is a bit more hairy than Yul Brynner.

A week later and I now have a basic idea about how a square-rigged ship works. Basically there's a lot of pulling on bits of string. I'm suffering from near-terminal fatigue. The three-watch system ensures that the entire crew is kept in a permanent state of having had not quite enough sleep.

There is more to add to this, but a separate blog entry with more pictures will follow once I'm properly awake.

edited 23 May to correct a couple of tupographical mistokes. Thanks to Mme Cyn for proof reading.


Mme Cyn said...

Huzzah! Did you splice any mainbraces?

Grumpy Goat said...

No, but we climbed out along the yards and hauled on the braces.
"Two-Six. Heeeeave!"
Repeat ad fatigueam.

Keefieboy said...


Grumpy Goat said...

'Tupographical' [sic]. As in 'mistoke' [sic]


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