Monday 23rd - By Joshua Reeve
After sleeping surprisingly well, we woke to prepare the deck and start breakfast, tasks were divided between the ‘watches’ port and starboard. My group (port) prepared a breakfast, in the compact kitchen, of sausages, beans and plenty cups of tea. After clearing the table, we headed up to the deck to assist in finalising our boats departure, removing the spring and bow line, pivoting on the stern (rear) in a final manoeuvre before removing our final line and heading on our way to Worbarrow Bay in good spirit.
While traveling through the Needles Channel, we got our first tastes of actual sailing with running, gybing drills with the Yankee (the foremost sail), allocating positions to the; helm (the big steering wheel) and grinders (pulleys that can be hand cranked for adjusting the sheet). Awaiting calls from our skipper, we grew somewhat fluent to different roles and their needs and the dire importance of timing. We assisted setting the spinnaker (a long fibre glass pole that attached to the mast) with great use of the ‘’snake pit’’ (an area near the beam that contains the majority of lines for hoisting and trimming sails) which can be an intimidating mess of colourful ropes and latches if not explained.
Unfortunately, Neptune had different plans, the wind had essentially died and left us bobbing without heading. The chances of going for a swim before dark were growing slim, meaning we had to quit bathing in the sun and lower 2 of the 3 sails we had just raised to get moving again. We arrived to the bay a little late to go for a swim but instead spent our afternoon clearing the deck and preparing a Chilli Con Carne to enjoy with a picturesque sunset, which I tried desperately to capture/captivate on my camera before it slid behind the Purbeck Hills.
I’ll sleep eager of tomorrow’s events.
Tuesday 24th - By Rory (there can only be one!) McLeod
Today has probably been my favourite day of the week so far, this is because for a start, I had an awesome breakfast. But also because I learnt lots of new skills which I was then able to use.
Firstly, I had cocoa pops for breakfast, which is always the best way to start a day. Then my watch was on wash-up so we cleared the table and tidied up below, before heading up to the deck. The other watch had prepped the deck so we pulled out of the cove we had anchored in and pulled up the sails and began sailing.
We started by practicing tacking which although I missed the first explanation yesterday as I was washing up, I managed to pick up thanks to Mike and David explaining how it works, and by the end felt pretty confident with the process. After that we tackled gybing whilst using the main sail which made sense after one or two attempts. Then I ran a preventer across from the bow to the boom to prevent crash gybing which I found really interesting as I got to grips with how it worked.
After that we did a man over board drill and threw a fender over the side. My role was simply to make sure we always knew where it was by pointing, but simultaneously the others released the yankee and the stay sail and threw out a dan-buoy to make it easier to see the area that the fender was in. After that we pulled round and approached it in a way that would mean the wind would blow across us and push the boat towards the fender. Then Tom was harnessed up and lowered over the edge of the boat to pull it up.
Later we sailed to Portland where we’ve moored for the night. As soon as we’d moored we walked to the shops and the people doing DofE (including myself) bought food to make supper and some disposable BBQs. Which we then used on the beach to make really nice burgers and most of us swam in the sea.
So, overall I’ve particularly enjoyed today as I had a great breakfast, learnt lots of new skills and had a really nice supper.
Wednesday 25th - By Phoebe and Aoife
After having a full night’s sleep (which was a relief after having broken sleep the night before due to staying up for anchor watch) we had cereal for breakfast and prepared for the day. After that, we had some fun practicing rowing the dinghy around Portland marina and some of us climbed up the 29m high mast.
We then left Portland and soon started to sail by putting up the main sail, the yankee sail and the stay sail. The mate David then taught us about flares: when they should be used and the different types. He also taught us about the names that are given to different angles of the wind in relation to the main sail beam; close haul (30 degrees), close reach, beam reach, broad reach and dead run. Port watch prepared lunch – jacket potato with a choice of baked beans or tuna mayo and a sprinkling of cheese accompanied by blackcurrant and orange squash.
In the afternoon people were nominated to lead gybes and tacks and taking down the sails. Unfortunately, this all had limited effect as there was little wind all day which caused us backtrack slightly on our course. However, this was soon resolved by turning the motor on. Pesto pasta bake for dinner was enthusiastically welcomed by all the crew and followed up by golden syrup sponge with custard. The day ended with a beautiful sunset trashed by the news having to stay awake for a night watch!
All of today’s amazing meals were prepped and cooked to perfection by head chef James.