Distance run in the last 24 hours; 61NM
Average speed; 2.5KN
Weather; WNW winds force 3, not a cloud in the sky, temp 19.6°, slight seas
After lunch and heading back on deck I was pleasantly surprised to see mainmast up the Mizzenmast unfurling the Mizzencourse, a sail I haven’t seen set in a long time. We have the bosun Drew and Bosun’s mate Finn out on the bow sprit working and bending on the Foretopmast staysail after some minor repairs, which will shortly be set. The mystery ship has decided to keep her distance from us and we are a little disappointed we didn’t get to have a closer look, there is nothing more magical than two tall ships passing by coincidentally at sea with no other ships or land in sight.
The call then comes for all hands on deck as are going to try and tack the ship. Mainmast are on watch and about to set the fore topmast staysail but the other two watches are called to the waist to discuss the manoeuvre that we are about to carry out. It is more common for us to wear ship on Endeavour because of her shape and size and to wear ship we are bringing the wind aft of the beam of the ship to turn her. For a tack we bring the wind in front of her, quite a tricky challenge on Endeavour. Once the staysail is set everybody stands by their bracing stations ready for the call ‘Helms down’ which mean the helm is hard over. The next move is to let the fore topmast staysail and jib ‘fly’ which is to let the sheet off so that the sails flogs for a moment until the wind catches the opposite side of the sail and pushes the bow around. Then from there the foremast, mainmast and mizzenmast is braced around for the opposite tack and the ship has tacked…. Easier said than done.
We are doing this just because we can and our first attempt is successful, Huzzah the crew cheer. Now we are heading back for Tasmania and so it is time to tack again. This time we don’t quite make it and so we stand by again, unfortunately third time unlucky and so we wear the ship instead which a much easier manoeuvre on Endeavour.
On the first dog watch (1600-1800) the mizzenmast are responsible for going up aloft and furling the fore t’gallant, Mark, Andrew and Tony deserve a pat on the back as the chief officer and second mate notably commented on how nice and neat the furl was. Anthony, Julie, Don, Tony and Ian get the privilege of climbing their mizzen mast to furl the Mizzen topsail.
As dusk sets in and the day fades away we can start to see the glow of Victoria’s town skies and lights. Captain Ross gives a star walk tonight and goes through the theory behind celestial navigation and what stars will assist you in locating your position without the aid of modern technology such as a GPS.
The morning brings us another glorious day with beautiful sunshine and not a cloud in the sky, the temperature is noticeable that it is getting warmer as we head further north. The plan this morning is to wear ship as land is fast upon us. Just as everyone stands by their bracing station the captain has a change of plan. As the expression goes, practice makes perfect and so we are going to tack this ship instead of wearing her. Tacking is actually better as you can accomplish this with losing precious ground. We all stand by our stations and once again the call comes that the ‘helm is down’, moments later the call comes to let the fore topmast staysail sheet fly, Spank the Mizzen Driver and haul the main sheet, then again a tense moment as we all watch the bow of the ship start to creep into the wind, she starts to slow down but doesn’t stop, she then tiptoes beyond the point of no return and the calls come from the officers to brace the yards around as she makes it through the tack. Huzzah.