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First Night Watches At Sea

By Cheri Davidson

Thursday August 29, 2013

20-15’S, 160-47’W

Sailing at 4 knots, bound from Rarotonga to Tonga by way of Palmerston Atoll

For some of the folks aboard thePicton Castle, last night was their very first night watch, and adjusting to the movement of the ship in the dark can be challenging. Port watch (Captain’s watch) had the deck from 12-4am. We had new crew practice their steering and staying on a course of NWxW, sometimes needing the help of experienced hands to get a feel for how the ship reacts. We also had a lesson in knowing our lines in the dark, as we took in the spanker and fores’l for practice before the change of the watch. The Starboard watch (Mate’s watch) had the deck again from 4-8am and took in the inner jib and outer jib. Overnight we had bits of drizzly rain and overcast skies. We are hoping to see some stars soon!

Today the weather is clearing up slightly, enough to get some ship’s work done. Nolan was aloft on the fore lower tops’l replacing robands that keep the sail on the yard, Mark B is painting the overhead in the engine room. And, of course, the fishing lines are set! New crew are still learning their lines and knots. Repetition is key, but it can be a bit of information overload in the first few days.

George wasn’t to be seen all day yesterday and some worried that he might have been left behind in Rarotonga. But he popped out of his hiding place last night in search for food. Today he is laying comfortably on the hatch amongst the drying hawsers.

We are almost ready for lunchtime at 1230 for the oncoming Starboard watch, then again at 1300 for Port watch. I peeked in the galley and it looks like hamburgers! Smells yummy too. Donald also gave me a special sneak preview for dinner tonight… Donald’s famous fried chicken! The crew will all have happy full bellies.

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