Captain's Log

Archive for the 'Past Voyages' Category

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Day’s Run – 2 July, 2016

While the breeze has remained light it is starting to show signs of filling in again and we are expecting more to come in the next few days.

As we move back to the western side of the ocean we can expect the winds to become more variable in direction and much stronger. As a result we have begun switching back to the stronger suit of canvass that we had sent down after leaving La Rochelle, about 3,000nm ago. Today saw both Lower Topsails shifted in good time. The crew, having spent a lot of time in the rig this passage, is getting good at getting things done. A satisfying thing indeed for all onboard. In the coming days as the weather permits we will be shifting out the Courses, Upper Topsails, Spanker and Inner Jib.

The Carpenters are keeping busy replacing bits and pieces of wood about the ship as well as getting busy with some deck caulking. We have also started making a new Main Boom for the ship’s MONOMOY.

monomoy returning to the ship Mangareva 153

Our MONOMOY is a 23′ pulling boat that sits in the port davits while at sea. This boat was once a common type of rescue boat in the US Life Saving Service and our boat was part of that service, being built in the 1940’s and used at a station somewhere on Cape Cod. It was given to the ship by Capt. Bob Douglas of the Schr. SHENANDOAH and despite its age is in remarkably good shape, having now giving us many years of excellent service.

While it is easy to argue that no one really needs to know how to row a boat any more, this boat is a large part of our program. Tt has been thought for a long time, by many mariners, that the awareness and teamwork required to run a pulling boat are at the very foundation of seamanship. We believe this strongly too and make good use of the boat whenever we can in port or at anchor. Our boat also has a sailing rig, allowing us to use her for another very important function – teaching sailing. Odd, one might think, for a sailing ship to need a boat to teach sailing with, but it is true that someone might sail as a hand in a larger ship for many years and never really learn to ‘sail’. So we also take the time to get our crew sailing the boat whenever possible. While the mechanics and the man power may be very different between the ship and the boat the principles and the ‘feel’ are the same. With the quick reactions to wind and sea required to get the boat to make ground it is the perfect opportunity to teach these principles in a way that they can be seen and felt very quickly. (The great secret to all of this is that sailing the boat is actually a lot of fun too).

So here on our long passages we have the opportunity to care for our 70+ year old boat in an effort to get good service out of her for years to come.

SHIP’S WORK: Send down Lower Topsails ‘C’ & ‘F’ and bend Lower Topsails ‘G’ and ‘NZ-13’; wrap up open spot painting and slushing jobs; clean out carpenter’s workshop as well as clean and sharpen tools; re-stow oars and gear in MONOMOY; Sailmakers close in on the new Upper Topsail with rope cover on the head and foot and seizings on the clews.

 

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 35°05’N / 040°46’W

DAYS RUN: 53nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2990nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1392nm

COURSE AND SPEED: W x N, 2.5kts

WIND: S x W, Force 2 – 3

WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with cirrus and alto cumulus, air temp: 25°C, water temp: 25°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  SW’rly, 1 – 3ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Studding Sails

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Day’s Run – 1 July, 2016

Happy Canada Day! For us has dawned another beautiful day in tropical like conditions. While keeping the ship moving through the night the crew have kept busy and up to snuff with their sail stowing, drilling in getting the Studding Sails in and the Royals stowed in a timely fashion.

We have been lucky enough to see more than a few marine mammals this passage and about midday today a number of spouts were seen along the horizon. As they came closer though, we saw the spout was different than the dolphins, Fin whales and Minke Whales we have been seeing. Soon enough it became obvious that there were an entire pod of Sperm whale headed in our direction, a rare and exciting site.

Sperm whales, after hundreds of years of being the most popularly fished whale, are rare to see and also easily ‘gallied’ or scared away at the approach of a vessel. As we sailed along slowly in silence, on a course meeting with theirs, they appeared not to notice us. Two adults and two calf’s crossed within 20 yards of the bow of the ship. These amazingly large and powerful creatures slowly lumbering along in the afternoon sun was an awe inspiring sight and the crew crowded on the Focs’l head and into the Fore Mast to catch a glimpse.

Swim call on an earlier voyage

Swim call on an earlier voyage

Later in the afternoon, with very calm seas and warm water it was decided by the Captain that there would be no better time than now to have a swim call. With a flurry of activity the ship was hove to Fore Topsail to the mast and all hands called on deck. After the Mate gave a quick lesson on the ‘pool rules’ – how to stay safe, with a few designated life guards standing by – in the crew went. It’s quite a feeling being in the water next to your ship, the nearest land being about 16,000 feet away – straight down. After about 20 min, many hands soaping up for a salt water scrub and a few braving a dive from the Jibboom it was time to go. All hands were again called on deck to be accounted for, then hands to braces and fill away. And  with setting the kites we started along our way again.

And as if we thought the day couldn’t get any better Donald served us his world famous fried chicken for dinner. Our 23rd day at sea was not too bad at all.

SHIP’S WORK: Overhaul Main yard foot ropes; patch serve splices on Main Upper Topsail lifts; Paint on the Focs’l head hand rails and the Semi-Dory Bottom; slushing the rig; continue quarterdeck dutchman; various spot painting; Sailmakers continue on Upper Topsail ‘H’ and the new Upper Topsail ‘DK-16’

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 34°41’N / 045°39’W

DAYS RUN: 69nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2937nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1444nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW x w, 3kts

WIND: SE, Force 3

WEATHER: Sunny and occasional cumulus, air temp: 26°C, water temp: 24°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  E’rly, 1 – 2ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Outer Jib and Fore Topmast Staysail

 

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Day’s Run – 30 June, 2016

The wind has been lightening and steadily veering to the Southeast and as such just before noon we wore ship onto the Port tack.

With our Studding Sail gear this takes some time. As we only have one set, we can only set Studding Sails one side at a time. So in come the sails, down come the booms, all the gear is shifted over to port then up with the booms again and then we can set full sail again. The process, with enough hands, takes just about two hours.

Another drill was called this afternoon: this time a fire drill. The crew are doing well with the safety drills and getting good at carrying out their assignments. But it is often said that a perfect drill is of little use, as it leaves no room for improvement. Which is why this afternoon’s drill had a good twist to it: a squall. It is certainly not an unreasonable possibility to have to fight a fire while some other event is happening and this was a good test for the crew. They handled it well though being flexible with the needs of getting sail in and the problems of communication in an absolute downpour. The end result being mostly that all of our gear got a good fresh water rise and with the laundry lines full we again set all sail and put the wind behind us making our way toward Canada

SHIP’S WORK: Shift the Mainsail; quarter deck caulking; Sailmaking repairs continue to Lower Topsail ‘G’ and Upper Topsail ‘H’ and roping continues on the new Upper Topsail

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 34°25’N / 044°21’W

DAYS RUN: 88nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2868nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1683nm

COURSE AND SPEED: W x S, 4kts

WIND: E x S, Force 3

WEATHER: Sun and cumulus clouds, air temp: 25°C, water temp: 24°C SWELL HIGHT & DIRECTION:  E’rly, 1 – 2ft SAILS SET: All Sail, except Fore Topmast Staysail

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Day’s Run – 29 June, 2016

Our excellent trade wind sailing continues. The forecast however is for the winds to start getting lighter and we can already feel that today. But it is no matter to us as we have been making good time and will continue to have good weather if not fast sailing.

The Mate and the Bosun are still using the weather to great advantage, with much paint going on the occasional varnish project and many small jobs in the rig that just aren’t possible on higher latitude passages.

As the conditions were good for it this afternoon we held a man overboard drill. This can require a lot of sail handling and quick thinking with so much sail set and to get the boat away safely and quickly at the same time. In this case with the Studding Sails set it is important not to get them aback as they are only supported from the aft side. So while in most drills we turn the ship into the wind on the tack we are already on, in this case we turn away from the wind giving the crew time to get the Studding Sails down while we wear ship. In these moderate conditions we can also leave the spanker set which will help kick the stern around once we have come onto the other tack.  The result of this manoeuvring is that the ship becomes hove to (stopped) on the Port tack with the Fore Yards aback and the Main yards braced up and no gear broken! Then once it is safe, the rescue boat is away to recover the buoy we had thrown overboard. The crew did well and from the time we called the drill, the rescue boat was back alongside with the buoy in 6 minutes flat.

But this is still a good reminder to the crew, seeing what it takes to recover someone in near perfect conditions with all hands standing by. The best solution is prevention, and we as a whole crew must remain vigilant in order to keep everybody safely on board.

After the drill the crew showed that they have been doing well with their sail drill, we wore ship again to get back on course and the Studding Sails flew up into the rig, and off we went to the Northwest.

SHIP’S WORK: Re-seize Upper Topsail backropes; set up Main T’gallant shrouds; Painting on Engineer’s ladder; hatch combing; aloha deck; MONOMY and Semi-Dory; Carpenters begin making new main boom for MONOMY and continue with quarterdeck dutchman; Sailmakers replace suncloth and ropecover on the head of Lower Topsail ‘G’ and begin Roping on new Upper Topsail.

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 33°51’N / 042°47’W

DAYS RUN: 117nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2780nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 1770nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW x W, 5kts

WIND: E, Force 4

WEATHER: Sunny, occasional squall, air temp: 25°C, water temp: 24°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  E’rly, 1 – 2ft

SAILS SET: All Sail

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Day’s Run – 28 June, 2016

Another lovely trade wind sailing day. The wind shifted east this morning and we squared away and hauled up the Studding sails.

The ships work keeps on and many coats of paint are being applied with the good weather. Foot ropes and crane lines are being sent down from the rig for maintenance and temporary ones being rigged in there place.

And a delicious fish dinner from Donald rounds out another good day at sea.

donald

SHIP’S WORK: Paint out MONOMOY and Semi-Dory; spot painting main deck stand pipes and engineers ladder; grease Topmasts; rig up temporary foot rope on main yard; send down main yard foot ropes for service; continue quarterdeck dutchman and caulking; sailmakers continue repairs to Lower Topsail ‘G’ and tabling on Upper Topsail ‘DK-16’

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 32°54’N / 040°46’W

DAYS RUN: 103nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2663nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2079nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW, 4.3kts

WIND: ENE, Force 4

WEATHER: Sun and cumulus clouds, air temp: 25°C, water temp: 23°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  ENE’rly, 2 – 4ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Outer Jib and Fore Topmast Staysail

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Day’s Run – 27 June, 2016

As we approach the southwestern corner of the North Atlantic high, the wind has become gradually lighter. With as much sail set as we can carry, the ship is still doing well in the very moderate conditions.

We are expecting this part of the crossing to be slower and are happy with the wind keeping us moving as well as we are.

As usual, the rig is crawling with hands doing various tarring jobs a fixing chafe gear. The Spanker boom was brought down to the rail this afternoon to get some work done on the topping lift and measure for some new sheet block strops. The Sailmakers are busy making any repairs we can find in the strong suite of sails before they will have to be bent on again, probably sometime next week.

Tarring - on an earlier voyage

Tarring – on an earlier voyage

The life aboard the ship keeps on going, the routine of the long passage has been settled for a while now and the crew and the ship both have fallen into the rhythm as we roll along peacefully in the gentle mid Atlantic swell.

SHIP’S WORK: Spot paint MONOMOY and the Semi-Dory; Send down Studding Sail gear from the main; end for end Spanker sheets and topping lift; make up new hemp block strops for Spanker sheets; overhaul Main Topmast Staysail sheet pennants; send aloft cranelines on the Mizzen; prep and prime engineer’s ladder to quarterdeck; continue with quarterdeck dutchman; Sailmakers continue repairs to Lower Topsail ‘G’ and continue tabling on new Upper Topsail.

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 32°04’N / 039°01’W

DAYS RUN: 118nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2560nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2181nm

COURSE AND SPEED: WNW, 5kts

WIND: ENE, Force 4

WEATHER: Sun and clouds, occasional squall, air temp: 24°C, water temp: 23°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  NE’rly, 2 – 4ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Studding sails and Flying Jib

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Day’s Run – 26 June, 2016

An overcast Sunday at sea. The wind has faired a little more and the Studding Sail booms were run out again this morning.

To mark the occasion of being a little more than half way across we held a ‘social hour’ on the quarter deck this afternoon, and to counter the grey day the crew came up in brightly coloured outfits and spent some time enjoying the company of the other watches over popcorn and cool drink.

SHIP’S WORK: Sunday at Sea!

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 31°04’N / 037°05’W

DAYS RUN: 144nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2442nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2291nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW, 6kts

WIND: ENE, Force 5

WEATHER: Cloudy, air temp: 24°C, water temp: 23°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  NE’rly, 4 – 6ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Fore Topmast Staysail and Outer Jib

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Day’s Run – 25 June, 2016

While our good speed continues we are having to work a bit harder for it. The wind strength and direction have started to become more inconsistent and this requires much more sail handling to get the utmost out of the ship. All bent sail was set this morning as the wind moderated, but as it increased again in came the kites. The venerable old Flying Jib that has pulled the ship for so many miles over the past 15 years was unbent for (probably) the last time. The new Flying Jib, being completed, was made up for bending first thing in the morning and sent out into the rig. It’s quite a feeling to be able to make our own sails by hand and then get the satisfaction of being able to set them and feel the ship move along under their power. The Sailmaker and a few others spent a moment on the Focs’l head admiring our new creation, but then – with no time to waste – back to the quarter deck to continue work on our new Upper Topsail and Main Topmast Staysail.

As the winds have been quite strong for our lighter suite of sail, when the Royals came in this morning a few hands were sent up to put some stitches in before any holes started to open up and get some practices mending sail aloft. This also presented a good opportunity to get the halyard runner bushed and greased, and they were brought into the rig for service.

A good day’s work and by late afternoon with the wind moderating again. We are under all sail except the Studding Sails and enjoying another fantastic dinner from Donald, looking forward to another Sunday at sea tomorrow.

SHIP’S WORK: End for end Main Upper Topsail halyard and Main Royal halyard; brush and grease Royal halyard runners; replace STBD Fore T’gallant clewline; painting in MONOMOY and Semi-Dory; begin overhaul on Main Topmast Staysail sheet pennants; Carpenter’s shop cleaning; shift Flying Jib.

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: GMT

NOON POSITION: 29°46’N / 034°48’W

DAYS RUN: 149nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2298nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2432nm

COURSE AND SPEED: NW, 6.2kts

WIND: NE, Force 5

WEATHER: Sunny, air temp: 24°C, water temp: 23°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  NE’rly, 4 – 6ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Studding sails and Flying Jib

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Day’s Run – 24 June, 2016

The squalls started up again last night and the Studding Sails came in early. As the morning came on, the wind built to the upper end of Force 5 and started gusting 6. During the morning watch the Royals, Flying Jib and Gaff Topsail were taken in hand. The ship continued to speed along though and as the day cleared off it turned into grand sailing.

With fair forecasts we have begun our slow swing to the north toward Canada. Everyone aboard is excited to be making a good passage and we are hoping for the wind to continue as it has for a few days yet to come.

SHIP’S WORK: Replace Fore lift tackles; replace port Main T’gallant brace; replace STBD Fore Royal sheet; make up new Flying Jib sheet pennant; clean and spot paint MONOMOY; spot paint hatch combing; continue quarterdeck dutchman.

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: ZD +1

NOON POSITION: 28°45’N / 032°14’W

DAYS RUN: 154nm

PASSAGE LOG: 2149nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2597nm

COURSE AND SPEED: WNW, 6.5kts

WIND: N x E, Force 5, gusting 6

WEATHER: Sunny, air temp: 23°C, water temp: 23°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  NE’rly, 4 – 6ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Studding sails, Royals, Flying Jib and Gaff Topsail

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Day’s Run – 23 June, 2016

As the night wore off the wind began to build in the morning.

The ship is still sailing to the West with the wind mostly behind us and this allowed us to carry all sail and take best advantage of the wind strength. There is nothing quite like a square rigger with a fresh quartering breeze and all sail set. Overnight we had left the Fore Topmast and T’gallant Studding Sails set for the watches to drill with handling on their own at night, and in the morning we set the remaining ones to get the ship moving. It wasn’t just as easy as setting more sail though: around midday a few squalls started to appear behind the ship and so began the mad scramble to get sail in in time. Good work was done by the crew and we squared away with all plain sail when the squalls hit.

Taking in topmast studding sail on an earlier voyage

Taking in topmast studding sail on an earlier voyage

And when the squalls are over it’s time to make sail again, and fast.

With many hands on deck the Studding Sails went flying up into the rig again and the other kites were hauled up as well to keep us speeding along on our way.  Our Studdingsail clubs (the short spar that the sail is bent to, and is hoisted up into the rig with the sail) are made of bamboo from some of the various islands we have visited over the years. Bamboo has the opposite problem wood does with age: as it gets older and dries out it gets weaker, this happened to be the case with the Main T’gallant Studding Sail club and it went in half just before the noon watch change.  Good practices though for the crew and it was brought back down in a hurry with no damage to the sail. The afternoon saw a couple hands making reinforcements to the club so it could see use another day.

SHIP’S WORK: End for end port Main Brace; lay up Outer Jib sheet fairleads; Paint Galley house trim; make up curtain for STBD scuttle; oil blocks on the Mizzen mast; continue with dutchman on the quarter deck; reinforce Main T’gallant Studding Sail club; Sailmakers work on Flying Jib rope cover.

FROM: La Rochelle, France

TOWARDS: Quebec, Canada

TIME ZONE: GMT

NOON POSITION: 28°48’N / 029°23’W

DAYS RUN: 142nm

PASSAGE LOG: 1995nm

DISTANCE REMAINING: 2730nm

COURSE AND SPEED: W x S, 6kts

WIND: N x E, Force 5

WEATHER: Sunny, air temp: 23°C, water temp: 24°C

SWELL HEIGHT & DIRECTION:  N’rly, 4 – 6ft

SAILS SET: All Sail, except Main T’gallant Studding Sail

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