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Good sailing though dealing with variable and shifting winds

Good sailing though dealing with variable and shifting winds  

Good sailing day we got. The seas were not too rough but the gusting winds made for lots of sailhandling during most of the journey. 

Winds blow, winds shift, winds change in strength and direction. Mastering the sailing on those conditions translated on a busy day on deck. 

Now set all squares, lower and middle staysails, and head rig too. What a nice sight and a good sailing, but not much later, strong blows make or take away the upper stash, and furl the Royals. Black cloud approaching, maybe top gallants should come down?  

Strong blows make the ship heel on her close hauled bracing. Sure, douse the top gallants and pack them away. 

What about the Middle Staysails? Well, we can hold them for a while… a while that translates into a few minutes as the gusts hit us. Well, pull them down and furl them. 

But look, seems like the wind is steading and dropping. So, what about setting again more canvas? 

Great. Climb up again, unfurl Middle staysails and Top Gallants, and hoist them pulling sheets and halyards from the deck while easing clews and bunts.  

Maybe royals? ok, hands on the shrouds climb again, and unpack them. Sheet them down and hoist the yards. 

Ups… gusting strongly once more, get those royals down quick and… yes sure the top gallants too. 

Go up again and furl them well. 

Down on deck once more, coffee, maybe a lecture. But well, the wind is easing again, we should hoist more canvas to keep the speed. 

And so on, and on. The life of a sailor… or a wanna-be sailor. Take advantage of every puff of wind, set and strike sail, pack them or unfurl, and pull your braces. Keep her safe and happy sailing. Listening to the experienced Captain and Mate, following their intuition and “savor faire” on those variable conditions. The struggle and the magic of sailing a ship like the Old Lady Europa. 

As we cleverly use the sailing opportunities on the fair but shifting winds, so do the numerous seabirds that elegantly take advantage of them too, soaring and gliding around the ship. Increasing numbers of Black-browed albatrosses share the sky with lots of Giant petrels. A solitary Northern Royal albatross passes by. For a while e small flock of the beautiful Cape petrels follow our wake. Amidst all of them, the little but extremely brave Wilson Storm petrels also show up. Jumping between the waves and swell Peale’s dolphins seem to enjoy too today’s conditions.

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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