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On our way to South Georgia

A sunny morning under clear skies and a fair breeze welcomed us to our departure day. Before departure, a mandatory safety talk and instructions must be conducted. While we were still alongside and with all gathered on the main deck, several crew members climbed aloft and started to unfurl top sails, head rig, lower and middle staysails. The rest of the crew was still busy with the last preparations before setting sail. By then the Uruguayan harbour Pilot was already on board, while the Europa off-signing crew helped to let go our lines, waving goodbye and cheering best wishes to each other. It didn’t take long for the pilot escort the ship out of Montevideo Port and be picked up. Right after this manoeuvre, the voyage crew could give a hand with setting the sails that were already unfurled. The W-ly wind of about 19kn made for postponing the planned familiarisations and instructions for the guests, in favour of starting the trip with great sailing. Like this, taking advantage of the good strong breeze, during the morning gradually almost all our canvas was set. Adding our jibs, top gallants, courses, royals and spanker to the sail configuration, Europa unfolds almost all her wings, happily sailing at over 6.5kn on a S-ly course over the murky shallow waters of Rio de la Plata estuary. Over our heads fly the European and the Uruguayan flags, and high up in the foremast flies captain’s Eric red flag, number 45. Many a voyage crew member looked quite overwhelmed by the amount of sails and ropes to learn and pull during the next days, nevertheless comforted by the permanent crew as they explain that it takes a bit of time and dedication to get used to it and gain an understanding of how our beloved ship works. Hopefully the experience we will gradually
attain during this trip will bring up to surface the sailor spirit hidden inside many.
Many things had to be done still during the day, like getting us familiarised with our duties on board along the whole journey. With full sails over our heads, we gather on the main deck and are divided in a couple of groups each led by a crew member, who briefed us on how to steer the ship, some emergency procedures and how to conduct a proper look-out. With those activities we opened the door for the start of our watch system, which will continue until reaching the wild coasts of South Georgia Island, about 1600nm away from us. During the afternoon, as we step into our watches, the wind eases to about 10kn, backing from WNW-ly to more W-ly and the good speed we carried earlier also drops to about 3kn on our southbound course. But the general forecast is to have headwinds soon, and indeed we didn’t have to wait much longer to find ourselves under stronger S-ly winds, blowing over 25kn. Time to change course and head now in an E-ly direction while with the help of many, all square sails are clewed up, together with taking down and furling upper staysails and outer jib. Our new course will allow us to motorsail during the next hours with the help of the spanker and lower and middle staysails. All those operations allowed for a good sail training afternoon for all voyage-crew, and to complete the day, climbing instructions for the ones still around were done. After this we start feeling more confident on board and many already think on going aloft and give a hand to the permanent crew furling, unfurling and preparing sails. The confused sea state and variable winds we are experiencing are related to an atmospheric compression zone located above our heads, as we find ourselves right between a low pressure system and a high pressure system (the centre of which will cross our path during tomorrow) that follows it. According to this, the forecast for the next hours indicate lighter winds until tomorrow in the late afternoon, when a fair breeze will help us sail on our way to South Georgia. As the hours pass by and night time arrives, the sea conditions seem to worsen and the seasickness starts to strike. Quite normal and understandable on our first day at sea. But we can never be sure if those affected were the ones who followed our Doctor Hans instructions on how to really experience the unforgettable event of seasickness. Between jokes his recommendations were to don’t eat anything, get drunk the night before sailing off to the sea, forget about breakfast and substitute it by a full packet of cigarettes, drink lots of non-sugary coffee and spend time where the ship pitches and rolls the most, in the fore deck or in the aft, looking sideways to the seas.

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Guide



Jordi je bent er weer. Ik ga weer genieten van je prachtige verhalen.

margriet.  |  20-11-2018 09:06 uur

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