Tenacious at sea

Days 3-4

Well, so far we’ve had almost every kind of weather but fine! Anybody who was expecting a warm Mediterranean sun and balmy zephyrs will have been disappointed.

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The fresh (force 6-7) north easterlies kept up until this morning and pushed us west at a great rate – at one point last night we were making better than 10 knots under courses and topsails, and throwing a terrific bow wave! Five dolphins came and entertained us for a while though I was doing a trick at the wheel at the time so I didn’t get a close look.

Cold north-easterlies - but fast progress
Cold north-easterlies – but fast progress

This morning however – just when we we were hoping for a glimpse of the eclipse – heavy rain squalls with thunder and lightning came through and the wind began veering. The captain was understandably anxious and we were all kept busy bracing the yards and reducing sail. A couple of miserable song birds came aboard for while. Poor things. The heavy rain flattened the waves almost completely.

I’ve just come up on deck again after a short nap and the coast of Spain near Motril is in sight. The wind has now eased and is almost south westerly. It’s still cloudy but the rain has ceased and we’re proceeding slowly westwards towards the Straits of Gibraltar. If the wind goes into the west as predicted well be motoring before long. But everyone now has their sea legs and meal attendance has markedly improved!

My first talk on celestial navigation took place round the mainmast yesterday and seemed popular I’m glad to say! But today’s had to be postponed because of the squalls. So far there’s been no chance of a sextant sight alas.

More soon I hope.

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18 March, 2015 10:21

Day 2

Yuk! It’s raining – and quite chilly. Big contrast with yesterday.

Have spent morning going through all the emergency drills and – in my case – being told how to handle the ship’s shorelines. It brings back memories of my days as a deck hand on the Isle of Wight ferry many years ago!

Now doing evac drill, standing at our muster station in lifejackets, in the rain…such fun

Evac drill
Evac drill

We set sail this afternoon.

17 March, 2015 19:54

Day 1

I finally came aboard Tenacious at 5pm this afternoon. She wasn’t hard to find, towering over the harbour here in Valencia.

Tenacious alongside in Valencia
Tenacious alongside in Valencia

Valencia is in festival mood with fireworks going off all day long and huge crowds on the streets for Las Fallas. Lots of women and children in the most elaborate traditional costumes with lace trim and combs in their hair.

Las Fallas procession - Valencia
Las Fallas procession – Valencia

I’ve unpacked my bags and made my bed – in a cosy curtained berth – and met the other members of my watch. We even have hot and cold running water!

My bunk (the lower one)
My bunk (the lower one)

We’ve had an initial briefing from the professional crew (how not block the loos, what the alarm sounds like…) and I’ve volunteered (am I mad?) for the midnight to 0200 harbour watch. Tomorrow morning will be devoted to ‘training’…

Evac drill
Evac drill

People seem interested in hearing about celestial navigation so I won’t be short of an audience. The weather today was lovely but is going to deteriorate tomorrow afternoon – just when we are due to sail!

Time for a brief kip.

Off to join the Sailing Ship TENACIOUS…

I’m off tomorrow to join the Jubilee Sailing Trust‘s sail training ship, TENACIOUS, in Valencia, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.  You can follow my progress on the blog here.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a really wonderful charity that ‘promotes the integration of people of all physical abilities through the medium of tall ship sailing’.  I’ve admired their work for many years and I’m really looking forward to seeing it at first hand.

I’ve been invited to demonstrate the art of celestial navigation to the volunteer crew as she sails first to Portimão, in southern Portugal, and then on to Ponta Delgada, in the Azores – 800 nautical miles out into the Atlantic.

It’ll be the first time I’ve visited Ponta Delgada since I sailed there from Lymington, England, in my own Contessa 32, Alcyone, back in 1981.  I expect I’ll find a few changes!