28/04/2010 - Foremast yards

Average temp: 9ºC

As The Picton Castle reaches the “makeup” stage of her preparation (see blog entry from 26/04/2010 for the simile) there are less mundane jobs to do and us trainees find ourselves standing around requesting jobs from the pro-crew from time to time, or idly trying to learn our lines (i.e. learn which ropes do what and where they are – bear in mind we have to learn over 120 different rope/line names, what they do and where they go!)


Another complicated procedure was carried out this afternoon, the raising of the forem’st t’galant and Royal yards (the bits of wood that sit perpendicular to the mast that the sails are attached to) and it is here that one of my favourite sayings “when the sun sets over the yardarm” was finally explained; the Yardarm is the part at the ends of the Yards… I finally know exactly when I can have my first drink – with the added bonus that we have 4 yards on 2 masts from which to choose arms (Course yard, lower topsail yard, upper topsail yard, t’gallant yard and royal yard)!  The sun is bound to be over one of them by midday at least!  Anyway, I digress, my job whilst raising these yards was to hold the guiding ropes from the dock to make sure that they were kept taught, I’d like to think that my part in this operation was critical, but I am under no misconceptions and I think Chibley could probably have done a better job than me!  Despite this, I stood there dutifully for the half hour it took to raise the yards, letting the lines drift through my hands as the yard was raised higher and higher, the masts rise to a height of approx 35 metres above deck (add another few metres for the “above water” height) I’m sure I’ll be fine going up that high in a few months time but I was quite glad to be an inept trainee today,..


We also carried out a fire drill, this was chaotic to say the least, but I am sure that once we have practised it a few times we will know exactly what we are doing.  Every person on the muster is designated a role in the case of a fire, from collecting fire axes, to connecting the sea water fire pump to taking a muster.. I however, am one of the people responsible for organizing the sails, which means I walk rapidly (never run on board!) to the area of the fire to ensure the sails are set correctly to minimise damage from the fire, personally I think we did rather well.  I think the next drill is going to be the man overboard,.. that’s going to be an interesting one!

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