03/06/2010 - Sailmaking (kind of)

Thanks to the captain having promised a ship a new mainsail Panama, this morning we tried a completely new activity,.. sail making!

Since the majority of the other watches had also been working on the same sail, we had been left some sewing to do.  Not ever having sewed I was not going to be the best choice for seamstress (or the male equivalent), and so Sophie nominated herself as the one to do it.  Frank (as the sewing machine had been named) turned out to be a fickle workmate and if the bobbin hadn’t run out, the tension was wrong or he just made a peculiar noise and stopped!  I can see sewing being complicated at the best of times and trying to do it on a moving ship with a sail twice the size of the deck we were working on, with an unpredictable sewing machine and inexperienced help (me and Jo) it was near on impossible to make a straight line and Sophie became increasingly frustrated as the morning moved on,… I had never heard her raise her voice in the last two months, but this morning she was acting the sailor she truly was and turning the air blue with poor old Frank bearing the brunt of her insults (although I received a few myself after the odd asinine remark – which I probably deserved).  Since I was on helm I was forced to distance myself from the obscenities and spent an hour happily keeping the ship on course and watching a gull diving for fish.  The way he tucked in his wings and disappeared into the water without a splash was incredible and most times he surfaced again with something in his mouth!  If only I could learn to dive like that!

This afternoon the captain had organized a splicing workshop to teach us how to create an eye in a length of rope (as we learnt; a rope is just a rope until it is put to use, then it becomes a line).  He sat on a workman’s bench placed on the hatch so that everyone could see and explained how to splice.  I had done this before, but Lunenburg seems like a lifetime ago and without practice I had obviously forgotten as my first splice looked more like a bowl of spaghetti than a neat and tidy splice,.. but practice makes perfect and by the time the workshop had ended it was beginning to look acceptable.

That evening we were all surprised by a procession of a very clean and well dressed Lorraine, Via, Bob and Josh heading towards the scullery. As it turns out they had been invited to dinner with the captain which will apparently happen to all of us,.. although very pristine, they also looked a little nervous,.. none of us had had dinner with the captain and like many things, no-one had any idea of what to expect!

Whilst on lookout this evening I noticed we yet again had dolphins surfing on the bow wave and advised the girls who were cleaning the galley.  The three of us leant over the rail trying to catch glimpses of their bioluminescent trails in the water below and making appropriate “ooh” and “aah” noises every time they appeared at the surface, jumped or made a noise.  Due to the increased waves they weren’t as clear as the first time I saw them but still impressive and they really seemed to be having fun zooming around the water below us!

We were making great time as the wind had been steadily increasing since we left Bonaire and were averaging about 7.5knots

Finding it tricky to catch up with writing,.. 3 days in Bonaire having no time to write my journal really left me having to catch up!  And now of course I have no free time!


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