Wind: 345 / 26 knots Swell: northerly 2 metres Temp: 21 deg
We remained at anchor at Cape Byron overnight. Despite the 18 knot winds it was a relatively comfortable night riding on the anchor as we remained head-to-wind. Rico and I rose early to observe the weather conditions and determine if it was going to be possible to put the Youth Crew ashore. Unfortunately the wind strength had not eased and it still remained unsuitable to put people ashore. It was therefore decided to depart the anchorage and take advantage of the northerlies to set the square sails. After a brief on casting loose the gaskets from the squares the crew lay aloft to carry out that task on the Topgallant and Topsail. On completion we weighed anchor and proceeded to sea. Once we had cleared the confines of the anchorage we set the fore and aft sails, resumed our passage south and then, after another activity brief, set the Topsail and the Topgallant squares. Shortly afterwards we also set the Course square sail. With the three squares, Jib, Main staysail, and the Mainsail set we achieved a speed over the ground of over 12.5 kts on a broad reach. The setting of these sails was conducted in challenging conditions with the Ship rolling heavily at times. The manner in which it was conducted was a credit to the new crew members and their determination was inspirational.
After another of Squizy’s spectacular lunches we undertook an hour of silent running during which all machinery was shut down and only essential electrical equipment was available from battery power. This is a great opportunity to enjoy just the sound of the waves on the hull and the wind in the rigging. During this period the crew were stood down so they could relax and enjoy the moment.
The next activity was session 2 of ‘Ropies’ a non-competitive competitive activity designed to improve the crew’s Ship knowledge as well as encouraging a healthy spirit of competition between the watches. After the hotly-contested Ropies it was my turn to brief the crew on Sail Theory. During the afternoon the wind and swell had been building to 25 knots and 2 metres. With the Ship on a broad reach and being pushed around by the swells the helmsman had a challenge steering a steady course. This induced some heavy rolls which ensured none of the crew fell asleep during my somewhat ‘dry’ theoretical briefing. They were too busy hanging on!
At 1700 the Ship was piped to Tacking Stations and we weared Ship for the run down the northern NSW coast towards our next intended anchorage at South West Rocks. This activity also ran very smoothly and the crew are now working together well as a team. On completion the watches were cycled through dinner and we settled into the watch keeping routine for the night. The weather forecast includes the passing through our area of a front overnight so it is intended to bring in sail ahead of the front’s arrival as a precautionary measure.