On a clear but cold Friday night the Lady Nelson left her home port in Hobart and commenced her two day, two night adventure sail. The ship was carrying ten adventurers and eight crew. The crew were all old friends and it was like a family reunion as we met again, some of us the first time in months. After a ships muster with life jackets etc, we motored for three hours to our overnight anchorage on Bruny Island. The sky was full of bright sparkling stars including at least one shooting star and the lights of the city were just lovely. Our new propeller worked a charm and it was noted that our speed had increased when compared with the propeller just removed.
Saturday morning was bright and clear but with not even a slight breeze to sail by, not perfect for sailing but just right for learning basic sail handling skills under controlled conditions. We spent a few hours teaching the adventurers how to climb aloft to free and make up gaskets, make up lines, raise and lower yards, set and hand sails and just generally how the ship works under sail. After all the training was completed, the weather gods cooperated and gave us enough wind to fill the sails and move us along at a dignified pace. The ship must have been a lovely sight with almost every stitch of sail set and we had more than one vessel come to say hello and take a picture or two. Our adventurers were a perfect crew, picking up skills quickly and obviously having a very good time as well.
Once more we anchored in one of Bruny Islands many secluded bays and commenced putting the ship to bed. Putting all the sails away was a big task as there were nine of them to be furled and gasketed overnight. Vivian had prepared a fabulous roast dinner for everyone and I'm sure not a scrap was left as the sailing and climbing had left everyone with huge appetites.
After dinner the entertainment commenced with poetry readings all with nautical themes and varying degrees of nautical accents, some funny and some just lovely. Well done Barbara, Robyn and Jan. Following the poetry we had a sing-along with Vivian providing not only the music on her piano accordion but printed lyrics as well. Its amazing that so many people can fit in one small space and have such a good time. Eventually the 10 pm curfew came around and a tired but happy group went to their beds.
Sunday morning came and what a change from the previous morning, we were completely surrounded by dense fog. Its a very strange feeling to stand on the deck and see nothing, even a motor yacht moored near was invisible. It was so quiet with just the occasional bird call breaking the silence. It was decided to use the time while waiting for the fog to life to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and clean the ship prior to its return home later in the day. Some of use just waited to get that “perfect picture” as the mist started to lift. After an early lunch we commenced our journey home, managing to set all the square sails and sail along the River Derwent.
Back alongside, the ship now shipshape once more, we gathered at T42 for a final gathering and to say our fond farewells to everyone who are now classed as friends and able crew.
This was a lovely voyage, good friends both old and new, good weather and a good ship.
By Fleur Malcolm
Ahoy there! Lady Nelsoners!! Reporting in about the latest Adventure Sail. Once again a resounding success story happy to say. We had a full compliment of Adventures whose lives were enriched by this weekend experience in many ways. They were a great bunch of people from various backgrounds, a good age mix, and a few from interstate, with whom it was a pleasure to sail.
Many thanks firstly to all the crew, cook and Master for making this trip possible, all did an excellent job of making this trip the success it was.
We were blessed with fine weather, but rather short on wind (what a surprise!). We headed out Friday night and made for Missionary Bay. The water was pretty mill pondish, which was fine by me, nighttime is so dark/black isn't it, have you noticed that? WELL, as we got closer to our destination (with me at the helm) it was like being in a game of space invaders, there were lights all over the place, a couple of passing vessels and about 2 million fish-farms!!! The concentration levels were on high alert. It was good to have the practise of handling the boat and navigating our way through it all though. It's at times like these you realise the pressure that's on the Master whilst underway at night! Anyway we arrived unscathed and we didn't break anything. We had already done group work of the theory of sail handling, harness wearing and Man Overboard, so it was time to hit the sack once the anchor was down.
The next morning saw us all up early raring to go! We had a good sail to our next destination, setting all the squares, jibs, fisherman AND the Spanker!!!! HOORAH went the crowd, what a great experience for us all. Our new ‘crew' were very receptive to training and picked things up really quickly, I tell you folks, there verbal responses to ‘called procedure' were nothing short of BRILLIANT!!!!!! Lady Nelson crew; stand by to oil your vocal chords!! It was inspirational, and teamwork was much in evidence. We had a good days sailing with light winds but enough for our sail handling purposes. Feedback form our ‘new crew' was that the pace set was good, with a manageable balance between instruction and action. There was a fair bit of action, but that's part of the adventure and it was obvious that all were thoroughly ‘into' it. We dropped anchor in Safety Bay this time for the night.
It's amazing what these Adventure Sails can bring out in people; I shall probably never cease to be amazed! It turns out that we have amongst us a master of disguise!! What an absolutely marvellous performance and effort from out very own Jan Chew. The Lady Nelson social moment on Saturday night was great fun, thanks to Robyn, Jan and as always Vivienne for entertaining us with music and song. I took the opportunity to dress up again and do a couple of ‘turns'. It's a great unwind and a really nice time to enjoy the camaraderie that we have amongst us, our adventures had a ball. I do believe that the Lady Nelson social moments have already become legendary. Check out our web site for further stories and photos. The Splash Sisters were once again together providing, in fine form I might add, a rendition of “The Bosun's Song”, assisted by Jan who became a new addition to ‘the dancing girls'. Long live Lady Nelson social moments!!!
Sunday morning had a very ‘ethereal' quality, we awoke to a thick fog, very quite, a blanket all around. As it lifted and fell again many times, we had lots of ‘capturing that' with camera's clicking left, right and centre. We took the ‘waiting for it to lift so we could see where we were going' time to clean ship, and undertake some ‘personal challenge' moments. This involved helping some of our adventures to reach past there comfort zone going aloft. Great team work again in evidence, and lots of good safety procedures happening so the experience was undertaken with the utmost supervision. It was great to see achievement, a sense of accomplishment and a strong show of determination in those who conquered some of their fears. Everyone acknowledged everyone else's achievements in genuine team spirit, it was quite touching really I thought. Not everyone made it to the top, but almost, and that in itself was a tremendous effort, believe me.
We also had a lovely morning tea to celebrate Daphne's birthday, before setting off, the fog now lifted. As usual the lack of wind prevailed, but we managed to get all the squares up for a short time for the last time on our journey, much to the delight of our adventurers. They were all enthusiastic and keen to put away the sails and did so very well, tackling new positions on the yards and coming to grips with the difference of that experience.
When it came time to handing back the harnesses there was sadness around, as we once again came back to everyday reality. The overall comments were that they had all really had a fantastic time, this was reflected in the fact that nine of the adventures joined up to become members.
So once again, the Adventure Sail, was a winner, they just keep getting better. So, fellow members, get those competencies signed off, increase your skills and knowledge so that you too can be part of these great weekend opportunities.
By Barbara Moulton
Education & Special programs