Sarah’s salty sailing stories!

Sarah’s salty sailing stories!

Guest Blog: Sarah’s salty sailing stories

Sailing shipget2gether posted an article about the BBC programme No Passengers on Facebook.

Sarah commented: I’ve been on a ship similar to the Lord Nelson

get2gether commented: This sounds great, do you want to tell us more?

Sarah said: Yes, I could do a blog about it …

… and here it is …

Sarah, how did you find out about this opportunity?

When I went for the first time, it was part of my Duke of Edinburgh award. I loved it so much, I went back again. So far I’ve been on four trips:

Map of Europe

  • Nice, France to Alicante, Spain – on this trip I saw Elton John’s house
  • Jersey, Channel Islands to Dublin, Ireland
  • Oban to Edinburgh (Scotland) – on this trip our ship moored next to the Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Monaco to Monaco (France) – on this trip I walked along the Formula One race course

Are these journeys suitable for everybody?

jstYes, absolutely, there were able bodied people and people who were wheelchair users. I climbed up the rigging myself, but if you are a wheelchair user, they pull up the wheelchair with ropes – although the people doing it need to be quite strong. There are about 20 – 30 people on board, it’s like one big happy family from all over the world and you are being paired up with a buddy. They will support you with all the sailing stuff.

Check the Jubilee Sailing Trust website to find out more.

Tell us about a typical day on board

First thing in the morning, the captain gives an update about the route and where we stop. Then the watch leaders have a meeting and they tell everybody their task of the day – it changes daily.

I know what a captain does, but what about watch leaders?

Sarah steering the shipWhen you are on watch, you are not just watching, but looking after the ship and steering it. For four hours at a time. Usually eight people keep an eye on the water. Two people on the left, two on the right, two people are steering and two at the back of the ship. Half an hour before you finish your watch, you wake up the next shift as the ship is sailing for 24 hours. And we were trying to sail as much as possible, rather than using the engines.

What else?

Everybody took part in happy hours – but this isn’t drinking cocktails! It’s tidying up the boat, washing the decks and cleaning the toilets. But as a reward you’ll get a tea break and loads of cakes. There are two chefs on board. Some people are on mess duty. That means they are helping in the kitchen and get their dinner earlier than the rest of the crew.

Tell us more about life on board

We all sleep in the same bedroom, in bunk beds with very little space. It’s very tight, but not uncomfortable. In the lower mess you can play board games and eat dinner. In the upper mess you eat when you are on watch duty.

I also learned new expressions: “Come up” means: drop the rope. “Two six” means: pull the rope. And you reply with “heave”.

And you wear oil skins, which are waterproof, and wellies.

What was the weather like?

Some days nice, sometimes the storms were quite rough. We even sailed through a really stormy period, which was very close to a hurricane.

Did you get seasick?

We all got quite seasick. And we got special belts to clip onto the ship for safety reasons. It was both exciting and nerve-racking.

What was your best experience on the ship?

We saw killer whales and dolphins that swam right beside the boat to see what was going on. Also, the sunrises and sunsets were quite amazing.

Any funny stories?

When we were back at the port, we were still walking like we were still on the boat. Which felt very funny and probably looked weird.

Would you do it again?

Yes, definitely, it’s an experience of a lifetime. It’s expensive, but you can get grants. You’ll meet great people and on the last night you all go for a meal together.