Saturday, 12 October 2013

Voyage on the Sir Winston Churchill ~ part 5

Monday, 24th March

I was woken at 0600hrs for duty as Boatswain’s Day Worker, during which we were under the command of Rupert, the Boatswain’s Mate. Our Watch hadn’t contributed to Boatswain’s Day Worker up until now as we had been too low on numbers, but with Steve’s arrival we joined the rota. The Boatswain had a scary reputation, so I was relieved that I had missed most of the shift as it had begun prior to our joining the rota. I only had to join in with scrubbing the coach house roof before finishing at 1000hrs, and once this was over I rejoined my Watch on duty.

We were on second dog watch again, but on this occasion cloud spoiled the views of the sunset and the comet. We spent another night out of harbour at sea, heading toward the southern English coast.

Tuesday, 25th March



We arrived in Fowey, Cornwall, around midday, and were given shore leave. We were not in a dock this time but anchored in the middle of the small channel, so the lifeboat and rubber dubby were run as tender, providing a taxi service between ship and shore.

Whilst ashore I wrote more postcards and bought some souvenirs and ice cream before catching the 1600hrs tender back to ship at the end of shore leave.



We were allowed off again in the evening to once again ‘splice the mainbrace’, and we even had a ship’s party organised. A group of us somehow managed to find the most boring pub in all Cornwall in which to wait for the party to begin at the Galleon Yacht Club, so a few of us moved on to somewhere more lively. We had a few drinks before getting to the party, where I unfortunately had time for only a couple of dances and a quick drink before catching the tender back again for my 2200-0000hrs three-man anchor watch. Once everybody was back again after the party we all sat up a while talking before bed.

Wednesday, 26th March

More shore leave was allowed in the morning, so we decided to head off for a Watch Cornish cream tea, finding the Victoria Tea Rooms which fit the bill perfectly. Great minds think alike, and within minutes it seemed that half of the ship’s trainees had all found the same place – much to the consternation of the ladies working there, as 20-something of us settled down to delicious tea and scones.


Our Watch then went for a walk around the small lanes and pathways weaving their way between the houses of Fowey, before returning to the ship. 


We had to queue on the beach for a while waiting for space on the tender, and once everyone was back on board we raised the anchors. It was the job of the Boatswain’s Day Workers to work down in the chain lockers as the anchors were raised, and they came up so covered in mud from the anchor chains that they literally had to be hosed down on the deck.


Before heading back out to sea we first travelled further up the channel to take on more water. The ship carries 35 tonnes of water, but this is soon used up when you have a ‘Happy Hour’ each day (“a clean ship is a happy ship!”) and 55 people need to use the showers and the heads.

Unfortunately we couldn’t leave Fowey in quite the same style as we had arrived as it was too rough to man the yards, but once out of shelter four of us went aloft to set the square sail and the course. I even managed to get a photo of the view from the crow’s nest, the wonkiness of the picture testimony to the roll of the ship in the choppy water.


We spent yet another bumpy night at sea, this time headed along the coast for Swanage Bay.

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