The watches onboard Gunilla are often very similar, climbing the rig, washing deck and pulling ropes, but the midships watch’s last twelve hours have been all but monotonous. First a morning watch with sailing full of action and shifting weather and eight hours later an evening watch with four hours of maybe the worst job on the ship.
When we were woken up at half past three this morning, we got the advice to take on our warmest clothes because it was hard wind and rain up on deck. But just before our watch would begin it stopped raining and the watch began with us getting the order to set the sails that the twelve-four watch had dowsed.
Soon after we were about to haul the brace on the starboard tack, but the wind started to turn and came more from the front. A pretty stressed the first officer gives rapid orders to leave the braces and dowse the highest sails. At the same time, it started to rain, and we got wind three times harder than the moment before, up to 25-30 metres per second and in just a couple of seconds we’re sailing in eleven knots. I got ordered to climb up and furl the sails and at the same time I hear yells down on deck. With big waves coming outside the coast of Great Britain the first officer Jesper tries his best to make the wheeling easier for the helmsman. The dirty weather continued in about fifteen minutes and during that time we set and dowse sails without a pause. One headsail was dowsed with the power of the whole watch in the downhaul to take down the sail that were fighting back vigorously and another was set.
Suddenly the wind stops. In just a few minutes we went from sailing ten knots fast to almost stand still with just two and a half knots. We once again set all the sails, but the bad weather was approaching once more. It rapidly became rainy and action-packed again. It went on like this for the whole four hours the watch lasted, orders were yelled continuously, and stressed trainees ran around trying to find rope or get to his job.
At breakfast after the watch we all agreed, we had just had the best and most exciting watch ever. Even though we were soaking wet and tired every single one of us had a smile on our face and we discussed the different situations during the watch. For example, when we got caught up by a dark and rainy cloud or when we moved toward white wall of rain and fog.
Unfortunately, the good mood didn’t get to last for long, in the beginning of the next watch the crewmembers told us that we have to sort our garbage before we arrive in the next port, Portsmouth and the port watch had kindly left the job for us to take out and sort all of the over a week old garbage in the garbage room. It took the whole watch and let me say it wasn’t the fanciest of jobs.
We were done just before the starboard watch would start and after this, to say the least, disgusting job we in midships should be treated as kings by the others for taking it for them.
William Stenbråten Midships