Öckerö gymnasium

Climbing high in the mast

Another day at sea with good winds and things to do. From climbing in the rigg to varnishing the lead blocks but mostly overcoming fears.

This is our second day at sea, and we had a lot of things to do. Fortunately, we have quite good winds to Azores and have had the privilege to sail a lot lately! We have set all the square sails and one headsail, which is nice. Because the wind is so good, we don’t need to dowse the sails or set them we can just let them be which is quite nice for our tired hands. During my watch though we got many other jobs to do. Because we just let the sails be we can correct them and optimize the capacity of wind that the sails can catch. To do so me and some others in my watch had to go up to every square sail and overhaul the buntlines. We had done this at yesterday’s watch but some hadn´t been done correctly and some had broken as well. Therefore, we went up to correct some and redoing others. To overhaul we take the buntline and feed down about 20 centimeters beneath the square sails and then tie a knot with smaller organic rope on the metal pole that is on the yard and then we tie the buntline to the metal pole with a bow. This sound quite easy, but when you´re 20 meter and above up from the deck and the ship is moving it´s much more difficult but we managed.

The hard part for me was to get to the next highest square sail. I started to do the bottom sails first where I mostly had to redo some of them, but when I was done with the three bottom sails it was time for the second highest. I´m quite afraid of heights and have had to take my time in the rig, and before today I hadn´t been in the second highest square sail. First, I managed to get to the second plateau, which only that is quite hard because the ladder up to the plateau is angled so you have your back down to the deck. After that you must climb a ladder that moves quite a lot when you walk on it. That is the scariest part for me because I feel so unsafe and don´t trust myself but Hannah in my watch was so nice and cheered me on and encourage me to go further. Before I knew it, I was at the sail and could start overhauling. It went well until I was about to tie the first buntline to the metal pole. The buntline just kept pulling away making it impossible to tie it. I was about to give up but after many tries and trying different techniques, I found the one that worked. By putting the buntline in under my arm to keep it from pulling and then tying the bow around it I managed to make it stay. After doing that one more time I finally could climb down. But I was quite proud of myself for climbing so high and not giving up.

After that me and some others in my watch varnished the blocks around the ship, I specifically varnished the lead blocks. It was quite satisfying put on the varnish and see the blocks get all shiny. This was a really nice watch if you ask me, because all that we did made the watch go by so much faster. I also managed to get over my fears and push myself further up in the mast than I have been before, which I´m very proud of myself for doing. I hope our night watch will be as good and that we don´t have to do too much.

Until next time

Ester Fagerström, portside


Öckerö seglande gymnasieskola
Björnhuvudsvägen 45
475 31 Öckerö

Telefon: 031-97 62 00
e-post: kommun@ockero.se