Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Ahoy there sailor!
On Easter Monday I had my long awaited Christmas present – a trip on the Dutch brig (tall ship) Mercedes. This was booked at Christmas and I had been in a state of growing excitement ever since, so when I got an email saying that an extra trip had been put on, on Easter Sunday, we decided that we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
Saturday was lovely – as you can see from the picture by David Barnicoat above. Sunny, enough breeze to put all the sails up, and a good time was had by all. However, I got back on Saturday to find a message saying that our evening trip had been cancelled due to bad weather, but would we like to go on the Sunday day trip? We decided we would and had an early night.
Sunday dawned bitterly cold, with an easterly wind that strips any warmth from the most well padded of bodies. Undeterred, I put on three thermal vests and layered up on top of that, finishing with my duffel coat, woolly hat and thick scarf. Might not have looked too elegant but it did the trick.
It was pretty rough but I did enjoy it – it’s fabulous being out in the bay with three metre waves, on a ship like that, and feeling the whole force of nature with you. Also, I wasn’t at all frightened, which I would have been even probably a year ago. I figured we were in good hands and we wouldn’t have gone out if the skipper had had any qualms about the weather. Still, while I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t feel like eating either which, as my friends know, is most unlike me.
I awoke on Monday morning – the day of my proper Christmas present – filled with foreboding. The easterly wind had become a gale that screeched in and out of the houses, and the waves in the harbour tossed and groaned as if having a terrifying tantrum. The skies were grey and heavy and I wondered what on earth I was doing. I very nearly wimped out, but got a text to the effect that I’d be glad I’d done it. So I thought yes – I will. And after all, it was a very generous present.
Even so, we dropped Moll off at a friend’s and I gave her my brother-in-law’s phone number (he has a key to my house) and the phone number of a friend who would have Moll if anything happened to us. Anna laughed uproariously (I didn’t), and we departed for the docks for the second time. On board we were greeted and treated like family and from then on we had a fabulous time.
It was very rough – the waves were four metres – too rough to go out in the bay. But we had a wonderful sail up and down the Carrick Roads and in the harbour and got a real taste of what it would be like to sail on a tall ship. We got talking to the crew, learned more about their lives and about the ship, and promised to meet up when they come back to Falmouth next year.
Sitting in the pub later, we glowed with wind and salt and exercise, and planned doing a sailing course – when the weather’s warmer. It was the most fabulous day, and one I know I will never forget.