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The view from the window: Tenacious in Fiji

Tenacious through the window of a church in Daliconi, Fiji

Tenacious through the window of a church in Daliconi, Fiji

This is the second post in an occasional series called “The view from the window” — and, coincidentally, it features the same ship as in the first post! Daliconi is a small village in the Exploring Isles in Fiji, and was badly hit by Hurricane Winston in February this year.


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The view from the window: Tenacious in Sydney

The view west from my office building on George Street, Sydney. What's in the red box?

The view west from my office building on George Street, Sydney. What’s in the red box?

I know what you’re thinking: why is Kaz inflicting this very dull view of office buildings on us? Look closer at the object with the red box around it.

It’s a tall ship!

Tenacious Maritime Museum Darling Harbour Sydney

Aha, there’s an enormous tall ship parked in front of the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour!

In fact, it is MY tall ship, Tenacious, operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust of Southampton, England. I helped to build this beautiful ship in the late 1990s when I lived in London, so feel quite proprietorial about her. I was one of 1,500 volunteers who pitched in over three years to sand and epoxy and paint and sweep and whatever. I’ve crossed the Atlantic in her twice, and in June this year spent two weeks sailing around remote Fijian islands in the ship.

Tenacious has now made landfall in Sydney on her first around-the-world voyage, and will be spending the next nine months in Australia.

And there she is!

And there she is!

I find it absolutely surreal that I can look from my office building in Sydney’s central business district and see this ship that holds so many memories for me.

(This is the first post in an occasional series to be called “The view from the window”.)


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Sailing around Fiji

I spent two weeks in June on the tall ship Tenacious sailing around some of the islands that make up Fiji. You’ll no doubt see a few photos on this blog as time goes on (!), but here’s a video I made that sums up the voyage. If the embedded video doesn’t work or you’d prefer the larger version, you can view it directly on youtube.


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Sailing by Numbers

Tenacious bell. Ship launched in 2000.

Tenacious bell. Ship launched in 2000.

Tomorrow (2016-06-05) I fly to Fiji to join voyage 461 of the tall ship Tenacious (which starts on 2016-06-08). It will be voyage 15 for me on the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s 2 ships.

Tenacious. JST ship 002.

Tenacious. JST ship 002. I must admit that I laughed when the first time I saw this 3-digit optimism, and the massive fleet of tall ships it conjured up!

In 2005, Tenacious graced a 60 cent stamp of the Republic of Ireland (Eire).

60 cent Irish stamp, 2005

60 cent Irish stamp, 2005

I have a particular fondness for this ship because I helped to build her. When the Jubilee Sailing Trust set out to build a second tall ship in the 1990s, they approached its construction the same way they approach the sailing of a ship: a mix of skilled professionals and unskilled lay-people, a mix of able-bodied and physically-disabled people.

The keel of as-yet-unnamed ship was laid by HRH the Duke of York in a ceremony on 1996-07-06. In 2000-09, the JST’s new ship, now proudly named Tenacious, set off on her maiden voyage.

Tenacious leaving her home port of Southampton, 2000-09.

Tenacious leaving her home port of Southampton on her first official voyage, 2000-09.

Need more numbers? Tenacious is 65m/213ft3in long (including bowsprit), has a beam of 10.5m/34ft6in, displaces 714tonnes, and has a sail area of 1200m2/12,920sq ft. The masthead is 38m/124ft8in above the deck.

To put those measurements into perspective, here she is in Horta (the Azores) in 2006-04, on voyage 156, dwarfing the yachts and pleasure boats beside her.

Tenacious in Horta, 2006

Tenacious in Horta, 2006


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Admiration: Captain Barbara Campell

Leaving Bermuda on Tenacious. Barbara often stands on top of the deck house to get a clear view ahead!

Leaving Bermuda on Tenacious. Barbara often stands on top of the deck house to get a clear view ahead!

This week’s Photo Challenge is to “depict something or someone you admire”. I’d like to introduce you to Captain Barbara Campbell, for whom I have immense admiration.

I first met Barbara about 20 years ago, and have since sailed with her on a number of voyages on the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious. Among the JST’s thousands of voyage crew, she is known affectionately as simply “Captain Barbara”.

In a storm, Atlantic Ocean.

In a storm, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Barbara began her maritime career as a deck cadet with P&O in the 1970s, a time when a life at sea was not generally considered a career option for women. She worked her way up to deck officer and then in 1986 obtained her Master’s Ticket — the first woman in Scotland to do so. While working on ferries and cruise ships, Barbara also “moon lighted” on tall ships, doing odd voyages on Lord Nelson, for example, from 1992. She became captain of Lord Nelson in 1999.

In conference with the first mate, Atlantic Ocean.

In conference with the first mate, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Being a ship’s captain is not all about giving commands: Barbara does more than her fair share of rope pulling and mast climbing. She often makes me feel guilty! I remember one morning on Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean, my watch was setting a sail before breakfast — with more duty than enthusiasm, it must be admitted. A little white blur shot out of the deckhouse and clapped onto the line with us. Yup, Captain Barbara. As you may imagine, our efforts suddenly intensified!

On long voyages such as ocean passages, there’s time for lighter activities, too. Each JST ship carries up to 40 paying “voyage crew”, and Barbara joins the fun.

As Neptune, King of the Ocean Waves, with consort and assorted members of 'his' court, for the Crossing the Line [Equator] ceremony, Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean.

As Neptune, King of the Ocean Waves, with consort and assorted members of ‘his’ court, for the Crossing the Line [Equator] ceremony, Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean.

Dancing a reel with the voyage crew, Atlantic Ocean.

Dancing a reel with the voyage crew, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Judging a kite flying competition, Atlantic Ocean.

Judging a kite flying competition, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

Barbara Campbell is a true trailblazer and role model for women in what had been very much a man’s job. Physically petite, she has tremendous presence and authority: when you see her with first mates towering beside her, there’s no doubt who’s in charge! I’ll be sailing on Tenacious around Fiji for two weeks in June, and I hope Captain Barbara is onboard.

Leading a church service, Atlantic Ocean.

Leading a church service, Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean.

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Dancing at sea

The rhythm of rope pulling (Lord Nelson, Pacific Ocean)

The rhythm of rope pulling (‘Lord Nelson’, Pacific Ocean)

When you’re sailing on a tall ship, it can sometimes be a “dance” just to stay upright! In the photo above, you can see how everyone hauling on that rope is moving in rhythm (apart from the chatting couple at the top of the photo, who appear to be sitting out this particular dance). We even have a special rope-hauling chant to keep us synchronised:”Two-Six-HEAVE!”

On one transatlantic voyage, we had an accomplished bagpiper among the crew. So one day, near 36.07N, 47.21W (between Bermuda and the Azores), there was Scottish dancing at the mainmast! In this shot, the couples are rehearsing the steps without music.

Dancing a reel (Tenacious, Atlantic Ocean)

Dancing a reel (‘Tenacious’, Atlantic Ocean)


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Eye in a coil of rope.