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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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Boxing Day on the water: ‘James Craig’ and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race

‘James Craig’ is a Sydney-based barque-rigged tall ship (the two photos above). If you’ve followed my blog for any time, you will have come across photos taken while sailing in tall ships. This year I joined ‘James Craig’ as a passenger (I felt quite wicked not having to pull ropes, or helm, or go aloft, or clean the heads, or wash the dishes …) for a day sail that also gave prime viewing of the first stage of the annual Boxing Day Sydney to Hobart yacht race.

The morning was bright and sunny, and we motored from the ship’s berth in Darling Harbour, along Sydney harbour and out between The Heads (the two headlands that frame the entrance to Sydney harbour from the ocean). It was a perfect few hours of sun tanning, admiring the scenery and taking photos of the ship.

Facts, figures and history of 'James Craig'.

Facts, figures and history of ‘James Craig’. You can also see some of those 50,000 rivets!

Time to set some sails!

Jibs on the bowsprit.

Jibs on the bowsprit.

Crew undoing the gaskets on the fore topgallant sail.

Crew undoing the gaskets on the fore topgallant sail.

The race

Of course, the highlight of the day was seeing the yachts burst out of the harbour and into the ocean. Since 1945, yachts have competed on the day after Christmas in a race covering the roughly 630nm from Sydney to Hobart. They boats must cross the Bass Strait, notorious for high winds, dangerous currents and unpredictable seas. 2015’s race began in idyllic sunshine in Sydney, but the crews knew they would be facing a “southerly buster” later the first night.

This is one of the course markers, seen in front of South Head. There are four markers, two inner and two outer, indicating where the larger and smaller yachts must turn. Pass on the wrong side, and you must turn around, go back and try again! (The red and white lighthouse is the Hornby Lighthouse, which began operations in 1858.)

This is one of the course markers, seen in front of South Head. There are four markers, two inner and two outer, indicating where the larger and smaller yachts must turn. Pass on the wrong side, and you must turn around, go back and try again! (The red and white lighthouse is the Hornby Lighthouse, which began operations in 1858.)

(I freely admit that the quality of these next photos is not great. Maximum camera zoom, sea spray, haze, overcast sky, and trying to shoot bouncing objects while also trying to stay upright on a ship that is itself rolling and pitching was a fatal combination! But you’ll get an idea of what it’s all about.)

The first yachts to pass the heads — and the ones that gather all the glory and excitement — are the biggest ones. These are the rock stars of yacht racing.

And here they are, still in the harbour: Comanche, Perpetual Loyal, Wild Oats XI, Ragamuffin 100 and Rambler.

And here they are, still in the harbour (the ocean is to the right). From right to left: Comanche, Perpetual Loyal, Wild Oats XI, Ragamuffin 100 and Rambler.

Starting to spread out …

And if racing a high-tech 100-foot yacht isn’t hard enough, the crews have to contend with the dozens of small boats around them.

Perpetual Loyal surrounded by spectators.

Perpetual Loyal surrounded by spectators.

That explosion beside Comanche is a small power boat hitting a wave.

That explosion beside Comanche is a small power boat hitting a wave.

No, that's not a cliff face behind that tiny power boat, it's Comanche. Look at how big those waves are, and how small that boat is! And none of those people are wearing a life jacket.

No, that’s not a cliff face behind that tiny power boat, it’s Comanche. Look at how big those waves are, and how small that boat is! And none of those people are wearing a life jacket.

This is Wild Oats (L) and Ragmuffin (R), and hordes of spectator boats.

This is Wild Oats (L) and Ragmuffin (R), and hordes of spectator boats.

Here’s Wild Oats again. The people give some scale to the size of the yacht!

Tiny people, giant sail!

Tiny people, giant sail!

In case you’ve got the idea that there are only five boats in this race, think again! Dozens of yachts of various sizes take part. The fastest takes just over two days to reach Hobart; the slowest just over four days.

Here they come, straggling out into the ocean.

Here they come, straggling out into the ocean.

No spectator swarm for the middle of the pack!

No spectator swarm for the middle of the pack!

Heading off to Tassie, spinnakers flying.

Heading off to Tassie, spinnakers flying.

Back on ‘James Craig’

It was time for us to head for home. And yup, it started to rain. The weather did have the advantage of clearing the decks and giving a new look to the ship.

I could not have taken this photo of the poopdeck before the rain, as it was packed with people.

I could not have taken this photo of the poopdeck before the rain, as it was packed with people.

What IS this thing? An exhaust? A speaking tube? A garbage chute?

I don't know what it is, but it's eye catching. Even in the rain.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s eye catching. Even in the rain.

Here is the ship’s second bell, which I hadn’t spotted until cowering under an awning while hiding from the rain.

Turn the glass and strike the bell!

Turn the glass and strike the bell!

I do know that this thing is: a bilge pump, which relies on human power to work. Luckily for the crew (all volunteers), they don’t actually use it.

Bilge pump.

Bilge pump.

These wonderful lines belong to a wooden boat mounted on the deck house.

Perfectly symmetrical planking.

Perfectly symmetrical planking.

Rain adds an interesting element to things you might otherwise take for granted.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge loomed over us as we neared the turn into Darling Harbour.

You may have to look twice to make out the bridge and two flags.

You may have to look twice to make out the bridge and two flags. That curved metal thing is not part of the ship!

Looking up the fore mast as we passed under the bridge.

Looking up the fore mast as we passed under the bridge.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into an Australian Boxing Day tradition. I know I had a great day! You can read the full story behind the ‘James Craig’ — its working life, abandonment and resurrection by a dedicated team of volunteers — at the Sydney Heritage Fleet website.

Race update: the wild weather of the first night played havoc with a number of boats. At time of writing, 1 day and 6 hours into the race, 22 yachts have retired, including two of the maxis. The mainsail of Wild Oats (which has been the first yacht to reach Hobart for the past eight years) split during a squall, and although no one was injured the yacht returned to Sydney. Perpetual Loyal pulled out with a broken rudder. Comanche hit something in the dark, suffering a broken rudder and damaged daggerboard, but the crew decided to continue the race as best they could. Hours later, Rambler, too, struck something, but is limping on.
The five yachts closest to Hobart are: Comanche (US), Rambler (US), Ragamuffin (AUS), Maserati (Italy) and Ichi Ban (AUS). If you’d like more information, visit the official race site.


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Eye in a coil of rope.
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Travel theme: Faces

Two women at the Amber Fort, Jaipur. They are listening to a third woman off to the right.

Two women at the Amber Fort, Jaipur. They are listening to a third woman off to the right.

I had a marvellous time going through my travel photos to find ones to fit Ailsa’s travel theme of faces. Old memories came back and the travels seemed like yesterday. I’ve tried to choose faces with interesting expressions. The people in the feature image at top all look quite serious, despite this being the first official tasting during our three-day trip to the Champagne region.

India – Tordi Gar

These women are looking back at another woman who has just walked away from them.

These women are looking back at another woman who has just walked away from them.

What a fascinating contrast of faces here!

What a fascinating contrast of faces here!

Nepal

The focus of the photo is the man, the tour guide for our trek in the Himalayan foothills. I grabbed the shot of him napping on the public bus, and also caught the woman. Is she curious? Disapproving? I'm not sure!

The focus of the photo is the man, the tour guide for our trek in the Himalayan foothills. I grabbed the shot of him napping on the public bus, and also caught the woman who turned to look right at me. Is she curious? Disapproving? I’m not sure!

They are looking at their photos on the digital camera of someone in my group. Amidst the excitement, one boy looked directly up at me as if to say,"What are you people doing here?"

These are grass cutters in Chitwan. They are looking at their photos on the digital camera of someone in my group. Amidst the excitement, one boy looked directly up at me.

Sailing – ‘Tenacious’ in the Atlantic

The woman is Barbara Campbell, who has captained both of the Jubilee Sailing Trust's tall ships. Her expression is pure concentration as she tackles a torn sail with needle and thread.

The woman is Barbara Campbell, who has captained both of the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ships. Her expression is pure concentration as she tackles a torn sail with needle and thread.

It's raining, the decks are slippery and wet, the ship is heeled over -- but look at those smiles!

It’s raining, the decks are slippery and wet, the ship is heeled over — but look at those smiles!

Mauritius

Fisherman on one of the many commercial fishing boats in Port Louis harbour, Mauritius. They watched us sail in in 'Lord Nelson' with reactions from enthusiasm to indifference.

Fisherman on one of the many commercial fishing boats in Port Louis harbour, Mauritius. They watched us sail in in ‘Lord Nelson’ with reactions from enthusiasm to indifference.

Peru

A couple of poor quality scans of old prints here, apologies! But I like how in both, the two people have different reactions to being photographed.

Reed island, Lake Titicaca: The small girl looks unsure of what is expected, but the older one seems to have learned that tourist photos mean money.

Reed island, Lake Titicaca: The small girl looks unsure of what is expected, but the older one seems to have learned that tourist photos mean money.

Amantani island, Lake Titicaca: The woman was determined that we would take of photo of her and her son; the boy, however, had other ideas!

Amantani island, Lake Titicaca: The woman was determined that we would take of photo of her and her son; the boy, however, had other ideas!

Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean, sunrise
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Early mornings around the world

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

For someone who insists she is not an early bird, I have a remarkable number of photographs taken very early in the morning! I haven’t inflicted them all on you, but there are quite a few, from various travels. They are in no particular order other than alphabetical by place name.

A man on the beach, Durban.

A man on the beach, Durban.

The pier, Eastbourne.

The pier, Eastbourne.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, 'Lord Nelson', Indian Ocean.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, ‘Lord Nelson’, Indian Ocean.

'Sudarshini' and 'Tarangini' of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

‘Sudarshini’ and ‘Tarangini’ of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

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