On board training
On Board Training
The beauty of our voyages is that they all start the same way with a safety briefing followed by training in how the vessel works and your role in this. It is never assumed that you will know it all. This applies to new and returning sailors so everyone starts on the same footing.
The exact details of how this is done will vary from small cutter to big tall ship and all vessels in between.
The brief will include the use of life jackets, where they are stored and when you will use them. What to do in the event of a fire and where to muster. Where the life rafts and other lifesaving equipment is kept and the procedures the permanent crew will adopt for you to use them as appropriate.
The idea will be to get you familiar with the basics of sail hoisting and simple setting of the sails for tacking, gybing or wearing ship. (Don’t worry all these terms will be explained as part of the training.) Steering and other duties may also be described or demonstrated. All the task you are given will be supervised and assistance given until you are competent to do them on your own. (Remember we want you to come sailing again so it is in our best interests to look after you properly.)
Learning the ropes
Even on a small boat there could be as many as forty different ropes that do a variety of tasks. You will not be expected to know which rope does what at the beginning but it will be hoped you know two or three by the end of the voyage. Guidance will always be available.
Going aloft is great fun if you enjoy the challenge. It is never compulsory and fully supervised training will be given. The more often you go aloft the easier it gets. However if you go aloft without feeling any worry then you are probably overconfident and not doing the right thing.
No one need be left out - it’s a team game.
The tasks are all simple to perform once you have been shown how to do them. Many of them require a team of people to do them and that is part of the social fun of the voyage.
Look out duty
All vessels traveling through the water have to keep a proper lookout, in marine speak this is called “underway”. You might think in these days of radar, gps and other gismos that it can all be covered electronically from the bridge by the ships officers. That is not the case, large dangers can lie semi submerged in the water, containers washed off ships are like mini glaciers, 7/8 under the sea and capable of puncturing steel hulls. Large logs and wreckage are similar dangers. The beauty of look out duty is that you get to spot wildlife first and any other exciting things in view. May be you get to shout “there she blows” as you spot a whale.
Taking the helm and steering the ship is one of the high points of any voyage, again training is always given before you can do this on your own. There you are helming a 56 metre tall ship through the sea with all the sails set and the ship obeys your actions.
Enjoy the training, get to know your fellow crew members and the permanent crew in the process and in no time at all you will feel like an experienced sailor.
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