South Shore Breaker

Embracing the weather, language and brand new surroundin­gs

- CAPT. PHIL WATSON thewire@saltwire.com @sailblueno­seii

Well today at least shows the promise of spring and moving ahead.

The last several weeks have been somewhat challengin­g, to say the least. A recent storm was a real rip snorter and we saw gusts of 50 knots here in Lunenburg.

That’s almost the equivalent of the wind you feel on a 100-series highway if your window is down — nothing to be sneezed at. The heavy cold rain was no treat, either.

I did have the opportunit­y, as the wind was building, to show the crew some clips of Bluenose II sailing in different wind strengths.

The strongest one was the ship sailing in 35 to 40 knots under the fore sail, jumbo sail and tri-sail, also sometimes known as a riding sail.

The footage, taken to be dramatic, shows some big waves lifting above the stern as the ship slips along at seven knots or so.

I pointed out that if we had been going the other way, seasicknes­s would have been an issue. Heading into 50 knots (92 km/h) and bashing against the waves, seasicknes­s becomes a problem for just about everybody.

I also had some footage of Bluenose II sailing with a reef in the mainsail, making nine to 10 knots.

The funniest bit of that video is the conversati­on in the background. Being at sea, life becomes small at times. We share memories and stories of our previous lives and make stories with our new shipmates. The news cycle and social media drop away and real life can be found. Watching the birds follow the ship, looking for sea life and musing about life in the towns and villages we are passing becomes the normal conversati­on topic.

So, what have the crew been up to underneath the winter cover? It’s quite boring, actually. Paint and varnish have been the orders given.

The blocks will soon be finished, the bulwarks or rails around the ship have been scraped, sanded, primed and the first coat of finish applied. The booms and gaff are being sanded and varnished and the other smaller pieces of varnish work are being attended to.

The crew is also learning the language and layout of the ship. I watched a crew member wander around the deck this morning trying to remember which hatch to go down to get a sweater! They guessed wrong in the end and found themselves in the chartroom.

“Oops, try again!”

The language is coming as well, no toilets, no kitchen, no hallway — on board they are called heads, the galley and alleyways. Wait until we start rigging!

I’ll end with some sad news. Clary Grondin, of Bayport, N.S., slipped his lines this past week.

He was the ship’s diver and friend for decades. Clary always had a story and he pulled my leg at every opportunit­y.

He would wait patiently, with a sly smile, while I slowly cottoned on to the fact that he was teasing me. Our sincere condolence­s to his family, friends and to his community.

Capt. Phil Watson has been onboard Bluenose II for 36 years and this is his 21st year as captain. Follow along as he chronicles the 2022 Bluenose II season. Visit bluenose. novascotia.ca for more informatio­n on Bluenose II.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Deckhands Emma Berton, left, and Jerrika Martin inspect and service each block on the Schooner Bluenose II.
CONTRIBUTE­D Deckhands Emma Berton, left, and Jerrika Martin inspect and service each block on the Schooner Bluenose II.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? Deckhand Will Traves scrapes the old varnish off a block to prepare it for a new coat.
CONTRIBUTE­D Deckhand Will Traves scrapes the old varnish off a block to prepare it for a new coat.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D ?? More than 125 blocks are strung up in the rigging shed to receive a fresh coat of varnish.
CONTRIBUTE­D More than 125 blocks are strung up in the rigging shed to receive a fresh coat of varnish.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada