Life on a Tall Ship

Post date: 
Friday, 2 March 2018
Bill Climbing on Rigging

Northern Ireland Connector, Bill Foster shares is knowledge of what a Tall Ship is and his experiences of being a part of the crew for a day.

What is a tall ship?

A tall ship is built in the old style of sailing ships, with tall masts and lots of white sails. These ships are now used for training sailors in the old skills and disciplines. They are also used to get people with disabilities like blindness or wheel chair users etc. to experience the life on the water.

Can you imagine the size of one of these ships?

It is 155 feet (50M) in length, about 14 cars parked end-to-end, and its width is 50 feet (15M), about five cars parked side-by-side.

Experiencing a watch on a Tall Ship

There are about 45 crew members on board, and you could be one of them. The crew is divided into four groups called watches. Aft port, aft starboard, forward port and forward starboard.

Each day is divided into four hour shifts, each watch does fours hours on and four off. So every watch is different each day.

Everyone is encouraged to take part in every activity from preparing food, climbing the rigging, scrubbing the decks, hauling on ropes, steering the ship etc. Each day is different and is hard work but it is mixed in with lots of fun.

When it is your turn to be on watch, which could be 12am to 4am, your team is in complete control of the ship, you could be steering the ship, on look out, making tea for the team, checking below that no one has fallen out of bed, all lights are switched off etc. One of the last things to be done is to wake up the next watch to come on duty.

When the next watch report for duty, we are dismissed, and it’s straight to bed for a sleep, and when the watch is ended it’s straight to a hot breakfast!

The watch I like best is the morning watch, 4am to 8am as it is always good to feel the sunrise in the morning.

It is a great confidence booster for everyone who takes part and such a great feeling, which lasts for a long time after the event itself.

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