Last day at sea

Posted on by emanuelp

August 2, 2012

Today is our last full day at sea before returning to home port in Gothenburg. The past few days have been full of sailing, with a wealth of knowledge imparted to the crew.
We sailed from Bremerhaven with wind to our backs thus far, the sheets full, pulling the ship North towards Denmark. Trimming the sails is a constant job, making sure that the perfect amount of wind is caught in the billowing canvas. The days have been filled with clouds, and the evenings have produced beautiful sunsets as the sun crosses behind them, its rays spreading across the water.

Our speed and early arrival in familiar waters allowed us the freedom to maneuver and navigate around the North Atlantic as we approached Sweden in the mid afternoon, a full two days ahead of schedule. This premature entrant was by no means a reason to become stagnant. The Captain instructed the crew to make preparations to come about, and turn the ship back south. As we passed Skagen, in full view of the shoreline littered with fishing trawlers, the ship started to lean, the yards stretched from the port to starboard side. The ship moved with the wind as she sliced into the water. The helmsmen tilt with the wheel, the full weight of the keel in their hands. All able bodies scrambled on deck as officers shouted orders. The buzz of ropes rolling through blocks and the rhythmic chants of deckhands hauling together on a single line formed a symphony for a few short minutes of extreme exertion. Sweat poured from every brow as the ship hooked to starboard, the sails slacking steadily and billowing from the front as she sailed into the wind, now only momentum carrying her about. All at once, with the bow rolling in the waves slowly, the sails shuddered, cutting the breeze from the windward side and then filled without warning, swinging the ship around, catching the wind. The sails stretched mightily, making taught the ropes that struggled to pull against the weight. Handshakes and embraces abound on board for a time, the crew congratulating each other on a job well done. Making a beautiful beast such as the Götheborg come about is no easy task, and the crew feels accomplished. We sail back south and reach Läsö off the coast of Denmark. It is there that we anchor in the evening, toiling throughout the night, taking down the sails that are unnecessary to make the trip back to Götheborg. Waves climb and drop over the anchor chain as the ship gently rocks back and forth in place, patiently waiting for the sail back home tomorrow.
The journey has been long, the work hard and the memories unforgettable. The crew’s hands show affirmation of the passage, covered in a collage of tar, callouses and scars. The crisp white sun bleached sails are dotted with small dark circles of dried blood, once bright crimson, the irrefutable evidence of true physical effort.
Expectation shows on every face as we prepare to weigh anchor this evening to finish the journey home where friends, family and fellow crew-mates await to celebrate our homecoming.


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