Deckhand Diaries

Read about how previous deckhands has experienced the life on board!

6 June 2007

Sweden’s national day was rounded off yesterday with a lot of fun events.

In glorious weather we once again turned through the wind and we are now getting brilliant at tacking our full-rigged ship. We’re sailing and beating in the strait between southern Norway and the north-west coast of Jutland. An easterly breeze of five metres a second, no swell and bright sunshine, but even so it’s cold in the wind.

Things heated up considerably in the evening though when Jo Leif led a dance class accompanied by Lisa who, with her red waist-length dreadlocks, played the hurdy-gurdy. Not so easy to learn on a sloping deck when you’re dancing around the capstan which always seems to be in the way. But it was fun and exciting. The other men my age withdrew modestly, but I offered my services to make sure there were enough dance partners. Generous or what? Not bad getting to dance with Sofia, Linda, Anna, Marie-Louise and all the others to the swinging polka rhythms of the hurdy-gurdy. The evening rounded off with everyone giving a cheer for Sweden, and even our Norwegians Lotte and Jo Leif joined in. It was particularly piquant that we were just 10 nautical miles from the Norwegian coast and were being monitored by a Norwegian military cruiser.

After a few hours’ sleep it was time for the night watch and we set to tacking again. Pure match race speeds it would seem. But the sprit-topsail yard got caught and we toiled for two hours in the semi-darkness after tacking to sort it out, and the spritsail and the outhaul and the inhaul for the jibsail and the parrel for the spirt-topsail yard and the guys and the windward sheet for the sprit sail which got tangled up in the foretack davit. Well, you get the idea.

Before bedtime Stellan Mjärdner and I climbed up on the main gallant sail and enjoyed the red light of dawn over the coast of Bohus County, which can’t yet even be glimpsed beyond the horizon.

Deckhand Per Westlund

10 February 2007

I am a deckhand. A wonderful being among many others. Filthy, sweaty and fleabitten with a bit of a stomach ache after 10 days in India. Very pleased to be at sea again and with no desire to go ashore. Sometimes extremely, extremely confused, stumbling over rope-ends, searching for a jig rope during the soot-black night watch. Wicked at hauling, slackening, furling and holding onto braces without letting go. A being who truly knows the noble art of enjoying coffee on deck at sunset and always equally famished and peckish until the imminent 3 o’clock coffee break.

Generally quite considerate and pleasant in the little birth and with a constant yearning for a new breeze or a ready hammock at bedtime. Always raring to go on watch but never as tired as after a watch below. Keen on Sunday entertainment, coffee, cake and more wind in the right direction. Relatively skilful at creeping dirty-footed on the sundeck without waking anyone who doesn’t want to be woken, and quite good at not slamming doors. Mostly dressed in classy SOIC clothes and with tar up to my armpits and hard hands, but satisfied in any case.

A being who always has time for a chat during a safety round and is happy to get some water for someone in greater need. Someone who is, in fact, extremely pleased to be here. I’m a deckhand.”

Deckhand Karin Lindquist

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