Logbook Tres Hombres (May 29, 2012)
Portsmouth port call by Captain Jorne Langelaan
After three weeks at sea it is nice to reach port again. Especially when you had expected to be there already in half the amount of time, or at least in two weeks. This leg (from the Azores into the English channel to Portsmouth) of the voyage took longer than expected, having to beat up against North-Easterly winds or floating around without a single sign of movement of the air, with a barometer nor rising nor falling.
And then when the destination is finally reached, in our case sailing up to the Solent, in between the Island of Wight and the English mainland, a feeling of great satisfaction comes over the crew. Of course we where not in port yet, we still had to tack up the solent, this we do with all hands. We are welcomed by a sailing yacht and Mott, the chocolate maker from Grenada comes on board, really nice to meet up again. While tacking up the Solent we meet up with another squarerigger the TS Royalist a nice brig of the same size of Tres Hombres. When passing they give three chears for Tres Hombres, we repeat the gesture with three chears for the TS Royalist, accompanied by a blast on our Norwegian foghorn. When they have passed we wore ship and race them... they have full sails set, and we have been shortening sail. So we do not pass them anymore before they turn into the confined waters of Portsmouth harbour. By that time, we still have to negotiate for a tugboat. Our first attempt is with a local fishermen. But like we have encountered in Boca Chica before, he does not have much control. I decide to abandon this method and rely upon a real tugboat.
Portsmouth turns out to be a fine port. We discharge most of our cargo of chocolate, something like 20.000 bars. And the books of "vanishing sail". The first night: fish and chips, lager and fruit! The people here, Daniel the harbormaster and his crew, Colin the mate of the Thames barge nearby and many others, turn out to be most friendly. In the few days, we stay in port, a lot of things have to be arranged to get ship and crew ready for the last leg of our voyage. Checking of the bilges, bringing the rigging in first class condition again, taking in fresh stores and training the 3 new crewmembers. Also 5 of our experienced hands are leaving, however they stay until the last moment, to help making the ship ready for sea. Many thanks for that!
In the meantime I go about the ships business and communication. For this I use two different office places. "The royal mariners club", with its classy interior, round hall and even a swimming pool. And "The old customs house" with an even nicer building with a fine antique interior and several staterooms filled with paintings of sailing vessels. Behind my laptop, I realize how much I would like to go to the maritime museum, visit the HMS Victory and the HMS Warrior, but this will need to wait until a next time, when we have the opportunity to stay for a longer period in port. Because for now, it is off to sea again, as soon as possible. And on the morning of the 25th of May anno domino 2012, we are being towed out to sea. A weather forecast of Bft 5 to 7 from the East, a crew of 3 green hands, 10 hands all told, and the determination to do everything to pass the Dover straits: taking headwinds of moderate gale force, calms, fog or whatever is ahead, for granted.
Captain Jorne Langelaan
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