John Laing at sea

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Cami's voyage diary:

Tuesday 26th August 2008
It’s a normal day in my hometown Cambridge. Checking my email; skimming through the OYT newsletter; dreaming about the days when I will get to sail with them for a second time. And there it was! 2 free places in the August-September trip from Ipswich to Southampton! I rang dad and practically screamed the news down the line

By the evening, I was almost packed. My dad was more than happy to let me go so he’d phoned up OYT and sorted out all the details.  I was ready to go and more excited than ever. I’d been on board John Laing before and it was by far the best experience of my life.

Wednesday 27th August
Just been out to buy wellies (T.K. Maxx is great!). I’m so excited I keep checking I’ve packed everything!

Thursday 28th August
In my diary I wrote a lot about sailing during the loooooong train journey and walk (carrying all my kit) to Lowestoft but I’m not going to write it because it is mostly irrelevant and it would be completely boring to you.

Saturday 30th August
I didn’t have time to write yesterday because life on board is so busy! On Thursday we had a safety briefing then got sailing really quickly! We were put into our watches and of course, ours is the best! This time we had three hour watches which is great because 4 hours would be too long and tiring and 2 hours wouldn’t give you enough time to get to sleep. We sailed all through the night – along the English east coast to Dover then across the channel to Boulogne-sur-mer. We arrived at the marina in Boulogne yesterday evening where we had some very relaxing and well-deserved showers.

The wind on Friday was nice – around force 5 although it dropped at night and we haven’t really had much excitement since. That night we got a whole night of sleep so we set off at around 10am this morning (English time) and headed towards Dieppe.

I did breakfast with Martin this morning, which was fun despite the huge amount of washing up. Brad and I also did lunch yesterday which, compared to my usual cooking standards, was a success!

I’m learning millions of new things – probably asking too many questions. The hardest thing is remembering all the colours and shapes and number of flashes of the cardinal buoys! It’s really quite confusing!

It’s really nice and warm today so no need to wear oilskins – finally the summer has arrived!

I filled in the logbook a couple of times today so I think I pretty much remember how to do it.

The other kids are really nice and the sea staff are really helpful and always willing to tell me things even though I ask so many questions.

Today my watch leader, Andy, told me all about compass deviations, which are kind of complicated, but I understand it! There are so many things to think about when you are on board.

Yesterday in Boulogne we did a big clean up of the vessel. Thankfully our watch was on deck, which was more fun than being down below.

We are off watch till 7 because it’s dogwatch so we’ve only got 1 hour and a half. I’ll write when I’ve got time as soon as possible.

Tuesday 2nd September
Sunday we went from Dieppe to Fécamp but there was no wind so we motored all the way. It was a relaxing day!

Yesterday, we could only leave Fécamp at 11am because the lock only had one gate so we had to wait till high tide before we could leave. That meant we only arrived in Gosport at 10:15 pm. We were all knackered! The sailing was really exciting because there were huge waves in the channel in force 5 winds. It was around 21 knots and we were travelling between 7 and 11 knots!

I was surprised because I felt quite seasick even though last voyage I wasn’t sick at all in force 8! Perhaps it is just tiredness. I’m happy though because I haven’t taken a single stugeron all week! Its now the morning and we had a huge lye in after a really mice sleep. Going to eat breakfast then we’re on deck for happy hour. Yay!

Just had a really nice shower and I’m about to go to shore with the others. Then we’re sailing back to Southampton

Wednesday 3rd September
Had a nice ‘n’ windy sail back to Southampton yesterday. Then had a relaxing dinner to fill all our hungry tums. However, after dinner we had the excitement of EXTREME WASHING UP! But I’m not going to reveal what it is – you’ll just have to sail with OYT to find out!

Then we had fun eating crème caramel deserts with slightly unusual toppings. Marmite was one of them… ugh! Matty managed to swallow a whole crème caramel with garlic sauce, hot chilli sauce, marmite and other disgusting things. We had loads of laughs last night I will never forget it!

Then this morning we did the usual clean up to make the boat happy :). We washed all our oilskins and packed our bags. Then we had a debrief and I was over the moon to receive my competent crew! Soon after, the “lot” (group from Doncaster that I was sailing with) had to leave to catch their bus so sad goodbyes were said and emails exchanged.

I’d love to thank all the sea staff because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had the best week of my life. So thank you!!!!!!!!!!!


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“Unlike the staff, I loved the Force 8 and the huge splashes!” Cami, 13