Rebecca Kuehn, from Australia, is one of a number of trainees taking part in The Tall Ships Races 2012 as part of the Sultanate of Oman Bursary Scheme.
Rebecca explains in her own words what life on board the Pelican of London has been like over the last ten days:
Rebecca Kuehn's Blog - Pelican of London
"It is Day 10 of our voyage and we are steadily approaching the finish line of The Tall Ships Races just off of the Portuguese coast near Lisbon. The sun is shining brightly on deck – the warmest weather of the trip - and all of the trainees are excited about seeing land again since our departure from Saint Malo.
In the last 10 days we all have experienced and learnt many new things. When I arrived on board Pelican I was placed in Main Watch, under the supervision of watch leader Nigel from Canada. My watch of 8 trainees was made up from a variety of nationalities – UK, France, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy and myself (Australia), which made for interesting conversations and hilarious communication events throughout the trip. I have really enjoyed being part of such a multi-national crew, as I found it adds to the character and spirit of the team, and have learnt so much about other countries, and now have friends all over the world.
As a watch we have battled sea sickness, learnt to take the helm, did navigation exercises, worked out which rope is which on the deck, and encouraged each other when working aloft. We have all helped out in the galley and pushed through the many “Happy Hours” of cleaning in the morning. We all discovered you couldn’t just shove all the stuff floating around your cabin under your duvet for Captain’s inspection either! Experiencing all these previously unfamiliar activities as a group on a beautiful Tall ship has taught me many lessons in teamwork and communication, and also the value of remaining positive in your outlook, and not letting others bring you down.
Around Day 6 it was clear that our ship would not be really in the running for winning the race, owing to changing of winds and bad weather in the Bay of Biscay. This in fact resulted in our ship tacking and heading northwest instead of south to Lisbon, but I was especially impressed with how our watch did not lament this fact, but carried on and made the most of each day. This is something you can always apply to life – sometimes it takes a reverse direction and everything seems to be going wrong but the important thing is to persevere and keep a smile on your face – or get your friend to tickle you until that smile returns. Either that or do a dance in a harness when you don’t realise the 1st mate is watching…
Other things I have particularly enjoyed is the rolling and motion of the ship. This may seem strange but I found it mostly quite relaxing when going to sleep, and it brought out many funny moments, and always made you think exactly about how to tackle everyday activities, such as taking a shower or keeping food on your plate so it doesn’t end up in someone else’s lap. I’ve also really enjoyed meeting everyone else on board, trainees and crew, and having a brilliant psychological break from my medical studies in Australia. I’m really looking forward to the last days of the voyage and the time in Lisbon and want to thank you for your kind sponsorship of my trip so far!"
The Tall Ships Races 2012, Presented by Szczecin and organised by Sail Training International is taking place in the following host ports:
St Malo - Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 July (race start Monday 9 July)
Lisbon - Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 July
Cadiz - Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 July
A Coruña - Friday 10 to Monday 13 August
Dublin - Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 August
Behind the scenes insights on Twitter @tallshipsraces and Facebook