Communication is Key (Recreated from Lost PC)

Community Highlights Seafaring Communication is Key (Recreated from Lost PC)

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Nova Scotia, Quebec, Canada

Communication is key in life, but it is especially so when aboard a ship. To facilitate this a system of “Call Backs” has been developed. This works fantastically well because it is so simple. Someone shouts out an order and the person or group of persons whom it is intended for shouts back by repeating the exact order. This proves several things at the same moment. First, that they are paying attention and are aware that it was meant for them, and second, that they heard it correctly and that they are planning to fulfill the order. Once the command has been completed the person who performed it will shout out that it has been completed. For example:

  • First Mate shouts out “Take up staysil sheet 6 inches”
  • Deckhand closest by the staysail sheet shouts out “Take up staysil sheet 6 inches”

The Deckhand then moves to the proper pin or cleat and hauls in the staysail sheet 6 inches

  • Deckhand shouts out “That’s 6 inches” and then stands by
  • First Mate checks the staysil and if he is happy with the trim of the sail, he shouts out “That’s well”
  • Deckhand shouts out “That’s well” and then he makes fast on the staysail sheet
  • If the First Mate was not happy with the trim he would have shouted out “Take up another 4 inches”
  • Deckhand would shout out “Take up another 4 inches” while taking another 4 inches of line in. Once he has taken in the line he shouts out “That’s 4 inches”
  • Again the First Mate would check and so it would repeat until it was trimmed in properly.

Every command, more or less, works like this. It makes for a very well-run ship. Everybody is always on the same page, even folks who may not be directly involved with the order still gets a heads up with what is happening.
I have explained this for two reasons, first for your education and benefit. If call-backs were used in more situations ashore, life would be easier. And second, I was hoping to get an answer. If we have this level of communication going on, can someone please explain to me why I never know what the hell is going on????

Speaking of communication, I think that I have finally communicated successfully to my shipmates that I really want to know if we happen to see sea life. This was brought up because for the past day everyone keeps telling me that they have seen WHALES during their watches. WHALES!!! And believe or it or not, I had to mention, like a thousand times, that I REALLY wanted to see one for myself and, yes, that I would consider it worth my while to leave the galley and climb up the companionway stairs to get to the deck should we happen to see a whale. Some experienced Deckhands wouldn’t bother looking even if they were on deck! So yes, it took a while for them to “get it”, that I needed to see one. I finally came across loud and clear when I promised baked goods should I see sea life. Oddly enough, the very next sighting I was summoned and I came flying up the companionway with my camera in tow. I got to see TWO WHALES!!! In the wild, not on TV, not in a Zoo but real wild whales swimming in the ocean in exchange for a pan of brownies. Who wouldn’t bake brownies for this?!? So, while I would love to say that I got lots of photos to share if only I could get my laptop files retrieved, I cannot. The whales would surface, blow and then dive down and all of this would take but a few seconds, if that. No time to snap a photo as it was the water blowing that alerted you that there was a whale to see. I did, however, take photos of the spot where the two whales came up and I would love to share them, however you know the drill……damn laptop. #%$&#@#

I should mention that we are sailing! We made it into the St. Lawrence Bay and are finally able to sail again!!! So not only did I get to see whales, I got to see them while sailing a tall ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Life is grand. I should also mention that the seas are rather rough at the moment. It is very windy and choppy. In fact, we are sailing through a squall.

Right when you think that life couldn’t improve – it did! It was during this windy, choppy squall that I was asked to go out in the Headrig and help furl the staysail. The Head rigging is the “cargo net” looking thing that is under the Bowsprit. The purpose is to catch the sails as they come down and serves also as a walkway for us to get out there. To help you understand what it looks like, just think thin black ropes spaced every two feet or so, slack, right under a huge beam of wood, right in front of an enormous ship that is cruising along at almost top speeds, 20 feet above the waterline. Now picture the ship tossed about in the choppy water and the wind blowing hard against you. Now imagine this entire thing in the pitch black as it was in the middle of the night. Great! You now have it correctly pictured in your minds. So I am standing on a very stable deck, when I am asked to go out on this thing with no lights and nothing really to hold on to. My mind said no, my heart screamed HELL YES! With the gentle encouragement from Brittany Mauer, one of the Deckhands, she and I went out in the Headrig and she taught me how to furl the staysail. I would like to say at this time that she thought nothing of jumping out there and doing her job without even a slight hesitation. Deckhands are unstoppable, invincible super humans that are also great friends! Thank you Brittany for making my day even better.

Sweet Sleep All,

Kit Cusick
Cook and Proud Shipmate on the Pride of Baltimore II

P.S. The Bills of Fare and photos might be forth coming should my hard drive be recovered. Please pray for it and send your monetary donations directly to me to assist with defraying the high costs of my stupidity.

P.S.S. I did also cook today, but who knows what it was! Please see above note.

P.S.S.S. WHALES rock!

This featured blog entry was written by kitcusick from the blog Sailing the Seas.
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By kitcusick

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 2013 | USA | Comments