Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All at Sea

We have been away from the Village and computers for a trip south to Sydney, the mountains and the South West Slopes.  A day of sailing on Sydney Harbour and out through the Heads was our excuse for visiting the big smoke. 
The James Craig is the only restored 19th century barque in the world that takes passengers to sea, and it promised to be an experience not to be missed.

This beautiful ship is a three masted barque built originally in Sunderland, England in 1874. She has an iron hull, and is fitted out with  a variety of timbers making up all but the lower masts and main yards, which are also of rivetted iron - (50,000 rivets).  Re-launched after restoration in 1997, she is fully operational, and with all 21 of her sails set she is a splendid sight.   She has over 5km of standing rigging and around 1000 metres of planking.  For a ship that has done 23 Cape Horn roundings, she looks truly beautiful.

This wasn't just a trip to sea for me, but also an opportunity to see and admire the woodwork and craftsmanship of others. As well, it was a chance for my wife and I to spend some quality time together.

So much of the James Craig is made of timber.

Pulley blocks made of American Ash

 The ship's binnacle under construction on the main deck.  This sits in front of the helmsman and carries
the ship's compass.
Sailor's socks

Walking the yards to adjust the sails is not for the faint-hearted. Some of the crew have devised ways to remember which is port and which is starboard

Winds were light but the day's weather was fantastic.  Strolling the deck was wonderfully relaxing while the crew kept us all on track .

The highlight of the trip was totally unexpected, and that was an encounter with a pod of humpback whales.  One spectacular breaching showed one of them near vertical and totally out of the water - took us all by surprise so no photo I'm sorry. Best I could do was a pic of a swim-past by a mother and calf.

As far as ship's carpenters tools are concerned there were few to see.  I want to introduce you to the largest ship's carpenter's rebate plane I have ever seen - but that's another story.


  1. Oh My God how lucky to see the whales it must have been an awesome day!!!

  2. Utterly wonderful. Even better that it was shared. Nearly as good as a holiday in Bali.

  3. I love the James Craig. I've sailed on it twice now. First time from Newcastle to Sydney and then a day sail earlier this year. Looks like you had a great day. What were they using the rebate plane on?

  4. Ah the rebate plane......
    I had forgotten to elaborate on that. It was not from the "James Craig" - in fact there were almost no olde style carpenter's tools on board from what I could see. I even had a peek inside the ship's carpenter's workshop up for'd. Several battery powered tools and an old eggbeater drill. I think that the volunteers must bring their own tools and take them home again.
    The rebate plane I referred to was one I acquired about the same time. I am intending to do a little review on it down the track. It is really something - 2 inch skewed blade, twin nickers and a canted handle for working up close to ... well I'm not sure - maybe bulkheads or the like.
    The review is on my to do list - but then , so is Xmas. Thanks for sharing.