I think I’ve mentioned before the rhythm of being at sea. It’s something you slip out of in port and at the beginning of each sail I find it takes a day or so to get back into the rhythm of life at sea. It’s a lot of information to digest so feel free to skip this post if schedules and nitty gritty details aren’t your thing!
Let’s start with the rotating schedules that we cycle through.
Classes run on a five day schedule with an additional “arrival day” schedule for, of course, arrival days. The days cycle through in turn so if we end a sail with Day 2 (followed by arrival day) the next sail will start with Day 3.
Day Watch runs from 0600-2200 and follows the same cycle 5 day cycle as classes. Each hour there will be a student assigned to each of the four physical watch positions (helm, standby, lookout and safety) as well as a few more students to be “on deck” – available for whatever needs doing: sail manoeuvers etc.
Galleys are teams of 4 to 5 students who work together in galley for the day. There are 8 galleys that rotate in order. On galley days the students don’t stand their day or night watches and have what they call a “galley sleep” (an uninterrupted night as they don’t stand watch).
Watches are how the student body is broken down into smaller groups. The watch groups rotate through the 4 night watches (2 hours each from 2200-0600) spending about 3 weeks on each night watch. They also stand with their watch at morning colours and do cleaning stations in their watch group, these rotate along with their night watch times.
Then of course there are the days of the week although this matters the least I think. On Sundays at sea we will have family dinner in the banjer which means the maritime crew will eat in the banjer with the students instead of in the salon. There’s also dessert! That’s the most noticeable difference between the days although there are some other weekly happenings like Muffin Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Wolf Shirt Wednesdays, Fun Fact Friday etc.
The maritime crew have a different rhythm then the students. Officers and ABs stand 8 hours of watch each day (broken into two four hour shifts) and have an additional 2 hours of maintenance or overlap time when they aren’t on watch but are getting other work done. On Sundays they only stand their 8 hours of watch and take a bit of a rest day. Sundays are also (supposed to be) cabin cleaning day. There are a few maritime crew like the bosun and engineer who are daymen and work their 10 hours in one go, basically from breakfast to dinner.
The galley rhythm is a lot the same whether we are at sea or in port, the biggest difference being in port we usually cook for less as the students are generally off the ship for shore leave which means we get some time off too! We start breakfast prep between 0600 and 0630 each day and start serving at 0720. Most people have eaten by 0800 when we all come together for flag raising and colours (like morning assembly). After colours there are still a few people to eat from the off going watch and those who are on galley duty. We aim to have breakfast cleaned up by 0900, in time for the students to make it to their first class. At 1000 we have the first coffee time break of the day. This one is for maritime crew only and we serve a small snack as well as coffee outside on the aft deck. Lunch is served at 1130 so if we haven’t started prep before/during coffee we will definitely be starting right after! As with breakfast most people eat in the first half hour and the second half hour is usually a smaller seating. Once lunch clean up is done we have a bit of a break until 1500 when the second coffee time happens. This one is for students as well as maritime crew although we don’t make coffee for the students, just a snack. Sometimes it’s fruit, sometimes a baked good, or cheese and crackers, usually nothing too fancy. I start dinner prep at 1700 though Jess has usually started before me. Dinner is served at 1830-1930 and hopefully we’ll be cleaned up by 2030. Of course each day has its variations, sometimes I bake bread in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. Occasionally there are extra jobs we need to tackle during our usual downtime. We also try to give each other breaks, sleep in mornings when we don’t start till after breakfast or early nights when one of us is done right after dinner (ie. No clean up).
So you can see there’s a lot going on during the day/week and although it sounds like a lot to keep track of it’s all pretty organized and you get used to it quickly; you can also see no two days are the same!
When we get to port most of these cycles get thrown out the window! There are no classes, watch becomes gangway watch and only 2 students at a time are needed, maritime crew are mainly daymen and everyone gets time off. Then it’s back to sea where we will pick up where we left off.