Level Two Training [April 2016]

Level TwoTraining
April 2016

Sydney, Australia.


What is Level Two all about?

"Offshore Sailing and Life Onboard" 
  • How to live at a 45-degree angle for long periods of time.
  • Working in a watch system.
  • Working on "Broken Sleep"
  • Revising all Level One Skills
  • Completing Sea Survival Course

My Level Two Course...

I arrived in Sydney in the morning of day one of the course, it is quite a long old flight from Shanghai to Sydney! and this time, I stopped off via Hong Kong. Nice to seed a different airport!!
The Level Two course began with a meet and greet - a chance to meet other members of our (very) small crew, and hear about the plan for the week. Our first task, was too take part in and complete a Sea Survival Course.
The course itself was fun my Pacific Sailing School, a company resident at Rushcutters Bay, and we were going to spend two days learning about survivial at sea. This included completing a theory session or two, a pool session and a practical flares session. It is surprising just how much of the course is actually common sense, it is just applying it to a new situation, and practicing how one would dealt with the situtation.
The pool session was great fun! We got to see a Liferaft inflate, and what was inside, as well as the challenge of getting in and out of the raft. Sounds easy? Yes! If you are in swimming gear! We completed the task in full foulies (and boots!), and life jackets. I found it quite easy to move with foulies and boots. What surprised me the most was just how buoyant the foulie gear was WITHOUT a lifejacket! Very surprising! Another awesome element of the course which was most beneficial to me was the practical flares. We obtained permission to set of flares as an exercise - for us to use them - this was really good.

In terms of the Level Two course itself... there was only 6 crew (8 inc. Skipper and Mate) so, going into a watch system, wouldn't be ideal on this course, however... the Skipper did say that we would be working quite hard this week anyway, and it would feel like watches by default! We did carry out anchor watches / mooring watches while we were at Jervis Bay.
Our first sea day was more of a Level One refresher, practicing manouveres etc. and getting back into the swing of things onboard a Clipper 68. Lovely day, despite the slightly wet weather! We came back alongside for this evening, and prepped for the next two days away.
We set sail from CYCA on day 3, and made way down to Jervis Bay, a lovely long stretch of downwind sailing, a long passage during which we all took turns to helm, practiced trimming, and being in different roles around the boat. On arrival, we "dropped the pick" (meaning anchored) and broke into watches. I was lucky to be first on watch, and got a decent nights sleep! We then had a short sea day the following day, as all were fairly shattered after the long run that we had! It was a good short run as we managed to get the Spinnaker Up! WOOOOOO! and you'll be pleased to hear that we didn't get a wrap! We returned to a mooring in Jervis Bay, and broke into night watches again... I was on slightly later this time, but this didn't phase me. It did however, provide me with a slightly broken sleep!
We set sail the following morning in the early hours, about 7am to head north back to CYCA, the weather was going to be on our side most of the way, for more downwind sailing, but the decision was made when we were around 3 hours out of Sydeny to "kick the donkey" (turn on the Engine) and get back ASAP! We hoped to get in for dinner... but this didn't quite work out! We arrived after 2200!

All in all, Level Two was great fun! I made some more new clipperati friends and I have more experience under my belt. I got some great feedback, and I hope that what my targets are will lead me into more exciting, and fun opportunities both professionally and with Clipper in the future!

Thanks to Clipper Australia, and Pacific Sailing Schoool for a great week in Australia!