At sea, Bluenose II operates 24 hours a day based on four-hour watches. The majority of the crew follows a schedule of four hours on watch duty, followed by eight hours off.
What the watch brings depends on the conditions at sea. On a good day, the crew is sailing, setting more sail and just enjoying the movement of Bluenose II on the water. Other times call for all hands on deck. The entire crew is on watch, setting and striking sails and steering the vessel in more challenging conditions. The general rule is “the more the wind, the more the work.”
Catching a good wind is one of the most exhilarating sailing moments to be experienced on Bluenose II. Cutting though the waves as the wind stretches the sails and the vessel picks up speed is a rush that’s not forgotten.
The serenity that can present itself on the sea is just as powerful. Many have imagined that moment of sailing, no land in sight, surrounded only by calm waters and open sky. Few can say it’s part of their job.
“It’s not just what you see, it’s the whole experience. Like the sound of it - the sound of ship in water and wind in sails, and the little creaks of the wood. Every detail floods right in. It’s perfect when you get those moments.”
Sophie Martel - Second Mate
There are times on Bluenose II that are all about working hard together as a crew, and then out of nowhere the sea offers up a perfectly calm day for everyone to enjoy. Sometimes there will be a swim call. Everything stops so the crew can take a dip in the ocean. Once in a while, the dories will be launched to go rowing.
During time off between watches, when crew aren’t working on a maintenance project or getting some sleep, they’re likely hanging out together. In tight quarters on Bluenose II, you quickly become a close-knit group. In the evenings, someone always seems to have a guitar around for a sing-along on deck.
For every crew member, there are unique moments that make an impression during their time on Bluenose II. Some recall being rocked to sleep by the movement of the sea or the complete lack of noise except for the sound of waves against the hull. The feel of being on a vessel that’s constantly moving through water is hard to forget. Returning to life on land is never quite the same.
“Coming up on deck and just seeing nothing around you is an absolutely incredible feeling. You feel kind of free at that moment. It’s an experience everyone should have.”
Amanda Rowlands - Deckhand