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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014, 10:26

Fig.1. A man up a very high mast with an electric screwdriver

Some instructions are very clear. You follow instructions with great care when you've got someone at the end of a rope and harness 25ft up a mast. Safety and hoist, but it can go wrong.

I keep reminding the skipper that it is nearly 20 years since I crewed so my knowledge of ropes is ropey. A little learning is worse than useless; it's dangerous. I need to remember and relearn what is what fast. A few new knots too. No doubt there is a refresher course online. An App for the idiot yachtsmen? Actually, some things, many things require you to be an apprentice, to shadow those who know what they are doing. It matters and helps that they are great, natural educators. When this guy came down he had the softest, clearest approach to pointing out a few things to me. We spoke for an hour on the history of Gibraltar, the regional weather and its nature ... and the smuggling of tobacco and drugs into the port. All over coffee and a lunch I pulled together for us.

This is an office. For a week it's my study too - free wifi from a cafe on the quay. Completing week two of a Future Learn MOOC on 'Starting your own business' and staring week one of a Future Learn on 'Writing a research proposal'. You text home. You Skype a call. And pictures tell their story as you post your route online. 

It's taken a while coming, but surely the technology truly is giving those who can work anywhere to do so? I so love England but I am so fed up with the weather - with chronic asthma and chronic rhinitis I have good reason to come and live on a windy rock. Gibraltar? So odd. Walked over there and stepped into 1970s Whitley Bay meets Newhaven by the Med, meets??? 

About to set off for five days, non-stop. Well, one stop as a German crew member is rather keen to see some sporting event.

The next first will be to helm my shift in the middle of the night. Misplaced trust is not a good way to learn, on the other hand taking responsibility for a thing is a reward in itself. 

 

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