LOG OF THE YAWL “THALASSA” FASTNET 1939
 
    CAPTAIN: Alan Bostock Baker (Hardcase)
    NAVIGATOR: E.P. de Guingand (The Alligator)
    BOSUN: Jon Walley (Bos’n Bowsprit)
    George Dally (The Doctor)
    Douglas Pallister
    Jack Perren
    Godfrey Wykeham (The Soldier)
    George Faint (Blessing of Heaven)

5th August – ALL HANDS ABOARD. The following notice was approved by the Captain and Alligator and posted as an order of the day:- “Any reference to condemned men’s last breakfasts will be instantly and painfully suppressed by the defenestration of the offender. The Latin phrase “Moriturus te salute” will be similarly punished.

12.00 Off to a fine start ……… Making fine time, probably 8.5 knots. Very wet …….. Weathered Golden Dragon and sent bottle to yard-arm in approved fashion. Fine and clear. Smooth sea. Wireless out of order. Foresee difficulty about accurate time for chronometer.

In the evening a school of porpoises started to play around the ship, diving under and around the bobstay. Water very phosphorescent and so a lovely sight. One old faithful remained to pilot us and is still there.

6th August – Captain spent an hour deviscerating wireless but without success. Later Jack Perren spoke to the wireless like a friend and succeeded in inducing it to function – by switching it on.

Carried away Genoa ……….. Got in the bits safely and set No.2 on running stay. Wind increasing and a rather short sea. Looks like a squall. Probably rain later.

6pm – Chronometer 47 secs. fast on GMT. 9pm – Chronometer 49secs fast on GMT.

7th August – 03.00 Navigator invents a method of bring the Port Watch on deck which nearly causes a mutiny. Fine starry night. Wolf bears NE by N and St. Marys’ NW picked off. Sea slight. Starboard watch snoring like snurges. God bless this ship’s company.

11.20 Bishop 1 mile abeam bearing N.E after lovely sail along close to Scillies. Set course for Fastnet Rock. Nice quartering breeze. Big long seas. Sent up mizzen staysail. Course made good N by W. Sweet smells from galley. George and Bosun making a feast we hope.

8th August – 0005 fine night, little sea. All hands dined well and christened the Western Ocean in brandy.
01.00 Sea slight. Phosphorescence. Very sentimental man the bosun. Fine warm night. Port watch (Picados) seeking the mermaids. Navigator’s watch below giving tongue on a hot Bishop scent. All well.

03.10 Carried away cleat to which lee Yankee sheet made fast. Tacked ship. Watch changed. The old lady will have her little joke. When carried away cleat handed the yankee and set NO.2 jib. Bosun on the bowsprit and very wet but job well done. Confused sea and swell and much water coming aboard.

Watch on deck finish a bottle of rum.

11.30 Fine glittering morning in sun. Crew sleepy and cheerful and still singing as they have done since the start. Dry hash and pantiles on deck.

13.50 Took meridian of sun’s LL gives position 51º07’18” which agrees exactly with D.R. Latitude.

17.30 Gally Head South Ireland LH on bowsprit end, distant 4.5 to 5 ms. Landfall suitably celebrated. 18.00 Chronometer fast 1 min. 10 secs Captain produces two gargantuan cakes - at last!

18.40 Fastnet raised. Crew in tears of joy. Mainbrace spliced.

19.30 Believe Fastnet really the Stag rocks, rather similar from this angle of view. Later, better visibility this confirmed. Hailed an Irish fisherman with great hopes of a fresh fish dinner. Bought soles, plaice and mackerel, and paid through the nose for them, another IRA problem.

 Alligator, Bosun and the soldier bathed overside in the calm, they lorded it over the others who were made to keep to leeward. Distinct taste of salt noticed. Also took several gins in very pleasant conditions looking at the green and pleasant Irish coast in warm sunshine. Later a grand dinner, while George (Gift of Heaven) took the helm in a light beam wind. The Captain took his dinner a little later in his bunk. Shades of Benbow. Reference to the 18th ?? century admiral or possibly the 1930’s racing yacht owned by Ted Gore-Lloyd? – Ed.

23.00 Wind increasing and drawing ahead. Very dirty conditions with increasingly poor visibility ….. one mile from Cape Clear. No visibility.

9th August - Beastly night. Fastnet blowing but can’t see it. Visibility half mile or less. Rain. Wind SW by 3. Carried away Yankee snatch block. Tacked ship and Douglas struck off his balance by whipping of Yankee sheet and went overboard. Back very quickly indeed with nothing worse than a pair of wet pants. Old man soaked