The Lady of Lyris sailed gracefully across the vast ocean in the fading light of the afternoon sun. It had been a mostly peaceful day with barely a cloud in the sky, but as the day progressed, dark clouds began brewing on the distance horizon.
Tyler briefly glanced up as he tied his last double hitch on the topgallant to see a strike of lightning ripple through the incoming storm.
Stretching, he looked over to the trainees under his care to see they were on the last few knots, securing the furled square sail in its cover.
“Good job, guys. Let’s head down now and get some food. We’ll be taking the next watch in about thirty minutes. Make sure you’re back on deck with your harness and life vests. You’re gonna need it.”
The group of five nodded and began to climb down the fore mast one at a time. As the last boy began to climb down, Tyler rushed towards him, his adrenaline pumping.
He grabbed the boy, clipping his carabiner back onto the wire along the topgallant.
“We’re thirty feet off the ground. You need to be more careful with your carabiners!”
A look of horror crossed over the boy’s face as he realised he’d been about to climb down the mast without the protection of his harness.
“S-shit, sorry! I didn’t notice!”
“Don’t say sorry to me, just head down. Safely.”
Daniel nodded, paying extra attention to his carabiners as he began to make his decent. Tyler made his way down behind him, watching Daniel closely.
When his boots hit the deck, he sighed in relief, glad they had both made it without incident.
“Alright! You better get in there and eat!” He said as he slapped the boy’s back.
“And don’t think we’re not going to have a talk about this later!”
Daniel gave a weak, sheepish smile before heading off below deck.
Needing a small break, Tyler walked over to the starboard railing to watch the storm as it grew ever closer.
Looks like it’s gonna be a rough night, he thought, surveying the horizon.
This wasn’t the first storm Tyler had sailed through, but he still felt nervous thinking about the turbulent waves, the lightning and the thunder. Especially when he had responsibility over five inexperienced teenagers. One silly mistake could see any one of them tumbling into the violent ocean, never to be seen again.
He shook his head to clear his mind of the thought.
After all, if he wanted to take over operation of the ship from his father some day, he needed handle any situation that arose calmly.
Besides, the ocean was the one place Tyler felt at home. It was like time went slower out on the water. He felt more relaxed and calm out here than he ever did on dry land. There was something about the movement of the waves and the massive, open expanse of sky that made him feel at ease. Sure, he was at the mercy of the elements, but out here all his worries seemed to melt away and he loved that.
“Hey, Ty! It’s your team’s turn on watch now, isn’t it?”
The voice of Aleah, another watch leader, called out to Tyler from the bridge of the ship.
“Yep, I’ll be right there!”
On his way across the deck, his father, the captain called out to him.
“Ty, come into the chart room for a minute. We need to hold a quick staff meeting.”
“I’ll be there in a second!” Tyler called back, making his way below deck.
As he passed the galley where his watch was having salmon for dinner, he quickly ducked his head in to let them know they had a few more minutes to eat before heading through the staff quarters and into the chart room.
All fifteen staff were gathered, besides the chef, around the navigation table when he walked in waiting for the captain to start.
“Good, everyone’s here. I’ll begin then. All of you have been through conditions like this before, so I expect you already know what to do. If you aren’t sure about anything though, let me know or consult on of your fellow crew. The storm shouldn’t be too severe, but because we’ll be facing these conditions at night, I think it’s best to limit watches to staff crew only in two-hour rotations.”
The captain looked around at the crew before continuing.
“Samara, Jack, Erin and Tyler. You’ll take the first watch.”