I was having an out-of-body experience. There I was, 100ft in the air, clinging like a rat to the rigging of a tall ship. “What are you doing?” I asked myself.
The rigging I was climbing – or, to use the proper term, the shrouds – was on the mast of the Stavros S Niarchos, a handsome tall ship docked in the port of Southampton. The Stavros is a brig, a type of double-masted vessel that was popular during the Age of Sail (the 16th century to mid 19th century) because of its manoeuvrability. She is one of just 200 functioning tall ships in the world, which are used for racing, education and pleasure, and are still operated almost exactly as they were 300 years ago. Which includes climbing the shrouds to release the sails.
Somehow, despite the rain and the vertiginous height, I completed the climb and made my way back down to the deck. My out-of-body experience began to subside.
“Right,” said Nick Harding, the chief officer. “Now that you’re comfortable with climbing aloft, let’s go to sea.” Continue reading on the Telegraph website