The beat south commences. After spending yesterday preparing the ship for departure, and completing our safety briefings, we departed the marina at 1000 this morning, with the tide slack at the start of the ebb. Despite not being open to the public yesterday, we still had over 4000 people visit the vessel while in Cairns – the momentum of this voyage shows no sign of slackening off and this stay has been another good one. Thanks to the Marlin marina, the Cairns Port Authority and Cairns City council for hosting and supporting the ship here. Unlike our arrival, I didn’t have to make any tricky sideways manoeuvre to get out, our departure was fairly straightforward, clearing the marina a few minutes after letting go. We got under sail immediately, setting courses and topsails and stood to sea, giving the passing parade of charter and excursion vessels a sight they would rarely see, a square rigger putting to sea under sail. The breeze allowed me to lay the channel under sail, the only mishap was the chart blowing over the side. You would think that after 23 years at sea I would realize what the wind can do and put a bloody weight on the chart. What an idiot. No matter, clearing the channel (and with the next chart safely in my cabin) we came up full and by on a starboard tack. The breeze was fresh out of the SE, causing us to hand the fore topsail and we commenced getting the new hands used to steering the ship. The success of this passage against the prevailing winds will depend heavily on the skill of the helmsmen, so we need to train them quickly. We stood across towards Green Island and came about at 1400, wearing ship when she missed stays in the steep chop. We made a little ground to weather on the next board, tacking easily about 1600 in the flatter water under the lee of False Cape. Wearing again an hour later we lost some ground due to some inexperienced steering. All we would gain by making short tacks overnight is to wear out the crew, normally this would not bother me too much, but getting soft in my old age I decided to hand sail and go to anchor under the lee of Cape Grafton. We still have some safety drills to do, so we will do them first thing tomorrow, then get underway and try again to make some progress south.