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Eye of The Wind - NEWS UPDATE

'White Squall' directed by Ridley Scott and starring Jeff Bridges and Caroline Goodall is in the final stages of editing for a late November release in the USA and possibly Christmas in the UK.

As you are all aware, in our last newsletter we told you of our voyage to Malta and the hope of appearing in the pirate movie 'Cutthroat Island'. Circumstances were such that once we arrived, we were notified that the budget had been cut, and they couldn't afford ships for the harbour scenes. It was fortunate for us that Ridley Scott had accepted the script of "White Squall" and was travelling to Malta to investigate the tank facilities he would need for some of the shots in the film.

At this point, a similar vessel to the 'Albatross' had not been located, and luckily for us, we were in the right place at the right time.

Filming for us started in the middle of March in St Vincent. The first location and the opening scenes were at Young Island, and our crew soon became involved in the day to day routine. We often started at 6.00am and particularly as the days were quite long, we often finished after 8.00pm. Contrary to popular belief, we all found out that it was not as glamorous as it is made out to be.

As the schedule progressed we moved to Souffriere in StLucia and then to St George's in Grenada. Unfortunately for the film company, other than the first day when we had a familiarisation sail, the weather we experienced in the Caribbean was mainly light airs, and the script called for some rough weather, especially when the "Albatross" sailed from Bermuda in 1960. So this dilemma first of all took us to Bermuda to find the big seas and the conditions that go with it We arrived a week too late, with the locals saying - 'if only you had been here last week...' Our time there was not wasted as we did the mechanical dolphin scenes, and the sheltered lagoon to the west of Bermuda was an ideal place for this. In actual fact they were lucky it was nearly dead calm, as the dolphin had trouble keeping up with us as it was - he had no hope of coping in rough weather as his six handlers struggled to keep his head above water and his tail moving.

After Bermuda the unit went to Malta to do the tank scenes, where a replica of the ship had been built from the forward deckhouse aft. Everybody said the replica was so lifelike, and it was a weird sensation to be on it. Apparently they got some amazing footage of the ship supposedly capsizing and sinking.

As the stormy sea shots had not been filmed our contract was extended, and we expected to be heading to southern Ireland or the west country of England. Two days prior to us departing Bermuda, we were told by Fred that they wanted us in Cape Town instead of southern Ireland. As you can imagine, this was something of a shock, as it involved a voyage of nearly 8,000 miles.

John Graham and a local guy busy with our suppliesAfter hurriedly storing and fuelling (and getting in some extra charts) and shanghaing a few extra hands, we departed Bermuda on June 15 1995.

Unfortunately for us, a massive Azore high spread from Florida to the mid Mediterranean. This gave us light airs as we tried to power across the centre of the high and reach its nor'easterly airflow. The winds we had hoped for did not eventuate and we had light south easterlies. This meant we could not follow the old sailing ship route, and had to call in to Fortaleza in Brazil for fuel.

It was a Friday evening when we arrived and the port authorities would not answer our VHF-calls. In-the morning we were unable to obtain fuel, but cleared into Brazil which was a long and complicated procedure. We were finally able to leave four days later, and battled all the way along the Brazilian coast against the Ghuyana current and strong south-easterly winds. Motor-sailing it took us 10 days to cover the 600 miles to Salvador, the old capital of Brazil. Other than the usual clearance problems, everything went smoothly here. We fuelled next morning and spent an enjoyable Sunday discovering the local markets with their wonderful printed fabrics. We all had to watch what we said, as that was the weekend that Brazil lost the South American Soccer Cup, and there was a lot of commiserating.

A passage of 3,600 miles lay before us, and we finally followed the old sailing ship route and nor'west to westerly winds, which carried us eastward across the South Atlantic. In these southern latitudes, we were greeted by the ever-present Cape pigeons, and most days had a few albatross circling us. We had to shorten down in two severe storms, which blew the clew out on the inner jib and the reefing cringle on the main.

We arrived in the naval dockyard at Simons Town on August 18 to be greeted by the film company eager to finish the shoot. On our first day out in False Bay we experienced a very impressive southeasterly swell of over 25 feet. I gather that some incredible footage was taken from the support boat, where Ridley and camera crew were stationed. Whilst the footage was good, their constitutions were not so hardy, and by the end of the day there were only three of them left standing in the rough conditions.

By the time it was all over, we all agreed that although it was not glamorous, we all learnt a lot and quite enjoyed seeing it all take shape. We are all eagerly awaiting its release to see what they actually did with the footage they took.

In Simons Town we brought down the foreyards and tried to catch up on the maintenance we were unable to do for the previous five months before moving around to the new Waterfront development in Cape Town docks (lots of good restaurants, bars and cinemas) which the crew all eagerly looked forward to.

SCUTTLEBUTT

Marion and John, whilst riding a scooter in Bermuda came off second best with a fence, and Marion broke her leg. She is now recuperating at home before joining us in the West Indies.

Ricardo departed the ship in Brazil and may be taking out Maltese residence if all goes well, as he met a very nice young lady whilst we were there.

As to be expected, we had a big crew changeover after the completion of the filming, with Red and Grainne returning to the UK, and also Jamie. Janet continued her travelling, and is hoping to see more of Africa.

Benny and Angela are now formally engaged, and she left the ship in Cape Town to do a course at University.

Deb and Emma returned to the ship, after spending some time in Australia. Prior to their return, they represented the ship and crew on the very happy occasion of the marriage of Gary Wilson to Annie Pritchard, whom he met on the ship when she sailed from Gloucester 10 Weymouth.

Ross and Kerry have returned after skippering the 'Anna Kristina' in Tenerife.

We also finally managed to get Fred away from Devon, and he flew down to Simons Town for the last stages of filming. We got him working (yet again) and he did a wonderful job returning the old 'Eye of the Wind' scrollwork, after being 'Albatross' for so long.

Lisa from the office (to whom many of you may have spoken) is expecting a baby in early December, so unfortunately will no longer be with us for a while. Sue, Fred's partner, will be filling in, whilst also running her newspaper. Many thanks to Lisa, and we wish her and Peter every happiness.

We sincerely apologise to anyone we have inconvenienced by cancelling the voyages in the UK. However, we hope you may be able to sail again with us soon. We have done a long term plan for the ship for the next couple of years, with what we consider to be an exciting itinerary. You should all have received a copy of this recently, if not, please contact the office and we'll send you one.

Tiger

Fred's bit...

Yes. I'm still here, folks! After what seemed an eternity, the Scottish courts finally issued a decree against International Maritime and Cathy Gillen and I am, at long last, able to make a public statement on the subject.

I think Tiger's remarks about being in the right place at the right time are rather amusing, as I had been dealing with the film company for months and had arranged their visit to Malta.

The trip back to Australia is filling up fast so don't delay if you are interested. All in all, things are looking good for the Eye and it looks like we might even have a stand at The London Boat Show in January.

If you would like to help out on the stand let us know. Helen is in charge of that department. She tackled the Southampton Boat Show on her own, and the Birmingham Dive Show, and is doing a wonderful job for the ship in what time she has to spare. She is doing really well with her Management Training project and I know you would like to join me in wishing her every success. Sue also deserves applause for standing in whenever necessary and holding the fort at the office while running her own newspaper (no easy task).

Angela and Benny have asked me to be Best Man at their wedding next year. Benny tells me he is having his head shaved for the wedding so I shall have to wear my kilt so that Angela will know who's who...!

We are in dry dock in Gloucester for a month from September 7,1996 so we shall be looking for volunteers for hard work. Where else could you get a free holiday and get fed and abused at the same time...?

Ridley Scott was so pleased with the ship and the co-operation of everybody involved while filming that he is presenting the Eye with a full satellite communication system. We hope to have this operational by January.

This is the last newsletter this year, so I would like to wish you all health, wealth and happiness and look forward to seeing you all next year. Enclosed are three brochures and itineraries, we would appreciate it if you would pass them on to interested folk. After just over three years and having got the Eye back on her feet, I would like a break - is there anybody out there who would like to tackle the job applications to the office at 102, please.

All the best

Fred

(picture added for this website by Ina)

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