Morgenster Clipper Brig, Built 1919 and restored in 2010, with an overall length of 48m. Home port Den Helder NL.
Morgenster was my first experience of sailing on a tall ship and not knowing whether I’d enjoy it or not I chose a gentle island hopping voyage around the Canary Islands in Feb 2017. I ended up having one of the most enjoyable times of my life, met great people, especially the crew and had an unforgettable experience sailing around the Canaries. Morgenster is still my favourite ship. I had such a great time that later that year I completed my competent crew training with RYA at Kip marina in Scotland.
Irene gaff rigged ketch. Built 1907 in Bridgewater UK. Overall length 34m. I had a such a blast sailing on Morgenster in Feb 2017 that I signed up for a voyage on Irene in June the same year. Although this was a relatively short voyage of 6 days around the beautiful Scottish islands of Mull, Eigg and Skye starting in the port of Oban. We had the typical West of Scotland weather of glorious sunshine and torrential rain, but once again I had an unforgettable experience sailing and swimming around the Inner Hebrides and helming the ship around Kerera and into Oban harbour.
Oosterschelde Topsail Schooner. Built 1917 Overall length 50m. Home port Rotterdam NL. During conversations with crew on previous voyages the name Oosterschelde was often mentioned as a great vessel to sail on so in Jan 2018 I signed on for an ocean passage from Santa Cruz in Tenerife to Sal in Cabo Verde. Apart from experiencing life on board this beautiful ship I also wanted to try an ocean passage to see how I faired compared to my previous island hopping voyages. despite catching a nasty bug on the flight to Tenerife I had a fantastic time on this great ship and met some wonderful people and the crew were once again brilliant.
After returning from my voyage on Oosterschelde I heard that Morgenster was taking part in the three festivals regatta in May 2018, sailing from Liverpool, Dublin and Bordeaux. As I had never participated in a race before I signed on for the Liverpool to Dublin leg, another first for me. What an amazing time we had, we sang, we danced, we laughed and we sailed. In fact we were the only class A tall ship to complete the entire voyage under sail, due largely to the skill and expertise of the professional crew and especially our captain Jakob. We were awarded a Class A winners cup at the crew celebrations in Dublin, the overall winner being Maybe, I ship I would sail on in 2019.
Whilst I was on Oosterschelde in Jan 2018 sailing to Cabo Verde the crew mentioned they’d be in Scotland during the summer that year. So, as soon as I got home I checked the voyages available and booked another voyage from my bucket list, namely Oban to St. Kilda (Hirta). We sailed through the sound of Harris both there and back which was quite an experience, especially at night. Hirta was shrouded in mist but was a very special place to visit, and although I didn’t know it at the time I would be back.
Looking for a bit of winter sunshine I booked a voyage on the Blue Clipper in the Caribbean for Feb 2019. Unfortunately they changed their port of debarkation, so switched to the Lord Nelson, a barque built in 1986 to accommodate crew of all abilities. The regime aboard Lord Nelson came as a bit of a shock to me having sailed previously on more ‘relaxed’ Dutch ships. The permanent crew wore uniforms and as a sail training vessel they treated the guest crew like teenage cadets. This was not a sail training voyage and the friction between some of the permanent crew and the guest crew became evident. In spite of the stricter regime on board I had a great time, my watch were fantastic and we finished the voyage back in Antigua with an eventful night on the town. Sadly the Lord Nelson was decommissioned in Sept 2019. Much has been written about the Jubilee Sailing Trust management of the ships which led to this.
Maybe is a wooden Ketch built in 1929 with an overall length of 24m. I joined Maybe near the end of June 2019 in Oban to sail the length of the Caledonian Canal to Inverness then onto Aberdeen. Once again I had a blast with great crew and guest crew. Singing Abba songs and dancing whilst we went the tough the locks in the canal, to the delight of the onlooking tourists was a highlight. When we left Inverness and set the sails we managed some good sailing along the Moray coast. The weather worsened around Rattray head and I remember the captain Seb and me grappling to get the foresail in up to our knees in sea water at a rather jaunty angle. Good times !!
Tecla is a gaff rigged ketch built in 1914 with an overall length of 39.5m and a home port of Winkel NL. Another great Dutch ship which I first came across via a post on Facebook asking for declarations of interest in attempting the North West passage by sail. I very soon realise this would be a very expensive voyage which was a bit beyond my budget. I checked out the rest of the planned legs and was immediately drawn to the leg from the Galapagos Islands to Rapa Nui (Easter Island). I didn’t hesitate and booked it there and then. Between the Galapagos, 15 days across the Pacific on a course of 190′ and finally Rapa Nui, this was a voyage never to be forgotten. Once again a great crew and good friends.
Some time in late May 2021 while we were still in the midst of a pandemic I received an email from Classic Sailing informing me of a last minute cancellation on leg 2 of the Darwin 200 voyage around the UK. The Pelican of London is a 45 m Barquentine built in 1948 operated by Seas Your Future, a non profit sail training organisation. The leg was to start in Glasgow and visit many inner and outer Hebridean islands including, Staffa, Hirta (St. Kilda) and Roackall as part of a documentary film by Stuart McPhearson called Britain’s Secret Islands. This was a five week voyage and after one and half years of the pandemic this was just what I needed. We spent 3 nights in port in Glasgow testing to make sure we were covid free before departure. There was a good mix of people onboard, as a sail training vessel the regulations were rather restrictive given this was not a sail training voyage. However, my watch were brilliant and we had a whale of a time, singing, dancing, climbing and learning rope work techniques from Bosun Elie. Landing of Hirta (St. Kilda) for a second time was pretty special and the weather was fantastic, it was os great to forget about the pandemic, if only for a few weeks.
I n Feb 2022 I was back on one of my favourite ships, Oosterschelde. Having sailed from Tenerife to Sal in Cabo Verde in 2018 I took the opportunity this time to explore the islands of Cabo Verde. There were only six guest crew on this voyage and we were outnumbered by the permanent crew so we all had private cabins. Trips ashore were arranged for each of the islands, each with their own special character from the steep caldera of Sao Antonio to the desert of Boa Vista. We had some really nice sailing weather too, such a pity it was just for 11 days, then back to Sal and the flight home.
In 2020 Tecla was planning their usual sailing schedule between the Iceland, Greenland and Scotland. I booked the voyage from Iceland to Scotland via the Faroes. Due to the pandemic it was clear this was unworkable and the voyage was cancelled. I booked again in 2021, but once again this was cancelled due to ongoing restrictions. Finally in Aug 2022 with limited restrictions and extensive use of vaccines the voyage went ahead. I joined the ship in Reykjavik and due the prevailing wind we sailed North rather than East. Exploring the North coast of Iceland, dipping into the arctic circle and the beauty of the Auroa Borealis were the icing on the cake. Although it was summer it was pretty cold at times that far North but the scenery, especially the Faroes was fantastic, an unforgettable voyage.