Clipper Ship "Stad Amsterdam"

2015-10-15 Thursday - In the North Sea

Again: I used to see this only in my classic photo books ... now I see this for REAL!

Here You can seethe lead of the lower braces
04:00 AM: White Watch - RAIN announced, yet: no. Lucky. But cold wind in the night, though. No vision of horizon. Again, I was on deck to escape the worst parts of seasickness, despite this weather. The others were having another lesson on sail theory.

05:00 Ole re-teaching me knots, 1 hour of practice, 7 different knots I was supposed to know. I forgot almost everything after 3 yearson the "Götheborg III".

Standing on deck whole time as we still pitch, and there is no post for me this time.

Being alone is something I have been all my life, so I am used to that ever since. Yet, that is something very few people can grasp, or accept. Some want to take care of You, especially on a night like this. Nono, I am not depressive - not at all, especially not HERE. This was one of the most happiest weeks of my life, actually.

After some time when they finished their lessons, the others were also on deck. But there was no manouvres to do, so we and the crew were pretty idle, under the life boat deck to escape the light rain. We took it for that: sometimes, it is easy.

Eventually we did some fine bracing of the fore and maintop as wind followed us, that is: sailing most sharp braced again, closed to the wind. No mizzen top used, the "monkey" only (that is the mizzen staysail). Main course was packed.

Another small incident showing hat I am no real seaman: while I was having a small talk, I lost balance on the rolling deck and fell down, catching myself with a Judo roll which I learned as a kid - just now I was four times heavier ... no worry, but that's things that happen.

08:45 Another round of sleep
10:00 Sailing by Helgoland in the North Sea, got to know that later - skipped, too tired. Slept until 11:45, then logging.

12: White Watch lunch. Then download the GoPro videos, recharge the mobile - actually we DID have internet onboard, I did not expect that, hence I did not even consider to use it. I told everybodey I would be OFF for a week - and I would miss nothing =)

13:00 Kristinas' Stunsail presentation. As it turned out, it was not only me having interest into these "mystified" sails. We would NOT use them on this trip as it is: too short. It is a lot of work to rig them in, and the guests were not experienced enough yet to help. So they only use them on the longer voyages over the Atlantic!

Kristina's presentation showed us all the details I wanted to know over 40 (yes: four-ty!) years, since I built my first model of the Cutty Sark as a kid. Now I am 48, and the riddle is finally solved!

12-16 PM: being more or less with the Blue Watch

16:00 White Watch: some showers, wet wind; going large, rolling. This time, the deck was a mess of ropes as we started our watch, so first we coiled ropes they left behind to have a shipshape deck ...

Then we finally had a chance to go aloft! We took our harnesses to bind the furled fore course sail to the yard. Gosia from Poland - a female instructor for Polish cadets on the "Dar Młodziezy"! - was by far the most experienced guest-sailor. Ole, Gosia, me, Niels and Bas went up to do the job, on port and starboard.

Others who remained on deck were making pictures from us ... this one was taken by Frans Hensen
This one I filmed: the original videos is over one hour and many GB large, too large for Youtube.

An edited version I published on Youtube - the first video I ever had edited and published:

The crew actually does not need the willing guests to take care of the rigging. As conditions allow, they invite us to be with them and follow their instructions. Even if this was my 4th sailing trip: this ship was new to me. And we would of course touch a rope on a given commando only.

Letting pretty unexperienced guests go aloft can be seen as a high risk - which it actually is. So the crew has not only to do the rigging work, but also take care of US! They do this job excellently, never loosing patience with the land lubbers. Even if we pay for that: I find it hard to expect comfort nor politeless onboard. Yet, I found both here! Amazing!

Then we were still hungry for MOAR adventure! So the next sail to bind was the upper topsail, but only Gosia with the able seamen went up that high; we were running out of time for the watch, so I was remaining on the top platform to make more videos until the GoPro card was full. Thus I filmed over 2 hours.

After going down again on deck, there were again some sail trimming: braces, course sheets, everything was fine-tuned to make the sails "looking nice", as they used to say.

20:00 some food. And soon 20:30 sleep.

This night was not calm at all! We were actually rolling like wild (= going large and riding the tides), I think up to 40 degrees or so! Hard to find some sleep ...

Around midnight everybody in the ship could hear a disaster: 60 dish plates in the galley fell down and got broken! Someone of the crew forgot the safety lock for the plates, as this rolling of the ship is very usual ...

P.S.: I made only 37 photos this day and 3 GoPro videos, when we were going aloft the foretop.