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‘Oosterschelde’ off on 2nd circumnavigation. Hop on!

October 19, 2012 by robert in Featured, NL Retro with 0 Comments

ROTTERDAM _ The ‘Oosterschelde’ _ at 50-m, the Netherlands’ largest restored sailing ship _ has left on her second circumnavigation. On Nov. 3, the 3-masted topsail schooner left  her home port of Rotterdam for an 18-month trek around the capes. You can join her anywhere! Check it out!

Captain Gerben Knab: “This voyage is a classic one because (security issues make) the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden undoable. So we are going around the capes.”  The ‘Oosterschelde’ will head south for Brazil, then swing southeast for stops at the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. From there to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. “From Ushuaia we’ll make 2, maybe 3 Antarctic expeditions,” says Knab.

After that, the ‘Oosterschelde’ returns home. She will be joined on parts of her circumnavigation by 2 other historic vessels _ the ‘Europa’ and the ‘Tecla’ _ and follow the wake of Dutch explorers Abel Tasman en Cornelis de Houtman. The 3 ships  meet up in Cape Town to jointly sail to Australia and New Zealand. Anyone _ no experience needed _ can crew on coastal or trans-ocean legs. The shipping company organizes transfers from the Netherlands to the ship and back. In ports visited en route, the Oosterschelde can be chartered for corporate or other events.

The ‘Oosterschelde’ was built in the Netherlands in 1918. Named for the eastern part of the Scheldt River estuary, she carried clay, bricks, wood,  salted herring, bran, potatoes, straw and bananas along European coasts and Africa. In 1939, the ship came under Danish flag and was renamed ‘Fuglen’. In 1954, she became Swedish-owned and was converted to a motor yacht that plied the Baltic Sea, under the name ‘Sylvan’. In 1988, the ship returned to the Netherlands where the Rotterdam Sailing Ship Foundation oversaw a major refit, starting in 1990. On Aug. 21 1992, she was officially re-launched as a historical sailing ship offering cruises to global destinations.

www.oosterschelde.nl

A slice of high seas life:

By Yvonne Colgan aboard the Oosterschelde

     Friday 9th November, 2012:
     ”A busy day on watch. Winds and sea state building force 5 to 6 Bft, southwesterly direction, not exactly what we need but wind direction came round later in the day. The 14:00-20:00 watch was busy as there were loads of squalls necessitating constant sail work, best way to keep warm. Temperature still high for the time of year, 12 degrees is quite a treat when you are working out of doors.

     Saturday 10th November, 2012:
     ”Was on watches from midnight until 04:00 (a bit of a killer) and 20:00 until midnight. The first watch was very busy. Ben had us working flat out mostly on the foredeck which was awash with waves and spray. He certainly knows how to get the best out of us! The skies cleared a little towards dawn but the seas continued to build from storms further out in the Atlantic.”

     Sunday 11th November, 2012:
     ”Was on watch 14:00-20:00 and then midnight till 04:00. Who would have believed, it is a November day with bright sunshine reminding us of warmer days to come as we progress south. The sea state was a typical Atlantic swell running mostly at 90 degrees to the ship. Many of the wave had huge white crests which made me wonder just how far they had traveled before meeting ‘Oosterschelde’. I saw little wildlife today, a small bird that took a short break on the rigging on the foredeck before heading off south. We also saw what we initially thought was a sea container which turned out to be a very large wooded casket. Given that there are estimated to be over a million sea containers floating mostly below the surface of the ocean, the thought that one day you will meet one is well placed in the back of one’s mind. The sea state caused a constant pitch and roll below decks, at times the noise was deafening. The sea always seems to know when you put food on the table and appears determined to take it away. We find endless amusement in trying to balance ourselves and preventing our food and drinks from ending up in other crew member’s laps. As you might have guessed we don’t always succeed!”

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