- Sailing to the South
- Salvador - Punta Arenas
- Antarctica 2014/2015
- 24-day Antarctica Expedition
- 22-day voyage to the White Continent
- 52-day Cape to Cape Ocean crossing
- Sailing to the Nortern Hemisphere
- Cape Town - Ascension Isl
- Ascension Isl - Horta
- Horta - Belfast
- Tall Ships Races 2015
- Belfast - Aalesund
- Aalesund - Kristiansand
- Kristiansand - Aalborg
- Day Sails
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Sail with us
Since 1994 the barque EUROPA has roamed the seas of the world and built up the reputation of a ship that really sails. A professional crew of 14 and a complement of 48 voyage crewmembers of all ages and nationalities sail her. Tall Ships enthusiasts, some with no sailing experience, take the wheel, hoist the yards, navigate, etc. We, the crew, invite you to sail with us. Each year there are different voyages on the schedule: Antarctica expeditions, Tall Ship Adventures, Tall Ships’ races and long ocean crossings - an experience that many dream of and none will forget.
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Quickly the sky scrapers of Salvador disappeared on the horizon, as we sped along at an impressive 8 knots! Sails were all set with the help from our trainees - familiar faces as well as new ones made up the crowd of busy bees pulling lines. While our new green trainees were a bit
overwhelmed and confused by all this action, we can assure them they'll be in the swing of things soon enough! For now, we showed them how to safely and correctly handle the lines and understand the commands.
Without the engines, we caught the wind with our jibs, set the rest and sailed nicely "off the hook", leaving our tropical anchorage behind and heading south, far south.
Green indeed, the ship's motion forced a couple of us to leeward to feed some fish...happens to the best of us, may it pass quickly!
We left Las Palmas, Canaries over a month ago and had a continued fabulous sail south to Cape Verde where we had 24 hours lay over. We are at these latitudes in the north east trade winds area but not yet the tropics. Cape Verdes was an experience of different cultures mostly African influenced and a bit of a culture shock.
The trade winds blow at a consistent force 4 to 5 occasionally stronger but nice and steadily from the NE. Then a 3 week plus voyage across the equator to Salvador. We came quickly out of Port Mindelo Cape Verde where a vortex effect between the islands took us up to 12 knots at one point for a short period. Then settled down to a nice steady 8 knots still in the trades crossing into the tropics at Cancer 22.5 degrees north.
Into the doldrums where no wind meant that we had to motor for two full days. We stopped for swimming several times where we are bathing in clear, clean warm waters, air temp approx 27 degrees and the sea about the same.
After the motoring bit we again picked up trade winds this time from the south east although they were a bit more fluctuating in direction this time. However, we got a great blow from the east and sailed beautifully on until we reached Salvador or Bahia as some people name it. A lovely 3
week sail with good humour and good fun on board. Warm steady breezes across the hot teak deck make for good smiley happy people all round.
Through the pleasure of the sailing, being on board and sharing a happy time getting to know new people it was smiles all round. Tans were getting deeper, wind blown hair music in the evening air and a drink from the hospitable bar man (for those not on watch). New friendships being formed and humour exchanged.
It always amazes me that 45 people can be fed 3 times per day for 3 weeks plus with no recourse to land support. (No supermarket out on the ocean). We were all separately taken on a very informative and passionate tour of the food and drink storage facility that Rensje the ships star turn in the galley has presided over for some 20 years bringing her wealth of experience to what is effectively a small but never the less demanding environment. To turn out good quality food from
the heat of the galley on a regular basis can only be applauded.
We had 5 days stop in Salvador for re fuelling, change crew, maintenance for the full time crew and sightseeing for the visiting crew. The town of 3 million plus people is a bit in need of more development and in some parts a face lift. The yacht club which we were anchored outside
was very much one of the better facilities we visited with its large terraces, bar area and Olympic size swimming pool. It gets full use by the locals on Sundays the rest of the time we had it very much to ourselves. The restaurant here was very good by any standards you choose to judge. Some of the restaurants in the historical centre (Pelhourino) were variable. The area was worth a visit but I have now visited enough Churches to be taken to a higher place in the religious world.
We are now headed for Punta Arenas south down the coast of Brazil.
My left leg grew by 5 cm in the past week. human nature's amazing faculty to adapt! Seriously - we
have been living at a 20 degree angle this past week. Makes you wonder if the ship has not been built wrongly ...oh, and it's 20 degrees to starboard - that's the nautical term for right...go figure - same thing goes for ropes by the way, of which there is none on the ship, no Sir, they all have different names!! - but I diverge...
Back to our angled ship. It's quite fun actually to watch everyone walk in mysterious ways... for those who know Monty Python's sketch of the Ministry of silly walks, you'll get a pretty good idea of what I mean. One step to the left, sorry to port, 2 small steps to starboard, one leap forward... Frank, our cameraman, got his pas-de-deux to a fine art. And I'm not even talking about the arms - they just grab anything, or anyone for that matter, nearby.
Life at an angle also makes your trip to the lavatory a unique experience every time. I now understand why real sailors do it sitting down (for the ladies out there, there truly is a drawing stating this fact in the gents' toilets). Sitting down generally equates to throwing yourself down as fast as possible after pulling down your pants - I seem to enjoy a pretty good toilet seat hit rate if I may say so. Once seated, life's a breeze - feet firmly planted in front of you, leaning ever so slightly backwards (don't try this at home), you could even read a book like that. Once the reason for your visit is done and over with however, things get complicated. Standing up is generally quite doable -
but now your legs are blocked by the pants around your ankles (get the picture?...thought so) - so no quick balancing movement with one of your legs. This is where your bum, elbows and arms come in handy - any 2-point blocking position using the above will generally allow you to pull up those pants, and resume a half-decent position - good thing one is alone in these circumstances... quick wash of hands, and out you are you'd think. Not so. As eveything is at an angle, so is the water that comes out of the faucet. Big deal you say. But you see, if the sink is small, then that water flows not into the sink, but outside of it. So this takes a bit of figuring out where to put your hands to profit from the water you just turned on! Life at an angle...
Eating aboard has become a fearsome task. Let me explain. You stand in line to get your plate served to you (yes Sir, such is the service on Europa!). All well until now. Things start getting complicated when you have to take hold of the plate, take a knife and fork, a napkin, and make way to that fine place you just spotted...to discover that someone else just took your coveted position as you started heading over to it (damn you to hell you mumble with a smile). Plan B it is...you look around anxiously, and finally decide to settle in the deckhouse. A civilized place the deckhouse - leather seats, mahony tables - a barman amongst barmen, ready to dispatch your favorite drink in the blink of an eye - all good you think to eat a nice dinner. Well, life at an angle is not that simple. While there are anti-slip mats on the tables, these will generally prevent your plate from slipping away from you, but not what is on it! Potatoes and meat balls tend to roll, sauces to flow and drip...so you need to develop a new set of skills, quickly mind you if you don't want to starve, to catch your food on your plate while it is still there...all very tiresome if you ask me. Life at an angle...
Comes the time to head for bed. A well deserved rest after a day spent at an angle...forget it. Nothing even remotely like that in store for you. Getting into bed is not so bad, although I have seen some of my cabin mates needing several tries to jump into their top bunk, with some mild cursing in between. But nothing like that for me with my bottom bunk. My bunk lies in the length of the ship - and this means it wants me out! Every wave pushes me towards the edge. Luckily for me there is an elevated board to the bunk, which I quickly found good use for in my -point blocking position mentioned previously which needs to be applied here as well: back firmly resting against the board, with the feet against the hull - a fine position if there ever was one to sleep at an angle.
Of course, the night is long and you will sometimes find yourself in strange positions from which considerable effort is needed to extract yourself... I'm thinking that is maybe why there are no double bunks - would make for some interesting kamasutra no doubt...but this is not the right time or place to talk about such matters).
I need to cut this blog post short, as writing at an angle is really quite tiresome...but good thing about our life at an angle is that the people don't seem to change - everyone is as cheerfull as ever, and life aboard is still as enjoyable - thank you all for such a pleasant trip!
Rederij Bark EUROPA
P.O. Box 23183
NL-3001 KD Rotterdam
T +31 10-281 0990
F +31 10-281 0991
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