We are on our way! I am struggling to find the words for how that felt for us, or for the crew waving the ship goodbye.
When I arrived, Europa was buzzing with activity. After a long period of maintenance there were a million final things to tend to. Over the following days the working stations of carpenters and engineers started to make space for the arriving groceries and freshly steamed pillows, until the long-awaited moment arrived: she was ready. Ready to cross the ocean.
If it had been a cinematic film production, the first day would probably have been a glorious scene, where all the hard work to get to this moment would fall together. Table Mountain slowly disappearing into the horizon, a beautiful sunset and some epic music on the background. In reality, it was a mixture of euphoria and serenity. No more construction sounds, less people per square meter. Peace. Except maybe for the people gathered on the main deck hugging buckets and the support of Rudi our wonderful doctor.
The misery luckily did not last long. The next morning everyone was up and running again. We started to get our ‘sea legs’, as we would say in Dutch. Or in other words, our bodies got used to the movement of the ship. Although there is a calm atmosphere on board, do not mistake this for un-eventful. It is day five now, and already so much has happened. From a man over board drill, to the maintenance victory of hoisting the freshly varnished gaff, something happens every day. We have played games, climbed the rigging, watched documentaries, enjoyed birthday cakes and made music. The last days of sail training led to the first test today: a squall drill where one of the watches managed to get the appropriate sails down in under 5 minutes.
In the end it is why we are here. The sailing. Last night, I left my bed at 4.00 in the night. From the movement of the ship and sound of the water I could feel we were moving along with speed. And we were, with good winds driving us forth with 13 knots. The Tradewinds have found us and we are covering distance fast. There I was, standing on the deck, watching the moonlight hit the ocean, flying over the waves. Incredible does not really cover the feeling, but those we have been there know. And for those who don’t: come and sail with us!