Falmouth for orders!
Coming back on a 4-mast bark from a voyage of 6 months out or more, having past Cape Horn the wrong way around, fully loaded with guano or saltpeter from the Chilean Pacific coast and in the end entering the English Channel again, what a feeling this must be for the ordinary European seaman!
Still this was not the end of the voyage and many times the final destination of the cargo was not clear at the time the ship left the south American loading port, so where to go? Lizard Point it is, the southernmost tip of England, where the flag officer in charge would have the answer.
It was then a challenge for the captain to steer his ship as close as possible along the coast, able to sign the name of the ship he is commanding, to shore. Then the man on shore will find the wire messages he got from a shipping office in Northern Europe, regarding this vessel, and signal the essence of the order over to the ship: the final destination for unloading the cargo! Old-day internet you would call it, using different colored flags going up and down a flagpole, always still adding a salute and some information about how many days the voyage took and how many were lost at sea.
Tres Hombres, as you know always keen on following up the precious traditions from the era of Sail, had to go close enough to shore as to have phone reception, for these orders. After a great unloading in the heart of Amsterdam the crew was anxious to put to sea and after seeing the weather forecasts we decided that there was no time to loose for making sail on a southbound voyage.
But where to go exactly? Supercargo Ruurd was still involved in wine tastings and presentations and would need some more days to finalize the orders of wine for Amsterdam. What was left to us was pulling the sheets and tack out our way through Northsea and Channel, until Falmouth… Or lets say, Ile de Quessant, where we passed at a four mile distance, to receive the orders we needed: Getaria it was, in the deepest of the Bay of Biskay! Rioja wine has to be taken on board and this harbour is one of the closest to the well-known wine area in the North of Spain.
In between, the crew is getting hold of the right ropes, commanded by our old shipmate Shimra and our through-salted, iron-man Lenno, while our new second mate Noe is getting the trick of the trade, guided by me and Gerrit, who knows the ship as he would have the same one at home in his lake in Friesland.
Getting accustomed to a rocking kitchen and feeding 17 mouths which eat twice the amount as they would do on land, is Meria, new ships cook and a great personality. Mikael, who left his farm to go to sea and did not leave his ship since then, as bosun in a function which is put aside for him. The ploerten from Den Dolder are constantly asking for food in many ways: give me ropes to pull, let me learn about the weather, the waves, the ship and the old ways…and giving all their love and knowledge (comments;-) to this ship where they worked on in the dry-dock since years already. Jeroen is chipping away in his pace, just bothered sometimes by sleeping people and once in a while by a big wave, covering tools and him in saltwater. Boris is the singing spirit, assisting his sister in the rollercoaster-galley. Jonas, calm as ever, is silently working his way up to an able bodied seaman, surprising with ever new outfits. Giulia and Collin, just arriving from their mountain-cave onto our little floating universe, giving all their charm and patience and delicious goodies brought from La Palma. And last but not least, Wout, our old, trustful trainee from earlier voyages, who is cheering us up with stories about life in marriage and the cargo-world out there on the road as a professional trucker.
Today the anchor winch has been taken apart, put in function and together again, now we all just wait for the wind which we expect from the Northeast, to give us a ride through the Bay of Biskay. Preparing for a new port, new cargo-partners and new crew, an ever changing life, like the wind, expectation unknown, fulfillment guaranteed.
Captain Andreas Lackner
Hi there folks on land,
Here we are, it’s the fifth day in the open sea and it already feels like we have been here for ages, guess it is due to the Swedish watch system that rules on 48h cycles and requires some time before bodies and minds get used to this unnatural rhythm.
We have more bedtime than what we get on land in our terrestrial lives but still it doesn’t feel enough most of the times. Living and working on a sailing vessel is definitely a challenging experience for thousands reasons and our feelings change as well as the crispy surface of the water around us. We already experienced quite a few different weather conditions from Amsterdam to here and our moods have been challenged a lot getting up and down with the waves, but I must say everything is pretty smooth on board and we feel more and more at home as time goes on.
Each of us has something to learn and something to teach, we share knowledge and skills as well as stories and dreams, we do take care a lot of each other as the most natural thing to do, and this makes everything way much easier. It is awesome to see how fast you can develop deep brotherhood and sisterhood bounds on board with perfect strangers.
We are somewhere in the English Channel, struggling against currents and winds, tacking when it is requiered, checking the ship lanes, we are constantly surrounded by giant massive cargo ships, petrol tanks, oil rigs and other unknown metal floating creatures appearing on the horizon and approaching us with unbelievable speed, and then disappear as nightmares at dawn leaving behind a smoggy disgusting fog.
The other night while one of those crossed our way we let our imagination play for a little dreaming to board them like the good old pirates with machetes and hooks. These visions reminds me clearly why I am here and why I appreciate so much this project and what it is fighting for. It could be scaring to look at the computer screen and see all the marine traffic in this area and knowing we are the only ones with no engine, but at the same time it makes you feel you are part of something epic and it is just the right thing to do. Moreover, we deeply trust our captain and the older members of the crew and I also like to believe there is some good white spell which protects this Beauty and us against those monsters. May the stars save the fools and let them live forever!
This sailing masterpiece had no wind to play with for a while and it was a pity to see it anchored in the middle of the Channel to avoid to be drifted away by the currents, but this gave us an afternoon of holidays and we enjoyed it swimming and chilling under a shining warm sun framed in the bluest sky. It felt like a baptism to jump in those cold waters, shouting and laughing as kids to release all the stress of the departure. We are all here for voluntary choice, but this Beauty is the best school I have ever been into and I feel blessed and honored to be part of this crew.
Ahoi! Da steht Jorne an Deck, winkend mit seinem Hut, während die Tres Hombres gemächlich an unserem Schlepper vorbeisegelt Richtung Schleuse in IJmuiden. 8 Monate war sie weg, durch tropische Hitze, atlantische Stürme, Englischen Nebel und am Ende noch 2 Wochen Gegenwind…
Vollbeladen ist sie mit allem was wir uns wünschen von der Karibik und Südamerika, Kaffee, Kakaobohnen, Rum, Kokosöl…und einer crew die aussieht käme sie gerade zurück von der Entdeckung Amerikas.
Kurz vor der Schleuse werden die Segel eingeholt und der Schlepper macht längsseits fest, wonach die lang vermissten Liebsten der crew an Bord springen und sich in die Arme fallen. Kaum ist unser Schiff fest am Kap der grünen Hoffnung in Amsterdam, wird die Ankunft der tapferen Seeleute zünftig gefeiert und Geschichten und Rum fließen in Strömen…
Sobald der Nebel sich lichtet wird gleich begonnen mit sail-training, die neue crew vermischt sich mit der alten, die noch ein bisschen festhängt am Seelenmagneten Tres Hombres und die old hands zeigen den neuen die Leinen mit der Ruhe und Einsicht die einem nach einer solchen Reise bleibt.
Werft braucht sie jetzt keine, Jorne hat das Schiff in einwandfreiem Zustand übergeben, mit frischem Teer, Lack und Leinöl, wie es Tradition ist auf der großen Segelschifffahrt.
Nach nur einer Woche im Hafen, in der 40 Tonnen Fracht und 13 Besatzungsmitglieder das Schiff verlassen haben, ist eine neue Crew angeheuert und eingewiesen und ein neuer Auftrag angenommen: Wein für Amsterdam muß geholt werden, Biodynamischer Wein aus Rioja und Bordeaux.
Ruurd, unser Supercargo, hält am Sonntag vor der Abfahrt noch eine Weinverkostung mit den spanischen Weinbauern an Bord, wobei lokale Weinhändler Ihre Bestellung aufgeben und Verträge geschlossen werden.
Am Montag früh geht’s los, unser Freund und Anteilhalter Ramiro schleppt uns in gemütlichem Tempo auf dem Nordzeekanaal zu den Seeschleusen, während Steuerfrau Shimra die Sicherheitseinweisung mit der Crew vornimmt. Kaum öffnen sich die Schleusentüren setzen wir alle Rasegel und der Schlepper bleibt mit einem herzlichem Salut vom Horn zurück, wie auch die Gewohnheiten vom Land, das Internet, das Bier nach der Arbeit und die Zeitung mit all den Neuigkeiten von denen wir auf dem Ozean gar nichts wissen wollen.
Der Rhythmus beginnt sofort, alle neuen Gesichter die eigentlich noch gar nicht fertig sind mit Staunen und sich realisieren wo sie sind, werden zur Arbeit an Deck, zum Essen und Schlafen geschickt. Jeder Augenblick eine neue Erfahrung der sich in ihre Seele brennt. Noch in derselben Nacht kommt uns die Nordlys entgegen, die roten Segel wie Schimmer aus einer anderen Zeit, hart am Wind und vollbeladen mit Wein und Olivenöl. Lammert kämpft seit 10 Tagen gegen den Nordostwind an, wir haben ihn von hinten und verlassen ein paar Stunden nach der Begegnung schon wieder die Nordsee…
Das ist das Leben im Gleichgewicht mit der Natur, so wie´s geht geht´s, ob´st willst oder net. The law of limited competition, jeder hat das Recht mit zu spielen im Leben, die Spielregeln stellt die Natur.
Funktionieren tut´s nur wenn wir nicht falsch spielen oder faul sind, mit Motoren zum Beispiel, die uns das Abenteuer der Seefahrt rauben, oder anderen Maschinen die uns das Denken und unsere Kraft nehmen. Des Geldes willen.
Moderne Reeder wissen nichts von der See oder den Menschen auf Ihren Schiffen. So hart wie es ist, um erschöpft gegen Strömung und Wind an zu kreuzen, so schön ist ein Sonnenuntergang vor dem Wind mit vollem Bauch. Es ist an uns um unser Dasein im Einklang mit der Natur zu verbringen, respect the law of limited competition, komm an Bord eines Segelfrachters.
My name is Barry Macdonald and I am a documentary photographer from London. I joined the Nordlys in Blankenberge, Belgium where she was unloading wine and olive oil from Portugal to make a photo essay about her work.
The crew of 8 consisted of their Dutch Captain Lammert, First Mate (Belgium), Cook (Belgium), 3 Deckhands (2 French, 1 Belgium) 1 passenger (A lovely lady from Belgium who wanted an adventurous holiday, so had paid to sail for 12 days) and myself. Everyone is bi or tri lingual and English is the common language of the ship. 9 is the maximum and 7 is the minimum crew to sail.
We had to wait an extra day for a storm to pass and then were pulled out at 14:00 by the local rescue boat, tug boats are hard to find when every sailing ship has an engine to come in and out with. Leaving the harbour is the time of most action, with all hands on deck, the sails need to go up in the right order, at the right time, so we sail straight past the dangerous shallow sand banks. When a rope or a sail is stuck there is a quick sharp dialogue between Captain and crew, always factual and to the point, and never once with any temper and then fast action to form a resolution.
The Captain and First Mate are in charge of the two watches. We work 6 hour shifts in the day and 4 hours at night. So it’s 08:00-14:00; 14:00-20:00; 20:00-24:00; 24:00-04:00; 04:00-08:00. Each watch is therefore woken up 5 times in 48 hours, (7:15, 13:15, 19:15, 23:45, 03:45). The cook is the only person excluded from the watch system, he has to cook the 3 meals a day to fuel the crew.
My first watch is at 20:00 so the captain sends us to bed at 18:00. The captain has his own cabin in the aft (back), the rest of us sleep in the fox hole in the bow (front) of the boat. A narrow ladder drops you into this small wonky triangle of 8 bunks. The space is dark and musty, a mixture of old socks and salty rain gear soaked into the wood. Your bunk provides you just enough space to sleep flat, and you have a small wooden chest for your clothes. Spare rope, the ships anchor chain and dry food all are stored here under the floor as well. When the ship is sailing your bunk is constantly moving with the bow cutting through the waves, sleeping below the waterline means there is a constant noise of the sea swirling around, it’s a bit like sleeping in a washing machine at first.
We are woken at 19:15 for dinner before the shift, a mist descends on the boat and we sail through the darkness of the Channel only being able to see about 150 feet away from the boat. We keep our eyes and ears open for any ships or buoys, your eyes play lots of tricks on you at first, I even thought I saw an iceberg at one point! A huge ship is sounding its fog horn at 2 minute intervals, but we can’t see it, the computer tells us our courses will not meet.
We wake the next watch at 23:45 and make tea and coffee for them, we swap watches by the wheel at the aft and Captain Lammert gives a status update, it’s always positive, no matter how much we have moved. My watch sleeps at 24:00 and is woken at 03:45. I still haven’t slept at this point because of the noisy fox hole, the wind is incredibly cold if you are not wearing enough of the appropriate layers. I cannot understand why the crew endures such hardship. It’s hard manual work for every rope, a total lack of privacy or free time while at sea, sleeping is hard in the fox hole, the toilet is in a small cupboard on the back of the boat, and hard shift patterns mean you are lucky to get 5 hours of sleep. Working the watches makes 2 days feel like 4 or 5.
The longer we sail I start to understand why these sailors endure these difficult conditions, for pay that is below what they could earn on engine powered cargo ships, for much less work. The power of the ship when all 5 of her sails are raised is a phenomenal experience, the sailors are tuned into the wind direction, the current and tides. As the wind changes they let the sails in or out to always harness as much power as possible, they all glance up occasionally checking the sails are full and taught. All of the people on board come from different backgrounds and have a wide spectrum of personalities, but they are all linked by a love of “real” sailing and a concern for the environment. The crew has to spend a lot of time together, and all rely on each other for their safety when they are alone in the middle of the ocean. It takes a flexible, unselfish and pleasant person to be a successful crew member.
We wake the cook at 06:30 to start breakfast and we wake the watch at 07:15, they eat and we swap watches on deck, then we eat breakfast and go to sleep. I sleep a few hours, but am ripped out of a dream at 13:15 for lunch. We eat, swap watches, they eat and sleep, I am finally getting used to the rhythm of the boat. The voyage was smooth with a good wind behind us so for the most part, they had little work to do apart from minor adjustments to the sails. At one point the Captain emerges from the navigation room with a big smile, and shouts across to the massive cargo ship half a mile off our port side, that we are doing 11 knots and nearly matching their 12. When we are going so fast the ship is heeling (leaning) with the power of the wind at what at first feels like an extreme angle, the waves slosh onto the deck every now and then. Sometimes when the wind drops and the current is against us we might drop to 4 knots, but everyone is always happy as long as we are moving forwards.
We are crossing the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and there are huge cargo ships and car ferries dotted all around. We see lots of floating plastic, even some birthday balloons that floated away and now bob between England and France forgotten about.
I do my first dog watch at 24:00, this is everyone’s least favourite, as there is no sunset or sunrise, just darkness, but tonight is fairly clear and we have an amazing starscape to wonder at. The captain stops referring to the compass and starts aiming for stars instead. Eventually we spot a lighthouse we need to pass, so the last hours of the watch are spent slowly edging towards this growing light. I knead the dough and put it in the oven to rise, the next watch will turn the oven on and there will be bread for breakfast, everyone has to help out with preparing tea & coffee and cleaning the galley. I gain a greater appreciation for the cook who hand pumps the freshwater and cooks amazing meals, while his kitchen lurches from side to side.
We sleep from 04:00 to 07:15 and when we wake up there is a beautiful sunrise and we are near the coast of England. We eat a quick breakfast and swap watches. The Captain informs the previous watch that they won’t be going to bed, but they will take the sails down once they have eaten. We drop the sails in reverse order, and slow down as the work boat comes out to meet us and tow us into Torquay harbour.
We dock easily with all hands on deck pulling the ship to the quay. I was questioning my decision to sail along 40 hours ago and now I am sad to be back on land and miss the feeling of the sails being filled with wind, and the boat moving. We are early so the unloading will happen on Monday, giving the crew some time off, but first the ropes and sails need to be packed carefully, the deck washed, bilges pumped and rescue suits aired and dried. We are finally finished sometime after 11:30, the previous watch has been working since 04:00, no one goes to bed and we share lunch and a bottle of wine to celebrate a safe voyage. Lots of people come by to the visit the Nordlys intrigued by the ship who is at least 100 years older than the other ships in the harbour, and amazed when they are told she is a working cargo ship.
After a weekend of odd jobs on the boat, exploring the coastal paths and catching up on sleep the unloading starts early on Monday morning, taking advantage of the high tide that leaves the boat closer to the quay. 20 tons of cargo are unloaded by hand or using the 2 masts to winch heavy barrels just like the sails are moved. We are met by 3 sets of traders who take wine, olive oil, olives and sea salt to be sold in the UK. The Captain is the face of the company working with the traders in person and visiting local organic farms to meet the owners and view the production methods.
The next day the Nordlys is made ready for sea and sets sail for Douarnenez in France to deliver and collect her next cargo.
All photos are made with a Fairphone
We envision a world where instead of 90 % of our everyday purchases coming from across the world on ‘super-ships’, we will consume 90 % less. And of what we consume, more comes from our backyards, from our friends, neighbors, and our communities. And that what we cannot produce ourselves, those luxuries that make our everyday existence more enjoyable, items that bring our communities together, commodities like chocolate, coffee and rum, will be ethically sourced, and ethically shipped, creating a more fair and balanced global society.
Tres Hombres rounded the Atlantic for the tenth time, this means we also unloaded our cargo hold for the tenth time surrounded by friends, (former) crew, shareholders, cargo owners and (former) trainees. We are grateful that we have been able to share this special day with so many people. Thanks for everyone who make this possible and believe in us!
Well done, you tree huggers!!
Exploring the zeroth dimension
In the beginning it all looked ridiculously simple; we all one way or the other found out about this barge and clicked our way towards this voyage.
The mathematician may classify your first click as a hypercube of zero dimensions within the Euclidian space. It resembles an infinitely small spatial point without width, length, height, edges, faces, volume, area or cells.
Exploring the first dimension
Then things started to become a wee bit more serious; you remembered past trips or you were gathering all information you could get about sailing and you were making way towards the ship from all corners of the world.
If you stretch the zero-dimensional object into one direction, you create a one-dimensional shape.
The mathematician may classify this reach as a hypercube of the dimension 1 within the Euclidian space. A reach consists of an endless number of zerodimensional points which connect two end-points. It has infinitesimal width, height and no volume.
Exploring the second dimension
Sailing over the sea is closest to moving in a two dimensional space. There are no mountains to be possibly crossed or too much infrastructure to follow; you are just leaving the keelwater behind
If you stretch an onedimensional reach in another direction than the one it is leading at, you get a twodimensional rectangle, a hypercube of the dimension 2 in the Euclidian space. Rectangles have a length, a width, four corner-points, four edges and a space but no volume. If you widen the square to the infinite it covers the complete two-dimensional space.
Exploring the third dimension
Not only the ship moves over the sea but also the emotional ups and downs become more intense as you keep travelling and learning.
By moving a twodimensional square perpendicularly a threedimensinal cube is formed; a hypercube of the dimension 3 in the Euclidian space. As threedimensional object it has width, length, height, 8 cornerpoints, 12 sides, 6 areas and a cell. If you widen a cube infinitely, it will cover the whole threedimensional space
Exploring the fourth dimension
Travelling starts to change you, physically and emotionally; your old friends seem to become less open-minded than they were before because they do not have the same world-view you have gained within the last few months. You become brighter and shinier within yourself – some show it, some hide it
If you stretch a three-dimensional cube in a vertical direction you create a tesseract or a hypercube of the dimension 4. Tesseracts have 16 knots, 32 edges, 24 areas, 8 cubes and a four-dimensional cell; they have length, width and height plus an extra space-coordinate in the Euclidian space or as well a time-coordinate in the Minkowski-space (this space is necessary to measure changes in our universe which acts according to Einstein’s laws and is essential for example for GPS technology and air navigation)
If the tesseract expands infinitely it fills the complete four-dimensional space – a simplified explanation is all the space you reach when you travel perpendicularly away from the three-dimensional space
Exploring the n-th dimension
The more you travelled, the more you try to find answers to things and the more you see that this is impossible as everything is a matter of perspective. You start to accept yourself and others. You give up searching to a point and sigh and start your trip home.
If you stretch an n-dimensional hypercube in a new direction you get a (n+1)-dimensional hypercube. Which ‘space’ you want to use depends on your own intentions.
The three-dimensional space is great for carpenters, the Minkowski space for parts of astronomy but you can use any number of n to discuss about gravity or the age of the universe. String-theories need ten or eleven dimensions and quantum mechanics need an infinite space.
A 10-n-deceract hypercube has 1024 knots, 5120 edges, 11520 areas, 15360 cells, 13440 4-D-cells, 960 7-D-cells, 180 8-D-cells, 20 9-D-cells and one 10-D-cell.
I had to give you some last wise-arseing here, sorry the idea came from Christopher Many, Left beyond the horizon.
But, honest, keep all your edges, knots, areas and all your n-dimensional cells you discovered and found out on this trip!! Don’t let them take away from you ever, not from routine, not from accidents, not from partners. It is all yours and you deserve it.
I love you all and wish you all the best in the future; hope to stay in contact and to be sailing with you again!!
Hugs and kisses
“No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction — toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.”
― Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary