30 Years ago we made our way to France. We were looking for wineries that gave as much importance to craft and organic farming as we did. Because good wine is created in our eyes with nature, not against nature. Luckily we found what we were looking for, so on our trip home we had a small selection of French wine in our luggage. So it happened that in 1988 we founded a small wine trade called « VivoLoVin » in Bremen.
Three decades later, the small wine trade has become a versatile wine importer and wholesale specialist for organic wines, and the small assortment has become one with 500 wines from all over Europe.
VivoLoVin, the Quinta do Romeu winery (since 1874 in the Douro Valley) and Fairtransport, a company that transports goods across the oceans with zero-emission sailing ships, have joined forces for the project « Westerlies – sailed Wein ».
Fairtransport is committed to emission-free transport. Andreas Lackner, one of the three founders, describes their idea as follows: « For 5,000 years merchandise was transported by sailing ships and then in the 19th century the engine was invented and thwarted the whole concept of sailing ship traffic. We wanted to use the environmentally friendly effect of transporting goods only with wind power without oil-powered engines. All we had to do was find a way to make it profitable again. »
Most of the freights are organic or naturally produced, traditionally produced and / or fairly produced – such as olive oil, wine and rum from small craft businesses. Emission-free transport makes sense and is consistent. In addition, Fairtransport aims to raise awareness of sustainable goods traffic, especially in the modern shipping industry.
We have been working closely together with João Menéres, the winemaker of Quinta do Romeu, since 2015.
We already implemented the « sailed Wine” project in 2017.
The idea of Fair Transport is supported by Vivolovin and the Quinta do Romeu. Why? VivoLoVin stands for: sustainable and ecologically produced wines, fair and partnership-based trade relations with winemakers. Quinta do Romeu, in turn, operates a certified organic farm. The Menéres family has been working organic since 1997, has been fully certified since 2000 and and since 2012 in biodynamic farming. In addition to the deliberate renunciation of ‘chemical aids’ João Menéres follows a holistic, social and fair idea in dealing with inside and outside the company.
With our project « Westerlies – sailed Wine » we transport again on an old route wine emission-free to Bremen. Quinta Do Romeu and VivoLoVin want to set an example for sustainable goods Trading. A return to old transport routes and the fact that the Hanseatic city of Bremen has been a traditional wine capital for many centuries.
How did this idea of working with Fairtransport come together? „I got to Fairtransport making friends, which is the best way to get anywhere.First I met Anton Mann (wine importer and mentor of the project Port O’Bristol) through a winemaker and good friend who was my table neighbor at a natural wine tasting in Porto.
Anton, his wife Lela and I became good friends in the meanwhile. They have a very free spirit and are very active members of the Sail Cargo Alliance. Their moto is “MADE BY REBELS, SHIPPED BY PIRATES, DRUNK BY HEROES”, although we all know Fairtransport are the exact opposite of pirates I guess many “land people” imagines them having a kind of “piratyish” atmosphere on the sea and like to see themselves as the heroes in the end.
Anton was the first one who asked me to sail my products and shortly after I was loading my first cargo of olive oil and wine to the Nordlys to go to Bristol.
The Nordlys and Tres Hombres (sister boat of Nordlys that sails across the Atlantic) are coming to Porto every year and that’s how I met first Captain Andreas Lackner and afterwards Captain Lammert Osinga, from the Nordlys. I started to hang out with Lammert and his crew when she was moored in Porto and a friendship has started from there. Lammert also came and stayed with us at Quinta do Romeu, experiencing in loco the flavors, human warmth and nature with his six senses.
I got contagious with the sailing spirit and, realizing how it is a real change, created the Westerlies to bring to the bottle wines that reflect this natural, wild and energetic character of the sea. We never sold a single bottle of Westerlies that didn’t go aboard a sailing boat.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I had to talk about this with VivoLoVin and Kai Schamar, who I knew to be a sailor himself, a hunter of characterful wines and very conscious of the impact of human behavior on the fragile balance of nature and the world’s sustainability.
The personal relationship and knowing and trusting well the others’ work, plays a very important role in this partnership with Fairtransport and VivoLoVin. It makes all the difference and, by getting back to basics, marks a departure from the rhythm dictated by trendsetters and high finance that is often followed by most modern production and trading activities.” João Menéres.
The arrival of the « sailed wine » is planned for the end of October. This year we not only ship red Westerlies, but also a small edition of white Westerlies, as well as olive oil in small bottles as well as in 3 l tins and Portwein Quinta do Trovisca. All wines and olive oil come from the Quinta do Romeu, are naturaly handcrafed and organically grown. The only product that does not come from the Quinta do Romeu is the Portwein. Of course, this product is made just as much under the biological aspects.
The goods are shipped with the « Nordlys », the oldest cargo ship in the world to the “Gläserne Werft” of the Schiffergilde e.V. in the « Neuer Haven » to Bremerhaven. Westerlies are the prevailing winds blowing from the west in the the north of the Atlantic Ocean, the driving force for sailing ships on their way across the Atlantic to Europe. Even the « Nordlys », without any engine aboard, relies on this wind power. The « Nordlys » and the sister ship the « Tres Hombres » are operated by the Dutch shipping company Fairtransport.
This year, we do not just want to transport more wine and olive oil, but we will transport the goods from Bremerhaven with the historic Weser ferry « Franzius » to Bremen and from there, so it is planned, with cargo bikes to individual retail customers and restaurateurs – Bikes will be also carrying the wines to our main warehouse at Bremen Neustadt.
By sea transport, the transport with the traditional Weserkahn and the use of cargo bikes in Bremen, we want to make Bremen, in a joint action with the various actors involved, Bremen’s trade, port and shipping history come alive. At the same time, the project is an exemplary reference to the risks and solutions of current challenges. As a port, logistics and trading city, Bremen was and is dependent on being able to react flexibly to any change. No matter if the environmental conditions change radically or if technical or regional and international coordinates change. The Weserkahn, Bremerhaven, the Lower Weser and the city Bremen ports represent this adaptability of Bremen. Wine and olive oil are traditional Bremian merchandise, which established the reputation of the city and continues to this day.
Thus, the project « sailed Wine » combines central themes of the Bremen harbor and commercial history with the current challenges of progressive climate change and the necessary reorientation of urban logistics and mobility concepts.
When you choose to do business with Fairtransport Shipping Company, you are not just moving your cargo; you are investing in the idea of clean shipping and you are investing in the future and yourself. Shipping with Fairtransport reduces your carbon emissions during transportation by 90%. Move your cargo today! Learn more: http://fairtransport.eu/shipping/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What? The coffee from where? Sailing to where? Okay, let’s start from the beginning…
More than 20 years ago, the environmental organization Serraniagua was born in the Colombian high-mountain village of El Cairo. Since then, it has worked tirelessly for the local rural, indigenous, Afro-Colombian and other-than-human communities. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean Serraniagua has a committed ally in the Austrian NGO, ‘Climate Alliance Vorarlberg’ which is collaborating with social and environmental organizations in Colombia’s Chocó region for more than two decades. In 2016 this partnership started to support the environmental and coffee-production programs of the local ‘Young Campesino Network’. The aim is to strengthen shade-coffee farmers who adopt low-impact, biodiversity-friendly farming methods and practices to mitigate the impact of climate change on the production and quality of their crops.
This transatlantic alliance is now trying to establish better income for Serraniagua’s COMAM (COMunidad AMbientalista) coffee producers by forging a direct connection between producers and consumers. Disconnected from speculations of the international stock exchange, they will pay a fair price including significant premiums for forest protection and organic production.
But for what all this effort for environmental issues if then the exportation would be operated by the same extremely polluting carrying business as any other coffee? Couldn’t this long-distance transport be driven mainly by renewable energies?
The idea sounded a little crazy at first. But today we can proudly confirm that the COMAM coffee, produced in the farms of Don Carlos and Don Cesar in El Cairo is crossing the Atlantic Ocean in the hold of an old sailing ship. Far from crazy, given the tremendous impact of international cargo shipping and aviation in terms of climate change and other toxic emissions, the sailing ship “Tres Hombres” from the Dutch company Fairtransport represents one of numerous positive alternatives to change practices and make the world a better place to live. And, in early June, when the COMAM coffee arrives in Europe, five volunteers will carry it from Holland to Austria by another wonderful, low-impact transportation method – cargo bicycles!
It’s a beautiful transatlantic labor between tireless actors working for a better future. Thanks to Fairtransport and the whole Tres Hombres crew for making this story come true!
You can follow the tour of COMAM coffee on Facebook and Twitter @Klimabohne on Tour
We are navigating our way from Den Helder to the southern peninsula of Europe.
When you are sailing the North Atlantic waters in the early months of the year, the weather conditions might be sometimes a bit rough.
Fortunately there are nowadays good weather forecasts for the first days to come. The depressions developing on the Atlantic Ocean are moving northeast over the continent and bring us the southwesterly gales. Keeping a good eye on the forecast can be life saving. With this in mind we had to make a stop in Brixham and another one in Douarnenez.
While we were there and waiting for fair weather, we were able to do maintenance on the ship, we tested our new anchor winch and worked on sail training. Provisions for the ship came from local farmers.
Fellow sailors, shipwrights, local merchants and friends came by on the Nordlys. Creating a stable market and expanding ideas for the Fairtransport enterprise.
We departed from Douarnenez on a shiny sunday morning and tacked our way towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Bay of Biscay is well known for its rough seas and has to be avoided in the certain weather conditions.
With a ship like Nordlys you will need about four or five days of fair winds to cross this bay. This brings us to were we are right now. We are sailing southwards on the Atlantic swell about 150 nautical miles from Porto.
On board we are nine crew, so eighteen hands to handle the sails, ropes and rudder, preparing food and so forth..
As a team in the rhythm of the sea.
Porto will be our first harbor where we charge cargo of all kind. The hold will be filled with organic products from the Douro region. We will bring these products by wind and sail to the northern countries of the continent.
Transport makes it possible to eat delicious olives, taste an excellent olive oil,use Atlantic sea salt for your meals and enjoy a natural wine, in for example England, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and so forth. Products which are not only produced in a nature friendly way, but also transported so. Sometimes the work on the land is slightly harder, sometimes the transport takes a bit longer… The taste of it all is definitely better! Respect the laws of nature. And nature gives it back.
captain Lammert Osinga
Photo Sergio Ferreira
People always ask how a girl from the Hague ended up on a Portuguese olive grove…
It all started with my first love, my husband, Guilherme, and a little land where his (Passos) family originates from. Not knowing what to do with the land the family was advised to plant olive trees, since these are low maintenance. Boy, were they wrong!
We started helping the family with harvest & pruning season to escape office life and enjoy the countryside of Portugal. It turned into a passion, selling our handpicked green gold at dutch markets and at some point we decided we wanted to live on the farm. Passeite, Azeite da familia Passos (olive oil from the Passos family) was born.
Producing olive oil however is for wealthy producers (in money or property) To get 1 liter of olive oil you need approx 5-15 kg of olives. It’s hard to explain in a short blog, but basically we knew we couldn’t live of the farm and needed an alternative plan. We opened up a restaurant May 2016 called Taberna do Azeite (the olive oil tavern) in Coimbra.
During our first year living in Portugal we were kneehigh in water, something that didn’t happen in 30 years. The year after was the hottest in decades and enormous parts of central Portugal burnt to the grounds, including parts of our ancient groves. Both these extreme weather conditions, being more close to nature & raising 2 kids made our view on live different. Climate change is real…
We wanted to change our habits and that started with introducing mostly local and organic producers to our restaurant, reusing plastic bottles as olive fly traps and being much more creative with recycling old things.Thanks to Alexandra of New Dawn Traders we were introduced with sailing cargo and we knew this was the right path for our brand, Passeite.
The first olive oil run from Porto to France and UK we couldn’t participate fully since we had sold our olive oil harvest already but we knew then our next harvest should be sailed to Scheveningen,The Hague. The town Marije was raised and has such a special place in our heart. So we asked Fairtransport to be part of this adventure with our mission, sending about 1000 liters. Although their schedule for 2018 was already fixed they made the effort to help. We started our Farm- Schip- Scheveningen adventure.
We started the slogan “Love (y)our nature because it fits exactly our product and purpose. Sending a incredible healthy products in a way that is good for (y)our nature…
There is definitely a lot more to tell about olive oil, our brand and our adventures so we challenge you to come and welcome us when the Nordlys arrives in Scheveningen. We will be there to let you taste and explore the olive flavours of Portugal..
Marije & Guilherme
the Passos Family
Move your cargo in a sustainable way on one of our ships: http://fairtransport.eu/shipping/
Marije Passos at the Nordlys in Porto, Photo by Sergio Ferreira
Next to being one of the few engineless sailing cargo ships, engaged in international trade, Tres Hombres is a sail training vessel as well. Nowadays most squareriggers, are occupied in some form of sail training. With us, it is of course the combination with carrying freight in this century, what makes it really special. Normally we have any number of: up to eight trainees on board. Trainee, is the modern name, but I am inclined to name them apprentices. Originally an apprentice would be a practical student to become a ships officer, and normally an apprenticeship would take an average of four years. Because really, what I feel as my personal goal here on board, is to inspire them for a career at sea, a return to sea, or at least an unforgettable memory and love for the precious place the ocean is.
So how are we trying to teach the mysteries of the sea? First and most importantly, I would like to refer to a short poem of: Longfellow, his poetic writing says more than I could describe in a thousand words:
Wouldst thou- so the helmsman answered,
Learn the secret of the sea,
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!
It does say most of it, and it comes down to the point, that you are learning by doing. And you ought to give this time, a lot of time. Apart from this we also try to organize a short lecture in each day watch, every day. Since leaving Boca Chica we have talked, apart from the safety procedures, about: ship design, shipbuilding, history of sailing ships, standing rigging and bringing up lower and topmasts the traditional way. Right now we are doing an experiment as well, where each new trainee is coupled to one of the experienced crew members. This way we reenact the old tradition, of having a seafather appointed to a green hand. This seafather is teaching the intricacies of the arts of the seaman, at a one person to one person way.
In the more than 15 ocean crossings Tres Hombres has made in the previous years, our teaching concept has been proven right in many instances. Currently one of our deckhands, started as a trainee the past year. And even one of our Captains, grew from trainee, via deckhand and officer to his position of command!
So join Tres Hombres, and comprehend the mystery of the sea…http://fairtransport.eu/sail-along/
Capt. Jorne Langelaan
In Boca Chica, we do not only load cargo, but we are also having a crew change. Two of our sailors have left, and five new ones signed on. This makes our crew 14 hands all told. A good size of crew. Large enough to have two watches of 6 and the Cook and Master in the daywatch. The sexes are equally devided this trip, so we have 7 female and 7 male crewmembers. 14 hands should be enough to weather most situations, while it is not too overcrowded that a full watch can not eat together in the galley.
On a sailing ship (really on board any ship), as told before, much of the seaworthiness of the ship is determined by its crew. The crew ought to be working together smoothly as a team, helping each other, trusting each other, and blindly falling back on each other. This situation is reached, through different mechanisms, in a perfect world, allready before departure. First of all there is the backbreaking work of loading the more than 200 bags of cacao and the equally heavy, but more coördinated work of hoisting barrels of rum and melasse, weighing almost 300 kilograms, with the whip, bow- and stern-fall, into the hold. Secondly there is the living together in close quarters with a minimum of comfort, no running or hot water and the continuous sharing of household tasks like deckwashing and doing the dishes. All of this in the tropical heat and powerfull rain showers of the Caribbean spring. Third, there is the social part, of coming together in musters, at least daily, sometimes more. Here the Master shares the information regarding the latest news about loading, weather, schedule and happenings in the office, here the crewmembers can share their toughts about practical, social or personal matters, and the proposed plan for the work of the coming day is set out, and if needed reviewed. Then there are off course the nights spent on deck or in the galley, listening to each others; weary, wild and weird sea stories, yarning and trying to find a shared understanding.
Finally there is the theoretical side of explaining the crew about safety, ship and seamanship. This is what we are trying to accomplish, these days before we set sail. Meaning every morning after muster, a lecture about different subjects is given. Yesterday we talked about the different safety procedures: man over board, fire, flooding, abandon ship, climbing the rigging and working the anchor gear. Today we made a start about shipbuilding principles especially focussing on the type of ship represented by Tres Hombres. Tomorrow an introduction to square rig seamanship is scheduled.
Capt. Jorne Langelaan
The most important destination to pick up cargo for the Tres Hombres, has been since the beginning, the Dominican Republic. This is the place where the Amsterdam Chocolate makers source their organic cacao. This is the place where the first editions 2010, 2011 and 2012 Tres Hombres rum came from. Later off course Andreas also found an excelent rum distilery on La Palma. The distilery with the ancient copper distilling aparatus… Year after year, Andreas added other Atlantic and Caribbean islands, to load as much as a variety as possible, for our fine rum.
But untill these days, the Domincan Republic, always has been the origin of the main cargo. Sometimes there where different other products added. There has been a long standing relationship with Belarmino from Caribbean labs, as a source for coffee, honey, cacao and the famous mamajuana. Year after year we have been taking big barrels of molasses for a rum distillery in Germany. On a small and experimental scale we have been taking cigars from Hispaniola, what the combined name is for the island which the Dominican Republic and Haiti share as their landbase. The cigars proved a tricky cargo to comply with the customs, so we did not continue this.
As for the ports, in this Caribbean jewel, our fine vessel has been, there are: the open roadstead of Cabo Rojo, the metropole of Santo Domingo, and the commercial port of Boca Chica. Cabo Rojo, is a place of tropical athmosphere, with white beaches. Where even the footage of an « commercial » for the rum, starring Capt. Andreas Lackner himself as the sea (movie) star, was shot. This was also the first place where the ship was anchored for three weeks in 2010, to repair the rigging after the topgallant mast was broken. Santo Domingo, is the biggest city in the Caribbean with three million inhabitants. Here the ship moored in 2010 as well, just after visiting Cabo Rojo, and this is where Capt. Andreas met Mr Forrest who introduced us to the fine port of Boca Chica.
Since that day Boca Chica has been our most important loading port in the entire Caribbean. It is a place one will never forget about, when entered or left by a ship under sail power only. Sailing in between the reefs and breakers through a narrow buoyed channel. Dealing with the officers on the gate of the comercial port. And drinking rum with the local « shipping magnates ». A port of extremes, a port where the crew of our brigantine, loads the barrels and bags by hand into the cargo hold, while a few hunderd meters away the most high tech container cranes are discharging the biggest container ships. A port with a fishing harbor where the most tiny fishing boats fish from. A port where every weekend the sound of merengue, salsa and bachata, mixed with the tropical heat and smell of fried fish and fresh ocean breeze are competing. This is the Caribbean…
Capt. Jorne Langelaan
Tacking against the trades,
Since leaving the anchorage of Cabo Rojo, we have been close hauled. A term, used by sailors when sailing as much against the wind as physically possible. It is also the course where the qualities of the sailor and his vessel are most tested, independently of the strength of the wind. In the Caribbean sea, when one is intended to move from West to East, there is no other way than going against the prevailing trade winds.
The voyage, before I came on board, which departed after loading coffee in Santa Martha, Colombia, and brought the ship to Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic, was a good example of a close hauled voyage with strong winds. This is really where crew and ship are tested to the limit. Before leaving Santa Martha, the whole standing rigging was tuned as taut, that she was able to carry sail to the utmost. And this is what she did, and this is what had to be done. Because only with fighting over every degree and mile, it is possible to make headway against the trade winds and their accompanying currents. Especially when they are stronger than average. It has a prize though, a wooden ship pushed this hard, has a tendency of leaking more than in less challenging circumstances. Her crew becomes tired after days of fighting the adverse weather, having not a dry rag left, and being tossed around the decks and cabins.
This trip, to Boca Chica, we encounter a total different situation. Quite the opposite in weather really, the wind has not been very strong and at times even absent. At these occasions there is barely enough wind, to even steer the ship in a straight course. And as we have to tack almost every watch, to fulfill our intended zig zag course against the wind. We had it two times now, that we were not even able to tack her, due to the absent push in the sails, combined with a swell to stop her bow. If this happened, stubbornly we would, make speed again and steer into another tack, to only experience the same disappointment. And finally after having encountered the failed slow motion maneuver twice, we would finally retreat to the even more ground loosing maneuver of jibing. Also sailing with these light winds, would not be so much of a challenge, where it not for the constant strain of the current setting us West, and at our slow speed, making our zig zag course often not more than a parallel track.
Our voyage plan positively stated a voyage of 125 miles, yet we logged already well over 300 miles since heaving up anchor. These miles are not won, with a nice racing speed, no, we are averaging a speed of: 3 or 4 knots an hour. Our crew is in high spirits though. We are looking forward to fasten our mooring lines in Boca Chica. Meet up with the new crew members, who are awaiting our arrival, to join our ranks. And finally start loading the final precious cargo, cocoa, rum and melasse, up till her marks, to return home across the North Atlantic ocean.
So even these days the age old saying holds true: A bloody seagull on a soapbox can sail downwind, but it takes a seaman to go against it.
See you soon,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan
Preparing to go to sea..
So while we are at sea again, I would like to explain a little bit about preparing a ship to go to sea. As you have read in the previous weblog, we have been at anchor for two weeks. I write: we, with that I really mean the ship and her crew, because personally I only joined the ship two days before setting sail. So really most preparations found place under the command of my predecessor, captain Fabian Klenner. So what does it entail? To explain in short: crew, ship and gear has to be ready for sea.
Most crewmembers have been for quite a few months on board. The core crew: mate, cook, deckhands and one of the trainees, has been on board since her departure from Den Helder last year. Of the core crew, most of them sailed before that on Tres Hombres, and of the other crewmembers some of them have. This means there is quite a bit of experience on board to built on. And under the command of Fabian, several safety drills where carried out to keep the crew up to high standards of seamanship. For me off course, being the one new on board, I had to familiarize myself with the capabilities of the crew. Because really, on a sailing vessel like this, it is not entirely the ship which defines her seaworthiness but it is more the crew itself which brings safety, continuity and comfortable sailing. To do this, I had a personal interview with each crewmember, to understand their previous experiences on board, find out about their capabilities and discuss ideas and wishes for the coming trip. Apart from that I had a lot of conversations with Fabian to discuss the management on board and learn about the things, he found out, which worked or did not work.
The ship has proved herself throughout the past ten years under the flag of Fairtransport, and many decades in all different roles under previous owners. This does not mean there is nothing to prepare on her. You can compare a traditional wooden square rigged sailing vessel, with her millions of parts, who are all subject to change, because of weather conditions, wear and tear and maintenance, almost to a living creature. Like any living being, she needs to breath (ventilation), drink (paint, linseed oil, tar) and eat (wood, steel, oakum, pitch, rope and wire) to survive. To make this possible every year she gets a thorough refit, mostly during a period of about a month, this past year it was three months. And also her crew is constantly supporting the life of their vessel with maintenance. Some things are more obvious than others. The standing rigging needs tarring, greasing and tuning. The running rigging, attention to protection for wear and tear, and constant replacing of her parts. The hull needs pumping, re caulking and painting. Here was one of the reasons to be anchored the previous weeks. Because on the voyage from Columbia, back to the Dominican republic, her hull had received quite a beating, which made her more leaky than considered wanted to continue. So repairs where carried out, with the final filling up of seams with a special putty I had taken along from Europe.
Then the gear, which is usually looked upon as the main focus to prepare a ship. All spares, tools, charts, nautical books, stores, drinking water and fuel needs to be on board or brought on board. Gear, like machinery, instruments and safety gear needs to be in working order. And everything, including cargo, needs to be stowed and lashed properly and in a seamanlike fashion. For all of this, on Tres Hombres, we make use of a pre-departure checklist. So again, before proceeding, our fine vessel was deemed healthy again to go to sea.
Capt. Jorne Langelaan