MEET OUR TRAINEE DARIO
Position onboard: TRAINEE
Former occupation on land (or how do you keep yourself busy when you are not
Acting, clowning, basketball.
Which book, film, song and/or event inspired and sparked in you first the
dream of a life at sea?
Titanic and Castaway.
Once I spent 1hour on a ferry. I really liked the calmness of the sea, this was touching. I felt free.
What to pack for your sea chest, absolutely?
Snacks! Nail clipper!
What to leave ashore, doubtless?
Which is your favourite peace corner onboard aka where do you hide when you need to be alone.
The poop house.
What do you like the most onboard: a detail of the ship, a routine, a person, an activity…?
The poop house.
Three Magic Words to hold fast to onboard?
Good morning, foc’s’le! [ Traditional wake-up call in the crew accommodations ]
If Tres Hombres was a wild creature, which one she would be?
A camel! You can store a lot of water in a camel.
Biggest fear before joining and greatest satisfaction on the way?
To fall overboard & not to fall overboard.
Why Tres Hombres?
Well, the rum seemed to be pretty good.
Three First mates
Four second mates
Six different bunks
60 knots in the gusts
Ten tons of cacao
40.000 bottles of wine (roughly)
20.000 nautical miles (very roughly)
Just some numbers of these last two years. Some of those numbers don’t mean much written down like that, not even to me. But one is most striking: 20 months. I have now worked on the Tres Hombres for effectively 20 months. During the refits a few weekends at home and this last summer two months off to get my Basic Safety training and vaccination and some much-needed rest after the Atlantic Round, but still, twenty months. I signed on as a fresh-faced trainee who knew nothing of sailing, and now I am signing off as Bosun. I went from being uncomfortable with the rolling and a little seasick to the grizzled veteran who has seen it all and is not impressed. That is not to say that I did not love to be on the ship out at sea till the end, I did. It remains a great feeling to be out at sea with no land in sight and the ship rolling under your feet.
So I lived on a wooden ship with all sorts of people from all over the world, with limited space, with daunting working conditions like storms and hours and hours of rain. It really was a great time. Must have been, otherwise, I would not have stayed so long, right? But joking aside, it has been a great time, and all the people I sailed with helped make it great.
The last thing here on La Palma that I do before signing off is unload a barrel of La Palma wine that we loaded last year and has been ageing at sea in Tres Hombres’ cargo hold for that whole time. It has crossed the ocean tucked underneath the cacao and the rum, and then Skagerrak tucked under bottles of wine. Right now, I am the only one still on board who was present last year when we loaded it, making this barrel from the Tendal winery also my most long term shipmate. The wine will now be auctioned off to benefit the people displaced by the Cumbre Vieja’s lava stream.
But for now, my Tres Hombres adventure is over. Now I’ll go to Denmark to help refit another sailing cargo ship, the Hawila, but Captain Francois, Mates Arthur and Guven, my replacement bosun Camille, cook Ed, deckhands Ali and Thore and all the trainees will bring her safely to the Caribbean and back to Europe.
I will miss them tremendously and wish them all fair winds and hope to see them well and good in Amsterdam.
Si amigo, ya lo se! Pero no entiendo bien. Que es el mensaje que me quiere dar este pais maravilloso? O este paisaje salvaje, como dice mi amigo Dominicano Manuel, jajaja.
Ya venimos por la Republica Dominicana desde el 2010, al primer viaje, cuando llegamos a la Bahia de las Aguilas con el mastil quebrado, sin carga ni dinero y el equipaje cansado despues de 3 años del trabajo continuo. Pero el pescador Nene y su mujer Catalina nos salvaron en estos dias, cuando comemos lamby y tomamos ron en la fugata a la playa. En estos dias recorrí mucho de la capital, hice contactos con la prensa, con ambassadores, empresarios y politicos. Santo Domingo me hice descubrir mucha belleza: ambiental, cultural, feminina y gastronomica. Tambien encontramos ron, y con eso cambió la situacion porque ncontramos carga para llevar por Europa! Cobramos el flete adelante y ya se podia pagar la tripulacion y comprar comida por el viaje de un mes y medio hasta Europa. Me recuerdo esperar a Nene cuando llegó con sacos de arroz, vegetales y platano al muelle…
La situacion otra vez cambio bastante en el año siguiente, cuando Forrest, Manuel y sus amigos nos guiáron en el viaje desde Santo Domingo hasta el muelle de San Andres, Boca Chica, nuestro base en la isla de Hispaniola desde entonces.
En esta temporada todavia no habia ningun plan por los viajes del velero Tres Hombres. Venimos cruzando el ocean con muchas ganas, poco dinero y ayuda humanitaria por Haiti. Desde alli fuimos a buscar trabajo entre las islas del Caribe, saliendo de St. Martin hacia el sur hasta St. Vincent. Gracias a Eric de Cireexpress hicimos algunos viajes aventurosos, pero con poco exito. Comemos mucho guineo y arroz blanco.
Cada año, antes que llego la temporada de huracanes, navegamos a Republica Dominicana, donde estabamos seguro de obtener buena carga: ron, cacao y cafe. Productos muy queridos en Europa y abundantes aqui en la isla. Y como llega la carga al barco? Pasando la burocrazya Dominicana jeje, eso si me costaba algun nervio por alli…pero seguimos amigos todos! La autoridad portuaria tan cariñosa, la seguridad, la aduana, la armada, la immigracion… Todos hacen su trabajo muy correcto, somos nosotros gringos cuales no siempre saben cumplir con las reglas locales. Pero siempre solucionamos todas las problemas y en la misma temporada encuentras tan buena gente que no vas a olvidar nunca mas, como las señoritas cariñosas del colmado que sirven el mejor pollo del pueblo.
Gente vienen de puro interes en las tripulacion del barco, los gringos con pantalones sucios, las chicas Europeanas y la pura belleza de este barco sin motor. Cual carguero gasta mas en cerveza que en gasoil? En cual barco el capitan anda descalzo y sin camisa abriendo coco con el machete por la mañana y donde hay el mejor vino? Ya tu sabes…
Y nosotros? Amemos los vistazos de la gente en el mercado, de las chicas sorprendidas, la comida, el sol, el paisaje, la bachata. Las charlas con Forrest y su linda mujer, con Manuel, Lawrence, Victor, el rubio, Freddy, Yovanni y muchos amigos que pasan solo pa unas palabras, un cafe, una cope de ron. Algunos cogen la gitarra, otros nos cantan un son o vienen con carne por la parrillada.
Siempre cuando nos vamos conociendo mejor, algo cambia en la vista al otro, siempre hay un mensaje transferido a su propio modo. Me di cuenta que aqui siempre hay un modo de hablar pacifico, aunque cuesta mucha paciencia a veces, sera de ambos lados…Hay mucho para aprender aqui para nosotros.
Al final, es una visita de trabajo, y en Boca Chica nuestro carguero llega a estar full, cargado hasta bajo la cubierta con delicias del Caribe.
Tambien la tripulacion se completo, venieron alumnos de varios paises para aprender de la navegacion estilo antiguo, estilo verdadero y sin daño a la naturaleza, normal pues.
La despedida con un velero sin motor solamente funciona en la mañana, por el viento de la tierra que sigue soplando hasta las 8ymedio, hasta ahi tienes que estar listo pa salir. Como siempre hay un chequeo de militares con perros y si todo esta bien, ahi vamos! Votando las ultimas lagrimas por la Bahia de San Andres, salimos rumbo a Europa!
Pero antes hay que pasar el pasaje de Mona y eso cuesta, un año mas que el otro…este año la pasamos bien duro: recien saliendo al Atlantico despues de 2 dias con viento fuerte de la proa teniamos que regresar al puerto de Boca Chica por un alumno que decidio que no podia realizar el viaje con nosotros, por razones mentales. Tambien rompemos la vela principal en este viaje y por eso, despues de entregar al chico en la immigracion en Boca Chica, con muchas gracias al Lawrence, que nos salvo en este momento, nos fuimos a anclar en la Saona para reparar todo delante una vista maravillosa de las playas blancas de alli. Ahora mismito ya pasamos la Mona por segunda vez, la brisa buena, toda vela puesta y el cafe servido.
En el mar, la vida es mas sabrosa…Nos vemos al los años, no nos olvidamos
It sounds like directions from a fairy tale quest:
Head south until the fish start flying then turn your bow due west. And if you follow these simple directions you’ll end up where the rum tastes best.
Of course some trimming and maybe a gybe or two along the way but it’s a good start to end up in the Caribbean :0)
Ever since we bitter sweet slowly sailed away from our berth in La Palma, encouraged by the whoops and waves from Captain Anne-Flore and two of our Refit volunteers come crew members, that sadly had to stay behind in La Palma, this proud ship spread her wings even further than she had done already.
Captain Andreas started his voyage by finding every scrap of canvas and boom that was stored on board and rigged up 4 stun sails next to our square sails and even our banner is lashed under the course sail to be able to harvest every ounce of speed from the wind that is given.
South we went in full canter, racing with the white horses that topped the waves as they rolled past us.
Shoes were discarded and trousers are being cut into shorts, shirts are now more often on deck than covering backs and with that also the first signs of sunburns and the smell of suncream is now evidently mingled with the fresh air.
When the fish started flying to get away from our prancing prow we used the archipelago islands of the Cabo Verde like a speed corner in an attempt to redirect our wild ride and were able to slingshot gybe ourselves due west.
The wings, that were tugged in for the maneuver, are being folded back out over the other tack and we’re giving her free reign again because now we’re bound for the big wide blue expanse of the open Atlantic ocean.
Leaving one continent behind and seeking the next one ahead of us like so many sailors and explorers have done before us.
“We’re in pursuit of the sunset while racing the moon and by the time we’ll do the reverse we will be bringing home the rum”.
What a ride, what a life…
My watch mates are resting quietly around me in the darkness of the focastle. The thousands and one sounds of
the ship, the Bosun tools noises, the salty sailors boots heavy steps running on the foredeck, the yelling of the maneuvers (an hard-core symphony which might have sounded creepy or disturbing in the beginning of the trip but now incredibly familiar), together with the glassy waters knocking at the hull close to my ears compose a lullaby, the melody of an old hand-and-heart-made boat that has its own soul and spirit, that breaths as a living creature, that speaks, whispers, cry and shout, at its own way, in its own language.
The red light of my headlamp, which is restricted on deck by the Captain in order to get our eyes sharper and able to see even in the darkest moonless night, brights my bunk and these pages, making me feel alone somehow, if “alone” is a word with a meaning on board of a sailing cargo ship of walkable 25mt shared with 15 sailors. Being alone is a luxury of the land, and personally my biggest saudade on board. So I grab this precious moment and surf this intimate wave of sharing with you some impressions of this whole voyage, now that it is almost over. Yes, almost. Because on an engineless sailing vessel it is hard, pointless, counterproductive and even dangerous to tell such things.
Even if the betting already started nobody can predict with certitude when we will fold the sails, step on the quay, open a fresh beer and looking back at Her saying to ouselves “it is over”. Everything can be, everything can change. You never know. You cannot know. You can do your best, but still it is not you to decide.
The old chinese proverb “if you want to make Gods laughs, tell them about your plans” is truer than ever here and finds its perfect demonstration on the Tres Hombres. The ship and the elements are fully owner of our destinies. Isnt that epic great? So we are almost there and it is time for my watch to begin, lets see what it will be.
The summer trip seems to be a different experience to the way longer transatlantic crossing, but still it is something, especially for some brand new fresh sailors as most of us.
We crossed (without particularly fair winds and currents) the English Channel twice in less than a month, the damned tricky unreliable English Channel with its unpredictable winds and its scaring intense cargo monsters traffic. This has its sailing, nautical but also emotional consequences, repercussion on moods and dynamics, on deck or down in the bunks, as well as inside and outside yourself. This can mean for example that when there is no wind and you feel stuck and bored, kind of useless with no ropes to pull, you can easily get also stuck into a quarrel between peanut butter maniacs and chocolate paste lovers, which it is not such an important either interesting issue, if you know what I mean. The presence or absence of the wind, being anchored in the middle of the Channel unable to move, drifted away or backwards by the currents, the stillness of the wait, all very very tricky elements, and you have to learn how to take care of them. It is therefore very important to keep yourself busy, at least for me it is a strategy that helped a lot. Go to Bosun asking for tasks, take care of the ship to show your love and respect to her, hoping that he will send you up in the riggings, maybe to oil the leather around the shrouds, and there hidden by the sail in the silence of the sky you can listen to your heart beat so loud, making all the other voices quiet, finally.
Sitting on the galley roof staring at the tanks which seem to have released all their petrol cargo on the surface of the sea, so quiet and oily as it looks, witnessing one of the dirtiest fact of our society, a secret hidden in the oceans were every day thousands of thousands of thousands of metal monsters,spitting stinky gases and smokes, whose bellies are filled with a pure foie-gras style with all kinds of evil goods and cheap shit for all kinds of pockets, coming and going from and to all kinds of places, all kinds of materials, colors, shapes, flavours… it seems like we need it, it looks like we desperately need it considering the speed they travel in order to deliver their cargo on the other side of a planet. But do we? Really? What for? And Why? (ps. WHY NOT IS NOT AN ALLOWED FUNNY ANSWER). Are we able to reconsider completely, till the roots, our consumption? Am I?
How many questions, new and old ones, melting together in the messy pot of your mind…and from the outside they sneak into the inside and all the little things and details and events of just a single watch can be strong heartquakes, especially if you are an hopeless empathic sensitive human as I am or used to be? A huge refit of myself started, the one that was waiting for some time now but on land you know… there are lots of ways to postpone it, not to say avoid it. On board of the Tres Hombres, there is no escape from yourself. Your ego will try to trick and tease you but if you accept the challenge and the pain that eventually comes with, you can live a very blow-minding experience. Tolerance, acceptance, adaptation, self confidence and self questioning, the discover of the potentiality of your body, the power of the trust or distrust, in yourself and in the others, the strenght that turns into weakness and reverse, your certitudes upside down… and then the wind starts to blow again and somehow you get through it and you survive your own self while pulling ropes or adding extras crazy sails. or sliding the stunsail boom under the yard inside after having gybed it for the first time believing you cannot do that without making some bullshit… but your beloved one right next to you believes in you, so why wouldnt you?…And you just do it.
I wont go deeper into details, the salty sailors who are reading these lines will probably remember, recognize,understand or at least know what the hell I am talking about and some words could eventually recall some old memories of their very first waves, and the curious followers of the adventures of this ship and her crew are warmly invited to step closer and taste the salt of our personal challenges and mission while we are also sailing cargo pushed only by the winds. The harder the environment, the greater the lesson!
We all have our own hells and heavens, our skeletons and untied knots, dreams and nightmares, and there is nothing more interesting and that will make you feel so connected with yourself, with all the dark and shiny shades of this self, than sailing here. So personally I feel blessed and I am truly thankful to have the opportunity to face this me and eventually, hopefully, grow stronger and be a better being. I promise to myself not to give up on this quest as well as on understanding how this sailing masterpiece and the elements work together and bring us from A to B emission free. Who knows, maybe my path will keep me here for a little more if life will decide I deserve some more of this magic, or somewhere else seeking the same beautiful thrills that made me feel so alive, the learning crashed, the painful downs and unforgettable ups.
I want to thank all the crew, for the good and for the bad, I learned something very important from each of you. And a special one to our Captain, a humble guy who is a pure wild sailing living legend, ready to everything, unpredictable as the winds he loves, who opened up the arms of his knowledge and experience with patience and respect, smartness and balance, it is a true honor to pull the same rope, execute his orders, listening to the explanations of maneuvers, the afternoon lectures or the sunset readings, the generosity to welcome us on board and share his floating home with us, unknown strangers. I have a long list of memories and moments to be grateful for but I will keep it for me.
You are all free to write your own joining this outstanding project to improve yourself and the world living a true life changing adventure.
“We have been longing to see it even if it was missing, but the treasure is there, for sure. Hidden by trickster demons and lost in the labyrinths of our questions and answers” Corto Maltese
How do we get back home? Tacking!
Down the flying jib and the gaff tops’l, ease the topping lift, cast off tricing lines, staysailboom midships, coils of braces and headsail sheets on deck. Ready on the foredeck? READY! Ready about! About ship, helms a-lee! Mainsheet tight, ease the headsail sheets….there she comes, helm back midships, ease mainsheet, tack the jibs and… Let Go and Haul! Cast off tack and sheet of course, haul away lee course brace as you might, change boom lift, ease mainstays’l boom, tack the bob’s, all hands (or the windlass) on the tack and pull it down together with the lee-topping lift. Tack down! Course sheet home! Trim the yards, set the gaff tops’l, set the flying jib and then coil up and clear the deck!
15 minutes of the mariners full concentration is vital for the ship to make her way up against wind and current, not to loose ground against the ever blowing Northeasterlies in the Channel.
3 weeks ago all those lines were mere mystery to the most hands aboard Tres Hombres, now, at the command of prepare for tacking, everyone is whizzling over the deck, finding the right line to cast off, haul tight or stand by! No more discussions, commands are understood and taken out with pleasure and power. At force 5, instead of life lines the flying jib is put up and the helmsman is smiling pleasantly, feeling the acceleration of the ship and her leaning over in comfort!
Good food and good company as a power ressource, one common mission: living live in a natural way!One tool: the most beautiful sailing vessel on the seas, currently hunting after De Gallant, where early sailing memories with Captain Hendrik make me think of the old days as a deckhand without any concerns, without any limits.
Now we are passing on those good times, the tools and the experience to find a way in your life, it’s your choice.
P.S. : with some unexpected SW wind we are right now passing Dover, gybing the stunsails with boom and all to use the last heap of this rare wind, pushing us into the North Sea, where the next blow of NE will await us…see you soon in Amsterdam
Captain Andreas Lackner
Is your mind filled with the glorious majesty of the white winged masts of the Age of Sail? Or are you longing to master the arts of the traditional seaman? Then sign on, sailing on a cargo vessel is a unique way to discover the world and learn the art of real square rig seamansship. Price varies by voyage. The longer you sign on for, the less you pay per day. Visit http://fairtransport.eu/sail-along/ for the latest schedule and pricing or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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We would like to invite all of you for our next refit of the Tres Hombres in Den Helder, Netherlands.
She has now been sailing bravely for 10 years and she has carried tons of cargo with very small rest periods in between. She survived really rough weather and really rough people. She has seen the most beautiful anchorages and the shittiest muddy foggy trenches. She has seen love, hate, respect and disrespect in any way shape or form imaginable. She has been build by great knowledge, enthusiasm and goodwill and she has been maintained like this as well. Effing awesome job people!!
But now is the time to clean up some bits which need more than only just further maintenance; now is the time to clean up the rust (of her steel structure and her human lovers) of many years; now is the time to clean up tunnel-views and resignation.
So this year will be rather special; we are planning a very extensive, (mid-July to end-October) and compared to the other years, different refit. Several major projects are planned which will reduce the overall maintenance workload, reduce the stress (on people and materials) and resolve some of the complaints aboard. This important refit will both strengthen and prepare the vessel for the next several years of cargo sailing.
Projects for this refit:
*Re-caulking the vessel
For the technical interested: Only a small job of the caulking is to keep the water out of the boat – its primary job is to bring tension in the hull and to bring up her strength to the designed level through added pressure in between the planks (several tons).
Reasons for a re-caulk: The hull is leaking a bit too much, it is moving to much when working in heavy weather or when powerful tension is applied to the rigging. Also many non-compatible systems of caulking have been applied over the years. There are additionally some wet seams which means possible rot between planks and future damage might follow. As per Lloyds (a major ship classification society) a composite build vessel has to be re-caulked at least once every 8-10 years; for Tres Hombres this is the time now. A composite vessel has a stronger backbone than a wood-wood one, yes, but if the tension between the planks decreases the movement goes into the plank-frame fastenings as there is a new tension-line between rigid and soft -> they (the fasteners) wobble their way into the surrounding wood -> humidity can enter -> potential rot, rust, loose fastenings
*We want to develop a recognized system of procedures and materials used in the maintenance and repair of the vessel – this will be orientated by the guidelines of classification societies and well-recognised handbooks.
As a result there should be a standard knowledge of how every part of the vessel has been built and how it has to be repaired, which will not only add to the overall strength of the vessel, but also simplify and accelerate work onboard during refit periods and maintenance underway.
*There will be new water-tanks fitted
*There will be an electrical refit
*There will be a rebuild of the generator (external company)
*There will be a lot of maintenance and nice-ifying work
If you want to learn something new, if you want to improve your skills, if you have been a caulking mallet yourself for years, if you are any type of crafts(wo)man, if you are eager to help and knock a heavy mallet on your already sore knuckles, posh things up or play the flute to keep the spirits up or if you “just” want to help – please join!!
We need specifically:
*Electricians/an electric engineer; our system needs some redesigning and cleaning out; has a few unknown faults and dead wires
*Woodworkers; changing planks on hull and deck, possibly batten-up planks, interior removal and refitting (tanks, frames), poshing things up
*Metal workers; change frames, install tanks, repairs (we have someone taking charge of this, but he will need preferably skilled co-workers)
*Caulkers; we need a few people who are skilled at caulking and we need people who are keen to learn it. This was the most rewarded and highest level job when building a wooden hull! Please do not underestimate this job; we will be tuning the Tres Hombres like an instrument. Concerning this hull the caulking is no rocket science and can be learned relatively quickly – but you need dedication and huge attention to details; you caulk too soft for one centimetre and you have a leak there; you caulk to hard you have a leak next to it as you are forcing the softwood planks apart in this spot… On this re-caulk we will practice and teach a technique which has been used in (mainly Scandinavian) fishing vessels for hundreds of years
*People who can sand, remove rust and apply oil and paint
*Riggers – this year we will only do small repairs though
*And of course the most important job – the cook; there will be around 20 hungry persons to be fed
This is a vast job for the time planned but the boat has to get sailing, no matter what; that’s what she does best. But we will manage, I promised the next captain and we always delivered on time.
But please understand the importance of this refit, for the company and for the ship itself; it will not be easy but very interesting, challenging and rewarding. This time will demand the strongest work ethic and a very high level of cooperation between all members of the refit team. There is no space for people who are not willing to give a good days work or spend hours discussing different methods and techniques during the working time.
Please contact Hilde, our crew manager, on email@example.com to tell her about your abilities and availability – we want to plan as good as possible ahead (which project to start at which point of the refit and what material to buy) and avoid to have more than 20 persons working on the ship at the same time. On the refit we offer decent accommodation, good feeding and a professional environment.
I will most likely be involved in the planning and running the show – my name is Fabian, I am a merchant master mariner, a shipwright and a mechanic. I have skippered the Tres Hombres for a small part of the last Atlantic trip and have restored boats for some time. I will be the person on the front and Andreas (the famous co-founder of Fairtransport and most experienced refit guy) will do the logistics.
captain Fabian Klenner
Eskerrik Asko Getaria!
What a moment, when we had to call out: let go stern line, let go bowline! All our friends, from whom we have known not one a week ago, were standing on the pier. Ruurd, Jon, Jesus, their families, the mayor of the village, the harbor master, the fishermen who just gave us 4 bonito’s for the voyage and even an official from the Basque government.
But the crew had no time to wave goodbye, as we had to pull the ship off the lee shore with a long rope and giving her some initial speed before setting the squares and making way to the harbor entrance and head out to sea again… a beautiful maneuver after a great visit of this magic place, Getaria!
Special thanks to Ruurd, who had us ordered to this place, in order to load organic Txacoli, a young, fresh wine grown just around here, some cider and a lot of biodynamic bottles from La Rioja and the Douro valleys. He also arranged a fantastic meeting with the wine makers, the crew and the great women of the village, who prepared a meal we will not forget! And that’s how it went on…
In between the loading of the cargo and some maintenance we enjoyed the great weather which came with us, after 6 months of rain here. If there was no party or interview planned, we went to the farmer Jon to plant the Dahlias we brought from Holland, took a swim at the local beach, where the Atlantic rollers would come in smoothly or climb around on a vertical mountain . A seaman’s life can be very hard sometimes.
This port was one of the most welcoming ones we experienced and as a refuge harbor also a suitable one for a ship like ours, coming in and out without help. At arrival, we did not have all lines fast yet, a beautiful lady jumped onboard, asking for an interview with the captain, which he could not refuse at all, while another man made a little film about Tres Hombres throughout the process of harbor furling. A dentist was ready to receive a patient, showers were made available as well as power and water, cider and Txakoli…
We also had the chance of visiting the impressive Albaola shipyard near Donostia, where a replica of a whaling galleon is being build. They might need some crew in future who know how to sail a ship without motor…
Now, back at sea, we await the 5th fish meal in a row, as the precious tuna is being prepared in yet another way by the cook, not wasting a spine of it.
All in all it was a great stay in Getaria and hereabout seaman’s life is worth a break in it, before the wind will blow away all thoughts and dusts of the land again.
Captain Andreas Lackner
“Goodmorning.. and good luck!” is what the outgoing Watch will whisper to you as you crawl out of the foxhole (or the makeshift bed I made in the cargo hold) and enter the deck covered in a drizzly night sky at 4am. They will go to bed now, and at least for four hours, it’s your turn to take over the helm and blink your eyes, re-assess the weather and wonder whether four layers of clothes will suffice this night or day or what day is it again? Or should I try to contain my body heat a bit more and done another layer of plastic raincover and go “Full Condom Mode” as Portside Watcher Boris likes to call it? Aboard the Tres Hombres we all transform into well-packed, Gore-Texed, rustling and damp plastic penguins, some of us dealing better with the disturbed sleeping patterns than others. Welcome to the place where they take your precious sleep routine and cut it merciless in six pieces, where you will be awoken by a cheerful “Goodmorning!” at least three times each 24 hours, be it at 8 am, 8 pm or 4 am..
Today my day starts at 03:45 am, but until 00:00 I served in yesterday’s evening watch, and before that we started the day with a morning watch at 07:30 am. It’s breaking me up. Physically, as I notice that I cannot access enough energy to take the slack out of a rope and fasten it, while this task seemed to be not a burden at all to my fastly growing muscular arms a couple of days ago. But also mentally, as the short stretches of sleep don’t go well with my ingrained insomnia. If I only have 3 hours of sleep ahead of me, I don’t sleep. At home, I already need 3 hours alone for my personal bedtime ritual, consisting of steamy cups of tea, a hot bath, an evening read and Netflix. Aboard, there’s no Netflix, and certainly no bath.
It’s also the sounds that keep me alert and awake. The continuous sound of rocking waves, just a few inches from my head. The sudden shouting of orders and rambling of boots overhead when a sailing maneuver is being executed by the other Watch. The distressing shrill of an iron saw piercing those precious hours of bright morning sleep.
And of course, the movement. For days on end, it was impossible to walk, sit, chill, cook, pour a cup of something in a normal steady way. Imagine sleeping. I constructed a makeshift cabin of plywood in the cargo hold to keep my matrass in its place. It helps against the sudden danger of catapulting your body through this massive room when the weather gets rough. But my body is still in a constant state of tension as I lie swaying in bed. After a few days, you get used to the continuous presence of muscle ache.
But where there’s drizzly darkness, numbing and aching bodies, small underslept eyes and signs of snappy grumpiness, there’s also bright moments of joy.
There’s the mouthwatering tiny taste of freshly caught mackerel, garlic and seasalt seasoned and grilled, shared with the anticipating crew of 17.
The quick and easy comfort of slipping a hot water bottle under your damp clothes while you stare into the bright starry sky.
The sudden and unexpected gift of good conversation with the people you’ve only just barely met but sharing the same misfortune with of peering hours into the misty night at the bow to spot any oncoming fishermen’s boats.
A sudden windless day of sunshine and the captain’s decision to let everyone take a swim.
The complete and utterly shameless singing out loud of any song that springs to mind, be it 4pm or 4am.
Sober and solar powered dancing parties which erupt during the daytime maintenance hours when the sun breaks through on deck.
The adrenaline rush of climbing the bow spritz to unfurl the flying jib sail while the sea is rough and the bow keeps banging onto the towering waves and splashing water into your boots.
Stupid word jokes.
The realization that suddenly every mundane, ordinary task turns Extreme in hard wind and rainy weather conditions that turn your world upside down and make you fear for falling over board executing them – Extreme Woodworking, Extreme Dishwashing, Extreme Toothbrushing!
The unexpected sharing of your Watch mates’ private snack supply in dire times of need.
The joy of First Mate Shimra when her Starboard Watch has finally mastered another sailing maneuvre.
The sudden gasp of surprise when you flush the tiny onboard toilet in the middle of the night and the fast vortexing water turns into a mesmerizing cosmic swirl, displaying glow-in-the-dark aquatic bioluminescence flushed back into the ocean.
The feeling of your head touching your pillow three times a day.
The living of life on Tres Hombres time.
Simone Tenda, Tres Hombres “Summer” Trip 2018
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.