When you hear Dirk and Louise coming around the corner with the good old tug Gar. Plof-plof, plof-plof, plof-plof…in a rhythm which immediately makes your hips shake and think about a jungle party…but no, they come to get us. Get us out of here! 3 months of a full ships refit, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in any Den Helder weather condition left some marks on the faces of this amazing crew, who completed it just in time. At the planned date of departure, 5th of November, all sails were bent up and furled snug, ready for setting and catching the right breeze to bring the old lady south again, back into her beloved Atlantic Ocean. More later about sailing, now just one thing: thanks Chad, Marco, Daniel, Jeroen x 2, Eva, Piers, Klaas, Hannah, Martin, Whoopy, Nici, Woody, Tim, Tom x 2, Bram, Renee, Jules, Rene, Andrew, Adam, Francois, Wolfgang, Elin, Ambrose, Paul, Wiebe, Soraia, Shimra, Laura, Arie, Vincent, Peter, Nico, Evert, Serge, Colin, Giulia, Jake, Rosa, Joel, Jean-Se, Team Tirol, John, Juliette, Lida, Mike, Miranda, Klaske and whoever I did not mention but was here gets a chocolate and a glass of rum the next time! Fantastic work has been done!
The old lady needs that treatment. All on her is used to the limit, 20.000 miles of racing on open water every year, all under sail, cold and warm water, sun or hail, 100kg seadogs hauling away ropes or 50kg rig artists sliding down backstays. More stainless creations join the ship every year to save paint which would mainly end up in the ocean anyway. More watertight seams everywhere! Pumping every morning becomes a routine done for the sake of the routine. 3 pumps for the whole ship is enough to keep her belly dry from inside. Still the most important are the hands doing all this, living together on small spaces and putting all their energy towards the goal of change. Showing alternatives, proof their viability, live them.
This is not about transport. Would be too a big effort for a bit of coffee, rum or chocolate. It’s about waking up and not let you tell that the intoxicating shit you buy in the supermarket is normal. That unfair trade is normal. That roundup and glyphosate are normal. That 400m motor ships are normal. That artificial intelligence, electric cars, hillsides and beaches full of windmills and solar panels are normal. It is an excrescence of evolution, but still cannot be the norm, not for the globalist, not for the farmer, for nobody.
Evolution started who knows how long ago, took a right when totalitarian agriculture started 10.000 years ago and accelerated with the use of ships, about 6000 years ago. Now we perfected the art of sailing, ok, lets say until 200 years ago. The kind of sailing, with a purpose (cargo) in a sustainable way (with the wind) on a flattering ship. Nothing modern I mean. So it’s not only about transport, but we had to choose a main topic and we loved sailing! And what can combine and realize the components like adventure, love for nature, building communities better than a ship! You have to brave the elements you like, you get to work and live with people you don’t know, and you bring home the best rum in the world.
Back to our brave crew, who swallowed out their souls on the way south through the North Sea. A stiff north westerly breeze shook the new rigging as the lee rail went all under but at 12 knots we had to start shortening sail. A very few hands were left to keep her steady and jump up the yards, thus as Captain & Cook Francois was baking bread during the gale, I had to practice stormfurling of royal, t’gallant and course while Paul kept her going south at the point. A fine breeze from the east relieved us from the North Sea, make us glide through the Strait with 10kn and more, while the crew inhaled sunrays and re-strengthened with Soraias great food coming out of the famous Tres Hombres galley with ocean view on every leeside.
Arrival in Dieppe was organized like common coastal trade, no delays, locks open 2 hours before high tide, we received the friendly tug 300m before the harbor entrance, got clipped in and put in place within half an hour, French mariners are right there! After mooring and furling, degustation started immediately and did not end yet! Thanks to the great partnership with Francois and Raphael, Les Frers de la Cote, the French part of the international cargo sailing community. We had nothing short in the cold winter night under a small deck tent, enjoying each other’s stories in the open air. Now the hold is half full with Armagnac barrels and French biodynamic wine.
Allright my hearties, some food is calling from the galley, enough PR for now, stay tuned for Biskaya and what follows, and please, stay in reality..