May Nordlys be ready to return to sea soon !!! by capt. Lammert

Ahoy dear Sailorfriends,

It has been a while since some news from the good cargo sailing vessel Nordlys became public. We have been also quite busy over here.

At the moment the Nordlys is on the slipway in Douarnenez. The work on the damage of the collision is being carried out by some companies from Douarnenez. At the moment we are five people on board, and helping as much as we can. The atmosphere is getting a lot better everyday again.

Since the moment we departed from Den Helder, until now, it has been quite an adventure I may say.
Sailing the maidentrip on the completely refitted Nordlys, originally build in 1873, as a captain and crew, is an experience once in a lifetime.

The voyage from Den Helder till Brixham we made an average of seven knots and Nordlys performed very well at sea. In Brixham we could do some caulking, because she was making some water. This all normal for an old lady like Nordlys.

After two years of refit and a wharf time in between, all the planks have to settle themselves. This is only possible in the first waves at sea. To make a stop underway for caulking and checking the underwater ship was all planned. Sailing along the coast I had different harbors already in mind.

Brixham was although the best and most beautiful harbor to make a stop, since the Nordlys originally as build at the English south coast. A lot of people came by and were happy to see Nordlys and we very interested in her life story. An old fisherman called Jim, came by and could confirm she was built in 1873 at the wharf in Yarmouth. According to this man, Nordlys was most probably not built as a trawler but as a trading ship. He is having access to the ships registration lists from the old days and is going to find out more on the history of the Nordlys.

The weather was good to continue our trip to Douarnenez for unloading the rum and so we did. We noticed the ship was making a lot less water than before and we were proud of ourselves, and the work we had done. Nordlys was sailing beautiful. When we passed Ile d’Ouessant, we had to sail full and by and were tacking all the way into the Bay of Douarnenez. It was above my expectation how close to the wind Nordlys can sail. We did not even had the jib flying in the reasonable calm weather we had at that time.

Saturday evening we arrived close to Douarnenez . Monday the tugboat was available for us to bring us to port. I decided to drop anchor in an official anchor place, about one and a half mile from the coast. Also I had contact with VTS Cross Corsen about our anchoring.

Since this was the first time using the anchor I didn’t want to be to close to land. The anchor was holding good. Sunday there was a sailing regatta of 4’20 s and optimists in the bay. This was a nice spectacle to view and we enjoyed a nice and calm Sunday.


Next day the tugboat would come in the afternoon. We were all prepared and excited to go in port to unload our first cargo. This was all going to change dramatically next day. Early in the morning I woke up by a big crash, I run out and saw the whole aft ship being destroyed. A fishing boat was close by, heading away from us in the direction of the port entrance. It took a while before she turned around (It took some time to change the autopilot to manual steering as it seemed) and she collided us almost a second time on our bow.

All the crew was now on deck and luckily at the moment of impact, nobody was at the toilet. Nordlys was making water because of the collision and with the pump running, we were being tugged into port by the rescue boat.

The same day we were standing dry on the slipway and first a lot of paperwork had to be done. More than a week has been passed before the actual reparations could begin. I truthfully belief there must be a reason for everything what is happening in life. At the moment I still cannot figure out a reason for this sad story yet. I think we will never now. Anyway; right now we are going to work on Nordlys and make her even better than she already was.


Tres Hombres is also in Dournenez, they are busy loading wine and preparing the ship and crew for the next Atlantic crossing. The presence of Francois and Wiebe, here in Douarnenez, is a big support for me. Thank you friends.

We organized a barbeque underneath the Nordlys for everybody and had a beautiful evening. We had a feast for life and for cargo sailing. We laughed and we cried. We toasted a rum on the Nordlys.

Tres Hombres and Nordlys together in Douarnenez! A little bit different as we all had expected.

May Nordlys be ready to return to sea soon !!!

Gerhard, Jeroen, Haerri, Lucie, Tristan, Jetna, Ivo and Fabian (the first crew of Nordlys) Thank you so much so far, on the first voyage with the Nordlys. Also Karl and Dave for helping out, and of course everybody else who is supporting us in whatever way.

Liberté pour tout le monde,


Nordlys drydock Douarnenez

Vanuatu Flag

First Cargo

Ivo steering

cleaning up after collision

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