Nordlys blog: Mannen met moed en vakmanschap. En het waren niet alleen de mannen…

In de haven

Nordlys ligt vredig afgemeerd aan de houten steiger in Willemsoord, Den Helder. Omringd door zeezeilschepen, stoomslepers, enkele botters, een voormalig lichtschip en een paar tjalken, is dit een mooi schouwspel dat zich voor mijn ogen voltrekt. Het schip en de bemanning zijn weer veilig in de thuishaven aangekomen. We hebben afgelopen zomer fabuleuze reizen gemaakt met de Nordlys langs de Europese kusten. Eerst Noord en daarna Zuid. In elke haven waar we kwamen hebben we fantastische mensen ontmoet. De Nordlys is ons welgezind en het vrachtruim steeds meer gevuld met heerlijke producten. Nog moeten we een tocht varen naar Bremerhaven deze maand. Daarna is er periode van rust voor het schip en kan er enkel onderhoud gedaan worden.

De zon schijnt meestal tussen enkele korte felle buien die even snel langstrekken als dat ze aankomen . Er waait een frisse vlagerige Noordwester over de Noordzee en hier over de Noordfriese kust. Terwijl een vissoep boven het vuurtje staat te pruttelen zit ik aan dek, kijk om me heen en geniet van een wijntje. Als ik een pijp had gehad, had ik hem gerookt. Het is rustig aan boord, de gehele bemanning is aan land. Ik sla het boek van Hylke Speerstra open, Schippers van de Zee, en begin te lezen.

“ Eeuwenlang werd in Europa kustvaart bedreven. De schepen waren betrekkelijk klein, schippers waren ondernemende zeelieden. Mannen met moed en vakmanschap. En het waren niet alleen de mannen…
Hun vlakgaande kustvaartschepen waren geschikt om de lading uit de havens in het binnenland te halen en naar toe te brengen. Maar schipper en schip bezaten ook de eigenschappen de zee te trotseren. Door deze tweezijdigheid ontstond een vorm van handelsvaart die gedurende een periode van naar schatting twintig eeuwen onuitroeibaar bleek.
Toch hebben perioden van grote bloei en crises ook in deze tak van scheepsvaart elkaar afgewisseld. Oorlogen, die handel tussen de landen vrijwel verlamden, deden de varensmannen en hun gezinnen soms grote armoe lijden. Gedurende die tijden overwoekerde het gras de scheepshellingen. Maar zodra er weer een opleving kwam, bleken er schippers en scheepsbouwers overgebleven te zijn. En met hen was het vakmanschap bewaard gebleven. Steeds opnieuw kwam de kustvaart tot bloei.”

Ik kijk op, overpeins, geniet een moment van rust en vervolg.

Kapitein Lammert

Nordlys blog: We were the talk of the island for a couple of days

We are under sail again. Tacking our way out of the Bay of Biskay and heading for Fowey in Cornwall.
Two beautiful days we spend in another little paradise. At our arrival, it looked like, if almost all the people of the village L’Herbaudiere, were standing at the pier to welcome us. Assisted by the SNSM rescue boat, we could enter the harbor.
At Ile de Noirmoutier we unloaded a part of the portugese olive oil.
All the olive oil was already sold. Everybody came directly to the ship to pick up their share of this delicious oil.
This was a interesting happening with a tasting session at the quay.
Several articles appeared in the local newspaper. We were the talk of the island for a couple of days.
All this was made possible by Alexandra Geldenhuys from “New Dawn Traders” and Alex Etourneau who imported the olive oil.
Also thanks to Etienne and his friends, who introduced us to the island, invited us for a delicious meal and helped us a lot in many ways.
Thank you Noirmoutier.

Captain Lammert Osinga

Nordlys blog: The cargo-hold will be completely filled

Nordlys had finished the Baltic voyage earlier this year. The ship was loaded with natural wine from France for Copenhagen, Bornholm and Rostock. From there we made a stop in Den Helder and prepared for a southern cargo trip. On our way to Porto we made a stop in Devon, a region on the southern coast of England.

Brixham is a little historic harbor in the Torbay. This is a good bay to shelter for the westerly storms.
Over here we waited till the first autumn storms passed by. Sorlandet,(a Norwegian Tallship) also bounded south,
was at anchor outside in the bay. She was taking shelter, just like us.
While being here, we could do little maintenance on the ship. Caulking, pitching, rigging work and so forth.
Brixham is the home port for several Sailing Trawlers like Nordlys. They do charter-sailing their goal is to bring the people out of the cities and take them into nature.
It was a beautiful view to see Nordlys moored together with these similar traditional sailing ships. With their crews we were able to exchange knowledge about Sailing Trawlers and spending a good time together. Our good friend Tony Knights, skipper of the Leader, was also around and of great help. We had a useful stop and a good time with the sailors from Brixham.

Last Thursday morning we set sail again, since the forecasts showed a good weather window to cross the Bay of Biskay.
Jeroen is the cook on board and providing us every day with delicious food. He supplied our stock with beautiful seasonal products from local farmers and producers. It takes a bit more time, but it is so much better than the supermarketfood. Good food which stays longer fresh, are stored in the galley now. The taste of this vegetables and fruits are just fantastic.

At the moment we are sailing southwards in the Biskay and making a good progress. Next port of call is Porto. This old town is situated on the mouth of the river Douro. Porto and the Douro were of great value in the era of sail concerning in- and export of goods for the country. We will be moored in the Douro estuary and going to charge a well amount of precious goods from Portugal.
We have Olive-oil, Almond-oil, Salt, Natural Wine and Port Wine, to fill our cargo-hold with. These wares are bound for the more northern parts of the European continent, like France, England, Germany and the Netherlands.
We will be able to tell everybody the story of the producers and their way of working.
Fairtransport completes the tale, by the way these products are being transported. The cargo-hold of Nordlys will be completely filled; Almost thirty tons of beautiful products from Portugal we have to move by wind and sail. More and more cargo-owners like to see their goods being transported overseas by sail. They are also willing to pay a little more, for a better cause

Captain Lammert Osinga

Cargo Party in Copenhagen by Rosa

Nordlys report – Cargo Party in Copenhagen

After some stormy days in the Skagerrak and Kattegat, we perfectly slalommed through the Helsingor, where the captain asked us to flip a coin at a buye. Does that mean good luck or something? “It means that you can flip a coin at a buye.” Well the wetter the weather, the drier the french humor it seems. We went on anchor just outside of Copenhagen. The next morning was finally sunny and we were joined by wine trader Sune and his friends and family for a short sailing towards our tug boat. A sudden heavy rainfall drowned our hopes of staying dry for a day…welcome to the North! From the tug boat, Nordlys carpenter Tristan was already waving at us. As we made our way through the city centre, we approached a fancy newly built bridge. Traffic stopped on both sides, but it did not open. As we came closer and closer, we were ready to drop the stern anchor to save our mast, but the tug boat driver managed to spin us around in the last moment and we made two little circles before the bridge finally opened, sliding open horizontally. We passed one more bridge, under which Sunes wine shop Rosforth & Rosforth is located, and after dancing a fender boogie on the bow, we moored our good lady at the quay. Magically, wine bottles and glasses appeared in an instant. Shortly after, we were invited to walk over to the wine shop, where the chef had prepared us a feast for lunch. “And make sure to take your glasses with you.” “Sir yes sir!”.

In the afternoon, the crew went for a collective shower in Christianias hippi bath house. Warm, dry and happy we went to bed, thinking about the upcoming working day, unloading our cargo and labelling every of the 10.000 bottles with our Faritransport Class A label. We didn’t yet know how many hands would come to our help. It was a sunny saturday when we unloaded, labelled and loaded all cargo in one day. Around 30 people, mostly friends of Sune but also some curious souls who happened to pass by joined us in the action. Fuelled by Tres Hombres chocolate from our ship shop, which was also up and running, the occasionally opened bottle of wine, a barbecue lunch and good vibes, the work went easy. Also, our bosun Tramp had yet again already connected with some local musicians, and great tunes were filling the air in the afternoon. The special feature of the evening was the re-appearance of the Belgium beer barrels loaded in Oostende earlier this season, which had been hiding below all the wine boxes. And so we added freshly tapped beer to the fun. Before the euphory of managing all that cargo in a single day went down and we had a chance to realize how tired we are, Sune let us know that we were invited for a Tapas dinner at his wine bar in town. We were able to sample some more of the bottles we had transported all the way from Douarnenez and can definitely say “Transported by sail, approved by sailors!” We finished the night with a Georgian tradition brought to us by Tramp, toasting round in a cricle until our glasses, which were for a change filled with Tres Hombres Marie Gallant rum, went dry.

My toast was something like this: Thanks to my fellow crew for the hard work, the learning experience and good energy through the last weeks. Thanks to our Copenhagen friends for the warm welcome.

Skol, Rosa

Date : 3-10-2016
Position : N 55° 40.45′ ; E 012° 35.21′
Speed & course : N/A
Wind speed & direction : NE 4-5
Sea state : N/A
Sky state : 2/8

We’ll drop the anchor north of Copenhagen tomorrow (29th September)

Nordlys report, Date : Wednesday the 28 of September 2016
Position :57*15.3’N 11*30.4’E
Speed & course : 5.5 kt to south east
Wind speed & direction : south west 20 to 30 bellow showers
Sea state : moderate
Sky state : 8/8

exhausted, all is good on board
we’ll drop the anchor north of Copenhagen tomorrow around noon


A full load of wine – By Capt. Andreas

DATE: 4/7/2015 GMT:1331  POS: off the Bill of Portland COG: 085 SOG: 5,5







SEA TEMP: 16,5


AIR PRES: 1021

Douarnenez, our friendly little French homeport situated in the awesome Baie de Douarnenez in Bretagne, welcomed us with great summer weather, just the wind let us down a bit as we were late exactly one hour for our rendezvous at the lock, after about 1000 M tacking down from Den Helder. That gave us time for a swim and a good preparation of the maneuver to sail onto the buoy next to the old harbour. The Dinghy waiting for us with a 20m line at the buoy, they had to really stretch it out as we came around the corner and swung her up in the wind, standing still with the dolphin striker above the dinghy. Make fast the line, sails down, square away the deck, put up the tent and come together midships for a final muster and a good glass of rum, welcome to Douarnenez!

Guillaume and Diana welcomed as warm and helpful as ever, and after an effective briefing with the guys from the little tugs, he flooded the deck with fine Biodynamic wine and cider from the next village, which we used to celebrate the departure of almost all trainees, finishing long after the last light dimmed in town.

The next day it all happened, We went through the lock into tho old port Rhu, made fast and started immediately unloading the 10 barrels which went round the Atlantic on the ship. Hereafter cleaned the hold and prepared for a full load of wine, this time with wine in bottles, bound for Copenhagen. Luckily th wine we tasted the night before was biodynamic, so the grape power did not stay in our head but in our muscles, moving about 26 tonnes of wine into the hold before dinner!
As we had some space free we filled that the next day with 2 pallets of cider and some local produced sardines, also bound for Copenhagen.

When we left the port we chose a day with little wind and luckily the official tug boat had no crew, so we could just use just the old wooden tug, pushing us safely out for free and letting us off just after the locks by Ile de Tristan. After a night anchored in the western swell north of Tristan, we weighed anchor before sunrise at 4 in the morning with the first breeze and gently jibed out of the bay, with Remi sailing along closely on his boat, underway to Brest. He helped out a lot as local guide, having a hard time to leave again, after many months at sea on this magic ship. The same with Francois, what went so far that someone with a little boat had to get him off the anchorage and bring him to a house near the cliffs in this bay! Thanks, french connection, for the good care you lend to her!

After passing the inside of Quessant again, we aimed for Brixham as next stop, where we met with Toni Knights and his Looe lugger Iris, who is very keen to also join the sailing cargo alliance. This is a network of sailing vessels, aimed to take over as much cargo as possible from steam and road transport and promote hard against useless, dirty carriage of cheap trash from poor to rich which is just accelerating the degeneration of the western world in a crazy speed. Also joining are ships like the Greyhound, the Avontuur, the Alva and hopefully many more…

Just in the last moment before setting sail again, we welcomed Tim from the Cornish seaweed company onboard, who brought us some samples of their hand harvested sea produce, which we will have on board for the ships market. After dropping him off we left the mooring with SW winds which will hopefully carry us along the Channel without making new AIS drawings all over the waters between England and France.

All the best from ship and crew,


Almost halfway Skagerrak.

DATE:22-8 GMT:14.37 POS:58.19 N,8.53 E COG:200 SOG:1.5






SEA STATE:rollin´





Almost halfway Skagerrak.
Wind is gone, rainclouds with thunder.
Drifting 1.5 knots with the current in the
good direction.
Drinking hot chocolate.
Everybody is well on board Tres Hombres.