Vulkane und Graffiti (By David Schynoll)

24 Tage auf See, dann heißt es endlich wieder “Land in Sicht”.

Zuerst nur ein Streifen verwaschener Lichter, die sich am Horizont abzeichnen. Mit dem ersten Grauen des Morgens streckt sich die “mittlere” Inselgruppe der Azoren dann immer deutlicher vor uns aus.
Bis sich schließlich die markanten Umrisse des steil aus dem Meer emporsteigenden, Pico’s aus den Wolken schälen und wir geradewegs Kurs auf unseren Zielhafen Horta nehmen.
Begleitet von einigen Delfinen segeln wir mit nur noch drei gesetzten Segeln, wie in Zeitlupe, zwischen der imposanten Kulisse der Vulkaninseln hindurch und werden im Hafen schließlich von einigen Schleppbooten in Empfang genommen und an unseren Liegeplatz gebracht. Leinen fest und sofort die ersten Schritte an Land. Dann aber doch lieber wieder zurück an Deck, das Schaukeln des Schiffs fühlt sich vertrauter an.
Außerdem spendiert der Captain zur Feier des Tages gerade einige Tafeln Schokolade und eine Flasche Rum.

Neun Tage werden wir auf den Azoren verbringen, bis wir uns alle erholt haben und die Winde günstig stehen, um uns weiter Richtung Europa zu tragen. Neun Tage hier am Rande der Zivilisation, auf diesem kleinen Vorposten Europas mitten im großen weiten Blau. Die Mischung aus gemütlichem portugiesischen Lebensgefühl, gepaart mit der offenen, gastfreundlichen Atmosphäre einer Hafenstadt, machen unseren Aufenthalt in Horta, der circa 7500 Einwohner kleinen Hauptstadt Faials zu einem ganz besonderen Erlebnis. Seit Jahrhunderten machen hier große und kleine Segelschiffe auf ihren Atlantiküberquerungen Halt.
Die den ganzen Hafen bedeckenden Graffitis (Graffito), die traditionell von den Seglern zurückgelassen werden, zeugen davon. Die Fotos, Flaggen und Souvenirs, welche die Wände der Hafenkneipen schmücken, konservieren die Seefahrtsgeschichte der Insel und tragen zu ihrem besonderen Flair bei.

Neben einigen Reperaturen und Instandhaltungsarbeiten, die am Schiff zu tun sind, haben wir genug Zeit, die Insel zu erkunden. Die guten Kontakte der Schiffscrew zu den Einheimischen ermöglichen uns einen tollen Sonntagsausflug mit geführten Abstechern zu einigen der Inselhighlights. Besonders beeindruckend, die vielen Krater, welche von den lebendigen vulkanischen Aktivitäten zeugen. Eine mondähnliche, karge Landschaft rund um das jüngste Ausbruchsgebiet. Und ein Blick wie in eine vergessene Welt lang vergangener Zeiten, der sich Rand des 500m tiefen und 2km weiten Hauptkrater erstreckt. Ganz still und mysthisch liegt der grüne, zu einem großen Teil von endemischen (nur hier vorkommenden) Pflanzen- und Tierarten besiedelte Krater vor uns. Zeit für ein Gruppenfoto, dann geht es weiter Richtung Picknickplatz. Hier an der nordwest Küste scheint sich die ganze Insel zu Picknick und Barbecue eingefunden zu haben. Am Abend lassen wir den Tag mit einem Gin Tonic in der berühmten Segler-Bar “Peter’s Cafe” ausklingen.

Eine entspannte Woche und viele schöne Erlebnisse später setzen wir mit zwei neuen Crewmitgliedern an Board wieder unsere Segel und verlassen unter dem Winken vieler Schaulustiger diese besondere Insel mitten im Nirgendwo. Nächstes Ziel: Amsterdam. Ankunftszeit: ungewiss. Von nun an sind wir wieder Wind und Wetter ausgesetzt und werden das Beste aus beiden machen.

 

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Northwind in the Suez Canal (by captain Andreas Lackner)

Or was there another reason that the container wanted to tack there?

Any sail cargo user or other kind of realist could not have planned an incident better than what happened, congratulations! Worries about the world’s economy because of one ship. Are you all mad? What do we not have in Europe that we need to survive? A phone?

We are now 3 days and 600 miles out of Horta, Azores, where we enjoyed very much the local customs of eating, drinking and conversing together as well as the lush green nature of the island with all its scenic walking paths.
Volcanoes, flowers, cows, the sea…all is visible on a single day of hiking through the wild. For all cows. 

Talking to our good friend Paula’s partner Emanuel, we found out that many people on the island want to exchange the cow-strategy, which means just many cows, to something else.
Something, in a realistic way, would make more sense, because the cows are subsidized by the EU and they need ships to bring them, or meat and milk, far away to be converted into money. So some agricultural product which can be used locally, does not need so much ground and is also not as toxic for the soil. Flowers, mushrooms, wine, fruit, vegetables and herbs from permaculture…these are some of the options people are trying hard here and on the neighboring islands, and you can see on their backs and the prices of their goods, that it is a very hard way to survive on the island.

When you enter the Continente Supermarket all of this is wiped out of sight. Cheapest plastic fantastic from all over the world as far as you can see. The containers also arrive here. Francisco, our agent here, told us that since Corona he has a lot more work, because people order much more shit on the internet, which comes with the containers. With a good plate of (imported) food costing EUR 7,- and a bottle of good Portuguese (imported) wine for EUR 4,- in the cafe it is hard for any local farmer or winemaker to compete. But they try, also with reforestation and use of local wood for better and nicer housing projects than what was made after the earthquakes.

Again it’s the ultra-low cargo price which makes all of this unbalance possible. And the islanders who claim that they also want all the commodities from the peoples on the mainland. But you already have your political independence, the good air, no corona, tranquility, beauty and relative safety from war and terror. You cannot have everything. All this everything, which today mainly means eating cheap, industrial food in order to save money for buying phones and using the internet, is just not the best you can get, at least not on the Azores, because there is much more. I am glad to have met a few people who do it different, like Norberto, Brigitte & her sons, Rita, Ines, Yasmina & Fred and many more and you can see that they enjoy the community and the islands nature as well as the sea and her creatures which are abundant around this magic place in the middle of the Atlantic.

As a line ship with still some tramp character we also had to take in some local specials as tuna in cans and wine from Pico. And we left our mark at friendly Porto Pim, have a look!

Sailing with a strong SW-ly breeze made us a good progress through the first day on our way back home, but now NE is expected, some ocean tacking ahead of us, but still we do not have to go around the Cape 😉
Who would do this anyway, just because of cargo, something which comes from far and is not necessary for life. Would you burn fuel for that, have nature destroyed somewhere far away and intoxicate the oceans with oil and noise ? What’s up with you, are you mad??

Keep tacking dear people, there’s just no other way than the use of wind

Andreas

 

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From trainee to captain of the Tres Hombres

I have been sailing since before I can remember. When I was a little boy I grew up with my brother and my parents on a small wooden sloop sailing off the coasts of Africa, South America and the Caribbean sea. I did many other things in my life since then but I continued sailing on small leisure sailboats, mostly in the French Brittany and the English Channel.

Six years ago, the 10th of November 2012, I stepped on board Tres Hombres for the first time. It was in Cascais, near Lisbon in Portugal. I was signing on as a Trainee for a three month voyage that would bring me to the Island of Barbados, from where I was going to hitchhike boats to South America and start backpacking towards the pacific. I was looking for something to do with my life that would be more exciting and useful than sitting behind that keyboard for the rest of my career.

By the time we arrived in Barbados, I was feeling more useful on the ship than I had ever felt anywhere on land and my plan to go backpacking suddenly turned into sailing Tres Hombres back across the Ocean and bring her home with her belly full of rum and cacao.

Six years later, after more than 45 000 nautical miles at sea, 10 Ocean crossings and so many encounters, It is time for us to set sails one more time for another long voyage over the Ocean to the Caribbean and back. This time I will be the  Captain of the proud ship and a wonderful crew of salty and hungry sailors.

Remi Lavergne,
Captain of the Tres Hombres.

Sail aboard our ships Nordlys or Tres Hombres as a trainee. Aboard you will learn all aspects of sailing cargo while you gain the necessary sea miles to start the journey towards becoming a professional master mariner. Learn more: http://fairtransport.eu/sail-along/ or email booking@fairtransport.nl for questions.

Tres Hombres blog: let go and haul!

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.
Andreas
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 booking@fairtransport.nl
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Tres Hombres blog: Signing on, for working sail

At sea again, I am looking back at the last port stay In Douarnenez. Douarnenez is, like Horta, a great sailingship port. From this town there are currently three larger size (for the industry) sailing cargo ships operating: Grayhound, Lune II and Gallant. Also it is the town of origin of one of the French sailing cargo ship shipbrokers: Towt, with as her dedicated director Guillaume Le Grand. Of course, apart from visiting the different crews, I had to visit him, and his partner Diana. The real reason we stopped here, was for a crew change. Old sailors, who had just crossed the Atlantic ocean signed off. New sailors, signed on to join the ship, for a voyage through the English channel. This is the final leg of the: Tres hombres Atlantic roundtrip of this year, and brings our clipper brigantine to the discharge docks in Amsterdam.

So, how does this, signing on, go? There are three different options to sign on: joining as a professional crewmember, this is, if you have enough experience on squareriggers, applied for a position, and where selected by one of our Captains. Second, being on the right spot at the right time, really meaning applying for a position directly on the ship, while taking part of a refit or visiting the ship, and having the luck, that there is a position available. Third, the most straight forward way, of checking the sailing schedule on the website, and applying for a trainee position in exchange for paying the trainee fee.

Back in the days, the real signing on, would be done on board or in a port office. Here the ships articles would be read to the crew, and everybody would put a signature under it. Nowadays, you get your contract by email, sign it, scan it and email it back. After that the nice task of preparing yourself for sea begins. You can regularly check the ship, to see if she comes already nearer to your port of signing on. You have to gather your gear, for everybody this will be different, but you do receive a list of suggested gear. Finally some people, read a selection of Maritime literature, to mentally prepare for the life at sea in working sail.

If you are interested to sign on, short term, you can still sign on for a cargo voyage for this summer. Joining the ship, in Amsterdam, the first week of June to sail across the North sea, the English Channel and into the bay of Biscay, for a French port nearby Bordeaux. Here a fine cargo of wine will be taken in, to bring back to Amsterdam again. A great voyage for the beginner, for a first introduction to sail. Or for the seasoned sailor, a voyage to finally experience maneuvering a squarerigger in coastal waters! Also there is the possibility to join for an crossing of the Atlantic ocean, but then you have to wait, with joining, until the 1st of November. Finally, for those, who would really like to encounter the tough life at sea, of “Iron man on wooden ships” one should sign on to the other ship of our fleet, the entirely wooden Nordlys. Nordlys, built in 1873, is most likely the oldest cargo vessel still operational. Joining her, is an experience with the guarantee that you will never forget it. So: sign on email booking@fairtransport.nl, welcome on board, and bon voyage!

Truly yours,

Capt. Jorne Langelaan

Tres Hombres blog: Sailing is our only option!

Or the inconvenient truth, about the consequences of not switching back to world transport, by Sail power alone?
(Written from the sea without reference material about statistics, so details might differ slightly from the actual situation, however the general facts stay intact).

90% of the day to day products we use in the Western world (USA, Europe etcetera) have been imported, mostly over sea. We are not only talking about exotic goods, like coffee, tea and spices, but we are talking about basic products like: grain, beans, wood, fuel and off course our consumer goods: the endless mountain of electrical apparatus, plastic, clothes and everything you can think of.

The reason it is this way, is that shipping has become so efficient, with economics of scale, containerization and online logistic systems, that shipping costs are virtually eliminated. This makes it possible for every entrepreneur, to source the countries of the earth for the cheapest and least regulated production facilities. By doing this the costs of products drop, below any local producer, and make it more economically feasible to prefer paying a cheaper price for the same product, which has been produced abroad. The local product will soon be priced out of the market and its industry will cease to exist. This whole system, is a perfect storm of the combined forces of capitalistic and global economy. With as a result, the lowest possible price, and the highest possible consumption.

I have not talked about the emissions of these 100.000 motor ships of the world yet. And although 16 of the biggest motor ships emit as much sulfur as all cars of the world together. And the shipping emissions are deemed responsible for, annually, 50.000 deaths of cancer and other illnesses. The real problem of this system of logistics is not that, but the unbelievable rise of consumerism and the demise of sustainable self sufficient local economies, and all damage to our ecosystems, climate and social relationships it brings along.

The re-introduction of sail power, and the abolition of transport by mechanical means, would mean the costs of shipping would become fair again, not only fair for the current generation of consumers, but fair for the unborn, hopefully, many generations to come. It would mean an unbelievable revolution in transport, and actually the only morally responsible course of development in this field. It would give human (and non-human) societies a change to be not wiped out by ecological disaster, caused by our own poisonous economical system. And yes, it would mean a re-awakening, most people would not be ready for…

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

P.S. Entrepreneurs are welcomed to take their responsibility, and ship their cargoes with Fairtransport. For more information sent an email to shipping@fairtransport.nl

Tres Hombres blog: Hard tack, limejuice and old horse

The cook on board a sailing vessel, has the most important job. She is the one keeping the crew in great shape, be it physically or emotionally. By storing, keeping, cooking, timing and serving the right quality and quantities of food. Providing a warm and welcoming place of refuge in the galley. And having a listening ear, to every crew members: stories, doubts, fears and dreams.

Back in the days, when sailing ships ruled the waves, the food on ships was very distinctive. Instead of bread there was “hard tack”, a biscuit made of white flower a pinch of salt and water, double or triple baked and kept in tins, to be edible indefinitely. But still… one could recognize a sailorman by his manners, of constantly knocking with his biscuit on the table, this would be to knock out the weevils. When it became clear that scurvy could be prevented by vitamin C, British shipowner’s would start supplying a lime a day to all their crews. From this the nickname, limejuicer or limey, for the British got established. Porridge, peas, sauerkraut, salted fish, salted meat and canned meat or “old horse” where common foods on the deepsea vessels.

Even nowadays, we choose to safe energy, and not have a refrigerator on board. Yet, every night, our deckhands, bake fresh bread. And our cook has brought it to an art, to supply us with the nicest food three times, or more often, a day. As an example this morning she made us bacon, eggs and toast, during coffee time home baked cookies, and with lunch a nice soup with bread and cheese. Every day meals are different. For breakfast: porridge with fruit, pancakes, or fish with rice. For lunch: a salad, soup, or pasta. At night a wide variety of dinners like: vegetable pie, curry, chick peas or another delicacy. Tonight, because of the Sunday, we will even have a glass of wine. Being the cook on board is not only the most important job, it is also the hardest. Ever tried to prepare a perfect meal, for 15 people, during a continuous earthquake, and without having a tap with running water, and that 3 times a day, for over half a year in a row? Judith thank you very much!

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

The need for wine from Rioja and the Bordeaux region sends our good ship Tres Hombres on a voyage in June and July from Amsterdam to Royan, Douarnenez and back this summer.
If you want to experience a coastal cargo voyage on a square rigger without engine with captain Andreas Lackner, then come and join in!
Landlubbers will get sea legs, and old salts wil get a glimpse of how it was in the good days and how it will be!
For more info http://fairtransport.eu/sail-along/ or email booking@fairtransport.nl

Tres Hombres blog: The leaving of Horta

Yesterday it was all hands making the ship ready for sea again. Filling up the tanks with drinking water, lashing all gear, studying the weather, doing the last safety drills. Taking in stores and food, for 15 persons, for the entire month, and a bit more to be sure. Taking our last shower, writing the last postcard and saying goodbye to our old and new made friends. Finally we got the entire crew together for a muster, and I explained the expected weather and the expected maneuver to leave the harbor.

This morning, as it turned out, the entire situation, with the wind, was different. Meaning the whole maneuver turned out different, really for the better. I had expected we would have needed to be towed free of a leequay for a bit, make sail, and tack out of the harbor. Kind of in a similar way as I remembered having left the last time (in 2012). This meant something like 8 times of tacking in close quarters. But really, when coming on deck, there was no wind at all. But after breakfast, when all our sailors went aloft to unfurl the sails, and I was gonna go ashore to enquire about the tugboat. A very slight favorable breeze appeared.

We only needed a short time to think things through, and I decided to forget about the tugboat. The rigging of the towrope was canceled. And we set all squaresails, while still alongside. Now we just needed a little bracing, casting off of the lines, and we started moving, very slowly, in the direction of the breakwater. A crowd had been gathered ashore and with shouts, waving of goodbyes, ships horns and even a canonshot, graciously Tres Hombres made her way out. Before leaving the harbor all sails where set, and while jibing around the pierhead, we blasted our “Norwegian fog horn” as a final greet…

The need for wine from Rioja and the Bordeaux region sends our good ship Tres Hombres on a voyage in June and July from Amsterdam to Rayon, Douarnenez and back this summer.
If you want to experience a coastal cargo voyage on a square rigger without engine with captain Andreas Lackner, then come and join in!
Landlubbers will get sea legs, and old salts wil get a glimpse of how it was in the good days and how it will be!
For more info http://fairtransport.eu/sail-along/ or email booking@fairtransport.nl

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

Tres Hombres blog: A sailing ship port

After a three weeks ocean crossing it is always nice to sail into port. Especially when this port is Horta, on the island of Fayal, of the Azores archipel. This port is one of the few ports in the world, which is still totally orientated towards sailing vessels. And even nicer, more and more, sailing cargo vessels are visiting this port again. The week before we where here, it was the famous cargo schooner Avontuur, for a short visit. Then we came in, and a few days later it is the schooner Gallant, who recently changed owners and was converted for sail cargo purposes. I still have to meet her Captain and owners, but am very excited to have more fellow cargo sailors in port.

Radio interview with captain Jorne Langelaan (start halfway): Radio Azores

To return to the port of Horta itself, this place breaths the old traditions of the squarerigged era, and traditional sealore of whaling and fishing. It is the only port I know of, still with a small tugboat, offered free of charge, to assist sailing vessels with their manouvring in. There is the famous Peter Sport bar, where all sailors who crossed the ocean and ended up on Fayal, have raised the glass to celebrate their arrival. Above this bar, there is the room with the most amazing Scrimshaw artwork. The ancient art of carving and enscribing, with a sail needle, the bones and teeth of Whales. Then there is the people, an amazing friendly community awaits the ships coming in. Farmers, fishermen, shopkeepers, officials, agents and bystanders are all as welcoming and friendly as you dream off, when spotting the first sight of land. Especially Paula, and her friends, our longstanding and nicely (un)”official” agent, is helping the ship and crew, with sourcing cargo, stores, excursions, transport etcetera, in an amazing way.

And not to forget the practical reasons of stopping here. We land a fine cargo of rum here. Re-provision the ship with the best canned fish, wines and locally grown tea, fruit and vegetables. And we have a minor crew change, and have the staying crew stretch their legs, to make ready for the final run, back to Europe.

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

Tres Hombres blog: Preparing for landfall

After a voyage of 3 weeks across the North Atlantic ocean, the entire crew is excited to make landfall again. In the galley we fantasize about: fresh fruit, butter, raw milk and yoghurt. Certain deckhands already arranged, to not have dinner on board tomorrow, because of their desire for a big steak in cafe Sport. On deck we dream about a hot shower, with a clean, soft and dry towel, or a full night of rest, without being waken up halfway, to steer the ship trough a dark night. And of course their is talk of the smell of trees and flowers, or an uninterrupted walk, over firm soil, for more than 25 meters.

The officers are busy calculating the estimated time of arrival, the local tides and currents. Or are walking the decks trimming sails, to get that extra half a knot out of the ship. I made contact with our agent in Horta, Paula, to enquire about the possible quay space and towing assistance. During our two o clock muster, I told something about the history of the Azores, about the coming week in port, and what to expect, with port watches, maintenance, loading, discharging, new crew arriving and possible excursions. Most importantly, we talked about the harbor maneuver, to enter Horta, and what is expected from everybody on which stations.

In the afternoon the Starboard side watch is employed with getting the anchor chains on deck, flaking the desired amount in front of our windlass, and connecting them to the anchors. Horta here we come, land ahoy, for tomorrow morning!

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan