Life on Tres Hombres (by Michael Balshaw)

Life on Tres Hombres has been an experience and a half!

After a few years where we all had a life constraining effect from corona and a chance meeting with an old friend who had sailed on Tres Hombres previously my heart was set on an adventure.
A sailing trip from Amsterdam to Les Sables in France to pick up a shipment of fine wine was booked and the waiting began.

Only having sailed once before I am a novice sailor so before the trip began I had lots of questions. Many of these were answered in a very informative handbook that arrived a week or so before the trip. It is not necessary to have all the latest sailing gear but as long as you are prepared for all weathers it is enough. I respected the advice not to go out and buy new things but to make use of second hand, borrowed or recycled goods. This goes to the very heart of the ethos of the organisation. Transporting goods ethically across the world and at the same time allowing people to learn, experience and enjoy sailing on such a fine vessel.

When it was time for the adventure to begin I set off to meet the ship and the crew where I would be spending the next couple of weeks. After the confines of the previous years, it was a joy to get together with people from all over the world, of different ages and different amounts of sailing experience from the novice like me to vastly experienced sailors but all wanting to experience this unique vessel.

It is important to bring with you an open mind. This is not luxury but you gain so much more. On my arrival, I discovered the intended date of departure could not be met due to some repairs needed on the wooden ship which I learn are constantly ongoing and fascinating to watch and learn from. But also due to the wind. An engineless vessel relies on wind and quickly earths whoever sails upon her into the beautiful natural rhythms of nature. Indeed life on board quickly settles into a rhythm. Watch periods are punctuated with amazing food from the galley cook and the galley in a way becomes the beating heart of the ship. The time before departure was not wasted. We had time to bond as a group and literally learn the ropes and how life on board works. Onboard the crew share their passion for sailing on this boat openly and warmly and in a way, we are all learning together. Learning from each other, from nature and learning to work together. Without the teamwork inherent in the boat, the boat doesn’t work so we do it together. You are invited to take part in all aspects of life on the boat. Slowly you learn at your own pace and settle into life on the open waves.

You will experience all different weathers, seas, clouds, rain, sun and stars in the company of fellow adventurers. Quiet times are punctuated with intense periods of action. We trace our progress across the map as we near the destination always reliant upon the elements to get us there so timing can never be precise. I am writing this from the ship just off the coast of Brittany with strong winds and high waves and I feel alive!

Once at the destination, I will help load the cargo before beginning my journey home and this experience will become a memory. But what a memory it will be. Great food, great people, a vessel who is reliant and steady no matter what is thrown at her and an unforgettable bond with nature. My advice to anyone thinking of sailing on Tres Hombres is ‘do it’. Bring an open mind and a willingness to get involved and you will be rewarded with an adventure of a lifetime with an organisation doing good honest work.