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 or email

WANTED: Trainees, cook and (refit) crew!

The core crew to work a sailing vessel are her deckhands. Traditionally they sleep in the focsle, they are the hands “before the mast”. They form the working class to: hand, reef and steer, climb, paint, tar or man the pumps. With that, all generalization has been made, because really they come in as many different ways, as there are people. Young and old, pollywog or shellback, shy or outspoken, green or experienced, wise or intelligent, female or male. On Tres Hombres and Nordlys we distinguish three different groups of deckhands. They are all equally important for the running of the ship, and they all, are part of our crew.

The trainees, these are the sailors who came on board by choosing a voyage, or several voyages, and paying a trainee fee. Some of them never stepped on board a boat before, and like to learn the trade, others are highly experienced mariners, who wanted a taste of a different life at sea. This are people, who join the ship instead of going backpacking, or have a sabbatical year from work, maybe they want to change their career, or are just longing for a great adventure, or ocean crossing on working sail. There might be even a few, who have chosen to travel by sail, as an alternative for having to use the polluting travel mode of flying. The youngest record of a trainee on board must have been around 12 years of age, the oldest 83, but really it is not about age, but about health and willpower.

The need for wine from Rioja and the Bordeaux region sends our good ship Tres Hombres on a unexpected 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 sign in as a trainee!

The Ordinary sailors (O/S), these are the sailors, often joining voluntarily, because of being on the right place on the right moment. Usually these deckhands bring a variety of knowledge, gained on other ships or previous voyages, to the ship. They are still learning themselves, but are already this able that they can transfer some of their (maritime) knowledge to other deckhands on board. Ordinary sailors may join the ship after having gained experience as a trainee on one of the longer voyages, or volunteer during a refit, or just because of sheer luck when a place became available.

Urgently required volunteering woodworkers, riggers and a jack-of-all trades to refit sailing cargo vessel Tres Hombres this summer. Board and lodging will be provided. Please contact

The Able bodied sailors (A/B), this are the career sailors. They started as Ordinary sailors, at least for half a year, but often a lot longer, to fulfill their seatime and gain experience. They frequently are masters in the art of marlinspike seamanship, are excellent small boat sailors, and can climb the rigging, work the jibboom and steer the ship in all kinds of weather. They went to school, at least to do their “Basic safety training”, sometimes they even gained the theoretical knowledge to sail as a Mate or Master. They hold at least a license, or certificate of competence, for being a “Deck rating”. This paper can only been acquired after serving enough time at sea, holding the “Basic Safety Training” diploma, and having passed a medical test. Which explains the name: “Able bodied sailor”.

We always like meeting more inspiring and experienced Sailing Captains & Officers who would like to sail with us. Please contact with CV and experience.

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

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 or email

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: Als Trainee an Bord der Tres Hombres

Es ist 1.30 Uhr in der Nacht – local time, das heißt Schiffszeit. Wir befinden uns 29°29′ N 54°14′ W und damit fast genau in der Mitte des Atlantik, zumindest auf halber Strecke zu unserem bereits zu Europa zählenden Ziel Horta auf den Azoren. Wir rauschen mit 7 Knoten bei ca. 3-4 Bft. auf Halbwindkurs durch die Nacht, über uns, wie fast jede Nacht, der gewaltige Sternenhimmel, um uns herum nichts als Wasser, das in der kraftvollen Bewegung lang auslaufender Wellen unser Schiff hebt und senkt – und uns mit ihm.
Ich sitze in der kleinen galley (Kombüse) auf dem Vordeck, mir gegenüber Susann (eine andere Trainee), die mit Segelgarn Ummantelungen für die Feuerlöscher an Bord näht. Michael (Trainee seit sechs Monaten) knetet den Teig für das allnächtlich frisch zuzubereitende Brot des nächsten Tages. Am großen Steuerrad achtern steht Lis (Deckhand), begleitet und unterhalten von Daniel (Deckhand). Anne-Flore, Erste Mat, studiert im Kartenraum Kurs und Windvorhersage und köpft anschließend eine Kokosnuss als Mitternachtssnack für uns.
Wir sechs sind die Backbordwache und haben heute von 0.00 bis 4.00 Nachtwache. Von 4.00 bis 8.00 sind dann die anderen sechs von der Steuerbordwache dran. Der Wachrhythmus folgt hier dem so genannten schwedischen System und besteht in einem Wechsel von 6-stündigen Tages- und 4-stündigen Nachtwachen. Es hat den Effekt, dass im regelmäßigen 48-Stunden Takt jede*r einmal mit jeder Wache dran ist. Allerdings führt das auch dazu, dass im schnellen Wechsel der Wach- und Schlafphasen die Tage irgendwie ineinander zu fließen scheinen.
Wenn mich eine der freundlichen Stimmen von Myriel oder Tibor von der Steuerbordwache liebevoll, aber nachhaltig aus dem Tiefschlaf holt, bin ich nie ganz sicher, ob es Tag oder Nacht ist bzw. welche Wache nun gerade für mich beginnt, geschweige denn, welchen Wochentag wir gerade haben. Jorne, unser Captain, nannte das zu Beginn „a kind of long meditation“. Und tatsächlich fühlt sich das schon nach wenigen Tagen so an.

Seit 11 Tagen sind wir unterwegs. Wenn der Wind in Stärke und Richtung so günstig bleibt wie im Moment, sind es mindestens noch 10 weitere Tage bis Horta; wenn nicht, können es aber auch noch 15 oder gar 18 werden… Dieses Nichtwissen, die Unplanbarkeit, gehören zu dieser Reise wie der Geschmack von Erdnussbutter auf frischem Sauerteigbrot, der Geruch von nassem Holz und Kakao (wir haben an die 200 Säcke a 70 kg Kakao-Bohnen geladen) oder das Gefühl von Sonne, Wind und salziger Kleidung auf der Haut. Es ist eine ganz eigene kleine Welt, in der wir hier leben, ständig herausgefordert von den Bewegungen des Schiffes, machtvoll umgeben von diesem ganz besonderen Blau des Atlantik und der atemberaubenden Weite des Himmels. Kein Fleckchen Land verstellt den Blick zum Horizont, tagelang war nicht einmal ein anderes Schiff zu sehen. Jede kleine Veränderung wird so zur großen Attraktion: ein fliegender Fisch, der an Deck springt, Sonnenauf- und Sonnenuntergang, der Geburtstag eines Crewmitglieds, eine Sternschnuppe, die langsam in majestätischem Bogen über den Himmel zieht, der nächtliche Wechsel des Mondes oder ein Wal, der in großer Entfernung spielend mit seiner Flunke auf’s Wasser schlägt… Und natürlich auch jedes Segelmanöver!

Für uns Trainees sind letztere besonders aufregend, weil wir auch nach 10 Tagen noch absolute „greenhorns“ sind und kaum übersehen können, was zum Beispiel bei einer Wende alles geschieht und zu tun ist. Das Schiff hat immerhin 13 Segel unterschiedlicher Größe, Form und Funktion. Und jedes davon hat drei bis sechs Leinen, mit denen es geführt, gesetzt, geborgen oder getrimmt wird. Das bedeutet, dass es zunächst einmal 60 bis 70 verschiedene Begriffe, allein für die Segel und die Leinen zu lernen gibt sowie ihre Platzierung an Deck, die du möglichst auch in stockfinsterer Nacht ohne Beleuchtung finden solltest. Dazu kommt, dass beispielsweise die Rahsegel ganz anders bedient werden als die Vorsegel und diese wieder anders als das gaffelgetakelte Großsegel usw. Kurz, es gibt enorm viel zu lernen. Und zu staunen! Über die Eleganz und Perfektion, mit der die Stammcrew diese Manöver fährt.
Mitten in der Nacht bei strömendem Regen, 5 Windstärken und entsprechender See mal eben das Royal (das höchste Rahsegel) bergen und dafür in den 22 Meter hohen, wild schwankenden Mast steigen? Kein Problem für Lis, die in Windeseile oben ist und das genießt! Oder – um es mit einem der Lieblingssprüche hier zu sagen: „Unmögliches erledigen wir sofort. Wunder dauern etwas länger.“ – Sie sind so eingespielt, so „in tune“ mit dem Schiff und sich selbst, dass es ihnen dabei sogar noch gelingt, uns herumtapsende Neulinge in jeder Aktion zu integrieren und mit Engelsgeduld anzulernen.

Und damit bin ich beim vielleicht wichtigsten oder erstaunlichsten Aspekt dieser Reise: die Crew. Damit meine ich jetzt erstmal uns alle, die wir hier in der Mitte des Atlantik auf diesem kleinen Schiff zusammengekommen sind. Wir sind 14 Leute, sieben Frauen, sieben Männer, aus acht verschiedenen Ländern mit sehr unterschiedlichen Hintergründen, Lebensgeschichten und Persönlichkeiten. Und man könnte denken, dass das Konfliktpotential recht groß ist – auf so engem Raum ohne Ausweichmöglichkeiten in einer außergewöhnlichen Lebenssituation mit Menschen, die sich kaum kennen und noch dazu manche Sprachbarrieren zu überwinden haben. Eigentlich ist das der klassische Nährboden für Missverständnisse, Konkurrenz, Koalitionen und sozialen Stress aller Art. Aber nichts davon geschieht hier. Im Gegenteil. Es herrscht durchgehend eine Atmosphäre von Offenheit, Freundlichkeit, Hilfsbereitschaft und Interesse am jeweils anderen.
Natürlich: Wir wissen, dass wir mit Leib und Leben aufeinander angewiesen sind, und wir kommen uns ähnlichen Gründen auf das Schiff. Uns verbindet die Faszination des Segelns, die Liebe zum Meer und die Vision eines natürlichen und um Nachhaltigkeit bemühten Lebens. Aber ich glaube, neben diesen Gemeinsamkeiten gibt es noch etwas anderes, und das ist vielleicht so etwas wie eine bestimmte Gruppenkultur, der wir Trainees hier schon begegneten, als wir auf das Schiff kamen. Dazu gehört zum Beispiel der Umgang mit Fehlern. Hier muss sich keiner schämen, etwas falsch zu machen oder fünfmal nach der gleichen Leine zu fragen. Jede Frage wird geduldig beantwortet, jede Aktion oder Aufgabe ausführlich erklärt, und wenn etwas schief geht, wird das mit einem beiläufigen „nicht so schlimm“ kommentiert, rasch in Ordnung gebracht und anschließend ausführlich besprochen und neu trainiert.
Es gibt auch keinen Tratsch hinter vorgehaltener Hand. Wenn jemand genervt ist oder sich gestört fühlt, wird das entweder direkt und sachlich angesprochen oder – wenn es alle betrifft – bei den täglichen Runden. Und es gibt viel Anerkennung. Jeder kleine Fortschritt, zum Beispiel beim Klettern, wird gefeiert, jeder richtige Handgriff mit einem „nice“ quittiert, jede eigene oder neue Idee erst einmal dankbar aufgenommen.
Die Atmosphäre, die so entsteht, ist schwer zu beschreiben. Lenno fand in einer der Runden ein neues Wort dafür. Wir seien nun, sagte er, seine „crewmily“ (crew + family).
Also, liebe crewmily! Ich danke euch allen, vor allem aber euch von der Stammcrew, schon jetzt – in der Mitte des Atlantik – für diese ganz besondere Reise, für die Endlosigkeit des Meeres und des Himmels, für das Rauschen an der Bordwand, das Gefühl rauen Tauwerks in den Händen… und für das Erlebnis Menschlichkeit!

Beate , trainee

Tres Hombres blog: A stormy night

After making use of the Westerlies, for a few days, with nice daily and hourly speeds. A falling glass of the barometer. And swells building to five meter heights. It was bound to happen, that the faster moving depression would overtake us. With this, the tail of the depression: a cold front, with its furious squalls, occasional rain, and thunder, would present itself.

I woke up just after midnight, and felt the movements of the ship in my bunk. Not the flexible movement of the ship working herself speedily up and down the swells. No, this was a different movement, a movement of the ship on one ear not going over the swells but working violently through them, hanging on a steady angle without the flexibility of righting herself. I decided to stretch my legs, and take into account how my crew on deck was faring. Passing the chartroom a quick look in the logbook revealed that: the main topmast staysails had been doused, and the fore course, which had been only set again, a few hours before, was clewed and bunted up in her gear. On deck, the second mate was on the wheel working laboriously to keep the ship on course. Topsail, topgallant, foretopmast staysail, innerjib, mainstaysail and reefed main where still set. It was clear that we where in the middle of a coldfront. We had a chat, about the weather, how the ship was doing, and how the steering was. He had seen lightning flashes before, and squalls later and following each other. I relieved him at the wheel for a bit, and decided to hold off in the squalls. Also I invited the two deckhands, each for a while on the wheel, while I was carefully watching their steering technique, here and there giving a small comment or order.

The second mate took the wheel again, after having had a bite in the galley. I took a stroll over the decks. Shining with my flashlight, checking all the different sails. Their sheets, tight as a violin string. Their bellies filled with gusts of up to 8 Beaufort. In the meantime trying to escape from the violent bashing of the spray coming over the bows, or the knee deep of green water collecting under or over the lee pinrails. I decided it was time to reduce some sail, instead of dousing the mainsail I choose the mainstaysail, for ease of handling and to keep a bit more balance in the ship, if we wanted to head up more. Back on the poopdeck, I took the wheel, and ordered the mainstaysail down. When steering too close to the wind, we where clipping more through than over the large swells, and at times I was reading 11.5 knots on the log. In the squalls the crests of the waves where breaking, and entire valleys of water in between them, turned into streaks of white foam. There was nothing else to do here, then, bearing off and keeping the ship before the wind reducing stress, by subtracting our speed from the windspeed as we went. This dance, of wind, waves and ship continued for a few hours, until the new and fresh watch came on deck, and a slight rising of the barometer became obvious. I retreated to lay down for a bit in the chartroom. After a while, when I realized the worst was over, I wished the watch on deck a good night and went down below.

Now, a few hours later, the sun is climbing, we shook out the reef, and all sails are set again. Bound for Horta, we are making use of any wind, which is given to us…

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

Tres Hombres blog: The wind, waves, stars, sun and the moon

There is something funny about the question: “when do we leave port, when do we set sail?” which most new crewmembers ask. We, the deckhands, tell them: “Wednesday or Thursday”. Then Thursday awakens and we are not ready, or the cargo did not arrive. Which in the Caribbean countries is quite normal. Tranquilo, you know. So then the new crewmember asks:”when do we leave port, when do we set sail?”. “Tomorrow the cargo will arrive, tomorrow we will go”. Tomorrow awakens, cargo planned at 10 in the morning, 10 in the morning, no cargo. They ask: “Where is the cargo” we answer “tranquilo you know”. Now the evening, no cargo, but beer and rum. The new crewmember asks: “When will we leave?” The drunken sailor smiles and tells him how it is: “We leave when the last mooring rope is cast off from the quay”. Confused they look at me, nothing more to say.

Now we are at sea, the mighty Atlantic ocean, with the waves, stars, sun and the moon. The greenhorn, is amazed by it all. Not in their wildest dreams could they imagine, its power and beauty. We jokingly make a bet, which day we will arrive, it is just a gamble for the crew. Nobody can tell what the wind, waves, stars, sun and the moon have in store for us. A week goes by, two weeks go by, then the new crewmember asks the deckhand the question: “When will we be there?”. “Next Thursday or Friday” I answer. One or two days go by, a few hours of no wind and a flat ocean, time is ticking away. “When will we be there?”. “Friday I am sure, beers and portwine in the bar, I will pay” I tell them with a smile.

Now, Monday awakens, “when will we be there?”. I look at him and say with a smile on my face: “The wind does what the wind wants, nobody can predict the waves, stars, sun and the moon. We will be there when the first mooring line hits the bollard”…

Deckhand, Daniel Jim Eijnthoven,

P.S. of the Captain. I totally see where this story is based upon, and can agree with the message, within its context. On the other hand, I also would like to explain that we are constantly making estimations about what time the ship arrives. And really amongst our Fairtransport shipping department and my fellow Captains we became quite skilled in estimating our voyages. I reckon, the past 10 years in about 90% of the cases the sailing schedule has been not more then 10% off.

Nordlys blog: As a team in the rhythm of the sea

We are navigating our way from Den Helder to the southern peninsula of Europe.
When you are sailing the North Atlantic waters in the early months of the year, the weather conditions might be sometimes a bit rough.
Fortunately there are nowadays good weather forecasts for the first days to come. The depressions developing on the Atlantic Ocean are moving northeast over the continent and bring us the southwesterly gales. Keeping a good eye on the forecast can be life saving. With this in mind we had to make a stop in Brixham and another one in Douarnenez.
While we were there and waiting for fair weather, we were able to do maintenance on the ship, we tested our new anchor winch and worked on sail training. Provisions for the ship came from local farmers.
Fellow sailors, shipwrights, local merchants and friends came by on the Nordlys. Creating a stable market and expanding ideas for the Fairtransport enterprise.

We departed from Douarnenez on a shiny sunday morning and tacked our way towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Bay of Biscay is well known for its rough seas and has to be avoided in the certain weather conditions.
With a ship like Nordlys you will need about four or five days of fair winds to cross this bay. This brings us to were we are right now. We are sailing southwards on the Atlantic swell about 150 nautical miles from Porto.
On board we are nine crew, so eighteen hands to handle the sails, ropes and rudder, preparing food and so forth..
As a team in the rhythm of the sea.

Porto will be our first harbor where we charge cargo of all kind. The hold will be filled with organic products from the Douro region. We will bring these products by wind and sail to the northern countries of the continent.
Transport makes it possible to eat delicious olives, taste an excellent olive oil,use Atlantic sea salt for your meals and enjoy a natural wine, in for example England, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and so forth. Products which are not only produced in a nature friendly way, but also transported so. Sometimes the work on the land is slightly harder, sometimes the transport takes a bit longer… The taste of it all is definitely better! Respect the laws of nature. And nature gives it back.

captain Lammert Osinga

Tres Hombres blog: Learning the ropes

Next to being one of the few engineless sailing cargo ships, engaged in international trade, Tres Hombres is a sail training vessel as well. Nowadays most squareriggers, are occupied in some form of sail training. With us, it is of course the combination with carrying freight in this century, what makes it really special. Normally we have any number of: up to eight trainees on board. Trainee, is the modern name, but I am inclined to name them apprentices. Originally an apprentice would be a practical student to become a ships officer, and normally an apprenticeship would take an average of four years. Because really, what I feel as my personal goal here on board, is to inspire them for a career at sea, a return to sea, or at least an unforgettable memory and love for the precious place the ocean is.

So how are we trying to teach the mysteries of the sea? First and most importantly, I would like to refer to a short poem of: Longfellow, his poetic writing says more than I could describe in a thousand words:

Wouldst thou- so the helmsman answered,
Learn the secret of the sea,
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!

It does say most of it, and it comes down to the point, that you are learning by doing. And you ought to give this time, a lot of time. Apart from this we also try to organize a short lecture in each day watch, every day. Since leaving Boca Chica we have talked, apart from the safety procedures, about: ship design, shipbuilding, history of sailing ships, standing rigging and bringing up lower and topmasts the traditional way. Right now we are doing an experiment as well, where each new trainee is coupled to one of the experienced crew members. This way we reenact the old tradition, of having a seafather appointed to a green hand. This seafather is teaching the intricacies of the arts of the seaman, at a one person to one person way.

In the more than 15 ocean crossings Tres Hombres has made in the previous years, our teaching concept has been proven right in many instances. Currently one of our deckhands, started as a trainee the past year. And even one of our Captains, grew from trainee, via deckhand and officer to his position of command!

So join Tres Hombres, and comprehend the mystery of the sea…

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan

Tres Hombres blog: Sailing to windward

Leaving Boca Chica, when bound for the Azores, one has two most straightforward options for reaching the North Atlantic ocean. There is going West of Haiti through the Windward passage, or East of Dominican Republic through the Mona passage. Theoretically the Windward passage would give a more favorable wind direction, the danger of loosing all wind in the lee of Haiti, and the disadvantage of the lee shore of the Islands and reefs of the Bahamas. The Mona passage is shorter and against the trades and currents. With the weather forecast of the coming days, there is not much advantage in taking the Windward passage, so, as Tres Hombres has been doing year after year we choose our course again against the trades, bound for the Mona passage.

One of the old master mariners of the grand windjammers firm of Leisz, I believe it was Capt. Heinrich Nissen. Formulated the rules to sail a big or small squarerigger to windward. They are universal, and are still used on the few squareriggers, sailing to windward without engine assistance. So, as we are one of them, we have been making use of these rules since Tres Hombres started trading in 2009.

They are the following:
1). Always carry the right amount of sail to guarantee optimal propulsion. At times this can mean pushing our vessel hard, and keeping as much sail on her as possible. It might also mean taking advantage of a favorable current or tide on one of the tacks, and reduce speed accordingly.
2). Decide, usually with a current or tide against you, if you want to keep speed, and do not pull your sheets to tight. Or, sometimes with a favorable current and tide, if you want to pinch as close to the wind as possible, to keep the advantage for a longer time.
3). Always put your ship on the tack which is most advantageous to reach your destination. This destination might be the final destination, or especially on longer or coastal voyages, a point where you want to be to make the most of an expected weather or tidal change.

Just before sunrise we tacked and in a few hours we will tack again, closely applying the rules of the trade…

Truly yours,
Capt. Jorne Langelaan