Travelling through infinite sceneries even though they may look the same on the surface.
Bizarre images of ships that look like blockhouses… sometimes seeing only their silhouette in the fog or in the middle of the sunset painted in the deepest orange and dark blue of the water.
Dolphins playing in the water… jellyfish… glowing plankton. All the magnificent shapes of the sea and the sky.
I’m happy to be joining the Tres Hombres for a while. Where time is taking turns in her own way.
Alongside the crew and the other trainees. Learning. Listening. Taking it all in. Deepening knowledge and
learning so many new things. Knots and ropes songs and jokes. And that “real sailors always look up”.
The crew members explained procedures patiently over and over again. Sharing their knowledge and
passion. It’s a good place to be. I feel at home on the water and on this ship.
Surrendering to nature’s subtle and strong language. Connecting to all that is and moving along with her.
Learning to be part of her poem at sea again. We only have this one planet. It’s more than time to slow down and grow backwards in all the expanding and racing of the economy.
Focus on the old ways again that knew better how to live in rhythm with nature. Respect and protect her and all life that is.
I hope that many more will be inspired by this nature-friendly way of travelling and “growing business”.
It relaxes the soul and eases the mind. If all our actions guarantee to keep a healthy environment we must be full of good life as well cause we are part of it all.
Thinking a lot of my grandmas these days and all my siblings I am also looking forward to home on earth.
Seeing my beloved forests, rivers, animals and human family…curious how it will feel stepping and dancing on firm ground again.
And a big part of my heart that always loved travelling is looking forward to exploring life at sea soon again and sailing off to yet unknown shores and waters… to the world’s secrets and beauty unfolding to the ones who want to see and feel her.
To new and ancient stories to be told.
Saviez vous qu´en anglais, les bateaux sont genrés au féminin ?
Quand j´ai envoyé ma candidature pour naviguer sur le Tres Hombres, j´ai imaginé que j´allais devoir cohabiter avec des hommes pendant plus de trente jours, dans un espace réduit, en pleine mer, sans autre échappatoire que de grimper dans les voiles.
Heureusement, en parcourant le site, j´ai pu trouver de nombreux temoignages de femmes ayant navigué sur ce bateau. J´ai tout de meme attendu le jour du départ non avec craintes mais avec quelques questionnements. Et a ma grande joie, quand je suis arrivée pour embarquer, j´ai constaté que l´équipage était paritaire. Huit femmes, huit hommes, et que vogue la brigantine
Cela peut paraitre une petite chose, lorsque de nos jours de plus en plus de domaines s´ouvrent a la parité. Mais comme ailleurs, le domaine de la navigations etait encore trop peu inclusif il y a quelques années. Allez trouver des témoignages de femmes marins et vous verrez comme elles ont du se battre pour garder leur pieds sur le pont et barrer comme les autres.
Quelle joie d´avoir une bosco, véritable couteau suisse toujours en mouvement. responsable des outils touchant aux cordages et aux voiles ; de se faire enseigner les differents cordages et comment étarquer par la matelote ; d´apprendre de la cuisiniere comment gerer le roulis la bouilloire a la main, et de pouvoir partager tout cela avec mes quatres collegues stagiaires. Il fut un temps oú nous etions interdites a bord, et nous voila, hissant les voiles pour narguer les vieux esprits.
Qu´est ce que cela m´apporte ? Une joie immense, de la confiance et de l´espoir. La petite fille qui voulait etre une pirate vit en moi ses meilleurs moments, et fait grandir la femme que je suis. Tout ce que je vois faire, je peux tenter de me l´approprier, l´apprendre, le faire a mon tour. Le savoir me rend forte, le faire, encore plus.
Femmes de tous bords, si naviguer vous fait envie, jetez vous dans l´aventure. Pour changez vos perspectives, celles des jeunes filles et femmes autour de vous et celle de la société pour sur !
“Tres Hombres, Tres Hombres, Tres Hombres, this is Cherbourg Traffic, what is your intention please?”
Dear lady on the VHF radio, we are going to Copenhagen, is this not clearly visible?
Clearly not, because this is the 3rd time the French traffic control has called us up to check on our actions. If you look at our track, you might think that at a certain time we had enough of it, opened the cargo hold and started drinking into the endless amount of wine in there. Currently, we are drawing Lizard’s eyes above Cape de la Hague.
After the NW wind we had for coming up from La Rochelle, it changed to North for going up to Ireland and after changing the voyage plan and heading for the Channel of La Manche it turned to ENE. Not often you got the chance of training a crew so intensely in tacking a little square rigger and now they know their lines by heart and we tack without dropping a sail including flying jib with an ever-smiling and joking crew.
After all, it´s a mental struggle, seeing the ship move with a good speed every day but not going anywhere, and that for 14 days. There is no escape from it, not for a moment, no real private space for one, no personal wishes fulfilled, no special treat just for oneself. But somehow this seems not so needed. All crew is delighted with the same treats out of the galley or someone’s stories or music. Privacy changes into sharing and taking care of ship and each other. Treats out of private stocks are shared with the watch, and knowledge of crew is shared with the trainees.
As we are slowly running out of lectures, today I have to tell about the time we were building the ship and how the idea of re- re- reintroducing cargo sailing came into our mind and what we expect or hope for the future.
Mostly we were thinking about efficiency. There is nothing more efficient in moving cargo than a sailing ship, no question about that. Energy comes out of the sky and the arms of sailors, all organic. The new crew pays for the apprenticeship, and the old crew gets paid for their work onboard and their investment in licenses and training. Cargo owners pay direct fees to the ship for the transport of goods per mile (direct distance) and the ship pays expenses for the crew, food, maintenance, agents, tows and paperwork. And now, for example, one hand plays a Spanish song on the guitar and the sounds come floating through the hatch. The word efficiency does not merely fit what is going on here.
For the conventional ship, you first have to dig out oil or gas, mostly through the sea bed. Nice job, good money for a few. Then you make a giant ship with not necessarily attractive lines. Also a nice job with good money for a few.
Then you sort out where you can get massive amounts of useless trash, produced by squeezed-out workers and fields in places where just the brokers and leaders get rich, for the demands of an intoxicated society listening to their space gurus talking about virtual shit.
Then you find a crew who speaks a bit of English, has no tacking experience needed, and go driving the boat. Not such a good job, except if you are captain or officer, where at least your time is accordingly paid.
They made highways for these ships because there are so many and you can see on the yellow horizon where the highways are. They don´t want sailing ships in there.
So efficiency realized by mistreated nature and people is no efficiency, that is clear now. HOW CLEAR CAN WE MAKE THAT, SO IT IS UNDERSTOOD?
1500 miles of sailing for 380 miles of distance in the most effective way possible.
We might realize that the JOY from some-thing which comes via that inefficient, now called conventional way, is not shared on the other side of the world, where it comes from. Not from men, not from nature. Just from a few open hands on the way which collect the dollar. And your space guru.
We finished the Lizards eye and are now for the first time heading for Copenhagen.
This winter I have been taking some time off sailing and got busy in the headquarters of Fairtransport in Den Helder, and once the refit was over and the ship left, I decided to stay in the office, keen to be involved more in the work “behind the sails”, as I like to call it.
So, between my daily communication and networking tasks, I also dedicated lots of time to writing the first edition of “Tres Hombres Ship Handbook – Survival Guidelines for a Happy Crossing”.
From the bilge to the mast, from the navigation room to the foc’s’le, passing through the galley and the cargo hold, everything about what we do and how we do it on Tres Hombres is explained.
It wishes to answer common beforehand questions like what to pack (and not!), what is seasickness and how to prevent it or deal with it, how the watch system works, which kind of accommodation and food is provided, what is expected or not from the trainees…
This handbook is thought to guide the first steps of trainees and new crew members on board our good ship. It is meant to be a complete introduction to life on board our engineless vessel, which is pretty unique, and it has to be properly understood and embraced to be fully enjoyed.
We live simply and we make sure to challenge the comfort zone and our landlubbers’ habits that so often generate such a heavy impact on the environment. We do not only sail without an engine, we also do not have refrigeration systems, hot water, unlimited electricity access, and all these sorts of comfort we take so much for granted at home and take such a heavy toll on our bigger, shared Home.
Moreover, traditional tall ship sailing requires learning a new language, and a square-rigged ship is a complex creature to manoeuvre therefore sail handling instructions are also provided, as much as a glossary with the most important words and commands that we invite people to get familiar with before joining.
This book will not replace the onboard training, which I love to do when serving on board as a deckhand, but steer the doubts and expectations people might have beforehand and, hopefully, blow them away.
Here, we aim to grow not only better sailors but better consumers and Earth inhabitants, out of the people who decide to experience Tres Hombres and this handbook adds to our efforts to create such an impact.
It was a great pleasure and emotion to print it before the summer trip I would be part of as ship cook first and as deckhand after. And meeting the trainees on board who actually confirmed that it has been of great help for them!
I feel somehow my work in the communication department is over, at least for now. I need to focus on my own projects and take some time off for myself. I also finished my sailing season and stepped off the ship, left my sailing home for new shore adventures, and handed over my bunk to a new deckhand. All good things come to an end sooner or later, and I’m forever thankful for all the opportunities I have been given by Fairtransport and all that I have learnt on board Tres Hombres. It was a wild, wild ride. The best I could ever wish for, but, as we say in Sicily: “you need to leave the island, to see the island.” And sometimes, as much, you need to leave the ship, to see the ship…
A big thank you to my fellow sailing crew, to my Galley Squad team, as well to all the trainees who came on board this summer and brought their passion in their bags. It was a pleasure and an honour to sail and work with you, sharing all I got and teaching all I knew about our good old black lady. Thanks for your trust, for your hard work, for your humbleness, and for your neverending care. I deeply appreciated every drop of it, from each of you. Fair winds to the new sailing crew, big up to the land team both in the office and in the shipyard who make everything we leave at sea possible.
You all, Fairtransporters, in one way or another, carved a mosaic of unforgettable memories in my heart, I hope I left something in yours too.
Fair winds and following seas Fairtransport! May your good sails always be full!
On June 15th I boarded Tres Hombres in Copenhagen with no sailing experience beyond being a passenger a handful of times and having never stepped foot on a tall ship. Since my first time sailing, I have dreamed of travelling the world by sea this way but questioned where and how to start the undoubtedly challenging learning process from square one. The world of cargo tall ships was introduced to me when I met my partner last June, a sailor and wooden boat builder who shares my passion for travel and fostering a more sustainable future.
I was excited to learn about engineless Tres Hombres, Fairtransport Shipping, and their active mission centered around sustainability. I sometimes feel alternative methods to climate negative business practices are merely progressive ideas rather than current practices. It gave me some hope to see that this was not the case with Fairtransport. When propositioned by my partner to join him as a trainee with Tres I was thrilled by the concept but nervous given my lack of experience, understanding of tall ships, and sailing in general. My motivation to learn eventually overcame my fear of trying and we signed up for the summer trip from Copenhagen to France.
Upon arrival I was blown away by the beauty and intricacy of the ship itself and equally intimidated by all the lines and sails I knew nothing about but would need to learn to handle. We set sail the day after our arrival and despite feeling useless in the process of sailing her I felt welcomed and understood by the crew, especially the other trainees. They expressed their sympathy for my unknowing and assured me they too were once in the same position only weeks prior. My nerves w ere somewhat soothed as I watched them pull lines alongside the professional crew with the confidence I hoped to build as they had. The first leg to Bornholm was short but at that time I was convinced my decision to take on this adventure had been the right one. The environment on board was friendly and I was very grateful to the deckhands, the first mate and the trainees that patiently directed me where to pull during manoeuvres, explained the function of the many daunting lines, sails, terms, and sailing etiquette that was all like that of a new language to me.
Sailing into port for the first time in Gudjehm was a thrilling experience with the entrance to the harbour leaving less than 2m on either side of the ship. Upon successful docking, we were warmly welcomed by friends of the crew from previous trips as well as bystanders clearly impressed by the vessel and its tight fit into the quiet harbour. We celebrated at the bar we were shipping wine to and were treated to bottomless glasses of wine and a beautiful dinner. I realized that sailing is only a key part of this experience and the community making the mission possible is the beating heart.
Time in port and the shorter passages in between were relaxed. They gave me time to become familiar with living aboard the ship and getting to know my 12 new roommates but the real learning began when we set off on the leg to Ireland. The original schedule had given the crossing an estimate of a week to 10 days but as we set out with the wind fully against us we were told it would likely take longer. To move forward we had to travel in a zigzag fashion which meant tacking (moving the sails from one side of the ship to the other) every few hours. Although a lot more work than sailing with the wind, the need for so much sail handling in our watch of 5 meant hands-on contribution. This translated to a much better understanding of how the ship moves, what different manoeuvres mean, where all the lines are and their specific functions. With repeated explanations, patient ropey tours, and trust from deckhand Giulia and first mate Jules, my understanding along with my confidence in my knowledge of the ship grew tremendously.
The passage to Ireland took a total of 17 days which I’ve been told is about the same duration as an ocean crossing. There were many highs and lows of that leg. Massive swell washing over the deck, keeping us constantly wet and making laying in my bunk feel like riding a mechanical bull. Dreaded 12-4 am dogwatch wakeups while hearing the chilling heavy winds howling above the deck from a warm, mostly dry bed. In contrast, the beating hot sun but completely flat sea made for days of making little ground and often drifting off course. Lack of fresh produce towards the end of the journey as we hadn’t expected to be at sea for nearly as long as we were.
However, trying, the lows showed me I can endure levels of discomfort far beyond what I’d had to in the past and made the highs so much higher. Swimming in the calm sea and laying out to dry on the warm deck after days of cold wetness was a heavenly experience. Sun and moon set and rise over the water like those in paintings. Daily dolphin visitors coast along with us on the bowsprit and at night leaving magical glowing trails in the blue bioluminescence. Laughing to the point of tears at jokes that probably wouldn’t be nearly as funny if we weren’t all sleep-deprived and a little stir crazy. Last but certainly not least, finally arriving at our destination, stepping foot on land and enjoying the simple luxuries I’d taken for granted in everyday life. Hot showers, clean clothes, feasting on fresh fruit, and for the rest of the crew a cold pint of Guinness. Despite being one of, if not the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done, it was also absolutely one of the most rewarding.
After a few blissful days in Ireland, saying goodbye to some crew and welcoming new faces, we loaded our cargo while at anchor with the help of a fisherman’s boat and set off to France. My partner and I are now some of the most experienced trainees on board. This means that we are now the trainees explaining things and reassuring the ones who just stepped on. It is because of this that I can now truly see my learning curve and realize that I’ve accomplished my goal of being confident in my ability to help sail this ship. Beyond no longer feeling daunted by the task of learning to sail on smaller ships, I also have a newfound sense of empowerment in my ability to learn any skill I commit myself to try. Although maybe not entirely true I feel that if I can do this, I can do anything.
We left Denmark, our good friends at Hawila, our old ones in Bornholm and Copenhagen and our new ones in Hundested, behind.
We also greeted quite a few fellow shipmates who are badly missed on board and made our journey very special till now.
And I left the galley as well, swapped it for the deck, and passed on the apron to my friend Shani, our new cook, who I happily introduced to the joys and sorrows of the rolling galley. I can finally begin my deckhand season as planned.
A new chapter of the summer voyage of Tres Hombres started: the ship is bound to Ireland, the longest leg of the entire season.
We cast off the lines from our last shore on a sunny morning, winds were fair and so was the weather as much as our moods. Lately, we have spent many days in harbour, moving from port to port, delivering cargo, and accomplishing our main mission. But we go sailing to be at sea and to be out here is what many of us long for the most. After a month and 4 stops, it was definitely time to fully dive into the Big Blue again.
We sailed on in Kattegat for a couple of days, heading North, making way decently, steadily, smoothly. Awesome favourable conditions to begin the training of our newbies in the watch: learning a whole new language, the names of the sails, all the lines, the sail handling and the manoeuvring theory. As much as the familiarization with all the details of the life on board our good ship: wake-up calls, deck washing, galley cleaning, bilge pumping, bread baking, coffee making…
An ocean of information that has to be properly dosed to be efficiently metabolized and not too overwhelmed for those amongst us who are completely new to this world.
We reached Skagen, the cape that marks the zone which connects the North Sea with the Baltic and stretches between Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
One last sunset tack at a golden hour just half a mile from the wild Norwegian coast, the fjords looking stunning in their unspoiled ancestral beauty. And then the ride began…
A depression coming from the Atlantic was moving fast towards us. It was pretty soon clear that we would have to earn our way to the North Sea tack after tack, watch after watch. The gentle cruising of the summer trip was over, and the time for the real action was finally on us. Tension was rising as the pressure lowered.
Once in the North Sea, the conditions didn’t improve.
The open waters created a mighty swell, with waves up to 4-5 mt high.
On Monday, cook’s day off, we were still confident the weather would remain challenging but still decent, just to end up experiencing a pizza party at dinner in a raging sea, with aplomb sky striped in sudden rainbows, the waves flattened by heavy showers, the bow rising and diving, smashing the surface of the sea with violence, the ship feeling like a wild mad black horse riding in the fast free wind. We felt excited as kids, contaminated by the madness of the Elements surrounding us. Cooking, sharing and eating pizza in such rough conditions has been hectic and felt insanely good. I was happy to take on the challenge to stick to my plan and bake pizza for a whole crew in such weather to finally succeed but I won’t do it twice. Once was more than enough, believe me.
For 5 days the ship has been washed from side to side, as much as all of us from head to feet. Heavy rains, strong howling winds, sudden squalls, and finally, the gale came in a dark casted night. Suddenly, at the midnight watch change, the wind picked up and reached a raging force 8. We dropped sails as fast as possible, furled the royal and gallant with gusts up to 30-35 knots. Full and by, helming hard, the rudder struggling, beating the currents, the legs anchored on the deck, the harnesses clicked in, the gravity becoming heavier as if we were walking on another planet. The cosiness of our wooden home kissed by the golden summer solstice sun was no more than a far away blurry memory.
That dog watch has been epic, even for those of us who already experienced such scenarios. It is always impressive to experience the force of Nature in this way, being and feeling no other than a bared and naked and tiny and fragile human in front of it in the middle of a dark sea. Do your best, keep the focus, and trust one another and the strength of the Black Lady. Hold fast.
And then, eventually, like every storm on land and at sea, also this one got tired and calmed down. Or at least it seemed…
Just this morning, we were still surfing waves up to 5 mt high. While I was steering the ship, a wall of water smashed on the aft deck, swallowing everything on its way. It was so ridiculously big and mighty that all we could do was just explode into loud laughter at our own shared wet misery (especially our first mate Jules, who choose the perfect timing to go inside the washroom just behind the helm to clean the toilet!). We were literally soaked. But the wildness of the Nature around us was fullying us with awe, and big exhausted smiles could be spotted all over the deck.
We are free, wild and alive. And we are where we want to be doing what we love. And we have each other and the precious fellowship that we build together watch after watch. What shall we do if not laugh?
Unfurling the gallant, a gannet (my favourite ocean bird) flew so close to me on the leeward side yard while the ship was heeling on her flank as if she could melt down into the water and I felt so alive, again, I could explode.
And now, as I write these lines, it is the end of the day, around midnight, the wind dropped almost completely and our tired sails who did so well over the last days, flap and release the tension, as we do too. The sun sets behind the biggest wind mill farm in the North Sea. Ironically enough, after few years sailing in this area, I can say I experienced many times wind holes in this zone. Funny place to set up a wind mill farm…
With the quitness of the night watch and cozy intimacy of my watch around me, I feel blessed.
We laugh loudly on the aft deck around the helm, we share the last bar of chocolate and we feel full. Full of life, full of joy, full of all sorts of emotions, feelings and impressions. We look into each other’s eyes and we don’t need words anymore. In only a few days this weather made what months of shining sun, smooth sea and trade winds could seldomly provide: a bunch of badass sailors out of newbies, a group of random strangers into forever fellow friends. A pod of very, very different souls matching and melting into one another beautifully, embracing who we are, simply. The biodiversity of our spirits couldn’t be greater and yet, we learnt how to happily and efficiently cooperate, to live and work together day and night, tired and soaked, supporting and accepting, embracing and appreciating fully who we really are without having to fit in a box to please one or the other. When givin up the ego we can finally see one another, dropping all arrogant judgement to set our eyes free and able to stare amazed at the true beauty and the real value that each of us can bring to the ship and into this world. My family grow bigger after this gale as our hearts wiser and stronger. I feel the Love I can give and I feel the Love I receive too. I can’t count my blessings anymore. All the rest, it’s just dust in the wind…
Thank you Miss Gale, thank you Black Lady and thank you once again Mister Big Blue. You are our true and only one Masters.
Over the past month, I’ve been discovering the world, through sailing on the engineless sailing cargo vessel Tres Hombres.
The journey from France to Denmark has been an incredible and unique experience. After receiving the initial safety and climbing training and a galley and ropy tour, I was invited to work alongside the crew. The kindness and openness of the crew made a great ambience. Thus, from the first moment, it felt like I belonged.
Wir segeln gerade “um die Ecke”, bei Ouessant, also aus dem Kanal in den Atlantik, auf dem Weg von Amsterdam nach Les Sables d’Olonne.
Als Jugendlicher las ich alle Hornblower-Romane, die zum Teil genau hier spielen. Beim Lesen versuchte ich mir damals vorzustellen, wie ein Rahsegler und wie das Navigieren in Gezeitengewässern ohne Motor mit einigermaßen Sicherheit und Pünktlichkeit funktioniert. Jetzt, 40 Jahre später, stille ich mit dieser Reise auf dem Lastensegler Tres Hombres diese Jugendneugier.
Das aus Kriegszeiten stammende Holzschiff mit bewegter Geschichte flößt im “Schleuderprogramm”-Wellengang und durch das Saitenspiel bei Sturm in der Takelage nicht nur Ehrfurcht vor den Elementen ein, sondern vor allem Respekt für Andreas, den Kapitän, und seine Crew begeisterter SeglerInnen, die das Schiff routiniert im Griff haben. Das Mitmachen von uns, die wir Trainees genannt werden, ist gewünscht und gefordert, gerade weil es keinen Motor, keine Winschen und keine künstliche Segel-Intelligenz an Bord gibt, sondern alles auf Teamwork, Geschicklichkeit, Umsicht und Muskelkraft ankommt. Wir Trainees sind Teil des Mehrschichtbetriebs an Bord, Tag und Nacht. Mit dieser Reise verlasse ich die Komfortzone, die sich mit Plastikmüll in Ozeanen und umweltverschmutzenden globalen Lieferketten als trügerisch erweist.
Dies ist an sich schon Abenteuer genug. Was es jedoch zu einem besonderen Erlebnis macht, ist der Humor und die Geduld, mit der Andreas und seine Crew alles erklären und begleiten. In die Rahen klettern und Segel setzen gehören zum Trainee-Alltag wie die Bilge per Hand pumpen und das Steuerrad führen.
Wer eine bessere, fairere und inklusivere Welt wünscht, in der der Mensch und nicht Kapital und Maschinen im Zentrum stehen, sollte beim Anbordgehen Mitmenschlichkeit und Offenheit mitbringen und findet dafür hier im Kleinen, was alles möglich ist:
Handwerkskunst beim Instandhalten von Tauen, Holz und Schiffsgerät unterwegs an Bord, seglerisches Können, Mut und Kraft in den Rahen, und Begeisterung für ein Metier, das genauso wie andere bedrohte Arten auch zum wahren Reichtum unseres Planeten gehören. Der Mensch ist seine Bedrohung und Chance zugleich. Tres Hombres und seine vielen bewegenden Menschen sind eine Chance, die es zu ergreifen und zu unterstützen gilt, da sie Impulse auch über sich hinaus geben: die Verpflegung an Bord stammt von lokalen Bio-Landwirten und wird von einer kundigen Köchin köstlich zubereitet, die Seife an Bord ist eine handwerklich hergestellte Meerwasser-taugliche Seife aus Ingredienzen, die Tres Hombres herübergesegelt hat, der an Bord getrunkene Kaffee ist fair hergestellt und ohne Luftverschmutzung transportiert.
Der Wunsch aus Jugendzeiten ging für mich hier an Bord in Erfüllung und weit darüber hinaus. Ich kann die Erfahrung nur weiterempfehlen.
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.
Den Helder: for those who have been around Tres Hombres since her early days, this name will ring more than one bell and recall many memories. It is a town in Noord Holland which faces the island of Texel and looks over the Wadden Zee, with its place in the maritime history of the Dutch navy and fleet.
This is where the headquarters are, in Willemsoord. Where Teerenstra is, the shipyard where Tres Hombres drydocks and gets refitted since 2008. Just on the other side of the canal from the shipyard, there is a green oasis called De Groene Stek, managed by Judith, a strong woman who would deny a smile to no one!
Judith has a great team who works with her in the garden, a team made by special people who would be let apart in society otherwise, people who are differently able but so often get described as disabled. They work setting goals which are tailor-made for everyone involved in the project, matching their personal needs and aiming for real improvements, mental and physical benefits, creating a safe place of acceptance where people otherwise rejected by society can learn new skills.
Through growing veggies and herbs, they grow themselves too! Gardening becomes therapy for them, probably the best and most effective, a way to stay socially connected letting Nature do the healing that is needed.
From there we take the veggies we need for the refits and for the beginning of the winter voyages for many years. We go there to harvest them ourselves, to chat with the people, to cut the apples that will dry in the oven and be served as snacks on board, and to spend some time in this urban oasis of organic agriculture.
Fairtransport and De Groene Stek are long-term friends, Judith has been supporting many cooks and provisioning the galley of Tres Hombres for a long time, during the refit as well as at sea.
And she is so stunningly generous that fresh veggies aren’t the only gift she provides! Let Eddie tell you more about it…
So we are coming to the end of the winter voyage. Reflecting on the time that has passed there is a very clear group that contributed to making the galley what it was.
Groenestek! You have been with us the whole way, and every person on board knows and is so grateful for your gifts. Thank you for your abundant generosity!
A short summary of what they gave