Wind powered

We’d just received confirmation our ship, the Oosterschelde, had officially won 1st place in the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Trans-Atlantic race when the reality set in that we’d really just successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  By sail.  On a one hundred year old, three mast top sail schooner.  Our particular leg of the race started in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first of August this year and ended in La Havre, France at the end of the same month. 

Twenty four guest-crew representing New Zealand, Scotland, Finland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and The United States represented as many souls as the ship could hold during a race of this nature.  Seven members of the working-crew composed of Captain Arian, Second Mate Jan, Boudewijn, Jan-Willem, Chef Ian, Edward and Crazy Uncle Kiel are as accomplished, knowledgeable and helpful as they are consistent.  Truly a remarkable team to watch in action.  Pure efficacy.  Most of the working-crew were Dutchmen by blood and appeared to have had nautical skills passed forward genetically.  They each had almost preternatural sailing abilities which were displayed effortlessly.  Everyday. 

While under constant sail, we’d each witnessed portions of the Perseid meteor shower, stunning sunrises, friendly dolphins, glowing sunsets, the full lunar cycle, activated bioluminescent algae and every form of rain imaginable.  Roughly at the midpoint of the crossing we were fiercely chased by category 2 hurricane Gert for a few days which was an unanticipated thrill for everyone.  Sailing a flat bottomed ship this size at ten knots per hour in heavy weather compounded by 8-10 foot swells presented lots of opportunities to get things accomplished quickly.  Efficiency was the rule. 

Getting creative in finding a balance between sleep and the revolving watch schedule we were all under tended to keep us somewhere between under-rested and over-tired. Wedging foam life vests under one side of our bunk compensating for the listing hull, at the minimum, prevented us from rolling out of our beds.  During some of the more severe conditions when the ship was navigating all forms of conflicting pressures, it was best to think of something other than the ship being manufactured in the same time period as the Titanic, and with the same metallurgy. 

The Oosterschelde was full of adventurous, compassionate and fully engaged individuals from all over the world.  We each contributed to the entire experience in our own unique way all while cooperating as a collective unit.  Quite remarkable to witness diversity come together, in frighteningly adverse conditions, all with the same positive goal in mind. Independent of the nautical accomplishment of a trans-Atlantic crossing itself, my personal faith in humanity was restored at nearly every point of the adventure.  Deepened my appreciation for a stable bed and a full nights sleep among many, many other things.

Happy to be home right now with my sweet wife and geriatric Vizsla full of fond memories, new perspectives and a widening circle of friends around the globe.  As the photos show, Mountain Khakis were an integral part of the entire adventure from stem to stern.  Most of the salt has been washed out of my MK pants although seeing them hanging on the drying rack does take my mind back to all the fun shared on deck of the Oosterschelde sailing across the Atlantic this last August.