This October the magnificent tall ship ‘Oosterschelde,’ a Dutch three-masted topsail schooner, will sail from Rotterdam with the intention of sailing the ancient trading route, which will take them to the remote Cape Verde Islands, 600 kilometres off the coast of Gambia, Africa and then on to Brazil in South America and to the famous South African city of Cape Town.
At the same time, the ‘Europa’ a three masted barque, will be sailing East after completion of an earlier expedition to Antarctica (Terra Australis). These two ships will meet up in Cape town and they will then continue their voyage across to Australia together. Their journey will allow them to sail, with favourable westerly winds, transiting the Indian Ocean to Australia and this will be following the wake of well renowned Dutch explorers Abel Tasman, Cornelis de Houtman and Van Diemen. These familiar Dutch tall ships will be reliving ancient days once more.
The route will take them to Madagascar on to Mauritius, then Reunion and on to Perth. They will negotiate the notoriously rough seas of the Great Australian Bight to Adelaide, sailing to Melbourne and Hobart in Tasmania. After their arrival in Hobart a race is set to be organized, finishing in Sydney.
Less then a year after setting sail from Holland, on the 4th October 2013, the ships will be representing the Netherlands at the International Fleet appraisal of the Australian Navy which will be commemorating a hundred years since the entry of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) into the sheltered waters of Sydney harbour. A Tall Ships’ Race is scheduled from Sydney to Auckland after this event.
After this race has been completed the ‘Europa’ and ‘Oosterschelde’ will begin preparations for their long arduous voyage around Cape Horn at the end of November 2013. This section will take them to the bleak desolate Falkland Islands and then to the dramatic ice mass of Antarctica, which still abounds in unique wild life. Once this expedition has been completed the ‘Oosterschelde’ will sail back North and then on to the Netherlands, their home, and ‘Europa’ will be taking part in more expeditions in Antarctic.
With inspiration given by this sailing programme of the Dutch tall ships, the ‘Lord Nelson’ has now announced plans to embark on a global circumnavigation which will include participating in the tall ships’ races that will take place in Australia. The ‘Lord Nelson’ is funded and run by the well known Jubilee Sailing Trust in Britain and has been specially designed and constructed to allow people with a varied assortment of physical abilities to sail alongside each other as equals. It is hard to imagine that any early tall ships ever had the same compassion as the Lord Nelson. However, they will be experience the strict routine that was apparent in early days and is still a necessity when transiting our crowded oceans.