“Sailing boat, sailing boat, let go your lines and go now!” The voice from the canal control tower crackled over the radio and we did as we were told. We were the only boat to enter the 6.3 kilometre Corinth Canal which links the Ionian Sea between Italy and Greece with the Aegean. It took nearly an hour to motor at full speed against the 1 knot current between towering limestone walls only 25 meters apart to make the full transit.
Corinth Canal, Peloponnes…
The canal is a maritime engineering marvel to be sure. Cut through Greek territory near the site of ancient Corinth, it separates the mountanous Peloponnese from the rest of the mainland and effectively makes the former an island.
The canal certainly cuts down the time taken to make East to West passages or vice versa and eliminates the passage around the often wild and tempestuous southern capes of the Peloponnese, but one wonders why there are so few boats using the waterway today. Has this masterpiece of construction become a white elephant?
Ships in Narrow Corinth C…
Corinth’s power in the golden age of Greece lay in its key position controlling the passage by sea from the Ionian to the Aegean across the narrow isthmus or the landward passage from Greece proper to the Peloponnese. It takes little imagination to see why the construction of a canal occupied so many minds through the ages.
It was the building of the Suez Canal in the late nineteenth century which spurred the independent Greek government to finally make the canal a reality, but the result was a passage way so narrow that few modern cargo vessels can use it. Additionally, the earthquake prone territory and crumbly stone make maintenance of the canal an ongoing expensive concern.
Construction of the Corin…
Today, the canal is more of a route for tourist traffic than a serious seagoing option for commercial craft. Large ships avoid the canal because they are either too wide or too deep.
“Sailing boat, go faster, go faster,” the voice implored us. We were encountering the strong current and adverse winds that funnel through the canal that the canal is well known for. Now followed by an impatient fishing boat, it still seemed faintly ridiculous that there was any hurry. But the canal is a one way maritime traffic system – it is so narrow that boats can only pass through one at a time, with several vessels following in line at busy times. Larger ships which just fit must be towed through by tug boats.
Nowadays, about 10,000 boats use the canal each year, avoiding the 700 kilometres trip around the three southern capes.
Ahead we could see the last bridge still blocking our passageway out into the Gulf of Corinth. Several road bridges including a motorway bridge cross the canal high above the water and allow motorists and pedestrians a fascinating glimpse of the passing boats far below. Two bridges need to be dropped into the water to allow boats to pass and the passage is carefully controlled by the canal authorities.
Finally, we popped out from the canal into the choppy gulf waters and passed a small freighter and two yachts waiting to pass through the opposite way. Although the canal is reputed to be the most expensive to transit of any of the world’s major canals per kilometre we reckoned the saving in time and diesel was well worth it. Perhaps the Corinth Canal was not such a white elephant after all!
Yachts have for nearly a hundred years existed as havens for pleasure seekers who often resided in the richest countries. This, despite the ups and downs of economies, is changing.
The yacht-owning class is expanding in India at a surprisingly rapid rate, where 150 of the vessels can be now viewed moored in Mumbai. It is not too long ago that sailing dhows frequented these waters, plying the coast from Kochi to Mumbai, but the aim was to move cargo not to be sailed by people at leisure. The sails of these iconic craft have now been replaced by diesel engines.
Most of those who are interested in purchasing a yacht want to share it with family and friends in places that are removed from city pollution where they can wile away a weekend break from busy city life.
One recent proud owner, Balachandar, who bought his yacht in Croatia said he owned a sailing dinghy for three years but it was too small to share it with family and friends.
A Goa resident bought an 11-metre vessel, which he uses for coastal fishing trips with his friends and relaxes in the backwaters of Goa. However, the most resplendent yacht in Goa is businessman Chetan Timblo’s, which at 37 metres is used to make passages to the Maldives every year.
In Kochi, Jose Thomas, a well-known businessman, bought a yacht, because he loves the water.
Dhow Sailboats Glide and Race across …
If you don’t have the money for a yacht, there is another choice and that is to charter one. Increasingly, in the coastal cities of India at $100 for an afternoon weekend charter, this is becoming a popular pastime for those who have a modest income.
In spite of its extensive coastline, this rapidly expanding yachting culture is restricted by the few facilities that are available to accommodate yachts securely. Mumbai might be India’s yachting capital, but it has no marina or port facility for the use of pleasure boats.
Off-Loading Cargo from Dhows from Zan…
There is now a marina outside the hotel on Bolgatty island in Kochi but it is not well used, as the abundance of safe, sheltered havens in Kochi’s backwaters offer plenty of possibilities to moor a boat in safety. This is not the case in Chennai, which has no placid inland waterways, and the yacht craving has been put on hold until the government agrees to put in a marina. A similar situation is present in Goa, where pressure is being put on the Government as well.
Aerial Shot of a Dhow Sailing in Turq…
Established in 2010, the Kochi Marina is the only marina facility in the country but the berths remain empty as the usual run of transient international yachts sailing from SE Asia to the Mediterranean has been put on hold due to the dangers of piracy in the region and yacht owners are favouring shipping their boats on a freighter rather than risking life and limb by sailing into the arms of pirates.
Optimism is still running high for the enthusiasts who say it will not be long before going out on the sea becomes as popular as driving, particularly as yachting is no longer the domain of millionaires.
April 22, 2012 | Alison Williams
Marine navigation all over the world has increasingly become reliant on global positioning systems or GPS for short, and its Russian, European and Chinese equivalents. So much so, that it would be hard to imagine the vast number of commercial vessels, let alone smaller fishing and pleasure boats being able to go anywhere on the sea without their GPS system working properly.
However, reports are now coming in which point to an increasing and very real risk to GPS systems and therefore, the whole of marine navigation by “jammers” and “spoofers” who, for a small cost, are able to upset the way in which satellite positioning is received and processed.
GPS is a more sophisticated version of earlier satellite navigation (satnav) systems that surfaced in the nineteen seventies. It had its origin in the US military’s need to deploy “seek and destroy” cruise missiles that could locate and blow up an enemy target using a GPS aided detection system buried in their nose cones. The US military kindly allowed its many orbiting position indicating satellites to be used by civilian devices. These were quickly developed for use at sea and, a little later, adapted for widespread use on land as well. From the tiniest fishing dinghy to the largest oil tanker, from family cars to taxis and buses, and from gliders to passenger aeroplanes, the GPS system lets people know wherever they are on the surface of the planet.
In the early days of GPS, the system was used with some caution and mariners still learnt the traditional craft of navigation with compass and sextant. The fear was that the US military would switch off the signal from the satellites in the event of perceived conflict, making all navigation immediately inoperable. The fears were, for the most part, unrealised. Apart from a few scares, no collisions or shipwrecks are known so far to have been caused by a disappearing signal, although many vessels have gone aground or sunk as a result of too heavy a dependence on electronic GPS navigation without the use of a corresponding use of common sense.
Now the danger lies in simple technology which apparently almost anybody with a head for electronic communication coupled with a few hundred euros could devise or simply buy online.
“Jammers” are already widely available on the internet and can be bought quite legally, although their use is illegal. Pranksters and gangsters alike have used these jammers to disrupt navigation systems at airports and on busy highways. Criminals have been known to use jammers to deliberately disrupt the GPS systems in trucks in order to be able to hold them up for their valuable contents.
Henry the Navigator at th…
Some jammers have much more signal strength than the low level signals emanating from orbiting satellites. A research experiment in the English Channel in 2010 used a low level jammer and discovered that it had remarkable effects on ships traversing the busy waterway between France and England. Reports came in of ships veering suddenly off course from the use of the jammer. Most commercial ships use an automated system to link their GPS with their steering by autopilot, so jammers can potentially have a devastating effect.
Perhaps more potentially dangerous than jammers are the “spoofers”. These are able to create a false GPS signal that can be used to fool anybody reliant on GPS to provide accurate time and location. The technology that makes spoofing possible has only just become available and is not yet widespread, but reports indicate that the components to construct a home made spoofer would cost less than a thousand euros.
Spoofers could be used in all sorts of devious ways to create false positions for illegal fishing boats and even motorists who want to evade fines from traffic infringements to havoc, even in the financial world. Stock exchanges depend now on precise timing for the exchange of stock.
Although, no serious incidents have yet been ascribed to the use of spoofers, an Iranian engineer is reported to have claimed that a US spy drone had been brought down over Iran by a home made spoofer. The report has yet to be confirmed but experts in the field say that is “in the realms of possibility and that is the scary part of the story.”
Dahabeahs, spelt seemingly in a dozen different ways, but named from the Arabic, still ply the River Nile in Egypt in small numbers today. These flat bottomed barge-like sailing boats have been around for hundreds of years. On the walls of Pharaonic tombs are pictures of craft that look remarkably similar. In Ancient times, the ancestors of dahabeahs sailed South with the predominant Northerly winds, ascending the Nile, trading with communities along the route. As the river flowed northwards towards its outlet in the Mediterranean, the return journey was aided by the river’s flow, even if it required tacking down and across the river constantly or using oars.
Dahabeahs are twin sailed, with one larger lateen sail at the front, and one smaller one at the rear. The rulers of Egypt in the Ottoman era used gilded dahabeah, and the name of the boat is derived from the Arabic for “gold”, dahabiyyah.
The arrival of steam powered boats spelt the end of the age of sail nearly everywhere in the world and Egypt proved no different in its response to the impact of the new era of fossil fuel. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the dahabeyahs enjoyed something of a revival as they were decked out for the rich and powerful of Egypt’s elite, and wealthy foreign travellers. They were built with an iron hull and deck, rather than of imported timber and equipped with a motor and luxurious cabins, bathrooms and had space for teams of servants. The motor allowed them to keep moving when there was no wind or return to the towns of the North without waiting for the current, paddling or tacking.
These wealthy travelers often rented the boats for several weeks at a time and gently sailed up river with the wind, stopping at temples, monuments and other sites of antiquity as they went. The river breeze helped to keep the temperature down and insects away from the boat.
The few remaining dahabeahs of today are almost exclusively designed for the tourist trade, although their smaller sister boats, the more common feluccas are still used by Egyptians for everyday trading and passenger transport up and down the Nile. Those people who visit Cairo, Aswan or Luxor and go for a day sail or, more likely, an evening sail up and down the river to watch the sunset, are much more likely to be on a felucca.
The modern dahabeahs, up to 40 metres long and six or seven metres wide are much more likely than before to be built out of beautifully crafted timbers. Most of these vessels have between four to ten cabins and begin their journeys in Luxor or Aswan and sail South to view the great monuments like the “Valleys of the Kings and Queens” or temple sites at places like Edfu, Kom Ombo and Philae.
Egypt, of course, would not really exist without the Nile. It has proved the dominant feature of every aspect of Egyptian life and culture throughout the ages, so a slow journey by sailing boat fashioned like those of antiquity is a fitting way to visit this country.
The dahabeahs are normally fitted out so that their top deck becomes the social and dining centre of the boat, with its views of the riverside communities and ability to catch the breeze. Passengers are normally accommodated in rows of cabins towards the bow of the boat on either side.
In keeping with their ancestral craft, these tourist oriented dahabeahs still sail South without the need to use their engine, unless the wind dies, but will also have back up generators to provide electricity for the cabins.
Novice and learner seafarers can be said to be green, while rough seas invariably make the occupants of sea going vessels go green! But how green is the marine industry in the environmental sense of the word? More specifically, how does the marine industry match up to the EU’s ambitious targets to cut global carbon dioxide emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2020 and the near certainty that future energy supplies will have to shift from their almost complete dependency on fossil fuels?
The current situation shows a complex and diverse situation, which although is certainly not all doom and gloom, reveals a widening gulf between the leisure industry and the commercial marine transport industry.
First, the good news. In many ways the leisure industry, more specifically private boat and yacht usage, leads the way in terms of environmental technology and energy consumption. Small leisure vessels these days display an assortment of alternative energy technologies. Small wind generators, increasingly built with ever greater efficiency, vie for space with sheets of solar panels provide electricity generation and reduce the need for fossil fuel consumption. Boat owners are short on space, so are inherently frugal. Water usage is carefully controlled, often supplemented by small desalination systems, powered by the same alternative energy sources already described.
Private sailing vessels of course are even more environmentally friendly than their purely motor driven counterparts. Together with bicycling, kayaking, walking and horse riding, sailing can be regarded as the most environmentally friendly way of taking a holiday.
Now,for the bad news. The years when the wind powered the world’s marine transport industry is long gone. The marine industry is currently responsible for 90 % of world trade. More than 50,000 ships ply the world’s water ways, contributing to 5 % of global carbon dioxide emissions, with that amount expected to increase by 75% by 2027. The marine and aviation industry have never been part of the Kyoto protocol and the marine industry in general appears to be resistant to squaring up to its global responsibilities. A recent attempt by the EU to regulate and cut global emissions from world shipping was reported to be dead in the water, with the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) reportedly too close to vested interests to be relied upon to play any part in regulating shipping. It is the rising price of oil which is most likely to lead to design changes, rather than a commitment to environmental safeguards.
To be fair, because of the colossal size of much of the current fleet of bulk carriers, tankers and container ships which carry the majority of the world’s goods, the energy efficiency of the shipping industry appears, on paper, to be exemplary: a 8000 tonne tanker for instance uses only 1.5% of the energy needed to shift a tonne of goods per kilometre compared to a jet airliner. The trend for the ever increasing size in ships does bring increasing energy efficiency, together with modifications in the design of hull shapes, propellors and engines. The shipping industry claims that its contribution to marine pollution, despite major, well publicised oil spill disasters, is now less than 10% of the total.
New innovations have from time to time brightened what has been a gloomy picture and highlight the possibilities that emerging technologies have for the future.
The German SkySails invention consists of a huge, computer controlled kite, which is designed to be flown in front and above large ships and is reputed to be able to cut emissions and fuel costs by up to 40%. The invention, according to the engineer responsible for its development could be used on at least half of the current maritime fleet.
Another invention, which also revives the old maritime use of wind power, is to be trialled on the Norwegian flagship the “Orcelle”, and utilises large, rigid, revolving metal sails, which capture and use the strongest winds and can be used as solar panels when the wind drops. These inventions are not designed to replace the use of fossil fuels but simply to reduce its consumption and the pollution that goes with it.
Let’s face it most of us are ordinary people with moderate wealth and expectations. We have moderate sized houses, cars that are neither too big nor too small, never have too many children and go on holiday to moderate sorts of places. If we have a boat, it won’t be very big or very small. However, it’s the extremes in life that continue to fascinate us. This is true no less in the marine world. Records for the longest, most expensive super yacht and the tiniest of boats to cross the seas keep falling to ever bigger and smaller vessels.
Despite the uncertain economic times that much of the world has been experiencing, the number of the world’s largest yachts continues to grow. Admittedly, many of these were commissioned in the boom years, but the design and construction phases have maintained pace. Only five years ago, a 60 metre boat would easily have made the top 100 world yacht league, now the smallest boat to reach this list would have to be 72 metres! Within the last year alone, the 162 metre “Dubai”, owned by the Ruler of Dubai, has been beaten into second place by the 180 metre “Eclipse”, owned by one of Russia’s new billionaires and one of the world’s wealthiest men, Roman Abramovitch. Although many of the details of these mega yachts are initially clouded in mystery the “Eclipse” was apparently built simply to be bigger than the Sheikh’s sleek “Dubai”!
While Germany and Holland remain the centres of mega yacht construction, with German boat yards having built seven of the ten new mega yachts during the last year and Holland building three, the number of countries involved in producing boats that will get into the top 100 list has diversified with Marco Yachts of Chile entering this elite field with three to reach the top 100.
Mega yachts have continued to grow in size partly due to innovative construction materials and design. Composite materials have been favoured by many of the newer boats allowing a much lighter, but larger and faster boast to be constructed. The Phillipe Starck designed “A”, built by the Blohm and Voss yard from composite materials impressed its audience with its revolutionary curved deck design, and light mass allowing easier handling and navigational capacity.
With a sigh we have to admit that very few of us could ever dream of owning one of these huge beauties – anyway where would we put it? The tiniest of boats are a different matter entirely. Now here we are not talking about model boats, tenders or things like kayaks or wind surfers or even such boats as Optimists or Lasers, small though they might be. The tiniest boats that catch our attention are those that cross oceans – or make the attempt anyway. The owners of these little craft are eccentric, adventurous, philanthropists or just plain mad. The latest of a whole string of world records for the tiniest boats to sail the high seas now includes Tom McNally’s just under 4 feet long, “The Big C”. It has been built to cross the Atlantic from Spain to Puerto Rico, up the East Coast of America and then back to Britain. If this seems like a total impossibility or complete suicide, reflect that Tom has already crossed the Atlantic once in a 6 foot boat, also called the Big C, from West to East and in a five foot boat from Portugal to Puerto Rico in 1998. His latest feat is to raise funds for cancer research, hence the name. The Big C will be attached to two side floats that contain all the boat stores, such as they are, and Tom not only has to sleep in a sort of a sling, but will catch fish once his initial supplies run out, and eat it raw for food and make water at night with a manually powered desalinator.
Tom is not alone in his tiny boat accomplishments – the list of little ship adventurers is surprisingly long – longer than most of the boats on the list! Some of these were never really well thought out or just ran out of luck and boats and their occupants have often disappeared without a trace. In 1973, the 12 foot “Sea Egg” with John Riding the lone occupant, was lost in the Tasman after a crossing of the Atlantic and nearly the whole Pacific, while Bill Dunlop in the 9 foot “Wind’s Will” disappeared while crossing the Pacific in his round the world attempt in 1984. Luckier, in the 8 foot “God’s Tear”, was Wayne Dickinson, who survived his boat being smashed to pieces on Irish rocks in a force 10 storm after completing an Atlantic crossing.
In the early years of the twentieth century, when increasing affluence initiated a flurry of record breaking attempts in little boats, the number of twenty something foot boats making trans Atlantic crossings increased substantially with 20 foot “Trekka” being the first little boat to get into the record books with a circumnavigation, followed by several others, including the Australian built aluminium “Acroch Australis”, only 12 foot long that made a 500 day circumnavigation recorded in laconic style in the book of the same name.
Tiny and huge, adventurous, mad or plain billionaire, the stories will continue to fascinate us while we continue our own safe, moderate and definitely less newsworthy lives!
The very first OpSail event was organized at the same time when 1964 World’s Fair was taking place in New York. Participants joined the event from many European places such as UK’s Plymouth and Portugal’s Lisbon and celebrated not only their countries’ individual history, but also the joint values that were the prime reason of bringing everyone together at the time.
Since its inauguration year of 1964, OpSail has been celebrated in conjunction with several historical events such as the Declaration of Independence’s 200th anniversary, the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America and even the commencement of the 21st century.
The next installment of the series ‘OpSail 2012’ will once again pay tribute to the solidarity among nations, the bravery of seamen and the splendor of the navy vessels. While the tall ships would bring back fond memories for many in attendance, the young ones would carry it forward to share them with many future generations.
The event will also remember the US Navy’s heroic efforts in the War of 1812, when it safeguarded the American sovereignty, which had come under severe threat from the British Empire. Hence, OpSail will reignite that same spirit by bringing the free nations together and highlighting the pride of sailors.
It will be the fifth time in OpSail’s nearly five decades-long history that it has teamed up with the US Navy to gather other navies of the world on a joint platform, to celebrate the shared connection that exists among the sailing fraternity and to acknowledge their quest for diplomacy.
OpSail 2012 will not only be for the benefit of the conventional participants, but it will also allow the co-hosts US Navy to give its officers and warships some much-deserved exposure in front of a large audience. The US Navy has also added a new fleet of tall ships to their collection, which would be its tribute to the country’s historic roots.
During the event’s launching ceremony, Director of Navy Commemorations Office, Naval History and Heritage Command Captain Patrick C. Burns said that apart from all the customary celebrations of OpSail, it is their national responsibility to tell their new generation about the country’s proud maritime history. He further added that through OpSail 2012, they intend to inspire young people so they turn into great future leaders.
OpSail 2012, which is scheduled to be held at a number of historical US ports, including Norfolk, New York, Baltimore, Boston and New Orleans, will feature a wide variety of tall ships and navy vessels, and as OpSail Executive Director Chris O’Brien said, the gathering will promote their aim of preserving the maritime legacy of the world.
The fifth and last race of the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge got under way this afternoon at 1700 hrs local in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 13 racing vessels took part in a beautiful parade of sail around the bay in front of Halifax, together with some other vessels that had been in Halifax as part of the festival. Led by local Tall ShipBluenose, the fleet circled the bay in front of a huge crowd of people, many of whom had set out chairs along the quayside hours before the official start of the parade.
The final vessel in the parade of sail was Kruzenshtern, looking slightly odd with her shortened foremast, but nevertheless impressive as her crew scrambled up the mast to prepare the sails to be lowered. The Portuguese ship Sagres looked particularly spectacular as she turned in front of the bridge in full sail and sailed past the cheering crowds and accompanying pleasure craft.
photo: Cisne Branco and Kruzenshtern
The 13 racing Tall Ships then made their way out to the race start area, some five miles off Hartlen Point. The conditions were good with south westerly winds of between 10-12 knots getting the fleet off to a good start. First across the line was the elegant Sagres with Capitan Miranda (Uruguay) crossing just 14 seconds behind her. Third across the line was Europa (Netherlands).
In the combined Class B and D start, Jolie Brise (UK) was quick off the mark and fast over the line. Second over the line and hoisting a bright yellow spinnaker, wasRona II (UK) with Belle Poule (France) in third.
Race control, which is on the Brazilian ship Cisne Branco, will now contact each ship every day to obtain their 1400 hrs GMT position. The fleet’s positions will then be mapped on the Sail Training International fleet tracking software, with their positions on corrected time shown in a table.
July 12, 2009, St Petersburg – Vladimir Putin – the Chairman of the Government of Russian Federation – was guest of honour at today’s first-race prizegiving of The Tall Ships’ Races in St Petersburg.
Thousands of visitors including crews from over 100 tall ships from 14 countries turned out at the main stage situated at the spectacular location on the Spit of Vasilievsky Island to see Prime Minister Putin present prizes to competitors for the first leg of The Tall Ships’ Races series from Gdynia, Poland.
This Tall Ships festival, which runs for four days (11-14 July), has already gained huge political prestige in St Petersburg and the city, known as the marine capital of Russia, is honoured to be hosting the event once again.
Joining Putin in presenting prizes on the stage at today’s prizegiving ceremony was Valentina Matvienko – the Governor of St Petersburg, and Christer Samuelsson (Race Chairman).
The Tall Ships, including some of the largest square rigged vessels in the world such as St Petersburg-based Mir, Dar Mlodziezy from Poland, and the brand-new Swedish ship – Tre Kronor of Stockholm, are moored up along Lieutenant Shmidt Embankment on the River Neva, and roads along the waterside have been closed to allow the estimated one million-plus visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at these spectacular sail training vessels. Many of the ships are open to the public, and the crew – 50 per cent of which are young people between the ages of 15-25 years – are on hand throughout the festival to guide visitors around the ships and chat about their experiences of life at sea.
The Tall Ships’ Races, which this year started in Gdynia, Poland on Sunday 5 July, will continue with a cruise in company from St Petersburg on Tuesday 14 July through the Finnish archipelago to Turku, Finland. From there, the fleet will set off on 26 July to race its second leg of the series to Klaipeda, Lithuania.
The Dutch naval sail training vessel Urania led The Tall Ships’ Races fleet out of Den Helder today in a beautiful parade of sail. The sun shone for most of the day and many of the vessels set some sail. As they passed the saluting vessel, De Ruyter, they paid their respects to the city by firing cannons, performing Mexican waves or cheering. On board De Ruyter were a number of dignitories including the Prins Maruits van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhove, who said he thoroughly enjoyed watching the ships and was a huge supporter of all that Sail Training International stood for.
Watching the parade of sail from the shore were thousands of people who were treated to a great view as the ships passed fairly close as they sailed along the Den Helder roads. As the ships disappeared into the distance, they were joined by hundreds of spectator craft which followed along beside to cheer and wave.
Yesterday some 80,000 people were estimated to have visited the fleet in Den Helder with more expected to have watched the parade of sail today.
A number of the vessels had taken spectators on board for the parade and then returned them to Den Helder before disappearing into the sunset. Many of them will be joining up again for Sail Bremmerhaven on 27 August, and then afterwards a number will be in Falmouth for the start of the Funchal 500 Tall Ships Regatta which will see around 30 vessels race down to Ilhavo in Portugal and then on to Madeira in Funchal to celebrate the city’s 500th anniversary.
The race series has been a spectacular success with many young people having experienced their first time at sea with all the challenges that brings. The memories they take away with them will stay with them forever and it is hoped will shape their lives in a positive way and help stand them in good stead for the future. Many will be back again next year to renew friendships and to experience another adventure. Final Results and Prize Lists
As The Tall Ships’ Races 2008 draws to a close, many of the captains and crews spent the day meeting up with friends for a final get together before they go their own way. One old tradition that has been going since 1994 is for the crew of Shabab Oman (Oman) to host a lunch for the crew of Jens Krogh (Denmark) who then invite the Omani crew back to their vessel for pancakes. This tradition has become a firm favourite with both crews and is the essence of the spirit of The Tall Ships’ Races.
Meanwhile, many of the crews were on the move, with new crews arriving to take the vessels on to the next point of call. Crews that are not changing were enjoying some sports events today, including dragon boat racing and beach volley ball.
Last night the crews got together for a final crew party which was followed by a grand firework display. On board a number of the ships meanwhile, private parties were being held which are an essential way for the ships to make money while in port.
Earlier today the captains assembled for a briefing about tomorrow’s undocking and parade of sail. The undocking will get under way fairly early in order to get all the vessels out onto the Den Helder Roads before the Parade of Sail which will start at 1500 hrs.
The majority of the 65 vessels that will be in Den Helder for the final four days of The Tall Ships’ Races have now arrived. Still to arrive are Jolie Brise (UK) which is due in today at 1800 hrs local time, Picton Castle (Cook Isles), due today at 1700 hrs local, Sørlandet (Norway) due this evening at 2000 hrs, Kapitan Glowacki (Poland) and Johann Smidt (Germany) due tomorrow morning and John Laing (UK), which is currently in Calvyn and has not yet advised their eta in Den Helder.
All day the vessels have been arriving and berthing in the various parts of the port. The Class C and D vessels are predominently in the Natte Dok, the Class B vessels and a number of the smaller Class A vessels are berthed along the Koopvaardersbinnenhaven, a canal that runs along the edge of the port, with the larger Class A vessels berthed in the Het Nieuwe Diep, or main naval marina.
Tonight at 1745 hrs a welcome reception will be held at the Naval Academy at which all the Captains will be presented to the event’s patron, His Highness Prins Maurits of Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven and Princess Marilene of Oranje-Nassau. Immediately after the reception, the opening ceremony will take place, followed by the Captains Dinner which is being held at the Kathedraal, Willemsoord.
The fleet of The Tall Ships’ Races started to arrive in Den Helder today with Cuauhtemoc (Mexico) and the provisional winner,Christian Radich (Norway), among the first. A number of the smaller Class C and D vessels also arrived into the small basin in front of the Naval Academy, including many of the provisional winners of their classes, which finished the race a few days ago.
Lord Nelson (UK), one of the vessels still out at sea, has taken over from the communications vessel and is recording the positions of the rest of the fleet as they make their way to Den Helder.
All the vessels are expected to be in Den Helder by midday tomorrow, 20 August, for the start of the final four days of festivities. The final prize giving will take place on Thursday 21 August when the Sail Training International Friendship Trophy will be awarded as well as a number of other trophies.
The race time limit was reached today at 1200 hrs GMT for Class A, 1230 hrs for Class B, 1245 hrs for Class C and 1300 hrs for Class D, which means all vessels are deemed to have finished regardless of whether they have crossed the finish line or not.
Final results will not be confirmed until all the vessels have arrived in Den Helder and handed in their race declaration forms, but the provisional results show that Christian Radich (Norway) is the winner overall on corrected time, with Jolie Brise (UK) in second place and Sørlandet (Norway) in third.
In the Classes on corrected time, behind Christian Radich and Sørlandet in Class A is Mir (Russia). In Class B, Jolie Brise (UK) is the winner with Moosk (UK) in second place and Morning Star of Revelation (UK) in third. Akela (Russia) is the provisional winner of Class C, with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second place and Gaudeamus (Poland) in third. St Barbara V (UK) is in first place in Class D, with Rona II (UK) in second and Thyra (Denmark) in third.
The full list of provisional results can be seen in the Results
All the vessels are now making their way to Den Helder for the final four days of festivities which start on Wednesday 20 August. A number have already arrived in the port where they have been warmly welcomed.
The race time limit has been brought forward to 1200 hrs GMT today (for Class A), 1230 hrs (Class B), 1245 hrs (Class C) and 1300 hrs (Class D) in order to allow sufficient time for the back markers to make it to Den Helder in time for the final four days of festivities which start on 20 August.
Just 19 vessels remain on the course with all the others having crossed the finish line and either making their way to Den Helder or stopping off at other ports en route.
Christian Radich (Norway) looks set to hold on to her lead overall on corrected time with Jolie Brise (UK), the Class B vessel, coming in second and Sørlandet (Norway) in third. Statsraad Lehmkuhl, the third Norwegian ship, retired.
In Class B behind Jolie Brise is Moosk (UK) with Morning Star of Revelation (UK) remaining in third place. Akela (Russia) is in first place in Class C with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second and Guadeamus (Poland) in third. St Barbara V (UK) is the provisional winner of Class D with Rona II (UK) coming in second and Thyra (Denmark) in third, finally overcoming her sister vessel Svanen.
These results will remain provisional until the race time limit has been reached and the ‘finish at sea’ formula has been applied to all the vessels yet to cross the finish line. All vessels then have to complete and hand in their Race Declaration Forms before the results can be made final.
Winds are forecast to increase slightly and veer to the south west.
The vessels that have now crossed the finish line are: Akela, Antwerp Flyer, Black Diamond of Durham, Christian Radich, Cisne Branco, Cuauhtemoc, Eendracht, Esprit, Gaudeamus, John Laing, Jolie Brise, Mir, Rona II, Sørlandet, Spaniel, St Barbara V, Svanen, Thermopylae Clipper, Thyra, Urania and Zryw. Clyde Challenger is due into Den Helder later this morning.
A total of 15 vessels have now crossed the finish line with more expected overnight. Overall on corrected time, (Norway) remains in first place with Jolie Brise (UK) in second and now Sørlandet (Norway) in third. In Class A on corrected time, Christian Radich leads with Sørlandet in second place and Mir (Russia) in third. However, as there are more vessels yet to finish, this positions may still change.
In Class B on corrected time, the positions remain unchanged from this morning with Jolie Brise in first place, Moosk (UK) in second and Morning Star of Revelation (UK) in third for an all UK line up. In Class C, Akela (Russia) is in first place, Antwerp Flyer (Belgium) in second and Guadeamus (Poland) in third. St Barbara V II (UK) is in the lead in Class D with Rona II (UK) in second place and Thyra (Denmark) in third.
The vessels that have now crossed the finish line are: Akela, Antwerp Flyer, Christian Radich, Cuauhtemoc, Esprit, John Laing, Mir, Rona II, Spaniel, St Barbara V, Svanen, Thermopylae Clipper, Thyra and Urania. A number of these have gone direct to Den Helder while others will visit other ports before arriving in Den Helder on 20 August.
For the vessels in the more northerly part of the course winds are from the south east and 11-22 knots, decreasing to 6-15 knots. For those further south and approaching the finish line, winds are south south west, 14-20 knots, increasing to 16-32 knots.
The leaders in this second race of the series have remained unchanged overnight, while a number of vessels have crossed the finish line, with Akela (Russia) taking line honours.
Christian Radich (Norway) remains in the lead overall on corrected time with Jolie Brise, the Class B vessel, in second place overall and Statsraad Lehmkuhl (Norway) in third. In Class A on corrected time, Christian Radich and Statsraad Lehmkuhl are followed by the third Norwegian ship Sørlandet. In Class B, behind Jolie Brise is Moosk (UK) with Morning Star of Revelation (UK) in third. In Class C, Akela remains in first place with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) in second and Gaudeamus (Poland) in third. St Barbara V (UK) still leads Class D, with Rona II (UK) in second and Thyra (Denmark) in third.
Overnight a number of vessels crossed the finish line. The first across at just after 1900 hours GMT, was Akela (Russia). Others that followed later that evening or early this morning are: Mir (Russia), Thermopylae Clipper (UK), John Laing (UK), Esprit (Germany), Antwerp Flyer (Belgium), Rona II (UK), Thyra (Denmark), Svanane (Denmark) and Lietuva (Lithuania).
The weather forecast is for a continuation of south easterly winds of between 20 – 29 knots, decreasing to 15 – 22 knots for the next 24 hours. Over the next 48 hour period, winds will veer south south west 12 -17 knots, increasing to 18 – 26 knots, with isolated showers.
Late last night Clyde Challenger (UK) issued a mayday call as they were taking on water. All 13 crew members were taken off safe and well and the vessel is now on tow towards Den Helder. For the more details, click here.
The lighter winds have begun to benefit the smaller vessels with the Class C vessel Esprit (Germany) now in the lead on the water. Christian Radich (Norway) and Mir (Russia) are however close behind as are the yachts Akela (Russia), Antwerp Flyer (Belgium) and Rona II (UK) leaving the race for line honours still wide open.
Overall on corrected time Christian Radich remains in the lead with Statsraad Lehmkuhl (Norway) in second place and the Class B vessel, and winner of Race One, Jolie Brise (UK) now in third place. In Class A Sorlandet has moved up to third place on corrected time.
Behind Jolie Brise in Class B on corrected time is Moosk (UK) with Morning Star of Revelation (UK) now up into third place. Black Diamond of Durham (UK) is back in the lead in Class C with Akela in second and Gaudeamus (Poland) in third. St Barbara V (UK) has taken back the lead in Class D with Rona II (UK) in second and Svanen (Denmark) back up into third place.
Disappointing news for Assarain II (UK), who had been in the lead in their class, as their forestay broke overnight which has meant she has had to retire from the race and is making her own way to Den Helder. There are some very unhappy Captains’ Daughters on board!
The winds have lessened but are due to increase, still from the south east but from 12-17 knots to between 24 and 35 knots. Tomorrow winds will remain in the south east but increase to 21-41 knots before veering south south west and decreasing 14-20 knots. Given the conditions, a number of vessels will probably cross the finish line over the weekend.
The competition is beginning to heat up as the vessels pass the first waypoint and head south. The wind has also veered to a more southerly direction which is slowing the square rigged ships and meaning more tactics will come into play. Christian Radich (Norway) has now taken up the lead overall on corrected time as well as in Class A. Behind her is Alexander von Humboldt (Germany) with Statsraad Lehmkuhl (Norway) now in third.
The competition for Class B is also hotting up with Trinovante (UK) going well and now in the lead on corrected time. Moosk (UK) is also on the move and up into second place with Jens Krogh (Denmark) in third.
Photo: Cisne Branco (Brazil)
The battle for Class C continues with Black Diamond of Durham (UK) now in the lead with Gaudeamus (Poland) in second and Akela (Russia) third. Class D is also going to be another UK battle with Rona II (UK) taking up the lead with Assarain II (the Captains’ Daughters)(UK) in second and St Barbara V (UK) in third. All these positions are sure to keep changing as the race progresses.
On the water Mir (Russia) continues to lead with Cisne Branco (Brazil) keeping pace and Christian Radich, Cuauhtemoc (Mexico) and Statsraad Lehmkuhl all close behind.
Because of the change in direction and speed of the wind, the estimated times of arrival listed for each of the vessels is likely to be extended as the race progresses.
Bergen’s own Tall Ship, Statsraad Lehmkuhl, led the Parade of Sail out of Bergen today after four days of festivities. From 8am this morning the ships had been undocking and leaving the harbour to wait in the outer bay for the parade of sail which started at 11am. The Commissioner of the City of Bergen, Monica Maeland, together with other dignatories, saluted the ships as they past and they in turn manned the yards, cheered and sounded their ship’s wistles to thank Bergen for their wonderful hospitality.
The fleet left the area with an escort of smaller vessels and a water cannon. They went under the Askøy Bridge, which was lined with people with a perfect view of the fleet as they departed.
Earlier in the morning rain had threatened but as the parade of sail got under way, even the sun came out to cheer the fleet on their way.
The fleet are now heading out to the race start area, which is some five miles off Hellisøy Lighthouse, some 45 miles from Bergen. The start will take place this evening at 1900 hours local time.
As the final vessels in The Tall Ships’ Races fleet arrived in Bergen this morning, so crowds of people turned out to see them. A huge carnival atmosphere quickly built up with the three stages around the town entertaining the crowds with jazz, shanty singing and other music.
A total of 84 vessels will be in Bergen for the four day festival prior to the start of the second race to Den Helder in the Netherlands. Crews arriving on the vessels reported having a fantastic time on the cruise in company, with all the little ports offering them welcome parties and other entertainment.
Arnau Garcia Hidalgo, a 16 year old from Barcelona, said he had a great time and enjoyed the cruise in company almost as much as he had the race from Liverpool. “I love coming into the new ports as there is always such a great welcome,” Arnau said. “The race was great fun and I learnt how important it is to be part of the team and that I can cope under stressful situations.”
The young man also said he’d love to take part in next year’s Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge as it would be, “a huge adventure and the ships visit two ports in Spain which would be really good fun.”
Arnau has been sailing on the Spanish vessel Far Barcelona which has returned to Norway after some 130 years. The vessel was built in Norway in 1874 in the same shipyard as the Norwegian vessel Loyal and yesterday the two vessels made a dramatic return to Bergen.
At 1900 hours the official opening ceremony will take place to be followed by the traditional captains’ dinner, to be held at the town hall. Later this evening will see a grand firework display over the harbour which is guaranteed to draw huge crowds.
A number of vessels still have berths available for the second race from Bergen to Den Helder which starts on Tuesday 12 August. These vessels include Kaliakra (Bulgaria), Pelican (UK) and Willliwaw (Belgium). Anyone interested should go along to the vessels in Bergen to find out more details.