Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Canvas and Polished Wood.

I sat at the harbour chatting to a chap from Uruguay. He was crewing one of the many, many boats that were stopping over in Hobart after the big yacht race: there were several races that come to the finish line in sight of my cave just before the New Year celebrations. His boat was a Clipper, one of 11 that are currently on an 'around the world race' and just joining in the Sydney to Hobart leg and the Big Race.  People from all over can crew these big beautiful 70ft Clipper boats: amateur, novice as well as skilled. 

I shouted him a pint in the Tavern. His boat came in last.

The huge and not so huge sailing boats make a fine change from the massive 'suburbs' with 7000 aboard that come to the deep wharf here. I have shown some here before, but am not attracted to the idea of a holiday in any of them. I just might like a sailing trip though. His boat, however, was not what I have in mind.  Racing about is a bit too much like hard work for a knackered old Knight. I shall come to what I might like but first a bit about the 'around the world' clipper race.

Expected in first place on this leg was Wendy Tuck. Amanda Lulham told me a bit about her.

Clipper round-the-world race: Wendy Tuck has the edge in sprint to Sydney
AUSTRALIAN skipper Wendy Tuck has claimed a home town win in the Clipper round the world race — and immediately set her sights on another in the Sydney to Hobart.

Tuck and her team on the Sanya Serenity Coast 70-footer sailed into Sydney Harbour on Friday morning (before Christmas) at the end of a tough 2500nm leg from Perth.
The Australian beat the only other female skipper in the 11-boat fleet, 24-year-old British sailor Nikki Henderson, steering Visit Seattle.
Tuck and her team held off late challenges from a number of rivals for the leg win, her second in this year’s race.
“To get a win into your home port is really something special,” Tuck said.
But Tuck isn’t resting on her laurels with her next goal a win in the Clipper division of the Sydney to Hobart.
“It’s every little girl’s dream to win a Hobart. Well, little girls who were like me,” laughed Tuck.

Tuck won the Clipper race to Hobart two years ago.

The 11 Clipper yachts are part of a 102-strong fleet heading south in the Sydney to Hobart in Boxing Day.
The Sydney to Hobart is being used as a leg of the race for only the second time.
Unfortunately for her, Wendy didn't come first but hopefully had a fine New Year celebration. 

But to a 'Real' Clipper.

My past as a King saw much of a 'champagne' life but now I have just a Coca Cola lifestyle. I am used to being poor but between you and I, there is still a man of style and taste beneath my barman's apron. So... were I to take a sailing holiday - although not all around the world - i just might take to the Royal Clipper.

Big sails and lots of them.  Polished wood everywhere, inside and out. 

Royal Clipper is a steel-hulled five-masted fully rigged tall ship used as a cruise ship. She was designed by Polish naval architect Zygmunt Choreń, for Star Clippers Ltd. of Sweden, and built using an existing steel hull that was modified by the Gdańsk Shipyard. She was sold because of financial problems. 

The Merwede shipyard completed the ship's interior in July 2000. The renovations included frescography murals by Rainer Maria Latzke completing the ship's Mediterranean interior.  Her design was based on Preussen, a famous German five-mast Flying P-Linerwindjammer built in 1902.

Star Clippers claims that she is the largest "true sailing ship" built since Preussen. She is listed in Guinness World Records as the largest square-rigged ship in service, with 5202 square metres of sail. Her sails can be handled with a crew as small as twenty using powered controls.



Royal Clipper cruises the Mediterranean during the summer. During the winter she offers Caribbean trips through the southern parts of the Lesser Antilles area. Because of her size, she can visit smaller ports that larger (motor) cruise ships can't reach. Transatlantic crossings are available between seasons.

Royal Clipper spends the winter season sailing weekly from Bridgetown, Barbados on itineraries that include the Grenadines and Windward Islands of the Caribbean. After repositioning to Europe in the spring, she sails a variety of summer voyages ranging from Spain to Croatia in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

I would be happy to spend a few weeks in the Adriatic or the Caribbean, enjoying the sun and wind and waves, with the comforts of a fine crew to wait upon my whims.

Unusual for a sailing ship, a three-deck atrium graces the heart of the vessel.

Her interior is decorated in Edwardian-era style with abundant gleaming wood, brass fixtures, and nautical touches. Light filters into the piano bar, three-deck-high atrium, and dining room through the glass bottom and portholes of the main swimming pool located overhead.

The rarely used Observation Lounge is forward of the Deluxe suites and affords great sea views. It is also the location of the computer station for all Internet access.

In 1991, Star Clippers unveiled a new tall-ship alternative to sophisticated travelers whose desires include having an adventure at sea but not on board a conventional cruise ship. 

Star Clippers vessels are four- and five-masted sailing beauties—the world's largest barkentine and full-rigged sailing ships. Filled with modern, high-tech equipment as well as the amenities of private yachts, the ships rely on sail power while at sea unless conditions require the assistance of the engines. 

Minimal heeling, usually less than 6%, is achieved through judicious control of the sails.
A boyhood dream became a cruise-line reality when Swedish entrepreneur Mikael Krafft launched his fleet of authentic recreations of classic 19th-century clipper ships. The day officially begins when the captain holds an informative daily briefing on deck with a bit of storytelling tossed in.

The lack of rigid scheduling is one of Star Clippers' most appealing attractions. The bridge is always open, and passengers are welcome to peer over the captain's shoulder as he plots the ship's course. Crew members are happy to demonstrate how to splice a line, reef a sail, or tie a proper knot.

As attractive as the ships' interiors are, the focal point of Star Clippers cruises is the outdoors. Plan to spend a lot of time on deck soaking in the sun, sea, and sky. It doesn't get any better than that. Consider also that each ship has at least two swimming pools. Granted, they are tiny, but they are a refreshing feature uncommon on true sailing ships and all but the most lavish yachts.

Although the Star Clippers ships are motorized, their engines are shut down whenever crews unfurl the sails (36,000 square feet on Star Clipper and Star Flyer, and 56,000 square feet on Royal Clipper) to capture the wind. On a typical cruise, the ships rely exclusively on sail power any time favorable conditions prevail.

As the haunting strains of Vangelis's symphony "1492: Conquest of Paradise" are piped over the PA system and the first of the sails is unfurled, the only thing you'll hear on deck is the sound of the music and the calls of the line handlers until every sail is in place. 

While the feeling of the wind powering large ships through the water is spine-tingling, you will miss the wondrous sight of your ship under sail unless the captain can schedule a photo opportunity utilizing one of the tenders. 

It's one of the most memorable sights you'll see if this opportunity avails itself. However, when necessary, the ships will cruise under motor power to meet the requirements of their itineraries.

Do I need a holiday?

No. Not really. Where I am, in my cave, overlooking a magnificent view in one of the most beautiful places one could find, with all conveniences quite local: and of course my magnificent Tavern to run: why would I be anywhere else.

Drink to this with me.



  1. I've been on a couple of cruises on Star Clippers' fine sailing craft. Your post brings back fond memories.

    1. That pleases me, sir. Fond memories are what we let go of with our last breath and they keep us in touch with our long lives to the end.

  2. That looks like a fine ship to spend a few days on :-)

    1. Yes. A few days would soon put colour back in cheeks and raise spirits along with a few acres of canvas. You would likely find me downwind smoking my pipe.

    2. I would be on deck with my camera. Lots of potential angles :-)


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..