Clipper Stad Amsterdam: addictive & incredible

What can you say after 5 weeks at sea aboard the Clipper Stad Amsterdam crossing the Atlantic ocean from Miami USA to Horta on the Azores and onwards to Port-Vendres in France? One of my fellow passengers on the first leg has already described it as 

Maurits Van Veen, guest and member of the Blue Watch on Clipper Stad Amsterdam's latest transatlantic voyage sharing his experiences:

Predicting the wind

Leaving Horta with nice wind making very nice speeds of 8 to 10 knots towards Portugal we we’re all very excited on board, but as the captain put it the first evening during his presentation: “unfortunately this won’t last” and having sailed with him the first part of the crossing I have come to rely on his judgement when it comes to predicting the wind. So after having sailed nicely for 4 days and seeing dolphins, whales, turtles, tuna and marlin along the way we came upon very calm seas the last stretch towards Gibraltar. 

Opportunity rises

The crew of the Clipper Stad Amsterdam don’t let anything put them down, they seized this opportunity to lower the RHIB (Rigid hull inflatable boat) in the water and give the passengers (and crew) the opportunity to take pictures of the ship at full sail from the water, it only takes one look to show you that it is a magnificent sight to see this ship sail past.
After which the cook, Bart, came up with the idea to do a sangria workshop on deck, showing passengers how a good sangria is made, this had to be verified by all passengers afterwards by way of tasting of course.
This being a Dutch ship the crew also made it possible to follow the football match Euro league final Ajax-Manchester via streaming radio with…… Bitterballen!

Setting a record

The next day we had some wind and thus the opportunity for both crew and passengers to set the stunsails which does not happen often. Stunsails are sails that are put up outside of the regular yards, for this you have to attach a lot of lines and slide out big wooden booms on the side of the course and upper topsail yard to be able to set the sails. A learning experience for both crew and passengers. When all of this was done the captain told us that we had 2016 m2 of sail up at that time which was a record. In the end we did have to take all sails down and stat the engine in order for us to make it to France on time.
Luckily the captain told us that evening that before we would pass the iconic point of Gibraltar rock we would have some wind again, enough for us to sail past it, and once again he was right giving us a perfect opportunity to take photos of the sunset over Gibraltar with the ship at full sail. All the while the crew had set out drinks, cheese and special ham for us to enjoy.

Calm Seas in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is known for having “no wind, or a lot of wind”, we got the no wind. With only 0.1 kts of true wind speed we had to turn on the engine again. But being in calm seas also made it possible for two of the crew to bake cookies for all of us which we enjoyed during Smoko (smoke and coffee break).
It also presented the possibility for yours truly to suggest that we make pancakes for everyone.This was accepted with great enthusiasm after which I realised that I would be making pancakes for 50 people… Lucky for me this is a “one ship, one crew” kind of ship and I got help from both the cook and 3rd officer to make the batter and the doctor, 3rd officer and hotel manager to help me bake the pancakes. It took us all of the evening watch (8 till midnight) to make about 150 pancakes in 5 different varieties. The next day during lunch we got to eat all of them
 The course around Spain now takes us between the Balearic Island of Mallorca and Menorca, where we got a very special treat. The captain stopped the ship and extended the swimming platform so that all of us could go swimming in the Mediterranean of the coast of Mallorca. It felt like a luxury cruise being able to do this. Jumping of the side of the ship as well as climbing all the way out to the tip of the bowsprit to jump from there into very clear blue water.
Afterwards the ship continued on the motor until the next morning.

After setting a lot of the sails again in the morning heat being observed by dolphins and a large manta ray we retreated to the main deck where the crew had set up a small inflatable pool because outside the ship there were too many jellyfish to go swimming safely.

A great longing

The next day we arrived at our final destination of Port-Vendres France. This adventurous
sailing trip finalizing the crossing of the Atlantic ocean might not have had strong winds, water on deck and large waves, but I brought us great sailing, beautiful weather lots of sea life and plenty of possibilities to learn how to handle a square rigged ship. What it also did for me was instil a sense of longing to return here and experience more adventures sailing aboard this beautiful ship with its incredibly patient, knowledgeable and attentive crew.

Calm winds and following seas!
Maurits van Veen

about the author

Maurits Van Veen - Guest and member of the Blue Watch

Maurits van Veen has sailed on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam, as guest and member of the Blue Watch, on the latest transatlantic voyage. A 34 day adventure sailing, starting in Miami visiting the Azores, through the Strait of Gibraltar to Port Vendrès in the South of France.