Life on board a tall ship
Our journey started in Antwerp, Belgium where a three day Tall Ship Festival was taking place as a part of The Tall Ships Races 2016. We’ve checked-in on the second largest tall ship in the world- Kruzenshtern On the final day of the festival, before the departure from Antwerp.
Lots of people have gathered on the shore and waved to say good buy to all the ship leaving the port in Antwerp. At this very moment the work of a sailor begins. The ship which is 115 meters long needs the assistance of a tugboat on each side to manoeuvre and leave the harbour.
Kruzenshtern was originally called Padua and was built in 1926 as a cargo ship in Germany. After the WWII it was surrendered to the USSR, and today it's used to train the Russian navy. Kruzenshtern is not a cruise liner and therefore does not provide the luxury and comfort - here you get to experience, or at least to observe the true sailor’s life on board of a windjammer. You get to sleep in a separate but typical sailors cabins. Every morning you get up at the same time together with the crew and proceed with breakfast. The visitor’s of the ship do not use the sailor’s canteen, but you get to eat what everyone else does, the menu is one for all, including the captain. The food is served four times a day, it may sound a lot but the sailor’s job requires a lot of physical activity and strength. The visitor can volunteer to participate in the everyday sailor’s activities, but not in the advance ones- such as climbing the mast and rolling or unrolling the sails. That requires weeks of preparation, as the first landing mast is at 5-storey building height-just imagine that! And the whole action is pretty hectic, so as we were told by Anna (a German lady, who’s been doing these trips for many years and learned few things in navy while crossing the Atlantic on the Kruzenshtern) the best help is to stay away from the action, especially as a first-timer. It’s a wise advice, considering that all members of the crew speak Russian (not a problem in our case).
Kruzenshtern has got 34 sails (that would cover a football pitch). It’s truly mesmerising experience to find yourself in the open sea with all 34 sails up taking the advantage of the wind power.
The "washing up" day - usually is the day before arrival to the port. That’s the day when all of the vessel surfaces inside and outside are washed, the uniform is washed and dried, so upon arrival to the port the ship and the crew looks spotless.