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The Flemish Horse.

Out on the Flemish horse

The Flemish Horse.

When you start sailing on any vessel there is so much terminology to get your head around and many people's brain on the first evening of any sailing voyage are over full with information that they are trying to absorb. How to make off a pin, the cause and effect that each line has, the weights and forces involved and how to work in harmony with your crew mates. As time goes by everything falls into place and what was foreign at the beginning starts to become second nature or at least starts to make sense. 

Crew getting involved in pulling ropes
Crew getting involved in pulling ropes


...Then add into the mix the intricacies and complexities of sailing on a tall ship, and there is enough to boggles anyones brain. 

Europa under full sail
Europa under full sail

Where is the Flemish Horse?

For instance what is the Flemish Horse, and where do you find it? This mythical creature that you might well expect to be found somewhere in the hold eating carrots and not enjoying being on a boat is actually an integral part of the rigging on the yard arm of any square rigged tall ship. It's the foot rope on the outer end of a yard to help crew member to handle the outer edges of the sail. It is suggested that at one time all foot ropes on the ships yards were referred to as "horses" and therefore suggested that the Flemish horses, which were regarded as being more unruly than most would be how unstable outer foot rope would be referred to.  

When standing on the Flemish Horse there is no ship below you just the ocean waves. The view is breath taking and any movement of the ship is really exaggerated and you are really adrenalin charged.

From the rigging of Morgenster
From the rigging of Morgenster

Dolphin Striker

Then there is the Dolphin Striker which might be questioned for its necessity or suitability onboard a modern tall ship especially when wildlife spotting is a highlight of any trip. In reality it is a spar that is mounted downwards from the middle, of most larger tall ships bowsprit in order to counteract the upward tension on the bowsprit from the foresails above it. Without this useful bit of rigging there would be no ability for multiple heads sails and have been borne out of necessity to get these fine old ladies sailing at their best. While you would have to go looking for this you couldn't go tall ships sailing without it!

Oosterschelde with the bone between her teeth
Oosterschelde with the bone between her teeth

"Bone in her Teeth"

Whether on the Flemish horse or out on bowsprit above the Dolphin striker they both offer great vantage points from which to watch your fine stead with the “bone in her teeth”, the white bow wave which is created when the boat is sailing hard and fast. You can really appreciate how the power of the wind has been captured by the sails and is forcing the ship through the waves. The sound is awesome! The ride is smoother from the bowsprit than out on the Flemish Horse, more of a roller coaster experience but equally thrilling. The odd drenching only adds to the excitement! Whichever you choose you will always be wearing a harness and clipped in. 

Climb the rigging and get involved on Europa
Climb the rigging and get involved on Europa

Let's Go Sailing!

Feel inspired and want to get involved with sailing a tall ship? Then read more about it here or similarly give us a call on 01872 580022 and we will offer you up our advice 

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