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Oosterschelde Ocean Sailing Programme 2019 - Canaries, Cape Verde & Azores

Ocean crossings on oosterschelde by Arthur Smeets

This three masted topsail schooner has been around the world twice including Cape Horn under sail, so she has a great ocean sailing pedigree.  Oosterschelde usually an annual autumn migration down to Cape Verde in the autumn via the Canaries and a voyage back in the Spring from Cape Verde to Europe via the Azores. Occasionally she does a Trans Atlantic to the Caribbean but not in 2019. We believe she is going off globe trotting again in 2020.

Sail Oosterschelde to Tropical Waters off West Africa - Autumn 2018

In the autumn Oosterschelde heads for the sun. If you want to migrate with her she sails from her home port of Rotterdam to the Canaries, which is potentially a challenging voyage across Biscay, down the Iberian Peninsula and across the busy shipping entering the Mediterranean. Once beyond Gibraltar you are on a blue water passage to the Canaries and flying fish may start to appear.  You can depart in the Canaries or just join the ship here for a mini ocean passage from the Canaries to the Cape Verde archipelago. These nine islands sit in the NE trade wind belt and the temperatures are similar to the Caribbean, but generally drier.

watching the whales on oosterschelde bowsprit

Sail Oosterschelde back from the Cape Verde via the Azores - Spring 2019

Oosterschelde has an epic 28 day ocean voyage from Cape Verde to Rotterdam. There is no crew change in the Azores but she will be stopping there for fresh provisions and a chance to stretch you legs ashore in these very beautiful islands..

 

About the Azores - Whale Hunters turned Environmentalists

Whale hunting was historically a major source of income in the Azores. The local island communities continue to reap the benefits of being on the migration trail but now they have turned to whale watching and cetacean research, replacing their bloodier past. A tall ship (like a whaling ship) has a great advantage over island boats for cetacean spotting – a crows nest vantage point. If you are on the royal yard and you see a pod of whales spouting, we don't think you will be able to resist the Captain Ahab / Moby Dick moment. Yes, both Classic Sailing directors have been caught shouting  "Thar she blows !"

Whales on the starboard quarter
Whales on the starboard quarter

Humpback Whale migration in the Spring

March April is a good time to be in the Azores as Humpback whales pass through the islands on their annual migration. The more time you can spend at sea in deep oceanic waters, the more chance you have of spotting whales and dolphins. Large sperm whales have also been regularly sighted off the islands.

Sail to the Azores on a schooner
Azores has very lush and green islands for a remote ocean location

Day to Day life as an Ocean Sailor

On board, you will become a part of the crew. Together with the professional crew everyone will be participating in the watch system. As soon as you will leave the land behind, everyone will begin to get used to the rhythm on board. Steering, navigating, being on lookout, all the tasks alternate during the watch. At every change of direction, or change of wind, all of the crew should be ready to adjust the sails or perform a manoeuvre.

There will plenty of time for extra instruction and practice, you will also solve some nautical quests whilst at sea. Everyone who wants, can learn to master the art of navigation, ships management and sailing on the sea.

An ocean crossing is special and spectacular. The waves, the ocean swell and the beautiful skies never get boring. It's not all lonely sailing with the sea and the sky though, expect to see whales and dolphins on this popular migratory route. 

Ocean sailing, trying to keep carbon footprint low
Ocean sailing, trying to keep carbon footprint low

 

 

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