This is SUCH a late post, considering all of this happened, like, a month ago. Ah well.
The Tall Ships Races 2014 came to Bergen from 24th-27th July 2014. The weather was amazing and about 500 000 people attended the event!! I got to meet up with several friends, including Emma Lea, Truls and Lars Christian, and I went to see Razika and got to see the backs of some of my cathedral school friends’ heads. I went food shopping with some of the Svanhild crew. Under this paragraph you can see a picture of about half of the food we ended up buying. Among other things, I had to gather 10 loaves of bread and then slice them in the shop, leaving a long queue of regular customers behind me.
Svanhild was docked directly in front of Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a Norwegian Class A boat that normally docks on the other side of Vågen. Many events took place on Statsraad Lehmkuhl, including the “shanty of the day”, which there is a picture of below. The crew of the ship climbed into the rig (soooo high up) and stood there while the shanty was sung. It was terrifying.
On Sunday, the boats left in a kind of parade, traveling out of Vågen and then past Askøy. Svanhild had two cannons (that Truls and Lars Christian got suckered into carrying onto the ship) that were put to good use as we made our grand exit. We then went under the Askøy bridge and docked at Fedje. The race was supposed to start at 10.30am on Monday morning, but as we moved towards the starting line, we were told that the race start was being delayed by two hours
After the race started on Monday morning, we headed towards our “point” (every boat has to travel to a different point and then head back to the starting line). This turned out to be a very bad idea, as we completely lost the wind and spent 17 hours drifting/going in the completely wrong direction. We used the time well, learning the ropes – literally. 24 hours after the race began (Tuesday afternoon), we finally crossed the starting line.
We weren’t the only ones having issues with reaching our point. Many other boats had also drifted in the wrong direction, and on day 2, Emma Lea’s ship (Alexander von Humbolt II) was one of several ships to retire. We found out later that on day two Svanhild was at 15th place in her class and 38th of 75 in total.
On day 3 we woke up, and were told before breakfast that we were almost out of water. We had to start using paper plates and plastic cups, as well as using seawater to flush the toilets, wash our remaining dishes in and boil potatoes with! On day 3 I woke up at 05:18 due to EVERYTHING falling off the benches as the ship leaned particularly far to the left. People (read: me) started getting a bit lazy (the wind kept blowing in the same direction so there wasn’t much for those on duty to actually do), and we played games most of the day (guess who I am and the clap game). There were more people on deck than usual due to the sea getting rougher and subsequently more people getting seasick. Most of the crew, including myself, felt ill if they had to go below deck, so from day 3 through to the end of the race, most people stayed on deck as much as possible.
On day 4 we saw dolphins!! Halfway through my morning shift, I saw fins sticking up from the water, and I was convinced we were going to be eaten by sharks. Anna had seen some flying fish earlier in the day and told me to chill out. Two minutes later, the captain called out and told us to look out. Dolphins!! They disappeared as I went to retrieve my phone, unfortunately.
On day 5 I woke up to smiling people telling me we were close to Denmark. I could tell day 5 was going to be a good day because Merethe prepared bacon and eggs for us for breakfast, the water was blue instead of black and we could see windmills!! As not many of us had been to Denmark by boat before, we assumed this meant we must be close to land (Denmark resembles a pancake, meaning it is completely flat and it wasn’t easy to see the difference between land and sea). This was, of course, wrong, and we docked several hours after we passed the windmills. From there the adults went partying while most of the young people wandered around Esbjerg before going back to the ship to enjoy a nice night in. During the evening and night, the boat “sank” so that one had to climb up into the rig to be able to get on and off the boat. This proved to be highly entertaining for all the Danish people taking pictures of the poor crew climbing on and off the boat.
On Saturday we were informed that we had missed a waypoint on the way into Esbjerg. For a while, we thought we might be disqualified. Thankfully, the race committee was able to see from the equipment on board that we didn’t know about the waypoint. We were given a time penalty for it, though, so we went from 14th place (Class B) to 15th. Definitely not bad, considering all our difficulties at the start!!
A huge thank you to Kulturkortet from Emma Lea and I for giving away tickets to the regatta of the Tall Ships Races 2014. The crew of Svanhild was lovely and the event in Bergen was very well organized. All in all, it was a great experience!!
All pictures are gathered here at the bottom because I am lazy 🙂