Cruise in Company – TSR2015

From Alesund we set sail in the Cruise in Company. Our first day sail would be up into the Geirangerfjord. Geirangerfjord is one of those beautiful deep fjords heading into land, once carved out by glacier ice. Everywhere you look are steep cliffs coming out of the deep dark water. They rise up high and on top are green slopes, some even have a small cottage on the edge – like living on the edge of the world. Others rise up higher still and turn into white mountain peaks.

There are waterfalls all around, but the most spectacular ones are at the end of the fjord, the Suitor and the 7 sisters. The story tells us the Suitor is trying to woo the 7 sisters, From Alesund we set sail in the Cruise in Company. Our first day sail would be up into the Geirangerfjord. Geirangerfjord is one of those beautiful deep fjords heading into land, once carved out by glacier ice. Everywhere you look are steep cliffs coming out of the deep dark water. They rise up high and on top are green slopes, some even have a small cottage on the edge – like living on the edge of the world. Others rise up higher still and turn into white mountain peaks.
Batchelor Tecla

Heading into the fjord we had hoped to stay close the the bigger Tall Ships who were also heading in. But their speed under engine was a lot bigger then ours, and so as we got to the seven sisters and their batchelor we crossed paths at a beautiful view of Christian Radich, Sorlandet, Eendracht, Morgenster and some others.

We dropped of our daysail guests at the end of the fjord and headed out again into the night, that never got really dark. Although there was no light around us in these wild bits of nature, the sun set lasted for three hours and the sun only stayed away for about two hours. Making it light again around three in the morning. Very easy watch keeping!

When it got lighter we started preparing to repair the mainsail. We got cloth, needles and palms ready and Megan started working on it after finishing her watch. But when we got out to sea, there was hardly any wind, but plenty of waves. We had to keep on going under engine, not to damage the sails any further. We tugged in that evening in Maloy.

Next day we set sail for Rosendal, where some of our trainees where from. The weather was grey, rainy and hardly any wind, again. Only as we were nearly in Rosendal, did we get some wind. We had a few hours of blissful peace when the engine was of, but we have learned once again, you can not sail in fjords.. So passing through the narrow bits, we had our engine on again. We moored IMG_0577in Rosendal and had to say goodbye to some of our trainees as they had to get back to their work, school and families. But we got to keep the best Chanty singer of Rosendal!

To Flekkefjord we tried sailing again. Again we had light winds and a lot of waves. So again, we had to do most of it under engine.. Going into Flekkefjord we passed through beautiful passages and got a berth alongside a barge at the end of the harbour. But the Christian Radich arranged for a better berth for us, on the other side of their quay and so we ended up in the middle of the harbour, much better! Especially on my birthday (Jet), this way we had some friends around as Antwerp Flyer moored alongside us as well.

Next morning we set sail again, this time we thought it looked like a fair bit of wind, we had a hard time heading into the waves and wind. Christian Radich was right on our tail. We set all the sails and turned on our course and with that, all the wind seemed gone again. And the waves remained! There was no sheltered inside passage anymore, so we just had to get through it. We wanted to drop anchor somewhere close to Kristiansand that night. But as the day progressed the waves finally lessened and the sailing was so beautiful, we did not want to start the engine. The wind turned a little in the middle of the night and close hauled we had the best sail of the whole week! Who wants to be at anchor if you can trim the sails, walk around on a slightly heeled deck and look up in the light night and see the sails filled and the bowwaves getting bigger.

Wind was still light, so we could do all the sail handling with just one watch. We headed out to sea and found the whole fleet waiting in front of the harbour entrance, we sailed passed the Young Endeavor, all the way from Australia, we found the Sedov and Kruzenstehrn slowly motoring in, we passed the Eendracht and the Gulden Leeuw and got to the Christian Radich who was making her way in slowly under engine. We tacked just behind them and as the wind increased we sailed into the bay of Kristiansand and tacked in the waiting area, thinking we would be moored at 12:15h. But a follow-me boat was soon available to guide us to our berth. We dropped the sails, quick as we could and made our way in as one of the last ones at our berth. We had to back up passed some tiny rock and had a beautiful berth right in front of the Opera house. And then it started raining again!

That night was the Captains dinner in the Opera house, very well done. Next day was the crew parade and crew party, both very nice! We worked our way through the last meters of restitching the mainsail seam and on the last morning the mizzen sail got a last patch, to make sure we would not break anything during race 2 of the Tall Ships Races.

The cruise in company is about friendship – about meeting new people and getting to know new cultures. And I think we had a great time doing so, meeting the local kids from Rosendal and bringing them home, making friends on the Eendracht in Rosendal and on the Christian Radich in Flekkefjord. Meeting our old acquaintances from our time in Australia and seeing the fleet gather before getting into port, was amazing!