14th July 

Race Day

The day started with some training about climbing aloft, followed by the chance to actually go up the masts. Everyone got fitted with harnesses and most of the crew climbed up the rigging.

After climbing up the masts we headed back down for a gorgeous lunch – burgers on deck served by the main mast, in the glorious Sunderland sunshine. After lunch the final preparations for departure began, starting with some bracing training first. Just after 15.00 the pilot got on board and we left Sunderland heading along the spectacular parade of sail route before reaching the start line.

It was all hands on deck from the minute we left. Sails were set and lots of bracing was done. As we got closer to the start line everything got more manic, lots of rope pulling to get us on the right course for the best start. As we approached the start line we were almost boxed in by the Dutch, With Morgenstern on our Port, Ossterschelde closely inspecting our starboard side and the Eindracht behind us. It was beautiful to see all the ships sailing in close quarters. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the voyage holds

Aft Port Watch, Jade, Margaret, Helen, Phil, Katie, Oscar, Colin and Callum

15th July

We are the forward starboard watch, we are currently on our 12.30 – 16.00 watch on day 3. The sky is blue, the wind is very light. So far today we have spotted some of the other Tall Ships that are racing, a seal, a dragonfly and a few birds. We are sailing with 9 knots of wind and we are managing 3.2knots.

Last night we had our first night watch, 20.00 – 24.00, it never really got dark throughout the watch. However we did get to see the sunset, which was really pretty, with no disruptions.

Yesterday afternoon was very busy with lots of sail setting and bracing, as we were preparing for the start of the races at 19.00. Approaching the start line there was a flotilla of sailing ships all close together all taking photos of each other, whilst also trying to set sails and brace the yards and not cross the start line too early.

When we left Sunderland the crowds were everywhere on the quaysides, waving goodbye and cheering us on! The crew on board Nellie are amazing and are great at working together – we’re off to a great start in the race, finding new friends along the way.

Abi, Laura, Ian, Ruby, Rosy, Patrick, Devin, Chris

16th July

Although yesterday our position was last, the sun was still shining and we were still doing our best, enjoying every minute. The winds have picked up from last night, increasing our speed and also our position in the race.

We are currently on watch and there are no other ships in sight. We are talking about getting ready for open ship when we are alongside in Denmark (we are due to arrive on Wednesday). We are also getting costumes ready for the crew parade, which we cannot wait for!

The passing days whilst on board, we have enjoyed the most delicious food from our chef Dave and his assistant Katie. Sails are set and we are on our way to Denmark, which is not far away. Here are some thoughts from some of our watch, expressing their journey.

Chloe – “It has been challenging at times but also amazing.”
Connor – “It has been something new to experience and I really enjoyed it.”
Emma – “It’s an experience I never dreamed of doing, but I am so thankful I’m on this journey.”

Also in Forward port watch, Jason with H the bear, Charlotte, Jess, Valerii, Charlie.

17th July

Yesterday since we were making good progress on the course we were on. We had some down time after lunch (chicken pasta and salad amazing). So what better way to relax than sit in the bar and have a game of monopoly? What started out as fun soon became an intense battle of business strategy, and four hours flew by before we knew it.

At dinner time, our strawberry cake dessert was so good that Reece had seconds and I’m sure Thomas had thirds. Our watch lasted from 8pm – midnight that night. The sunset was beautiful, but it wasn’t even fully dark by the time we went to bed!

We also had some deep philosophical discussions about religion, relationships and just in general! Unfortunately by morning we had slipped from 8th to 15th in the race, so everyone was up half an hour earlier than usual so that we could tack before breakfast.

Hopefully with this, we can give ourselves a boost and finish further up the rankings. The actual race finish has been moved closer as the winds are so light, to 16.00 today instead of 23.00. That’s also the same time our watch ends, so the pressure is on!

The race time is ending earlier to allow time for the vessels to hand sail and motor into Esbjerg in time for all the events planned ashore.

Aft Starboard watch Brandon, A;li, Chell, Thomas, Katie, Gill, Ellie and Reece

18th July

After the race finish having been brought forward, we handed sail and turned on the engines. We were doing roughly 8 knots. In the surrounding vicinity there were a lot of other ships from the race, all trying to get to Esbjerg with their engines on.

One by one the ships funnelled into the channel approaching Esbjerg, like a row of ducklings following the pilot boat. The weather had changed to flat and calm seas, sunny skies and a light breeze.

Once in port we had to wait until the ship in front had berthed alongside, then with a slow start we got alongside our berth. The people on the quayside crowded around us to find out about the ship. It turned out to be a very hot afternoon.

We began the assisted climbs which were spectacular to watch, and once they were completed free time was granted to those who wanted it. Going ashore for the first time since Sunderland was a bit shaky at first but once our sea legs had gone we walked around our competitors. The other vessels were draped with flags and it was amazing to get on and see what their style of living was like and how it compared to ours.

After a beautiful Danish burger from a central restaurant, we wandered the shops and had a browse at the Danish culture. The city of Esbjerg was lit up and prepared for the tall ships event, and we felt very welcome. At night we went back to the ships which had been lit up for the night. We then went on a t-shirt printing hunt and purchased some nice t-shirts that will remind us of this voyage.

Overall the day was filled with many great experiences and it was very nice seeing another country.

Oscar and Callum