Tall Ships in Stavanger during the Tall Ships Races 2018 Windseeker

An experience I will put in my backpack and carry with me for the rest of my life

Morgenster, July 2016
The Tall Ships Races

– by the Trainees


Arriving in Scheveningen with mixed feelings, the yearning to set sail to this adventure and the painful goodbyes. I find my awkward self back at the dinner table (for the second time today) mixed up with the crew instead of the trainees. How typical! Almost as typical as the Dutch dish we get served, broodje kroket.

After a day or so and the hard switch to speaking English all the time we depart the harbour for Antwerp, my city of birth.

And what an epic start of an adventure; the wind pushing the sails tight, the engine of the ship roaring, the waves high and white-headed! The hero of this story can be found on port side, leaning heroically over the railing, throwing up my entire stomach content.

As part of the blue watch I do shifts from 04.00 to 08.00 and from 16.00 to 20.00. This can be quite hard and the recovery from this shift in my biological system took a long time and a lot of energy. Especially on top of my Don’t Get Seasick Anymore project.

It was very nice to see Antwerp through the eyes of an outsider on the one hand, and to lead a group of the new friends trough my city on the other.

I laugh my ass off on a regular basis with the lovely people I just met and yet hold so dearly. Yeah, I like it here, this is definitely an amazing experience I will put in my backpack and carry with me for the rest of my life. What a chance, such an opportunity!


You know, when I’m writing this little piece of text, the ropes are shouting.

The wind is blowing and my heart is eager to climb the mast. It’s a beautiful journey and I’m really glad that I have the opportunity to sail along on this ship, the Morgenster.

We left Antwerp on the 10th of July, and the Morgenster went to the starting point to begin the race. This was 2 days ago. At first, the wind was really good and we had a magnificent start. But then there was no wind anymore so we decided to play some games to pass the watches. But right now the wind is back and the weather is amazing – it’s something we can only dream about in Belgium.

When the race began, I was a bit afraid to talk to anyone because I didn’t know anyone, but this soon got better after the name game we played on the first day. I think, this is where the friendships started.

Our beautiful Morgenster


At first, my enthusiasm for the trip was on quite a low level. Because of certain issues at home, my best friend couldn’t join me on this trip anymore. But I soon realized that I was very welcome in the group of trainees and I fit in perfectly. I got to know all kinds of people and smiling faces could be found in every corner of the ship. Our team spirit grew even more during the sports competition, where we kicked some ass! Spotting dolphins together, we now continue strengthening the bonds in our group. This journey will definitely change my life for the better.


It has already been 11 days since we left the port of Scheveningen, The Hague on board the Morgenster.

After the first rough night and day we arrived in Antwerp on Wednesday, where all the festivities for the next four days would take place.

We had a lot of fun exploring the city, competing in the sports events against other crews, and of course dancing and singing during the Crew Parade and the party afterwards.

The city of Antwerp was so nice to invite us, the Young Belgium Crew, for a reception at the town hall, right before the crew parade.  It must have been a funny sight, the vice-mayor, the “schepen van haven” and some other important people nicely dressed up next to the crazy Belgian trainees from the Morgenster in their “hippie” clothing ready for the Crew Parade.

After four days in Antwerp we left the city on Sunday and we headed towards the starting point of the race. On Tuesday night we were already very close to the starting point of the race, so we dropped anchor in a beautiful bay somewhere in the south of England. The engine was shut down and the silence, together with the view on the bay that night, was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I cannot describe it here. In the morning we set for the first time almost all the sails and we departed to the starting point.

To set the sails we have to climb the masts to untie them first. Climbing the mast is an essential part of sailing a Tall Ship. I’m not (yet) a fan of it, but once you get up there, together with other trainees who are extremely supportive, it is an experience you won’t ever forget.  And that’s how we arrived here, on an endless sea somewhere along the west coast of France, and how we continue our journey to Lisbon.

We have 3 watches here on board and you do everything with your watch. We are the red watch. We sleep in the room where we eat with our whole watch. It is actually really amazing! You do everything together and you make friends for life.

It is special that we have such a tight good group in only 3 weeks. I really like it. You work also on your English and every day it gets better and better. It will never be boring in our watch, in the evening we sing songs with our watch and the crew and we play games. There are also people who stay up with our watch because we do a lot of things. It is really nice!

Parade of Sail in Lisbon


Yesterday we started the race and everyone was hyped about it. We were at the starting point very early so we got to prepare ourselves very well. This enabled us to have a great start.

The day before, we also started the murder game, we had to ‘kill’ other trainees by handing certain people certain objects at certain places. This is really fun and it caused a lot of suspicion and hilarious reluctance to receive things when they got handed over.


Two days of no wind… You would think that it was extremely boring, but it was actually quite nice. We enjoyed the sun, played some fun games and during our evening watch we even fired some potatoes at another ship. The crew showed us some tricks to make the potato gun work even better.

Although it is still a race and we didn’t really move forward that much, these past two days were awesome and the group atmosphere is now even better than it already was!