Oosterschelde - Topsail Schooner
Three masted topsail schooner Oosterschelde
Oosterschelde has sailed as far as the Arctic and Antarctica and sailed around the world. The ship is the only remaining example of a large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag at the beginning of the last century. Oosterschelde was built in 1918 as a cargo carrying sailing ship and continued to trade under sail in Northern European Waters, the Mediterranean and the North Coast of Africa under until the 1930s when she was converted into a modern coaster. A charitable foundation restored her to sail and she is now registered as a 'historic national monument' by the Dutch Government. Classic Sailing now have four ships that are registered historic ships in their own country, but earn their living at sea as adventure charter vessels.
Although she is still owned by a Dutch Foundation, the professional crew are often a mix of nationalities and the working language on board is English.
Life on Oosterschelde
On board Oosterschelde—as on all of Classic Sailing holidays—you are not a passenger but part of the guest crew. You will be assigned a watch together with the professional crew to sail, steer and navigate the ship. No sailing experience is necessary. The crew will be happy to explain the functions of all the ropes.
Oosterschelde is very well known in Holland and a favourite of sea and nature lovers. Her ethos is one of active and direct exposure to the sea and sailing, the region being explored and its wildlife. Below decks the two and four cabins are fitted with a washbasin with hot and cold water. Showers are separate. The lounge is very stylish with a wood burning stove (for Spitsbergen trips etc) a piano and library. All cabins have forced ventilation and a window or hatch to open. In hot sailing areas like Cape Verde the ever present trade winds keep it a pleasant temperature below decks. She has a large galley and professional cook and you can buy drinks at the bar. On board euros are accepted but not credit cards.
On a fore and aft rigged schooner there is more sail trimming, tacking and gybing than you might find on a square rigger, so at times on watch you may be very busy. With two square sails there is still an excuse (if you need it) to go aloft.
Oosterschelde is well used to running sailing expeditions to remote places like Spitzbergen, Antarctica, Indonesia with well educated guests interested in nature, walking, maritime history and local culture ashore. Whilst the ship does do social projects / sail training, for most the year the hospitality and style of sailing is geared towards adults on an adventure holiday. The landing places will be carefully selected to show you the best of each island and there will be some organised expeditions ashore.
Equipment & Safety
The crew are experienced ocean going sailors and most of them are employed on Oosterschelde full time. The ship is owned and operated by Oosterschelde Shipping Company and Sailing Foundation. She is equipped to sail the world’s seas and holds all the safety certificates required by Dutch Law. As you are part of the guest crew you will be fully trained in emergency procedures. For going ashore Oostershelde has two rubber dinghies with outboards and a wooden boat. She carries lifejackets, liferafts, fire detection and extinguishing systems, very extensive medicine cabinent, EPIRB, SART, radar, GPS, SSB radio, INMARSAT Sat C fax terminal etc. If your family/friends need to contact the ship in emergencies the ship can be contacted by Iridium saterlite telephone, but cheaper to go through the ships office in Rotterdam ( Michelle or Gerben) as they are in contact with the ship regularly.
|Type||3 masted topsail schooner|
|Built||1918 (restored 1988-1992)|
|sail area||891 m sq|
|cabins||24 guest crew in 2 or 4 berth cabins|
|crew||Captain, Mate, DH/Engineer, Cook, DH|
Where does she sail ?
In our Northern Hemisphere winter Schooner Oosterschelde heads for Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) which is a perfect tropical trade wind sailing destination a similar latitude to the Caribbean, but off the West Coast of Africa.
In past summers she has explored Sptitsbergen, Norway, Sweden, Outer Hebrides, St Kilda, Orkney and often takes part in International Tall Ships Races. This summer 2012 she has voyages closer to her home in Rotterdam, because she is planning a Round the World Voyage for 2013 - see below.
Oosterschelde European Summer Schedule - voyage descriptions, dates & prices
Cape Verde for trade winds & tropical sun
Now a regular feature in Oosterschelde's Sailing Programme, the ship sails south in the autumn to the Cape Verde Islands. This 'off the beaten track' destination makes for perfect sailing. Located off Senegal in West Africa, these nine islands are on the same latitude as St Lucia in the Caribbean and enjoy strong NE trade winds, tropical sun and virtually no rain. They are nothing like the Canaries and the ship arranges some great jeep safaris up into the mountains and local villages.
Photo, Our local guide Ario in Sao Antao, Cape Verde 2011
For some great photos and a full description of these voyages
Round the World Voyage 2013
Oosterschelde and our other Dutch tall ship Europa are sailing around the world together in 2013.
The route for Oosterschelde will be to sail from Cape Verde (at the end of next years winter season in Spring 2013) to Cape Town and rendevous with Europa. They both sail for Mauritius, Reunion, Perth, Melbourne and stop in Hobart Tasmania. In Australia they will help celebrate the Australian Royal Navy Centennial celebrations in a series of tall ships races. Hobart - Sydney, Sydney - Auckland. The two ships will sail accross the South Pacific and around Cape Horn to the Falklands, before going their seperate ways.
Short Summer Season 2012 - Try Oosterschelde in Europe.
If you just want to try out Oosterschelde we have a few voyages this summer in the English Channel.Highlights include exploring the Channel Isles and sailing to St Malo tall ships gathering and Brest Festival in one voyage.
Gilbert Pépin Location: Vernon, France 29.5.2009
I want to thank the crew for the three magnificent days passed on board, between "Golfe du Morbihan" and "Le Havre". I sailed on numerous occasions on about ten different ships, and this sailing on Oosterschelde is the best experience I ever had. I was impressed by the good performances of the ship, and by the way the crew adjusts sails permanently so that the ship always gives the best ; it was an immense pleasure to participate of my best in all these operations. I regret that our different languages did not allow us to communicate more, because all the crew members were really very nice and very thoughtful with us. I have now only an envy: to embark again on Oosterschelde, to be on the deck to participate in the laborers of sails, to climb on the mast to help the crew, and to share again these excellent moments given by sailing on Oosterschelde !!!
(Excuse my bad English, which is the one from a French...)
Pick your Voyage
Annabel J Aug 2012
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