Thank you to Nautical Mind staff member Robin Leaver-Fraser for this guest blog about her recent experience above the tall ship Atyla, which is visiting North America as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Tall ships from around the world have come to Canada to participate in the Rendezvous 2017 festival hosted by Sail Training International which celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. I was able to join a Spanish ship, Atyla, on a leg of their journey. Atyla is a two-masted wooden schooner which was hand built and launched in 1984 with the goal of sailing around the world. This goal was never fully accomplished and the ship was repurposed as a sail training vessel in 2013 by the current captain and nephew of the original builder.
I joined the ship on June 4th in Hamilton, Bermuda and stayed until the next event in Boston. Although the intention was to leave the next day, dangerous winds postponed the race keeping all the ships at anchor in St. Georges for another few nights.
Finally on the 9th the race began and the ships sailed onto the open ocean. Bermuda faded quickly from sight and within a day there was no land left on the horizon. It was another eight days of sailing before we could see Boston in the distance.
While sailing the crew was split into 3 watches who took turns being awake and on watch for 4 hours, then off watch for 8. Aside from being on watch, our time was filled with lessons given by the permanent crew on board. The subjects of these lessons included knots, seamanship, engineering, sail handling and navigation as well as daily character development workshops led by the ship’s professional ‘Coach’.
You could also spend your time playing a never-ending game of fetch with the tireless ship dog Olivia!
We arrived in Boston on the 17th and participated in a Parade of Sail with over 50 other ships watched by massive crowds along the waterfront. It was an incredible end to an incredible experience.
Want to learn more about Atyla and become a trainee? Check out their website here.
Want to learn about Sail Training International and how to Sail On Board? You can find that information here.