Captain Balanck on a Successful Crossing

If you've been following along with the blog you may have read about a group of sailing students from Belgium who joined Star Flyer to sail across the Atlantic. Their journey began in Bridgetown, Barbados, and ended two weeks later at Lisbon, Portugal. Along the way they learned a great deal about sailing on the tallest ship in the world. Captain Paul Balanck shared this letter about their experience.

The purpose of the journey was to organize a crossing for interested yachtmen where they could follow preparation courses for the exams of Yachtsmen or Yachtnavigator. At the end the possibility was given to take part in the exams on board.

It was a hell of a job but we succeeded and with a big smile! The 28th April everybody left the vessel with a satisfied impression.

Studying on a rolling sailing vessel is not the same as in a classroom ashore. Thanks to the excellent food & beverage and ship crew the studying went well.

The "slave driving" instructors pushed the enthusiastic candidates forward. Almost everybody succeeded in their exams for Yachtman or Yachtnavigater. Fighting with variation, deviation, current and tides, sun and star sextant positioning, GMDSS, sea survival, rules etc.

The ship crew participated as well with great interest.

In other words, it was an excellent combination between studying and cruising.

As a result, Cruise Travel Antwerp informed us already about a waiting list of new candidates for next year.

In the meantime all the instructors wish the succeeded yachtmen safe and lovely trips over the seas.

Signed on behalf of the Belgian instructors and participators,

Capt. Paul Balanck, Antwerp

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Students and Star Flyer: an Educational Crossing

[caption id="attachment_14848" align="aligncenter" width="550"] The nautical students who will be joining Star Clippers from Belgium.

Sailing is serious business. In Belgium you must complete a course and be certified in order to take to the open waters whether renting a boat or sailing on your own.

With that in mind a group of students and teachers from a nautical school in Belgium have partnered with Star Clippers in order to complete the course. Six teachers and 25 students will board Star Flyer for an eastbound transatlantic sailing from Phillipsburg, St. Maarten, complete with daily lessons and a final exam, before disembarking at Lisbon, Portugal.

The journey will last more than two weeks and our sailing students will be checking in along the way. So stay tuned and check back on the blog to hear all about sailing lessons and life at sea!
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Port of the Week: Zeebruge (Bruges), Belgium

The flower carpet at the Grand Place in Bruges, Belgium.

For centuries, Bruges slept like Sleeping Beauty, her path to the North Sea silted up forever by the meandering River Zwin. And that perhaps saved her from the depredations of modern development. Now connected to the sea by the canal to Zeebruge, Bruges opens her lovely eyes to visitors, and what sights travelers see! Bruges' symbol is the swan, a fittingly beautiful icon for "The Venice of the North." Laced by canals and the famous Minnewater reflecting gabled guild houses, arched bridges and iv draped walls, Bruges reveals her history, dating from the time of the Vikings, one perfect scene after another.

While in Bruges, guests can visit the Market Square for one of the best views of the city. The market features rows of 17th-century gabled houses, Gothic buildings and a marvelous 14th-century Belfry Tower. Visitors can climb to the top of this 270-foot tower for a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Every two years in August, a large "flower carpet", spanning 19,000 square ft., is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. The first flower carpet was made in 1971, and has since grown into a tradition that attracts thousands of tourists.

Don’t miss The Fries Museum or Frietmuseum, the first and only museum dedicated to Belgian Fries. At the end of your tour, of course, you can try some tasty fries in the basement.

Star Flyer heads to the Baltic in summer 2012 and will sail a variety of itineraries ranging from three-night samplers to 11-night explorations. To view a complete list of Star Flyer’s 2012 Northern Europe/ Baltic itineraries, click here. Bookings are now open!
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