Nautical Knowledge: Clippers by the Numbers

How well do you know Star Clippers?

How high are you above the water when you relax in the bowsprit net?

Not sure? Look for the answer on Facebook tomorrow!
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Greetings from an Educational Ocean Crossing!

A short while back we mentioned that there is a group from Belgium sailing across the Atlantic on Star Flyer, getting their sea legs and earning a sailing license along the way. Now the students are a week into their journey across the Atlantic and they sent word that they're having a fantastic time!

It looks like they also found a moment to relax between lessons!

Wednesday April 16th

Noon position : 30°26.7 N - 045°53.8 W

Dear people ashore,

After a cozy “Blues evening party” with our ship’s pianist Gabor and a drink in the piano bar, a good night's sleep was welcome. During the night Star Flyer got a bit excited with the increased wind and wave height, but the rolling did not disturb our sleep. In fact the movements of the ship are rocking us asleep.

Bikinis are now replaced by jackets and sweaters, but we are a bit sheltered from the wind and the sun rays are still comforting. The temperature at noon is 19 °C. The swimming pools are emptied because the water was splashing out due to the movement of the ship and the crew takes the opportunity to give them a nice new coat of blue paint.

Inside, our AMA-team is exercising with different kinds of safety material. Caroline serves as a model for life jacket try–outs.

During the morning staff meeting we congratulated our hotel manager Adam for the outstanding cuisine. Captain Jurgen told him that when this appraisal comes from Belgians it a proof that it really has to be very good.

Don’t forget that the ship was also built in Belgium.

While I'm writing this note, the passengers are dancing their daily Zumba with Hanna, and Ingrid is leading her team through the ship for the daily “walk a mile." They go deck up, deck down from fore to aft, seeking obstructions to turn around. Don’t forget that exercise is important on board to help us burn the amounts of delicious food we consume daily.

Meanwhile my belly has already an additional ballast of a few kilos, life is hard!

Capt. Marc

If you wish to follow along with updates on the nautical students' progress check back here! We will update this particular post as information comes in. Stay tuned!

*Als u wenst te volgen samen met updates over de voortgang controleren van de studenten hier terug! We zullen dit bijzondere bericht updaten als informatie binnenkomt Stay tuned!
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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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Royal Clipper: Your Questions Answered

Chis Owen of the popular blog Chris Cruises boarded Royal Clipper in Barbados. Chris is a travel-writer who focuses primarily on the cruise industry and he began live-tweeting, instagramming and blogging his experience aboard the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world. Follow along with Chris' journey here, or join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, or his own blog,

Sailing on Star Clippers Royal Clipper, we happened upon an entirely different style of travel: sailing. We just thought we knew what cruise travel was all about until we came on board the ship with sails on a trip through the Caribbean’s Windward Islands. Quite frankly, our island-hopping itinerary was much more than we anticipated but followed a tried and true formula that took us away from ‘the real world’, allowing a quality travel experience like no other. Along the way we answered questions from readers with posts specific to common concerns. Today we take a look at other elements of the Star Clippers sailing style; parts not covered in other writings about our amazing adventure.

Motion In The Ocean
One of the big questions that came up along the way is best put by Roger from Tulsa, Oklahoma who asks “So, a ship at sea with sails; lots of movement? Only hearty souls need apply?”

Pretty much, Roger. When we were at sea, you knew it without looking outside to be sure. Commonly recommended to ‘avoid touching hand rails when walking up and down stairs to avoid norovirus’, there was no choice here: hang on for dear life or die trying…at times. On our itinerary the time of concern was leaving and coming back in to Barbados where the seas were the most rough and the most movement was felt. Still, it was kind of fun ‘walking like drunks’ without drinking.

I asked hotel manager Steve Adamson about that, wondering “Do you have a lot of passenger injuries?”. Surprisingly few actually because “passengers know what to expect” when booking a Star Clippers ship. Most have sailing experience or are past guests (more than 50% are) and have handled the motion in the ocean successfully before.

The Nautical Aspect
Riding on a ship with sails that actually propel the vessel is quite a different experience than sailing a big ocean ship. on the first sailaway, grand seagoing music was played while the sails were set for us to journey off into the night. After our first sailaway, Rob R from Kansas City asked “I wonder if they do that every time they set the sails. If so, it might get old fast”. It didn’t get old, it got better.

Throughout the journey, passengers learn more about ships with sails, what it takes to make them work and what a big part of the experience that movement of the ship is. By the time the last sailaway rolled around we had gained a great appreciation for what our crew did to make that happen, if not a glimpse into what those on the early sailing ships of yesteryear might have felt. That last sailaway was a bit emotional for many on board.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
“Ok, you were on a ship with sails, appear to have liked it. Would you do it again?” asked Sally B from Atlanta. Absolutely Sally. This is not a three times a year experience to be sure, but at least once in every cruise traveler’s lifetime they should do this. Beware: Post-cruise depression is alive and well in those who have done this and look back in the direction from which they came upon disembarking, hoping for one last glimpse of “our ship”.

I hope we can sail on a Star Clippers ship again some day. The experience is so remarkable that passengers are left wanting to share it with others who will appreciate it.

To visit Chris' blog click here:
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Know Your Knots!

Guests often remark on the impressive skills of the Star Clippers crew. These guys are true sailors! Let's take a look at one of the first steps towards becoming a professional sailor -- knots!


Sailors know their knots. There are two general types you should know: bend and hitch. A bend is a knot that fastens rope ends together. A hitch loops a rope around itself to secure the boat to a rail or post.

There are hundreds of knots but only a few basics that should be on your practice list:

Bowline: A bowline knot is your standby. It creates a loop at the end of a top, is strong and easy to untie. If you know the old saying, the rabbit comes out of his hole, 'round the tree and back down into his hole, you already know the bowline. When in doubt, use this knot.

Square knot: The square knot, or reef knot, is used to tie two ropes (lines) of the same size together. You may be familiar with it from Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, first-aid class or from tying your shoelaces.

Clove hitch: This loop is a quick way to temporarily moor a small boat to a ring, rail or post.

­Round turn and two half hitches: This knot is frequently used to secure a boat to the docking ring or post.

Figure-of-eight: This stopper knot is used to prevent a rope from unraveling or slipping out of a ring or other device. This type of knot is essential in both sailing and rock climbing.

Sheet bend: Need a longer rope? A sheet bend knot is a quick way to fasten two lines temporarily.

*The photos in this post are not meant to represent the knots described.

*This post is an excerpt from the article How Sailing Works by Maria Trimarchi. For the full article click here
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Sailors at Sea

Thanks to Reinhard Berlin for sending this great shot of Star Clippers crew hard at work manning the sails of Royal Clipper.

With 42 sails, Royal Clipper has the distinction of being the largest and only 5-masted full-rigged sailing ship built since her predecessor was launched at the beginning of the last century.

Look closely and you'll see Star Clipper! Must mean a race! Wonder which ship won...?
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You Know You're on A Ship...

...when you are surrounded by all of these beautiful nautical images. Thanks to photographer Jack Hollingsworth for sharing them.

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