Sailing On A 17th Century Tall Ship- A Video Of The Kalmar Nyckel Day Sail From The Cape Charles Harbor

by: Marlene email

The Kalmar Nyckel is a reproduction of  a 17th century  Dutch tall ship with three very tall masts and eight miles of rigging which make her a most  impressive sight  as she cuts through the water.   Kalmar Nyckel’s  total sail area is over 7000  sq.ft. — to get an idea of  what really means,  consider that the average US house is about 2200 sq.ft  so  she  sports three houses worth of sails !   Wow !    At any rate,  as an element  of her visit to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and her 6 day stay in Cape Charles’  new marina, sponsored in part  by Blue Heron Realty Co. ,   my husband and I as well as several other family members took a day sail from the Cape Charles harbour well out into the Chesapeake Bay,  a real experience indeed and memorialized in this video.  Passengers had an opportunity to see the crew climbing high up into the rigging and to experience for themselves the crew numbers and physical strength and effort it takes to operate such a ship as they participated in hoisting the sails,  pulling to the rhythm of the seaman’s chantey,  “Bully In The Alley” .   An impromptu “Man Overboard” drill was ordered  by  Captain Lauren Morgens when a crew member’s  big straw hat was blown overboard.  So a  “Hat Overboard”  rescue was attempted with the aid of a little motorized Zodiak but it was clear to everyone that in the 1600’s when someone went overboard,  rescue was pretty much hopeless because a ship under sail would be so far away from the critical area  before a lifeboat could be manned and rowed to the spot.  Our crew was great and everyone had time to answer questions.   I think I peppered Helmswoman Ellen Carter with a million queries about daily life aboard such a ship for the crew of about 20, mostly volunteers,  with a paid crew of 4.  From cast-off to tie-up,  everyone had a great  time,  learned a lot about  trans-ocean travel 17th  century style and stored some  good memories.

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