Sails in the sunset

I’ve never really considered myself to be a sailing man but yesterday I had an experience to remember.

Just after half past five yesterday afternoon we set sail for a twilight cruise on the Leeuwin II. It was magnificent.

Leeuwin II is Western Australia’s own Tall Ship, a 3-masted barquentine with over 810 square metres of sail and a length overall of 55 metres.

We didn’t have any cannons on board so it wasn’t quite Pirates of the Caribbean but it felt pretty close.

The ship is operated by the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, a private non-profit organisation based in Fremantle, Western Australia.

98.5 Sonshine FM was broadcasting live from the deck of the ship during the afternoon while it was still tied to the dock at Fremantle. Once the live broadcast finished at four o’clock the ship was made ready to sail.

A number of guests were invited to join the Sonshine FM team for almost three hours heading out to sea. Once we’d cleared the harbour the crew and any willing helpers set about hoisting the sails.

As well as helping with raising the sails, guests were able to take the opportunity to steer the ship. James spent quite some time behind the wheel. It was an amazing experience for an eight year old boy.

The ship’s cook had been busy and we were all served some excellent finger foods as we watched the sun continue to drop into the water.

Anyone over the age of fourteen was able to take up the challenge of climbing some of the rigging up one of the three masts. I was more than happy to stand back and let others give it a go. I’m not good with heights and that wouldn’t have been a good experience for me.

Unfortunately, about half way through the voyage, a number of people started feeling queasy, including Pauline, Emily and James. I was amazed how good I felt right through the trip. (To prove how good I was feeling, the photo in this post was taken quite late in the voyage.) Even though James felt quite unwell he says that he’d be happy to sail again if the opportunity ever presents itself. I’m not so sure about Pauline and Emily.

My dad spent years at sea on a cargo ship, which of course is a very different vessel to the Leeuwin II, but I guess part of my enjoyment of being out on the water must have come from him.

Posted by Rodney Olsen

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