Topsail schooner, launched 1937, Kampen, Netherlands.
I really enjoyed working with Class Afloat on Sorlandet and when the Canadian school company decided to change ships to the Dutch vessel Gulden Leeuw, I went with them. This was the first non fully rigged ship I worked on, so when I had the free time to hang out on deck and potentially help with sailing handling, I didn’t really know what was going on.
This first school year on a new ship was very different from the well oiled machine I had encountered the previous school year, out of the 18 adult staff there were only 4 of us who had worked with the program before. This time instead of just working one semester I did the whole school year. It was a great experiences to watch the students grown and create long lasting friendship, but I was exhausted at graduation, when you are working it’s 24/7. The school year started and finished in the Netherlands with port stops in Spain, the Mediterranean, Madeira, Suriname for Christmas, Curacao, Columbia, Costa Rica, Belize, Dominican Republic, the Azores, France, Germany and Denmark.
One of the big things that I disliked about the layout of Gulden Leeuw was the location of the galley, down below, out of site and hard to get to if classes were in session. Her redeeming quality was the vast amount of counter space. When the currant owners purchased her and did a refit in the 2000’s. They had intended her to do large events with lots of catering and knew they needed the galley that could handle that. I was told they can cater for 300 people from her galley.
The other annoying thing about most tall ships is the food storage; unlike your home kitchen with cupboards and refrigerator within arms reach, boat food storage is more likely to take you a few minutes. I’d often bring shopping bags with me to help caring ingredients back to the galley. On Gulden Leeuw I had to walk through the student’s dorm to a closet door, go down a tight ladder to where my dry goods were stored, I couldn’t even stand upright in that space. If I wanted cold goods and produce I’d walk through the dorm, past the closet door to dry storage, through crew quarters and then down a set of stairs to where the walk-in fridge and freezer.