Fully rigged ship, launched 1927, Kristiansand, Norway.
Sailed: 2013

When I joined Sorlandet I was hoping to be cook’s mate, not have so much responsibility  so I could learn from someone else, that didn’t happen. At the time she was paired with a Canadian school company called Class Afloat, this was to be her final year with the program.

Class Afloat is a program that takes teenagers out to sea for a semester or a full school year, the students take regular classes while we sail around. Their classes are basic like math, science and english, but they also have a healthy amount of maritime things to learn. The crew are also their teachers, they teach them about standing watch, sail handling, repairs and how to sail. We sail so they can learn to sail and we stop in a different port almost every weekend for them to learn about different cultures. It’s a fancy boarding school at sea.

I first applied for the position of cook’s mate, the assistant to the cook, I was only comfortable cooking for 25 people at this time and 60 people sounded daunting, not something I felt I was ready for. When their office called to interview they said they had a cook’s mate and that they were actually looking for a cook and thought I was a good fit. Eep! Uuhh…. At the time a friend of mine was currently working with them, he was my reference and thought I could do it, so I was in. I sailed on Sorlandet for one semester, we started in Canada, crossed the Atlantic, stopped over in Portugal, Spain, northern Africa and crossed back over and celebrated Christmas anchored in Barbados.

Sorlandet is the cleanest, most organized ship I have ever worked on and her galley is super high tech. The story is that they had some terrible cooks in the past and wanted to simplify things. They got tilt skillets, think of them as large pots on hinges, they have a touch screen to program them with recipes and the machine tells you what to do. Those were a huge learning curve for me, I had never encountered anything like them and their constant beeping and chiming was irritating, but I mastered them after some time.

The other unique thing about her is the placement of the galley, usually they are tucked below deck and you’re lucky if you have a vent to keep things cool, her galley was on deck. I could open the doors on either side and have a fresh breeze all day long, but that did mean occasionally a rogue wave would try to make its way in and get a taste of what I was making. With the galley being on deck the dinning areas were inside and the food had to be transported to two different areas, the students and teachers ate together in one space and crew in the captain’s saloon.