An exciting 1st leg in Tall Ships Races

Changing weather, intense efforts, seasickness and great atmosphere are some of the things that the voyage crew experiences during the first part of this year's big regatta. The Tall Ships Races are underway, and Captain Seidl is chasing another win for Lehmkuhl, as always!

By Malin Kvamme/Helene Spurkeland. Published July 6, 2023
– It looks as if we can get pass Alexander von Humboldt. We have already caught up with them. We have two other ships ahead of us, Chopin and Embracht, we will try to hunt them down, says Seidl.
Captain Marcus Albert Seidl is pleased with the start of the year’s first regatta leg in the Tall Ships Races.
Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt, with the characteristic green sails, has a marginal lead over Lehmkuhl at the start of the competition. Photo: Malin Kvamme
– The wind is fresh. A little too much against us, but we just have to work with it, and so do the other ships. We sail as best we can upwind and set some more sail to get better speed. Now we are holding 5-6 knots and that is almost the right course. It does not look too bad, Seidl says.
kaptein Seidl og medseilere
Captain Seidl together with two voyage crew members. Photo: Malin Kvamme
Statsraad Lehmkuhl has started the first part of the Tall Ships Races, an international regatta for sailing ships of all sizes. The first of this summer’s four legs goes from Den Helder in the Netherlands to Hartlepool in England.
– Everything from the smallest pleasure boats to the largest sailing ships is represented here. That is one of the things that makes the Tall Ships Races so exciting, Seidl says.
Statsraad Lehmkuhl participates in class A for the largest tall ships. The first time was in 1993. Captain Seidl has sailed Lehmkuhl to many victories and podium places over the years.
Marcus Seidl on the bridge, or the chart house, as it is called at Lehmkuhl. The captain is hoping for a win, but takes nothing for granted in the changing weather conditions. Photo: Malin Kvamme
– We always believe that we can win, but we take nothing for granted. Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a good sailing ship. Especially when we have severe weather, we have an advantage over the little ones. We have the length and weight of 2.5 thousand tonnes to be able to cut better through slightly rougher seas. We are gambling a bit that it will help us. Then we’ll see, Seidl smiles.
Sailing ships of all shapes and sizes compete in various classes. Here Lehmkuhl and other vessels are pictured during the Tall Ships Races in 2014. Photo: Valery Vasilevskiy/STI
Jacob Jorem (37) from Bergen is sailing with Lehmkuhl for the very first time.
– This is no cruise trip, although we get a lot of good food. It is a lot of work. I think that is very nice, a bit of action in the everyday life on board, Jacob says.
Jacob Jorem enjoys the mobile phone-free zone on board. Photo: Malin Kvamme
After a slightly rough start with seasickness on the first day, the mood is great.
– I get seasick very easily. I forget that every time I go to sea. However, the last two days have been amazing. I have become more friends with the ocean. The atmosphere is great and the rest of the gang here are really friendly. The people who work here are very skilled and friendly, he says.
Seasickness is part of meeting the big ocean for some in the voyage crew. Fortunately, it passes after a short time for the vast majority. Photo: Malin Kvamme
Being without a phone and the internet does not bother Jacob at all.
– This is a guaranteed mobile phone-free zone, so you can really relax and disconnect. Being without a phone is liberating. It is an opportunity to just be present and enjoy life at sea with the rest of the gang, Jacob says.
Not just “all work and no play”. Even at a regatta there will be time for relaxation and good conversations with shipmates. Photo: Malin Kvamme
Two days into the voyage, Jacob and the others, despite persistent efforts, have ended up slightly behind the field. Captain Seidl says in his daily report:
«Even with our total sail area of 2000 sq.m. set, the progress has been quite slow in unstable winds, but we are currently managing quite well in competition with the other ships in our class that are easier to manoeuvre and constructed to sail closer the wind. According to latest update from the computer that calculates the placings, we are now in a 4th place in class, with possibilities for a better placing if the winds do not die out on us. We are therefor doing our best with the challenging conditions and the good atmosphere on board is maintained.»
Sun, rain, headwind and tailwind over the North Sea. The efforts and cooperation among the voyage crew across the North Sea are top notch. Photo: Malin Kvamme
The voyage crew, who sail and operate the ship together with Lehmkuhl’s professional crew, come from 14 different nations. That gave Lehmkuhl the prize for the most international crew.
14 different nations secured Lehmkuhl the prize for the most international crew. The prize-giving took place in Den Helder. Photo: Malin Kvamme
David Larsen (80) from Tampa in California is one of six Americans on board.
– My wife and I are having a great time. We like to work and we like to sail. The weather could have been better, but we managed to get through it, he says.
At the age of 80, David Larsen is the oldest board: – “Back home in Tampa, my wife and I have a sailboat, a catamaran. We still have a lot of sailing left in us.” Photo: Malin Kvamme
After five days at sea, the first leg is coming to an end. A three day shore leave and a pleasant Tall Ships festival await in Hartlepool with sailing enthusiasts from all over the world.
An exciting first leg towards England is coming to an end. Photo: Malin Kvamme
In his latest report, Captain Seidl is very satisfied with both the crew and the competition.
“The last day of the race has been the most exciting so far, with frequent wind changes and therefor also lots of sail manoeuvres. After fighting our way past 2 of the closest competitors, the race committee announced that the finishing time would be pushed 12 hours ahead, so that we only had the day today to achieve a better placing. We seem to have managed that, as the official results have us placed 3rd in class and 5th overall after the time limit expired at 8 pm CET this evening. We are certainly very satisfied with that, as it has been one of the most challenging races in a long time. Both our professional crew and the participating voyage crew are to be commended for their fantastic efforts and teamwork under all conditions and we wish all a very good and well deserved shore leave in Hartlepool.”
Top atmosphere also among Lehmkuhl’s own crew, here gathered by the chart house. The ten o´clock coffee is one of two popular fixed daily breaks on board. Photo: Malin Kvamme
In the next few weeks, Lehmkuhl will participate in the following Tall Ships Races legs:
  • Hartlepool – Fredrikstad, 9-15 July (sold out)
  • Fredrikstad – Lerwick, 18-26 July (available tickets) Read more here.
  • Lerwick – Arendal, 29 July-3 August (sold out)

    Beautiful sunset in the North Sea. Photo: Malin Kvamme
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