A trip organised by The British School in The Netherlands led one student to discover his passion for sailing. Nathan shares his voyage of discovery aboard tall ship, the Morgenster (Morning Star in Dutch).

Written by Nathan, BSN student

I found out about the Morgenster when making my choices for the trips week in October. I was planning on staying in the Netherlands, however, my parents decided that going on a tall ship was going to be a better idea. Even though I disagreed with them at first, after researching sail training and tall ships, my interest piqued. I decided to try it.

All Aboard!

After taking the train to Scheveningen, everyone going on the ship met the crew and the captain. Once settled, we motored our way close to the ocean where we docked for the night. Then, we climbed up the masts for the first time. My friend Pien and I loved this climbing experience even though we only climbed a third of the way up the mast. This was the moment my true love for sailing on tall ships really started.

Finding My Sea Legs


That night was calm and the ship stayed docked while we slept. When everyone woke up the next morning, we set sail along the coastline of the Netherlands. Then, we headed straight towards the white cliffs of Dover. On our way there, we had plenty of rope pulling, climbing and navigation training, as well as a lot of sick people. This is where I found out that I really loved sailing and already wanted to do it again. On our way to Ipswich Pien and I got the idea that we might find another sailing trip on the Morgenster.

Then, the sad time came where we had to say goodbye to the crew members with whom we had built up a good relationship. The captain and first mate were hoping to see us again, and I was hoping to see them too.

A Promise of Further Adventure


After this trip, I kept on nagging my parents to go again. My parents eventually agreed and I decided to go on a one week trip on the Morgenster, from Madeira (Portugal) to Cadiz (Spain).

Slowly the 14th of February came and it was time to take the flight to Madeira, accompanied by my father and sister. Once we landed I had a rush of anxiety but also of excitement. We stayed on the island for one day to visit the place. As the time got nearer to go onto the ship, my anxiety levels kept on rising, however, so did my excitement. When we went to the port of Funchal, we met up with one of the crew members and one of the other passengers on the ship. After two other people joined us, we got on the dinghy with our bags and then we could board the Morgenster. My excitement was unfathomable.

Life on the Calm Sea

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I got to see the captain again and all the crew and we left the port that day. During this trip, I was very happy to see two familiar faces and 15 new ones. I got to do everything I did on the first trip, however, the major difference was that we were not sailing for most of the trip. We had to travel by motor due to insufficient wind. The very little wind there was wasn’t going in the right direction. Nevertheless, this did not stop me from learning many new skills and techniques such as knots splices and how to live onboard a ship.

The first day on the ship I found out I got the 12-4 shift which means that I had to get up at midnight and go back to sleep at 4 in the morning. Nonetheless,as motivated and this meant I was ready to do anything.

An Unforgettable Experience

At the end of the trip, I was sad to leave, however, very happy with the experience I had sailing on the Morgenster. I got to meet plenty of new people and I got to learn plenty of new skills.

I am grateful that the British School in The Netherlands gave me the opportunity to find my new passion.

More photos from the first Morgenster trip can be viewed on flickr.

Trips & Activities Week, for Senior School students at The British School in The Netherlands, takes place twice a year, in the Summer and Autumn Terms. A wide selection of different trips gives students plenty of learning opportunities beyond the classroom. As we have just read, some of these trips can prove life-changing.

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