Thursday, August 27, 2015

SAIL Amsterdam 2015-Once in 5 years event for sail ships

SAIL AMSTERDAM is a once in a 5 years event held at Amsterdam, Netherlands. During this event dozens of big sail ships arrive at Amsterdam from all over the world. These ancient sail ships used to travel across the ocean using nothing else but the power of wind- just using their sails settings to control the speed and direction. Today we are so dependent on fossil fuel, we can't imagine someone traveling across continents with nothing but wind power. It was a slow and risky way of traveling, but that is what separates men from boys. Great sailors emerged from these sail ship expeditions and rewards were extremely high whenever the voyage is successful- they buy commodities wherever they are cheap and sell them in continents where it is expensive and make a windfall of profit.

I had a unique opportunity to witness this year's SAIL Amsterdam first hand. I had planned a quick weekend trip to Amsterdam from Copenhagen and just a day before realized that this once a 5 year event is coinciding with my visit.

So last Saturday, after visiting few other key attractions in Amsterdam, I went to the IJ Havn area to take a closer look at the big sail ships. 44 different sail ships took part in this year's SAIL Amsterdam. Take a look at some of the photos and we can talk afterwards.

Above: Alexander von Hamboldt from Germany.
Below: Stad Amsterdam


Above pic would have been a lot more splendid with the sails deployed. With just pole and ropes a bit of fun was lost.

 The complicated network of ropes and pulleys and pillars- it wasn't an easy job to navigate a ship.

There was one big disappointment for me though. These sail ships look very photogenic only when their sails are fully deployed. But the ships can't afford to have the sail in deployed position all the time, particularly when anchored, as wind will push the ship. So the parked ships had their sails rolled up so we could only see big poles and hundreds of ropes that control the sails. Still it was a good sight to be.

The ships I saw up close were not as huge as I had imagined. They were little longer than a train compartment probably.

Visitors had an opportunity to go on these sail ships and take a closer look- but for that there were long queues.

Also in the evening there was a great show of boats on water. Almost everyone who had a boat was on the canals moving slowly in a never ending convoy of boats. Big boats, small boats, Yachts, sail ships, row boats- thousands of them moving slowly in harmony, with their family/friends on board. 

Suddenly I saw a big Indian flag and I was very proud. Later I realized that it was INS Tarangini. It was docked on the other side of the canal, so I couldn't go (I didn't know it is INS Tarangini and I could go closer). INS Tarangini is a decommissioned sail ship of Indian Navy and is currently on a world tour.

Because of SAIL Amsterdam, the NL capital city was more crowded than usual but it was fine. Good thing was that SAIL Amsterdam event was largely free- no hefty entry fee involved. There're many supplementary activities such as water-sports etc.Though there are some activities which are charged.