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Soren Larsen in Square Sail shipyard, Charlestown:
Contact Ian on 077 9601 7234 or Pat & Olga on 01463 772031 for latest info.

Pictures of
Main Mast
craned out


Kate's Last Diary
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mastin13.jpg (27368 bytes) Charlestown 29th October 2000
The ship's refit continues at a frantic pace. Although there is a huge amount of work to do, progress has been good and everyone is working hard towards our deadline.   The main mast is ready to crane back into the ship on Saturday 21st, the riggers are going well on the new standing shrouds and backstays. In the Engine room the B & W Alpha has been completely stripped down, new rings installed and one of the bottom end bearing re-white metalled as a precautionary measure and re-assembled.


On the foredeck the windlass was taken off the deck, the anchor chain hawse pipes and plates removed and replaced with new, heavier steel. This has meant working from rafts in the dock and the focs'le has also been evacuated.  The windlass has been serviced and painted and replaced on a new steel and timber pad, new clutch plates are being flown in from Auckland.
       In the galley a new deep freeze and new cookers are being installed and the below the heads refurbished. The liferafts are due back from inspection and service next week, as are the survival suits.  Should anyone wonder where their berth fees go - this may give them some idea!  The Cooks have prepared their dry goods order from the cash n carry and are ready for the Big Stow next week. The Purser is calculating how much toilet paper, brasso, rum and beer are required for a 12 month tallship voyage...

The yard have just advised us that that the ship must leave Charlestown on the 31 October.... the big tides expected in early November will not allow us to get out of the locked dock any later than that!  This puts us under a little more pressure (but what, after all, are refits all about?).  We will anchor at Fowey to complete our preparations and Voyage Crew for the first trip to Tenerife will join there. 
Contact us on 077 9601 7234 for further info.

Some images of a Cornish refit ...    
engroom1.jpg (19170 bytes)   engroom3.jpg (16805 bytes)
The engine room is always a major battle front but the ship's main engine, the Burmiester & Wayne Alpha deserves all the love and attention lavished on it.

Above Peter and Ben drawing the pistons with a chain hoist.

Above right: A rare sight of the engineer looking at the conrod and bottom end of number 2 piston, through the crank case doors.

Right - Ian under the floor joists applying careful force to door bolts (ignore large hammer to his right).

  engroom2.jpg (18841 bytes)
windlas1.jpg (24341 bytes)   Tony on the foredeck - in the rain - trading blows with the windlass  (note even larger hammer). Picture resolution doesn't show if he is smiling or grimacing..
sparshe1.jpg (15615 bytes)   Andrew in the spar shed doing what he enjoys - replacing timber in the main mast hounds and cross trees. in the middle lies the main boom and gaff and on far left is the brand new main topmast made for us by the Square Sail yard.


25th Sept to 1 Oct - Cornwall.
Heavy rain and stiff south easterlies kept us in Fowey Harbour for a coupe of days but on Tues 25th we motored the couple of hours around to the entrance of Charlestown harbour. This ancient little china clay port is home to Squaresail UK Shipyard, owned by Tony's brother Robin and is to be our base for the ship's month long refit.  entranc1.jpg (17211 bytes)The Cornish pilot boarded us just off the entrance. "Bet you've had this ship into some small ports, Cap'n? Well they'll have been bigger than this one!" he said cheerfully. 
       Word of our arrival must have got around as a sizeable crowd of locals had gathered on the sea wall to see us negociate the entrance. Whether they were instinctively drawn to the scene by an inherited Cornish interest in the combination of rocks, surf and a square rigger,  I couldn't say.  The entrance channel zig zags sharply to the right, then left, with the turn the exact length of the hull.
     Tony stood on the steering box, one foot on the helm and Martin drilled us on the foredeck as where to stand by fenders and wharps. Had he here before? "No, said Big M, but I've seen an aerial postcard and there was more information on that than on the chart". Fine then.  Seeing Martin and the Old Man shoe horn Soren out of the lock at St Katherine's in London was impressive enough but this was something else. The crew scuttled across the deck with tyres from starboard to port and back again but we barely needed a fender. "Nice pilot," shrugged Tony modestly..

The weather closed in again and the first day of refit was spent de-rigging the main mast in constant rain. The next couple of days were kinder as Dan supervised sending down the topmast in the traditional manner and a large shore crane lifted clear the main mast and shrouds.
     Peter has started pulling apart the main engine - drawing pistons and checking bottom end bearings. The aft table is out of the saloon and has been replaced by cylinder heads, crank case doors and No.3 piston. 
   The heavy awnings were dragged up from the bottom of the sail locker and Ben and Rob have constructed a timber frame to box in the whole aft half of the ship.   Tony has also decided to remove the entire windlass from the foredeck in order to replace the anchor chain hawse pipes and make a new bedding plate for it.

The crew have got a lot done this first week, but taking the ship apart is a lot quicker than putting it back together again.  The clock is now ticking......... FOR PICTURE PAGE OF MAIN MAST DE RIG CLICK HERE
Ian H.

  Nick Anderson's Diary Log takes us from
Southampton to Cornwall:
Monday 18th Sept.nick_helmsmall.jpg (5064 bytes) Start of the Southampton to Darmouth voyage.  Our new Voyage Crew joined at 1000 and once again we had a nice mixture of new and old faces.  Some just can't stay away: Pat and Olga, our  'Friends of Soren in the UK', definitely fall into this category and they were back for their second trip this year.
     We got away just after lunch and back down the Solent we went, setting sail and bracing square once we rounded the corner.  Doris steered us clear of a waterspout and then into anchor at Yarmouth for a quiet night and a great start to the trip.
Tues 19th Sept Rise and shine early. Sailing westwards through the Needles channel with the odd cheer for those going aloft and making it to the foretop.  More fantastic sailing - in fact this trip was full of wind.  Good wind and early starts - can't have everything I guess. Still it makes you appreciate those days where everything is perfect .... which of course is everyday  on the Soren Larsen (click on book-a-berth at the bottom of this screen now......)
     Anyway as we neared our first destination of Weymouth we were chased off course by a boat informing us that we were entering some kind of artillery firing range. Handy to know that and most  were pleased to clear the area while others prepared the cannons ready for battle - ahaargh...  As it turned out we arrived in  one piece and enjoyed a night out on the town.  Weymouth is full of amazing old building, a fair few of which turned out to be pubs. Some routed via the Yetties gig (a local folk band) and soon had the shanties going, but all returned safe for a sound nights sleep.
Wed 20th Sept Off at sparrows and greeted by dolphins just outside the harbour - photos galore -  and then around Portland Bill and close hauled on the port tack.  We also passed where the filming of the movie  'The French Lieutenants Woman' took place, in which Soren featured. Knot tying and and sail handling lessons of the fordeck.   That night we anchored in Torbay under rocky cliffs covered in trees which reminded me very much of home (in West Australia). It was a beautiful sunset and also Olga's birthday which as always we celebrated in style. I often wonder if all the merriment can be heard ashore and what people think of it. 'What the bloody hell is going on out there'  I could imagine them say.  Becky and Charlie held a great quiz night puzzling us all with some sticky questions. The Dings finished just ahead of the Dongs, or was it the other way round?
Thurs 21st Sept Well our short hop, skip and jump round into Dartmouth turned out to be a motor into a gale which provided a bit of excitement but didn't last long and we soon found ourselves passing through the mouth of the river in between castles and into the beautiful Dart Valley. Darmouth to the left and the right. The last night was quite rowdy with shanties and laughs. All round another great trip.
London to Southampton Voyage:
A full ship of Voyage Crew again with 90% having previously sailed with Soren at one time of another. Jan took the last spare berth after coming to the Reunion yesterday and she last sailed with us in 1985 with the JST..!
Deckhand Nick Anderson from Perth, W.A. takes up the Log from Kate, giving you a focs'le perspective of the events from London:
Thurs 7th – Sun 10th Sept An early rise as we weigh anchor and steam up the Thames to London past Greenwich and the great Cutty Sark. This was to be a homecoming for some but the end of the road for Kate, Mike and Todd, for whom the celebrations soon began with some fore deck rock revisited. St Katharine’s won’t be quite the same again and some some reason our evening paddeling session wasn’t appreciated! Cheers for all your hard work and laughs guys – you shall be missed and we love ya…              so anyway………

On the other hand we gained Peter V. as Engineer and Dinty as Cook – both old hands returning for more punishment and its great to have them on board. Dinty has been spoiling us with donuts and Peter has been having some interesting interactions with a Scotsman and a nice man named Sledgehammer in the local alehouses. (Whatever you do, don’t ask a Scot if he has a spanner in his pocket).
We brought the weather with us, introducing the Poms to sunshine and allowing us to get some maintenance done and it was perfect for our Voyagers reunion day. Loads of old faces to catch up, including Adrian, Granny and Jeremy (with brass band) from the Auckland-Easter Island trip. Ben was busy with modifying our new gaff after the North Sea breakages.

Mon 11th Sept Once again new Vcrew join with a big contingency from Gloucestershire. Bonny and June, from the Bay of Islands, carry on from the last couple of trips. Hands aloft while we motor down the river - and many a black hand returning to the deck after discovering the new tarring in the rig,   ha ha ha. !
Tues 11th -Thurs 17th Out into the Channel and hugging the coast to Beachy Head where we set the squares and headed for France. Not exactly for Cherbourg but for France nonetheless, a beautiful full moon lighting the way. Interesting reading in the comments column in the Deck Log book: " All is well. All is well. All is still well. And then Brian’s comment at 0500 "Its all a bad dream..". Mike could be heard mumbling "Whose bloody idea was this anyway.." after being woken for his midnight watch. Some rolly stuff sees a few heads over the side,  which is where the forts of Cherbourg where sighted. Ooh la la.
Vcrew ashore and our short visit was lengthened by an untimely visit from Customs. After the all clear we headed north for the Isle of Wight. A westerly breeze filled in throughout the night and allowing us to sail across the channel. We passed The Needles in the morning and went on around to Yarmouth. We sighted the ‘Tenacious’, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s latest addition, a 3 masted barque, at anchor. Unfortunately our helmsman (not mentioning any names) couldn’t quite get us to within funnelator range – in fact no where near to it. So anyway I turned to port steered for Cowes. Better luck next time. We dropped the pick at lunchtme and all got ashore at one time or another for a wander around and a well needed pint.
Aaarghh! That night carried on with loads of laughs, wine and shanties.
Fri 18th In the morning we picked up and Poffer flaked 4 shackles for the last time. We headed up the Solent to Southampton, docking in front of Lord nelson to end a great trip. We found an Aussie/Kiwi bar in town serving VB and Stienies much to our pleasure. Eric managed one way or another to sneak in to the Southampton Boat Show (which opened that day). He says they recognised someone of great importance but we all know the thruth.
Mon 19th Next up Dartmouth, perhaps via the Channel islands (if there isn’t a northerly) and then its REFIT just around the corner.
Thoughts of home – last of all I want to say Happy Birthday to my dad Wal….J


Monday 18th Sept: After a wet and windy morning we cast off the lines at Southampton and headed out down the Solent.  Tony plans to anchor tonight within the Solent and call at Weymouth on our way down to Dartmouth. The weather forecast doesn't  look helpful with rain and SW winds down the Channel.
Plans are afoot to rendevous with the 'Lord Nelson' and the JST's new ship 'Tenacious' off Dartmouth on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.


Wednesday 13th Sept:  The ship has had a quiet trip down the Channel and has called at Cherbourg.  We expect to arrive into the Solent on Thursday afternoon. Tony may anchor off Cowes Thursday night and be up to the berth on Friday 1000 hours.  We will be berthed at berth 44 by the JST's 'Lord Nelson'.  If you are coming to Southampton by road to visit Soren then head for the Docks and go to Dock Gate 4.  Saturday will be a public open day and there is a Voyage Club reunion 10 am to 3pm on Sunday. The voyage to Dartmouth commences on Monday.


renon13.jpg (10546 bytes)Sunday 10th Sept:
Voyagers Club Reunion at St Katherine's Dock,

The sun shone, Voyagers past and present packed the decks, and we all had a wonderful afternoon as the band played on!
For the whole story and a number of pictures, which may take a while to download, Click Here for more...
By Tower Bridge photo Chris Portwine.jpg (17544 bytes)

Thurs 7th: Soren Larsen is in St Katherine's Dock by Tower Bridge. We'll be here until Sailing for Southampton at noon Monday. Do come and visit anytime - there is a reunion of past Voyage Crew on Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All are welcome!


Photos Chris Portwine:

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7 am Nearing Canary Wharf Passing Bulters Wharf
map 6 sept.gif (10661 bytes) Web 6th Sept: In the Thames!
After delays with fresh headwinds down the east coast, Capt. Tony has decided to anchor at Gravesend tonight and take the early flood tide up the river to berth at St Katherines Dock by Tower Bridge at 8am Thursday morning.


Kate's Last Fax - Purser Kate Ryan's final installement of her diary takes us from the end of the trans Atlantic race to the European Sail festival and into London...
Thurs 17th Aug Closed the finish line at 04 34 30 GMT. Isle of Wight in view. Party poppers and balloons … a festive breakfast! Wind is a favourable SWF5 - sailing nicely
Fri 18th England to the left and France to the right. Passed Dover to port and Calais on starboard. Arrived Vlissingen at 1900 hours. Pergoria is berthed nearby. Find out that Mir has been locked out (due to a legal wrangle on outstanding Russian debts) and cannot berth in Holland.
Sat 19th ‘Brilliant’ berthed nearby last night. ‘Endracht’ arrived later in the evening. Open day for the ship - many stalls and interesting craft surround the canal. Eric is happy to find an ice-cream stall right outside our gangpank. A few Vcrew visit Amsterdam for the day. Steve decides to go to Paris for a few nights! A game of 3-Man in the galley (traditional, noisy Soren drinking game)
Sun 20th Church chimes ring everywhere. Open day for the ship. Sunday roast.
Mon 21st Hire bikes and peddle along the canal to the nearest town, called Middlesburg. We watch ‘Ascard’ come through the locks. Bikes are everywhere! Many windmills and really good bakeries.
Tues 22nd Leave Vlissengen early and enter the lock around 0600 and set sail for Ijmuiden. A calm and sunny day. We pass ‘Stad Amsterdam’ and ‘Ascard’. Berth next to the French navy ship ‘Belle Etoile’ and had a tour around their beautiful ship. Lots of entertainment and stalls on the decks.
Wed 23rd Day spent in Ijmuiden – people everywhere! Hieneken girls visit the ship giving out Hieneken flags and free beer – the lads flew the flags straight away! The horizon is cluttered with hundreds of masts and rigging – many ships are rafted alongside each other.
Thurs24th Almost the last ship to depart in the morning. Standby till 1130 before casting our lines and taking our turn for the line to the locks. We enter locks with the giant ‘Sedov’, even the Blue Sphinx – a mascot for Dutch sponsors Postbank – follows us into the lock. Many Vcrew sit aloft and witness the lockout. Exit lock and proceed in a parade of sail up the Norsden Canal. Set the t’gallant , upper and lower tops’ls. It’s a clear day with spectators lining the canal.
Ships of all descriptions everywhere – notably the ‘Ship of Fools’ and many traditional Cogs. We arrive in Amsterdam around 1730 and berth alongside the ‘Roald Amudsen’. and in front of 'Lord Nelson'.  The canal is cluttered with boats – a very festive atmosphere. Beautiful blood red sunset – we are in Amsterdam! Ian has flown in from Auckland and is looking a little jet lagged..
Fri 25th Vcrew visit Anne Franks house, Van Gogh museum and many other parts of Amsterdam. Unfortunately eight of our Vcrew must leave us here and we have presentations and good-byes.

Sail Amsterdam supply all crew tags for free transport and entry into ship partys almost every night. Soren crew make their own half way bar on the docks!

Sat 26th Explore Amsterdam with friends. Many interesting places and managed three museums. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people pouring down to the docks. Bicycles everywhere. The canal is crammed with spectator boats and ships. Sample Dutch McDonalds with Mike, Toni,and Iceblock. Good to see ex Vcrew Tys, Johan and Mario who come down to say hello.
Sun 27th New Vcrew join and good to see so many returnees. Busy day taking on water and fuel. Black tanks pumped. Huge firework display at night. The music and festivities continue. Boats made of plastic bottles, floating TV visuals, Hieneken barrels – all sorts.
Mon 28th Depart Amsterdam. Pass through the middle lock. Once through we set the Main, Stays’ls and heads’ls. Ready for Bremmerhaven. Wind is SW and a good F 3-4. During the 8 –12 watch, lightening is visible on the horizon, clear night and many stars. Chilly but thankfully not wet. Sailing in company with 'Sorlandet’, ‘Pride of Baltimore’ and ‘Iskera’.
Tues 29th Calm steady sailing. Passed by ‘Pride of Baltimore’. Lost of laughs combining Welsh, English, Kiwi and German languages. Brasso galore… Iceblock (Colin) takes to the rigging like a monkey – he may have found his true calling.
Wed 30th Making suck good progress that we tack away and head north to kill some time. Very pleasant sailing. Jessica’s birthday – balloons and a cake (never trust those magic candles). Starry night. Sailed past Helgoland island – harbour-stow the squares.

At anchor 20 miles from Bremmerhaven at Weser River. Big rolling seas and strong tides. ‘Eye of the Wind’ anchors nearby.

Thurs 31st Lock-in early in the morning. Arrive in Bremmerhaven and berth next to ‘Europa’. Aromas of wurst German sausages fill the air. Traditional German music and beer tents along the docks.
Fri 1st Sept Sadly we have eight vcrew depart here. Sad to as goodbye to ‘the boyos’ – 3 men in a tub. Enjoyed everyone’s company. Crew part is put on at the town hall with famous German singer and local entertainment.
Sat 2nd New vcrew join. Gas bottles filled. Tony is away at the Captains briefing most of the morning. People everywhere. Old vcrew and crew Tassilo and Edwin pop in to say hello. The nights ends up being a Soren reunion – Seth, Chris, Rassmus, Ellis, Johan, Mette, Sabina and many others come to visit!
Sun 3rd Leave Bremmerhaven around 0900 worth the [parade of Sail out of the harbour. Force 6 wind and wind over tide. Ships everywhere. Diligent watch keeping to avoid sandbanks and traffic.
Mon 4th The North Sea greets us with strong winds – motorsailing. Many land birds such as silver eyes swept on board. A falcon crashed on to the deck.
At 0245 the gaff boom on the mainsail cracked – all hands on deck to hand the main s’l and derig the gaff.
Tues 5th A few green faces, however everyone braves the cold and stands watch. A German airforce Tornado fighter jet flies over at 100 ft. very load and startling. The boys work to jury rig the gaff. The main staysail boom comes off and is attached to the mainmast.

Mains’l is reset and we are sailing again!

At 2300 the goose neck fitting on the improvised gaff snaps and once again we are without a mains’l and we limp into the Thames Estuary.

Wed 6th Wake up to grey skies and a warmish So’ westerly. Seas have eased the day sorting out the broken booms and harbour stowing the squares. Chris cannot be kept on deck – he is up aloft furling before you can blink. Jimmy braves the seas pray on bow watch: doesn’t seem to mind that he is drenched. Anchor in the Thames at Gravesend near Essex.. Will haul up the anchor at 4am tomorrow morning and lock in to London, St Katherines Dock to complete this voyage.
At Gravesend:       I sit here on anchor watch recapping on Soren’s Global Odyssey - what an amazing venture for a solid oak hulled tallship to do! This will be my last entry as I leave with ship tomorrow.
I understand the the Voyage Log Diary will continue, however it will be through another crew members eyes – a new perspective. I feel that each entry has been too brief. They only touch the mere surface of the atmosphere on board here. Words cannot paint a picture of tallship life… or not Soren life. My 15 months on here have been a life changing experience and probably the start of a lifelong addiction. To learn new skills. To feel the wind on your face, see the sails full bellied, smell the salt air and sense the ships every movement. To climb aloft and look out for miles around only to see nothing but ocean and sky. To meet various people from all over the world of all ages and cultures. To chat and share stories with them. Most importantly to be able to look around you and feel genuinely happy. To laugh aloud and feel alive.

I am hearing words from a special Vcrew; "Soren is addictive – you’ll come back for more"

Yep – already I am harping on like I’m hooked. Thanks to all those I’ve sailed with and for all those who made it possible for me to here in the first place.

See you at the Voyagers Club reunions.

Fair winds,

Kate. X X                                          

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Kate staysl.jpg (4876 bytes)  kate cigar.jpg (7183 bytes)All our thanks to Kate Ryan who has kept us entertained, informed and inspired with her diary dates log on the journey from New Zealand.



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Copyright 2001, Squaresail Pacific Ltd
Last Updated 17 April  2002