Voyagers, Visitors, Friends …

Any idea who will come to our Festival?


Guess you’ve asked yourself this question already. To be honest, we don’t know for certain yet and we are curious as well! With Sailingships the all deciding factor is the weather.

We have invited sailors from all over the world, ships from many different countries, and those we couldn’t invite ourselves Friends will be telling Friends, will be telling Friends, will be telling Friends …

There might be a tiny 6.50 m ship on her voyage north after having circumnavigated the world. There might be other ships, big or small, coming back from an Atlantic circuit after they have spent some time in the Caribbean. There will certainly be ships on their way south, heading for their first, second or 3rd circumnavigation or just for a happy time in the Mediterranean or around the corner somewhere.

Nazaré, as one of the only 2 harbours on this stretch of coast safe to enter under any conditions, has become the crossroads for bluewater-sailors since it’s being opened in 1983. Or, as the Maori-people from New Zealand might say: the place where the four winds meet.

Now this year is a very special one. Have you ever heard about the Tallshipsraces? Old as well as more recently built ships, following the old traditions and keeping them alive, half of the crew between 15 and 25 years of age, have a race that goes on for many weeks. There is a lot of information about it to get, I guess the most official one would be this: The Tallshipsraces 2016

However, a big part of the fleet of these magnificent ships will leave Cadiz in Spain the last weekend in July to sail leisurely north as a “Cruise in Company” to La Coruna in Galicia/Spain where they will be expected the second weekend in August. Our Festival lies right between these 2 weekends, and Nazaré is roughly halfway between Cadiz and La Coruna. Not all of them will be coming to Nazaré of course. Other towns along this coast have Festivals for the summer at the same time too, so we will share the ships.

But guess what? We are in contact with several of the ships. As it looks like now at least 3 very special ships might come to Nazaré for our Festival!

Let’s get started with the ATYLA:



We are delighted to tell you that there is no “if” with the ATYLA. No matter what the wind and the seas might be out there, the ATYLA is convinced she will be here on time for the Festival. That’s a promise between Friends!

The ATYLA, you’ll love her as much as Rodrigo, her 27-year-old captain and owner. They’ve both got the heart at the right place! The ATYLA is fairly young also. Rodrigo’s uncle had a dream and nothing could stop him to make this dream come true. He built her with his own hands far inland to the south of Bilbao in Spain. Even the trees he felled himself, in the forests belonging to his family and friends. She got launched in 1984. It’s a long, amazing and heartbreaking story with a happy continuation. If you’re interested you can follow this link to find out more about ATYLA’s history

In 2013 Rodrigo took her over from the hands of his uncle, and made her to what she was supposed to be nearly from the start: an International Sail Training Ship. In 2014, taking part in the SCF Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta, ATYLA’s crew received the International friendship trophy for understanding amongst the crews.



Launched in 1919 she was built and used as a deep-sea Fishingboat, the first 9 years under sail only and in 1928 they installed an engine. From 1980 onwards she found a new purpose as a home for a Radiostation. Harry Muter must have seen her potential, probably fell in love, and bought her in 1993. By this time the ship was neglected and needed heaps of work done. A Monster-Task! It is one thing to build a new boat. But Re-building a boat is something many people give up on because it’s just getting too much. Not so for Harry! Harry, and certainly his wife Marian, rolled up their sleeves to make it happen and spent years in first stripping her, welding new sheets in and then building her up again.

14 years later, in 2008, finally, the Mega-task was done! The MORGENSTER was the safe oceangoing vessel again she was always meant to be, adapted to modern safety-standards and fitted out with a lovely rigg. A wonderful job they did and I draw my hat in admiration for what they have achieved.

Since 2008 she is operating as a Sail Training Ship.



Lord Nelson undersail[1]

Now this ship is also something very special and exceptional and I hope we will have the pleasure to welcome her here for the Festival! She was purposely build and launched in 1985 as a Sail Training Ship for people with disabilities.

Let me explain: the Idea behind it is, that a ship this size you can’t sail on your own, and different jobs on board need different abilities. When you sail with a crew there is no need for everyone to have the same strong points, to the contrary! Add all the different very best strongpoints of the crew together and you’ve got a strong crew that is able to weather all the seas till the end of the world.

Everything on this ship is wheelchair-accessible and they even have a talking compass installed. This means that people with impaired vision can steer the boat, and I’m pretty sure they will sail a straighter course and adapt better to the movements of the waves than anyone else. It is exactly like in the old days, when the duty of the helmsman was to steer the boat according to the compass-course given, and there were lookouts on the forecastle and/or in the masts to look ahead and around for dangers.

The concept was so successful that they built a sister-ship of the Lord Nelson called Tenacious. Tenacious is now somewhere in the Pacific Ocean on her way to circumnavigate the globe.


"How near to perfect did the big square-rigged ship become? That is a question. So long as men remained who could man her and the tradition of her sailing was unbroken, in my opinion -for what it may be worth- I think at her best she did approach perfection" -A. V.
“How near to perfect did the big square-rigged ship become? That is a question. So long as men remained who could man her and the tradition of her sailing was unbroken, in my opinion -for what it may be worth- I think at her best she did approach perfection” -A. V.


In 1937, when the real ships were still roaming the seven seas under sail, transporting cargo let’s say around Cape Horn from Australia to Europe, a ship was built. Her purpose was to train and educate seamen, a Sail Training Ship. And her name? CHRISTIAN RADICH.

The students did not “only” learn to sail the ship and maintain the sails and the rigging on the CHRISTIAN RADICH. She was equipped with a machine-shop to train engineers, they had carpentry-training and also a large kitchen to learn cooking. Remember: the voyages usually took several months and they kept maintaining their ships while they were sailing. The success of each voyage depended on them being fully self-reliant. Carpenters sailed on the ships to make a new mast if one broke, a plank might have sprung a leak, she might need caulking somewhere. Engineers were needed to keep all the metal-work in working order or to make a new piece for something. If they should be of value on board a ship later, they needed to learn these trades on board of a ship, together with the knowledge of steering and sailing the ship. And exactly this is, what the CHRISTIAN RADICH was built for.

And today? Of course, she still is a Sail Training Ship! Only the machine-shop made space for a galley!

All these ships, all these people have a story to tell.

On the Sail Training Ships that will be here for the Festival we will be allowed to have guided Tours of the ships. Which might be complicated with ships anchored in the bay, but easy with the ones docked in port. And the MORGENSTER has even offered to spoil us with little sailing-trips of maybe 2 hours, so we can experience how this feels like to set sail on such a ship and glide over the sparkling sea.

All of them would be happy to accommodate Trainees sailing with them from Cadiz to La Coruna, and some of the ships can be booked for an evening by a company, a group of friends, or a whole family. I’ll write more about this later.

So far it looks as if it’s getting pretty exciting.

Everything depends on the weather of course, and we hope that July and August this year will be very favorable for all our seafarers from close and faraway shores. It would be lovely if you could help us wishing them all fair winds and a safe passage!

Fair winds & sunny greetings!


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