You might already have heard about it: Verein Jugendsegeln decided to sell its first ship CAROLA. She’s sailed with us since 1995, she’s been steered and handled by many young and also many experienced hands, and she has taken us to many beautiful places in the Baltic and the North Sea. But our club members cannot keep two old ships in the good state that they deserve. Therefore we are happy to have met Earl de Blonville, who will look after CAROLA from now on. Let us give him the opportunity to introduce himself.
We wish CAROLA and Earl Allzeit Gute Fahrt!
I fell in love with Carola two years ago and am very excited to now be planning to restore her to her grand life as a Tall Ship and respected sail-training vessel.
My love affair with Tall Ships began as a kid, forever drawing square-riggers, and matured when I was appointed Director of the Tall Ships spectacular that officially opened Australia’s Bicentenary year (and televised globally). Carola’s friends would know many of the Tall Ships from Russia, Poland and Germany that went to Australia for that historic event.
The sea has been in my blood since I began solo sea kayaking at 11 years old. I’ve raced Fireballs in Australia, skippered whaleboats with Outward Bound in Scotland, survived massive North Atlantic storms in my 50’ steel ketch, explored half of Greenland’s navigable coast over four years, and undertaken pioneering sea kayak expeditions that include the first circumnavigation of Tasmania (1,600km), first northerly crossing of notorious Bass Strait, and the first Australian expedition to the Arctic, when my patron was HRH The Prince of Wales. I’ve shared my adventures through a documentary film (released internationally through Discovery Channel), and my book ‘Seventh Journey’ has received international critical acclaim. However, Germans who’ve read it are silent, suggesting it’s not so good after all!
In the UK, I was President of the Old Gaffers Association, helping to modernize the traditional gaff movement in Devon, and sailed as a member of the Royal Dart Yacht Club. During that time I discovered, and restored to her former racing glory, the 1890 Southampton fishing gaffer ‘Freda’. She won the inaugural Brixham Heritage Classic race and the Plymouth Classics Concours d’Elegance.
I’m particularly grateful to Matthias for ensuring that Carola now has the chance of a new life, starting with the best traditional shipyard in Denmark. She will undergo a full restoration with all rig, sails, engine and electronics replaced, and a strip-down inspection and renewal of her frame and planking. My aim is to have her racing as hard and as far afield as she did under Hans Edwin Reith, involved in sail training, Tall Ships events and youth leadership development.
With my Doctoral research is focused in Europe, and my partner Dr Jennifer Gidley’s presidency of the World Futures Studies Federation based in Paris, we’re planning to move in France. We have another classic Baltic vessel, the 34m Swedish schooner Tärnan, chartering from Brest. Carola will remain close to the Baltic so she can participate in as many classic events as possible. But no matter which port you find her in, you’ll be welcomed aboard to share your stories and enjoy our hospitality.
Earl de Blonville FRGS