Danish On Board Makes For A Sweet Afternoon Sail

The last time I was shopping for fresh food in Fakarava, I met a group of young people from Denmark who were taking a “Gap Year” and had chosen to spend two months on a sailboat.  We had a nice chat as we waited for longed for vegetables and fruit to be unloaded from the supply ship that had arrived in the morning.

I was very impressed with the “kids” and enjoyed learning a little about their adventures, though conversations were quick since we were all doing our best to load up on limited fresh foods.

Fast forward a few days when Frank and I had sailed to the False Pass (Anse Amyot) of Toau where we grabbed an open mooring ball.  Attaching to a mooring ball was a first since we departed Hawaii 16 months ago, and was easy-peasy compared to anchoring and deploying anchor chain with floats!

There was only one other boat in the anchorage, a catamaran that was flying a Danish Flag. But before the afternoon was over, two more sailboats arrived and both were flying Danish Flags.

Our nine guests enjoying popcorn on the trampoline while sailing. Ellen, Ida, Esther, Nina, Vera, Marie, Carolyn, Silja and Emilie. (Please excuse my English spelling of Danish names.)

Turns out, my friends from the Fakarava magasin were traveling in tandem with two other boats; two monohulls and one catamaran.  Each of the three boats was between 46-50 feet and between them there were 35 people on board!   Ahhh, to be young and so flexible about your habits and space!

Over the course of the next couple of days, we chatted with most of the kids, had dinner on shore with 11 of them and some swam over to the boat and hung out for a bit.  

We learned that the three boats are owned by one person who has a captain and first mate on board each boat. The guests are paying crew who spend two month intervals on board and most have never sailed before. This group of crew ranged in age from 19 years old to 33 years old.

Interestingly, the majority of the kids who choose this vacation are female.  We were curious about the preponderance of women and asked why that was the case. The theory from the crew and captains was the detail of the application process and the number of classes that are required.  We were told that “many guys are either too disorganized to complete the process or unwilling to take the classes required.”  The other theory was that the guys tended to start to process too late and just didn’t get all the requisites completed.

Two of the three boats were very focused on scuba diving and free diving. We were amazed at how much time those kids spent in the water. It really wasn’t unusual for them to be in the water by 6 am and not stop until very late in the afternoon.

Frank and I thoroughly enjoyed the activity, laughter and energy that reverberated off of the three boats and we had a great time learning a little about some of the folks.

Silja was first to take the helm.

Typical of Frank, he wanted to share TTR and thought it would be fun to invite the non-diving boat, who had fewer activities going all day, to go sail with us one afternoon.  I was concerned this might be a “busman’s holiday” for them but I was mistaken. The ladies of s/v Sirius jumped on the chance to sail with us, so we prepared Ticket to Ride for an afternoon sail.

All nine young women were incredibly polite and fun to have on TTR! We had spoken with Ellen, Ester and Ida, the day before when they swam over for a chat. We had a funny conversation about popcorn which Frank thinks many women eat as dinner (he might have learned that from my single days). Ellen, Esther and Ida admitted this was true occasionally and were surprised to hear that Frank doesn’t care for it while I love popcorn.

Low and behold, when the ladies arrived, they had brought along two HUGE bowls of popcorn to share. Needless to say I was tickled that they had brought it, but I was incredibly impressed by their thoughtfulness.  Kudos to them for being so considerate and creative!

Frank teaching Esther and Ida a bit about TTR..

The wind was calm and the sea state delightful when we left the anchorage. We put up our mainsail and drifter (furling gennaker) and did some lovely downwind sailing.  All told we sailed 29 nm at an average speed of 9 knots with a max speed of 12.4 knots. Every woman took a turn helming Ticket to Ride.

It was so much fun listening to the girls laugh and delight in the differences between Ticket to Ride and the monohull they were on. Did I tell you their English was absolutely perfect?! 

Esther, Vera, Nina, Caroline and Marie pretty casual while sailing over 12 knots.

Frank and I really enjoyed having a chance to talk with these young ladies and learn a bit about their lives and their plans.  Before arriving in Papeete, only two of the girls knew each other! However the teamwork required to sail the boat, up the anchor (windless was broken), share one stateroom, alternate cooking and cleaning responsibilities, etc had cemented their relationships very quickly. 

Clearly Ida, Ellen and Emilie have created deep friendships while traveling.

In fact, the nine women said they were going to buy a boat together one day!  Considering only two had ever sailed prior to this trip, and you had to get nine women to agree, that is a pretty stout goal. But also, very cool!!

Once we had returned and tied TTR to the mooring ball, we offered the ladies towels and a hot shower on the back deck of Ticket to Ride. This was perhaps the best gift we could have given them as we were told this was the first hot shower they had had since leaving Tahiti – six weeks earlier!!!

I have to tell you, we were super impressed because all 9 women showered and washed their hair without using all of the hot water (10 gallon tank) and without using much water at all. I would say they have truly embraced the sailing life!!

Just before leaving, Esther confided that every Sunday on board s/v Sirius, they have to decide what their favorite event was for the week.  She said the women had agreed already that this day would be the one for this week.

I laughingly said, “yes, this hot shower had to be the highlight!”  But Esther corrected me, “Not just the shower, the whole experience with you on Ticket to Ride.

See, aren’t these ladies sweet and gracious?!

I know this sounds sappy, but truly, we find that opening ourselves up to others and sharing the gifts (things) we have, brings us more joy to us than it does to those with whom we share. This has been true on land, with the houseboat we owned, with our first catamaran and with Ticket to Ride. 

Thanks so much for stopping to read our blog. I hope you enjoyed this story about the kids from Denmark. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Wishing you good health and fun adventures!

8 thoughts on “Danish On Board Makes For A Sweet Afternoon Sail

  1. What a great experience for all of you. I feel you and Frank are just as sweet and gracious in life as those girls. Love reading your blog. Sail on TTR!

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  2. Sounds like a great time was had by all! Maybe they’ll be sailing on their own boat the next time you see them in an anchorage. Can’t wait to see what Jason and Niki think of TTR. I think you need to fly a hull with them just to show what TTR can do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We did have a lot of fun with those girls. Haha, it sounds like Jason wants some serious action sailing while on TTR. We haven’t flown a hull since commissioning in California. I’m not sure I am ready for that!🤣

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  3. What a great blog and post about the visit from the danish girls. I got the link from my daughter Esther – and yes she sometimes eats popcorn for dinner at home…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is Esther your daughter? You must be so proud of her as she is a delightful young woman! I can tell you those girls are having a great time and making lifelong friends during this trip. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with these young ladies!

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