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HNLMS Urania Sails Atlantic Breeze 2007

The sailing naval training vessel of the Royal Netherlands Navy, HNLMS Urania, crossed the Atlantic and visited Curacao for the first time. She gloriously sailed into the harbour on May 7th and left for St Maarten eight days later, continuing her “Atlantic Breeze” trip that started in the homeport of Den Helder, in the Netherlands. After visiting St. Maarten the 77’ steel ketch vessel sailed to the Bahamas. During the month of June Urania visited Jacksonville, Norfolk, Annapolis, Baltimore, New York, and Newport.

This month and in August she’ll make her way back to the homeport via Boston, Halifax and Plymouth, England. Underway she met and greeted training ships from the international Navy fleet like the beautiful Brazilian Cisne Branco and the German Gorch Fock. The ships participated in tall ship races like Sail Virginia in Norfolk from June 7 through 12, and the Tall Ships Rhode Island race in Newport from June 27 through July 1.

The Royal Netherlands Navy has owned a sail training ship called Urania since 1830. The boat takes its name from Urania who, according to Greek mythology, is the muse of astronomy. The present Urania, fourth to bear this name, was originally built in 1928 as a private yacht called Tromp. Originally she was a schooner with a wishbone rigging, but was soon changed into a gaff rig. She entered the navy in 1938 under the name Urania. In 1957 she was rigged as a Bermudan ketch which means that the mainmast is taller than the mizzenmast, the rudder is behind the mizzenmast and the mizzen comprises 60% of the mainsail. In 2004 the ship was almost completely hauled over.

There is accommodation on the Urania for three officers, two petty officers and 12 trainees. One very good reason for taking the trainees on board is to confront them with sea and weather, the two basic elements of their future careers as seamen. For this reason Urania makes a lot of training trips, mostly in Europe.

This journey will last 144 days, and a distance of approximately 12,000 nautical miles will be covered. The trainees feel very privileged to participate in this spectacular journey. Besides sailing skills they also learn to deal with situations and problems in a limited space requiring a close cooperation. “Working on team- and character-building is one of the main purposes of this trip,” commanding officer of HNLMS Urania, Lieutenant Commander Hugo Sinke stated during a press trip while the ship was in Curacao.

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