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Bay Area Sailor Pat Broderick Is Sailing Aboard ‘Stad Amsterdam’

A few days ago, Bay Area sailor Pat Broderick stowed his duffel and backpack aboard the Stad Amsterdam and stood on deck to wave farewell to the USA. Pat is onboard for the ship’s expected 28-day voyage from Hawaii to Tokyo, and as promised, is keeping us updated on his experience.

“Did I feel like Ishmael as he boarded the Pequod? Was an angry Captain Ahab driving the crew as the ship departed? Did Starbuck bark orders to break out the sails? And did we sail off into the unknown seeking the White Whale? Not really. But as I watched the dock hand toss the final line into the water, maybe some. It was the final link to land.”

Captain Sune Blinkenberg monitors the Stad Amsterdam’s departure from Hawaii.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

Stad Amsterdam threw her last docklines at 1:30 p.m. (Hawaii time) and sailed a westerly course along Oahu’s southern shore. “As the sun went down Honolulu’s lights glowed on the fading island,” Pat writes, “the last land we’ll see until Japan appears on the horizon about 28 days from now.”

The Stad Amsterdam is a modern version of the square-riggers of centuries past. The 250-ft-long steel-hulled ship was launched in 2000. And while she still relies on fossil fuels, she is gradually being upgraded to incorporate the latest technology to reduce both her carbon footprint and her ecological impact.

Ultimately they want to get back to where tall ships started, traveling the world using only the wind, although with the comforts and convenience of modern life. To this end, the Stad Amsterdam has a total sail area of almost 22,000 square feet, across 31 sails, which Pat tells us are controlled by several hundred lines.

Stad Amsterdam sail drawings on deck
The crew teach guest crew about the sails by using “deckboard” drawings.
© 2024 Pat Broderick
It’s sometimes easier to sit down while raising the sails.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

Pat is on the daytime “White Watch” between 2 and 6 p.m. On day two of his voyage, the wind blew easterly in the low teens for most of the day. “For a while the crew worked at rigging the studding sails on yards that extend out from yards on the main and foremasts, but the wind piped up and the sails remained on deck. I counted 17 sails set through the evening.”

By day three the wind was fluky and had dropped significantly. By the time Pat was on watch the captain ordered the crew to strike sail and coil the lines while he started the engine. “We’re motoring at about 6 knots in the right direction,” Pat tells us. “He [Capt. Blinkenberg] says we’ll have at least one day and perhaps more before we find enough wind to sail.”

Pat took this photo of the ship’s path on day three of his voyage, showing the result of the fluky winds.
© 2024 Pat Broderick

We’ll bring you more updates of Pat Broderick’s voyage aboard the Stad Amsterdam soon. Stay tuned …

1 Comment

  1. Larry Broderick 1 month ago

    Awesome, thanks for the update…. Fair winds and a following sea.

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