Sail Training International would like to thank Leeke van der Poel, Master Eendracht, who spoke at the Captains Dinner in Greenock. Eendracht was also the winner of the Communications prize presented in Greenock Town Hall.
The Captain's Speech:
"Lord Mayor and with you the people of Greenock, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I was asked by our chairman to say a few words on behalf of the captains: why me? By now I know: our ship Eendracht is painted blue with white: the Scottish flag! So those of you on a ship painted with the Norwegian or Swedish colors you are warned.
On behalf of all the trainees, the crew and the captains I like to thank Greenock for the warm welcome.
Please take note of the order in which I mentioned this: trainees, crew and captains. The trainees they are what it is all about and we: captains are just the lucky ones to be present here.
I recall 12 years ago when we gathered in Greenock for the Cruise in Company to Lerwick and from there racing to Aalborg.
Trainees which were then on board our ship are still meeting each other: Friendships for life have been established. Since twelve years ago I have an annual dinner with a few trainees from that trip and they are not all Dutch but an international flavor (including an Australian living in Belgium)!!
To mention another example: in 2004 I took one of our watch leaders to a deck party on the Dar Mlodziezy. She is now married to one of the captains present here. So take care all of you, participating in a TSR can change the course of life.
Mentioning the trainees: It is not making friendship alone… it is about character building:
Our youngsters in a watch or a complement on board a ship are like a cake to be divided.
One person in a watch cannot take a big piece, he or she has to take a roughly equal part of the cake (i.e. an equal share of the work and personality in the team). Only then you have a good and well working watch.
Further to this character building: Being member of a watch or ships complement is contrary to the present increasing individualism at least in the Western world.
In this aspect I like to explain the name of Eendracht: It means something like Unity: together you are stronger: your sails will not go up unless you pull all together.
Being part of the Sail Training Internaitonal family is also a great contribution into the mutual understanding of nations and their people. If people know each other and their customs they will understand things and have better feelings to each other. The cruise in company is a good opportunity to bring this mutual understanding to an even higher level.
See it positive: the short race between Waterford and Greenock made it possible to have a mini cruise in company. Do you know what a Norwegian sandwich is? Eendracht with on both sides a Norwegian square rigger as we did just the other day in Loch Ranza on Arran. You can trust those Vikings: they have changed over the centuries and we forget that they burned down our towns and raped our wives (is not that mutual understanding?).
On this mutual understanding: In the past race Eendracht was lucky (and not only Eendracht) to have quite a few Irish trainees on board, next to British and Dutch (and a Belgian officer). We hope the Irish will manage to have their own ship. To be named Asgard-III?
In Waterford the captain of Rupel was telling about his figurehead and how glad he was his lost figure head was found in the nets of a fishermen. Most of you will remember that Eendracht had once a gnome on her bowsprit (when we were 12 years ago in Scottish waters he was dressed in Scottish national costume). Not liking that figurehead I had the luck to loose it in bad weather: please Scottish do me a favor if you find it: throw it overboard again.
What a difference in weather today compared to yesterdays rain and wind (at least when we entered) and the nice sunny weather today (as a matter of fact perfect sailing weather is not it?).
We have a saying in The Netherlands: you have to deserve your luck: well Greenock has deserved it having this kind of weather on Greenock Sail!
I like to toast to our host city Greenock: thanks for all the arrangements, the overwhelming interest of the public and please do not wait another twelve years: you have perfect sailing waters around and you are a very hospitable town"