Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Soren Larsen: A Ship's Bio

I've been dropping her name in and out of conversation for a while now, but I never properly introduced you to this lady while she took me around the South Pacific. Meet the Soren Larsen. Not many ladies have a dudes name, but that's down to her creator. Born in a Danish shipyard in 1947, a shipwright decided that the last ship, would bear his name. I think you can guess his name....

A well travelled lady with a few circumnavigations under her belt, The Soren Larsen has had a interesting life.  Beginning life as a trade ship, transporting timber and grain throughout the Baltic and other parts of Europe. In 1978, The Soren Larsen found herself out of date, in disrepair and up for destruction.   Enter the Davies family.  Restoring and refitting the Soren Larsen to the design she is now. It was after this facelift that The Soren Larsen caught the eye of the BBC. She found international fame in the TV series 'the Onedin line' and also featured in films such as 'the French lieutenants woman,' the count of Monte Cristo' and 'Shackleton.'

After working as a sail training ship for the physically disabled, The Soren was chosen as the flagship for the re-enactment fleet of the first fleet. Celebrating the bicentennial of Australia's founding, the 1988 eight tall ship made the journey to Australia from England.

She then made it back to England, but still she couldn't forget quite forget the shores of New Zealand. In 1993 she rounded the cape horn and returned. For nearly twenty year, New Zealand remained her Home, spending the winter in the south pacific islands and the summer in the bay of islands.

Her only break from the South Pacific came in 2000. To celebrate the millennium  the Soren took on a world voyage - heading to Britain via USA, Canada and Europe and returning through the panama canal.

In her years cruising the islands it wasn't always smooth sailing.  One year, during horrendous seas the deck house was destroyed by a rogue wave. However, her owners of the time (The Davies family selling a few years pior) did all they could to get The Soren sea worthy again and out on the waves!

Come 2011 and The Soren Larsen ended her South Pacific Season in Sydney, where me and her crossed paths.  Bought by Sydney Harbour Tallships, she was to work out of Sydney for the summer seasons at least.  At the time I was living aboard the Southern swan and I remember how big she seemed in comparison. Over the next six months I sailed on the Soren in the harbour, but it was not until we began the 2012 pacific season that I began to appreciate and fall in love with the old girl.

At the time of writing this, after some essential work on her engine and a little bit of tender love and care, The Soren Larsen is now out on Sydney Harbour where she will be going out on charters for the foreseeable future. She will definitely be in Sydney for the 2013 Tallship festival taking place, which sounds amazing, I'm even tempted to go back for it.

One things for sure, at 65 years old, there is still go in the old girl yet and I can't wait to see what other adventures she'll have.


Dani McDaniel said...

Wow! She sounds like an incredible ship. So fortunate of you to get to crew for 6 months! Not many ever will.

I've often wondered how life is like crewing on a large ship. You know, living with people you've never met and sailing across oceans.

Can you enlighten us?

Dusty Soles said...

It was certainly a fantastic experience and I was lucky to do it with such a fantastic crew.

I will definitely work on posts to enlighten you!

Global Grasshopper said...

Great tips! We haven't yet sailed by ourselves but there's always time!

Dusty Soles said...

I'd definitely recommend it - as 71% of the Earth is covered by our seas, its one of the best ways to travel.

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