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Within six hours of a 30-knot wind, the waves can reach heights over three metres.The adverse currents make these waves steeper, which can be seriously dangerous for yachts smaller than 10 metre.’ The Star Clipper measures a bit less than 110 metres and weighs 2,298 tonnes.Maximum passenger capacity is 170 persons with approximately 72 crew members.This late northern summer’s cruise numbers 112 passengers aboard, roughly half hail from the UK, about a third claim Germany as their home base.She plunges in and out of the huge swell like a marine-loving racehorse, shaking off sparkling water as it runs off her teak decks, thrusting her bow deep into the ancient sea.A friendly passenger mentions memories of galleons lost in time.It’s less thrilling when you’re trying to walk to your cabin without tumbling over topsy-turvy.I discover that many passengers have retreated to their cabins doped up on Dramamine or other anti-seasickness medications. I’ve sorted the enthusiastic travellers from the retiring tourists in one night. The Star Clipper is a different ship, relatively small and agile with a shallow enough draft (5.6 metres) to visit ports bigger ships can’t.
My single porthole window plunges below the waterline between waves.In this day and age of stabilisers and state-of-the-art navigation software, when really bad weather strikes, even the mega-ships may have to alter course, stopping at ports not included in the official itinerary.In his ‘Sailing Issues’ website, Diederek Willemsen describes the blows undisturbed over 100 miles.There’s something magical about being aboard a large sailing ship while she’s racing through strong winds. Is the ship itself happiest when she’s riding the high waves, flags flying, sails on parade, crew working like sea sprites on Poseidon’s Olympian bow?We’re sailing across the Aegean Sea, facing its most challenging summer weather conditions and I have to say, I quite like the feeling of freedom that true sailing engenders.