Old Caldicotian, Jasper, takes to the high seas in the sailing trip of a lifetime

04 June 2020


Last month, Jasper Von Lewinski (OC 2011-2017), arrived back to his home in Germany after a six and a half month long adventure sailing half-way across the world. The trip, arranged with Klassenzimmer unter Segeln, found Jasper set sail on the triple-masted Topsail-schooner ‘Thor Heyerdahl’, which has been sailing as a swimming educational institution for youths for more than 24 years.

Jasper writes - Recently I took part in a six and a half month sailing trip half-way across the world. I first came upon it with my dad who heard about it from a friend. We sat down and looked at the details, finding out what the project was about, how long, the costs etc. The first step was sending my application in, this asked me to detail what my motivations were for this opportunity. It was like a dream come true, the chance to sail around the world, or at least half of it, whilst being able to visit several countries and learn about their cultures. I always found those old traditional sailing ships awesome and had no idea that they still existed, so that was super exciting for me. The adventure and the storms all added to the excitement and got me hooked instantly.

I was ecstatic when the invitation to the try-out week came and even more so when I was eventually accepted. The project is six and half months long and is a school project designed to open horizons and learn with our environment; like learning biology in the rainforest and history by interviewing the daughter of Che Guevara. There were 34 students and up 10 crew members as well as six teachers. The ship is called ‘Thor Heyerdahl’ and is a three-mast schooner with Detlef Soitzek as the captain.

In total, we sailed 12160 nautical miles (13994 miles) and stopped at 17 different harbours. We were trained as sailors; learning everything we needed to know to be able to eventually take over the entire ship, which we did on three occasions. Each position on the ship needed to be filled as well as a few creative jobs. On top of that we had internships as boat builders, machinists and provisions directors. Also amazing were the workshops where we could learn about marine biology, medicine and even astronomical navigation.

I had the most amazing time of my life and will never forget the countless memories I have made, particularly amazing were the visits to Panama and Cuba, two worlds entirely different to the one we are used to. With an unbelievable amount of culture and amazing people, not to mention the stunning landscapes, whether untouched rainforest or the Vinales valley. The most amazing experience I had was being up in the rigging on the ship in stressful situations or just for fun, every time I came down smiling from ear to ear. Up there you experience an amazing feeling of peace and freedom watching sunsets or frantically rolling the sails together. You have the feeling of hanging over the entire world, with a stunning 360-degree horizon you will find nowhere else.

This project changed me in several ways, many of which I did not expect. It has opened a door to an amazing community that will always be there to support and help if needed and has given me friends for life, with whom I have experienced so much and shared so many memories with. It has allowed me to become much more responsible as well as reflective. I think that this has allowed me to take a step back and not only look at me, but the situation, and act much more controlled and not so hot-headed. Perhaps the most important lesson was that it has made me realise how much my family means to me and how they are a crucial part of my life that I could never be without.


OC Jasper Sails the World

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