There's nothing finer on the ocean than the sight of a tall ship with sails flying and the organisers of the Africa-Europe Challenge(AEC) are using a tall ship as their flagship, both real and metaphorical. The Tall Ship Astrid, in what organisers are calling their Promotional Year will circumnavigate Africa, and have already set out from the charismatic port of Malta. The best news is YOU could join a leg of the voyage.
Astrid in Malta
The two-masted brigg with her Dutch captain Pieter de Kam will sail around Africa in one year and will stop multiple times with around 30 European and African crew and passengers aboard. But this is not just an adventure, the project has an economic goal.
A yacht rally/race around Africa is planned in 2013-2014, and the main goal of this large-scale yacht event is to develop the relations between the people of Europe and Africa. The embassies in the countries involved in the program gave complex help for the project to become successful.
However, the role of Astrid, during a one year promotional circumnavigation, is, with the help of the local media in the ports they will visit, to inform the public about the program of the AEC and will invite the countries to join the AEC.
After her departure from Malta the Astrid arrived in the first African port, Alexandria, where she received a welcome by dignitaries from both Europe and Egypt.
Next is a journey through the Suez Canal to Port Said, will reach the Red Sea and with the last stop at Hurghada will leave the Egyptian waters and will sail toward the Seychelles.
About the Astrid:
Astrid from the stern
Astrid, built in 1918 in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, was built as a cargo ship, and traded in the Baltic until the mid seventies. A period of dubious trade under the Lebanese flag followed, until and a fire destroyed the ship and she was found off the English coast in 1984. Her strong hull survived, and she was saved by two British ex naval officers, who used her as a sail training ship for young people. She was given her imposing rig and made Atlantic crossings. Since 1998 Astrid is back in her native Holland and she has been fully restored and equipped as a luxury sailing ship.
About the AEC:
The organizers wish to strengthen the economic relations with business forum series for the various chambers and company groups. They will also organize cultural, touristic and scientific programs for instance in the fields of marine biology and environmental protection. Aboard the ship representatives of the local government, diplomatic body and business life will hold meetings about the planned 2013-14 rally series circumnavigating Africa.
This first ever international fleet that will sail around Africa stopping in 13 African and 2 European countries where cultural, economical, scientific and educational missions will be realized in the host countries.
Organizers of the challenge are József Gál, experienced sailor with multiple circumnavigations to his credit, and Dr. Péter Kondricz IT lawyer.
To learn more about the AEC and the Astrid, and maybe even book your own passage for a leg of the journey, http://www.africaeuropechallenge.com/aec/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=191&Itemid=182&lang=en!click_here.