Famed tall ship makes weekend stop overPOSTED: 03/5/12 1:08 PM
St. Maarten – Tall ship Eye of the Wind docked in Marigot this past weekend after sailing over from St. Barths in the midst of the 32nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The arrival came just about a week after sail training vessel “EENDRACHT” left and several weeks after a visit by “Tres Hombres”.
Eye of the Wind is owned by the German company FORUM train & sail (GmbH) and is over 100 years old. The stop in St. Maarten came ahead of a trip to Bermuda, an Atlantic crossing with a stop in the Azores and then on to Europe.
Eye of the Wind’s imposing figure has attracted the attention of the film industry in previous years and she has crossed the waters on film sets of major Hollywood productions several times. She’s faced fierce storms, been run aground, burned out and sank. Movie buffs will recognize her from Blue Lagoon” (1980), the pirate movie “Savage Island” (1983), “Tai-Pan” (1986) and “White Squall” (1996). They’ll also remember that she’s had Hollywood stars Brooke Shields, Tommy Lee Jones and Jeff Bridges at the helm and that the ship played a double role in Tai-Pan, which was based on James Clavell’s novel. On one hand she was named “White Witch” and on the other she was labeled “Morning Cloud”.
The ship was bought and restored by a Danish businessman for his personal use in the year 2000 after participating in the Tall Ships Race. The restoration included equipping the vessel with the latest technology and electronics for modern navigation and comfort. All this was done with an eye on preserving the ship’s character as a traditional tall ship. The use of teak, precious woods, brass and other high-quality materials on the inner deck give the ship its distinctive atmosphere and a sail control system was deliberately omitted so that the 750 square meter sails are raised and lowered by human muscle power.
The vessel became accessible to the public only in 2009 when the Danish owner died. Soon after, the beloved sailing ship found a new home port at Forum Train & Sail GmbH, a subsidiary of the German Media Group FORUM. Since then, it is used all year round for group and theme travel as well as for exclusive charters and high-quality management training. The owning company is actually looking into the possibilities to winter base the vessel in St. Martin as from November/December and to offer youngsters in the Caribbean sailing weeks on the ship as trainee’s through the Caribbean Sail Training Association.
Another Tall Ship that works with the CSTA, “La Manouine”, is expected in Simpson Bay around March 9.