Another thing that I found very refreshing was to be treated as an adult. I sometimes despair of being regimented by holiday couriers as though I were a child of five. On Royal Clipper they seem to say, "You know what? This is a sailing ship. There are ropes everywhere. Since you are not a child we don't have to tell you not to walk into the ropes. You can duck them or climb over. Unless someone is actually pulling on a particular rope at the time you can, using care and your own judgement, pass by it. Obviously don't get in the way of sailors handling the sails in difficult conditions. Otherwise go where you like." Oh bliss.
Two aspects of sailing stick in my memory. One is being allowed to fulfill a lifetime's ambition and actually climb up the rigging to the crow's nest. Oh yes I did, and I have photographs to prove it! The other was a match race between Royal Clipper and her sister Star Clipper off the Croatian coastline. Whilst I may entertain a few doubts as to whether the race was slightly choreographed and whilst the deck never really leaned over far enough for this enthusiast's taste, it certainly provided the ultimate photo opportunity for a lover of tall ships.
Star Clipper (left) is technically a barquentine rather than a true clipper. That means she only has square sails on her foremast. You do not however notice this holding her back in relatively light winds such as we experienced, whilst our heavier vessel perhaps needed a stiffer blow. Nevertheless I want to thank the captains and crews of both ships for providing so wonderful a spectacle. (And if anyone who was on Star Clipper wants to swap photos, please do get in touch!)