Sunday, 30 October 2011
THE LION, THE SWAN AND THE GIFT OF YOUTH
My able assistant-cum-driver and I will be hitting the high seas next Saturday evening, and I hope the seas are not high enough to cause similar problems to those encountered by the ferries earlier this past week.
The ships featured in the painting above are, on the left, the Dutch topsail schooner "Wylde Swan", the 3-masted Dutch topsail schooner "Gulden Leeuw" (Golden Lion) on the right, and, in between, the Polish full-rigger "Dar Mlodziezy" (Gift of Youth") receding into the gloom which attended the departure of these ships from Lerwick in late July.
Dutch ships dominated the 'A' class of vessels in this year's Tall Ships Race, and the "Wylde Swan" was one of the most interesting of these. She is owned by the same organisation which brought the brigantine "Swan van Makkum" to these islands for the 1999 event, and subsequently sold that vessel to Italian owners. The "new" boat was actually built as a steamship in Germany in 1920, and she has also operated under the Norwegian flag, before being acquired by her present owners, who have converted her into the impressive two-masted topsail schooner which graced Lerwick harbour in July.
Equally interesting, and also originally a steamship, is the "Gulden Leeuw", which was built as the Danish oceanographic research ship "Dana" in 1937. I remember admiring the sleek lines of this grey-painted ship when she called at Lerwick in this capacity during the 1960s. However, I would never then have dreamt of seeing her return in 2011, rigged as a three-masted topsail schooner, with a fully-square-rigged foremast.
This will probably be my last post before my trip to the mainland. My thanks must go to Cecil Hughson, who has been framing all the paintings, and to my sister Mary, who has the onerous duty of transporting them and me safely to the Creel Inn, Catterline, for next Monday's hanging. Thanks to these old friends who have volunteered to help with the hanging of paintings and distribution of posters. Finally, thanks to all those who have emailed me their good wishes - it is very much appreciated, I assure you.
Have a great fortnight!