An old tradition
Long voyages can easily become monotonous, and a small celebration from time to time is always nice. It's well known that those who pass the equator line for the first time get baptised by King Neptune. The Dutch have another tradition too.
On the leg from Cadiz to Las Palmas it is cadets from the Dutch Naval Academy that haul ropes and adjust sails on board the Statsraad Lehmkuhl. The effort is high, and the precision impressive.
The Naval Academy has an old tradition. When the cadets are halfway on a long voyage, they must pass an exam.
– It is a celebration game, says Sergeant Hajo van der Veen. A funny tradition when you are out at sea for a long time.
The cadets are divided into groups, and given tasks about ropes and sail handling. The winners are awarded a skill badge which is proudly worn on the uniform.
Afterwards, the youngest cadet exchanges rank with the commanding officer. The officer becomes a private, and the private a boss. The two sit down on a plank that is hung up over a pool, and cut the plank with a hand saw until both splashes into the pool, to great cheers from the rest.
Even though it is now wet, it is the cadet who is wearing the commander's uniform, and the party ends with the officer being commanded around the deck. More great cheers