Blog: Funchal to Essaouri: The Ultimate Test of Resilience

Funchal to Essaouri


Nov 22, 2018

Swell after swell ceaselessly threw the Gulden Leeuw around like a child playing with their rubber duck in a bath tub; the Gulden Leeuw was the duck and mother nature, the child. Towering waves mercilessly crashed against the boat, drenching anyone and anything on deck. Our once peaceful starboard side breezeway instantaneously gushed with water as the wind slammed the sails to the side: a tranquil place once used to escape the bustling mess was now half submerged by the wrathful ocean, transformed into an overflowing rapid. Waves came and went, pounding, one after the other, unaffected by the 70-meter-long hunk of steal standing in their way.

Those few blessed by the absence of seasickness were frantically scuttling around the boat. They stayed distracted by assisting others plagued with sickness and attempting to restore the chaos in which had once been our mess: benches piled up; books, laptops, cups, and even people flung across the room…

Stormy SeasOne would not expect a scenario such as this to end positively. Especially involving sixty previous strangers, many of whom have never been on a sail boat before, let alone one braving five-meter-high swells. But Class Afloat students defy all odds. We are flexible; we can adapt to any situation, regardless of our previous experience. No matter what task or hardship or challenge, however arduous it is, we concurrently collaborate. One day you might be down, slumped by a force deeper than desolation and suddenly someone will reach a hand to pick you right back up. Then, another day you may be the one alleviating a classmate’s paralyzing pain. Everyone struggles, and everyone supports; it may not be simultaneous, but it certainly is collective.

This was our Sunday afternoon as we departed from Funchal, Madeira; I guess one could say that Sunday’s on Class Afloat are mildly atypical, but that is the truth of our reality. We are resilient, and we are irrepressible. We are Floaties.

Jeremy Oestreicher
October 2018
Jeremy Oestreicher, a 19 year old gap year student from Edmonton, is currently completing a full year at sea with Class Afloat on board the Gulden Leeuw.

Related Articles

Jeanneau Yachts 55

Throw away the box, this is some fresh thinking

Seemingly part sailboat and part spaceship, the new Jeanneau Yachts 55 just busted through the boundaries of traditional yacht design. I couldn’t take my eyes off the bubble hardtop that met me at the dock and I stepped aboard with trepidation. A few hours later, I was planning how to spend my not-yet-won lottery winnings.

Read More


Paving the Way to Cleaner Boating – How a Commitment to Reducing our Environmental Impact is Inspiring Cleaner Boating in Ontario

By Dave Rozycki

Over the past seven decades, Ontario’s marina industry has developed alongside some of Canada’s largest freshwater lakes. Boaters have been able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and create lasting memories on the water, with certain marinas dating back to the 1960s. As we reflect on this rich history, we can begin to see trends in how our footprint may have had an effect on the environment, in not-so-positive ways. However, by embracing innovative solutions and adopting sustainable practices, both marinas and boaters hold the key to preserving and enhancing the quality of our lakes and marine life for generations to come.

Read More