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On Friday, 23rd May 2003, The International Festival of the Sea was officially kicked off at the port by the Ocean Terminal Centre. From all corners of the world, various ships traveled a long way the preceding days to participate in this remarkable outdoor exhibition. Norway's contribution to the festival is impressive. 


Tall-ships like Christian Radich and Sørlandet, and also institutions such as Hardanger Fartøyvernsenter (ship preservation) supplies the festival with proud traditions from the past and present. S/S Christian Radich, built in 1937, was docked with S/S Sorlandet during the Festival. Both ships play an important role in Norwegian marine history as outstanding regatta wessels and also as rock-solid institutions in naval education.

Two of the proudest men Friday afternoon must have been the happy sailors of Wyvern from Stavanger in Norway. They made their journey across the North Sea in an 1896 Colin Archer. In the absence of gusty winds, they admit the motors were used now and then. The boat is borrowed from Stavanger Sjøfartsmuseum.

Full of pride is also Third Chief Officer Andrew McNaughton of tall-ship Prince William. Once you enter this ship, you feel like it has been onshore for decades. However, the ship was only built in 2001 and is currently on a round trip around the British island. Two years ago, McNaughton sailed with Sørlandet in the prestigious Cutty Sark race from Ålesund to Bergen. Now he's helping young cadets from 16-25 yrs to take some weeks off onboard this mighty clipper.

Another beautiful sight is the black three-masted topsail schooner Oosterschelde from Belgium. It was built in 1918 and have since then traveled to all the corners of the world including Cape Horn, the Artic, the 7 seas and docked in every continent. From 1939-1987 the schooner ran under Swedish and Danish flag while operating in the freight industry. Now, the ship is taken off duty and glides with tourists over the seas with help from it's sails which covers incredible 891 sqm.

Built in 1915, "Vikingen" is a classic example of a Hardanger Cutter named after the Hardangerfjord. In August 1941, it left Måløy for the Shetland Islands. Since the war it was employed as a fishing boat under Scottish flag until 1978. In 1990's, Hardanger Fartøyvernsenter undertook restoration of the vessel. Today, she appears as she did in 1915. 

HRH Princess Anne, accompanied by  Consul General Arne Sivertsen and Ambassador Tarald O. Brautaset, is visiting the Norwegian Shetland Bus vessel "Vikingen" where she is offered "Vestlandslefse" and homemade ecologial apple juice from Hardanger.

Pictured above is Gamle Oksøy built in 1962 for the Norwegian Coastal Administration. As a freight carrier, it delivered paraffin and gas to the lighthouses around the Norwegian coast. With a max speed of just 11 knots, it surely takes time to cross the sea. "It took some time, I can tell you. We sailed for some 40-41 hours", says co-sailor Svein Vik Såghus.

Have you ever heard of Silver og Golden Herring? Herring and Egg Salad? Or perhaps the Creamed Herring Pot a la Flanders gratin? Herring is actually what connects Scots and residents of Møre and Romsdal in Norway, says Terje Inderhaug. He has promoted this exotic meal since Bergen was nominated as international city of culture in 2000. The silver herring has a sharp, but interesting taste which mouthwaters your mouth to such an extent that you had got to taste Mr. Inderhaug's cider as well...

The definite highlight of the festival was Saturday's performance from the Royal Navy's test team. The combat, named "Operation Highland Storm", displayed how the Navy would have coped with hostile force in a given situation. With unloaded cannons and blanks, Navy wessels fighted a fierce battle until a helicopter and a hoovercrafter Harrier fighter stole the crowd's attention in an air-to-ground operation designed to defuse the enemy.

In the evening, Ambassador Mr. Tarald O. Brautaset (right) with wife and Consul General Mr. Arne Sivertsen wife, held a reception at the Zinc Bar. To the accompaniment of delicious food and live Norwegian music, the guests spent a couple of hours in honour of Norway's contribution to the festival. Later on, S/S Sørlandet held their reception in the sunset onboard the ship.

Below, more pictures from the festival


More information:

Christian Radich - [ http://www.radich.no ]
Hardanger Fartøyvernsenter - [ http://www.fartoyvern.no ]
Stavanger Sjøfartsmuseum - [ http://www.stavanger.museum.no/Sjofart/ ]
Norsk Sjøfartsmuseum - [ http://www.norsk-sjofartsmuseum.no ]
Nordsjøfartmuseet - [ http://www.nordsjofartmuseet.no ]



Royal Norwegian Embassy: 25 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QD T: 020 7591 5500 F: 020 7245 6993 E: emb.london@mfa.no
Royal Norwegian Consulate General: 86 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3BU T: 0131 2265701 F: 0131 2204976 E: cons.gen.edinburgh@mfa.no