The Sea is Calling
Tall task for the Sailing Master aboard the world’s largest tall ship, Golden Horizon
As if his surname wasn’t a clue, destiny seems to have led Richard Cruse to becoming the first Sailing Master aboard the world’s newest and largest tall ship, Golden Horizon, which will spectacularly grace Australian waters next summer.
After sailing dinghies as a young scout, joining the merchant navy straight after school, teaching aboard sail training vessels and operational stints aboard large and small ships, Richard’s love of the sea, nature, travel and the great outdoors led him to being appointed Sailing Master of Golden Horizon and her massive 6300 square metres of billowing sails.
“I’ve always known the calling of the sea, even from an early age – it’s just part of my makeup,” says Richard, thrilled at the prospect of making maritime history when the majestic, five-masted ship is launched this June by new UK-based cruise line, Tradewind Voyages, ahead of her 73-day circumnavigation of Australia beginning this December. Powering her will be the eco-friendly goal of sailing, without engines, for 70 per cent of each voyage.
“Carrying 272 guests, Golden Horizon is a masterpiece of modern engineering, reimagining the golden era of sail. Turning the engines off and watching the huge sails capture the winds is a glorious, exhilarating feeling that I’m keen to share with guests,” enthuses Richard, 35, from the English port of Southampton. “There’s nothing like feeling the power of nature, seeing the rigging at work, hearing the spray and smelling the sea,” adds Richard, who is looking forward to visiting Australia for the first time aboard Golden Horizon.
“Watching the sun rise over the vast ocean, a fresh coffee in hand on deck is similarly a special experience our guests are certain to relish each day. As the world’s largest-ever square-rigger with her clipper bow, Golden Horizon is classic and impressive in design but efficiently and cleverly devised, making use of modern materials and the latest engineering techniques. Under sail, she will travel at around 15 knots comfortably with sweeping deck space and intimate, luxurious spaces for guests to relax in.
“There’s a subtle, tasteful elegance to Golden Horizon. It’s not about glitz and glamour. The beauty, quality and ambience of the ship will appeal to those who appreciate a more refined experience. There’s a genuine substance to her. And the remote, secluded and pristine places we are able to visit on a ship like this will appeal to those of an inquisitive mind and adventurous nature,” says Richard, who is currently onboard the new ship at a Croatian shipyard, making final touches to the ship, boarding equipment and training crew, with sea trials scheduled for May.
While Richard boasts extensive seafaring experience, it’s his passion for small ships which prompted him to take on the role as Golden Horizon’s first Sailing Master. “I prefer smaller ships over larger ships because they are more intimate, you build a closer rapport with guests and crew and you visit more interesting places. On smaller ship like Golden Horizon you can focus more on the granular detail and do things really, really well.”
Richard feels Golden Horizon will chart a course for more ships like her in the future. “It’s interesting how what is old, becomes new again but in a modern way,” he says. “As a sailing ship harnessing the power of nature, Golden Horizon is very much a vessel for this time, re-interpreting time-honoured principles and inspiring a new age in cruising. The strong bookings for her inaugural season reaffirm that she has captured the imagination of people everywhere, including Australia.”
The head-turning tall ship will offer modern-day seafarers two restaurants, three pools, gym, library, spa sanctuary, five bars and a marina platform. All 140 cabins will offer ocean vistas.
During her historic, much-anticipated circuit of Australia, the record-breaking Golden Horizon will visit 36 destinations around the continent, including every State capital and Darwin, attracting big crowds of sightseers along the way.
Australian small ship cruise specialist, Cruise Traveller, is the exclusive Australian representative for Golden Horizon, offering a range of Australian sectors aboard Golden Horizon from, 14 to 73 nights, with fares starting at A$7760 per person (14 nights) including beer and wine with lunch and dinner aboard the ship. Rail and sail packages are also available in conjunction with the iconic Indian Pacific train.