Sail away at Great Yarmouth’s Maritime Festival

Great Yarmouth's Maritime Festival around the weekend of September 6 and 7 will once again offer the public the chance to sail out of the port on a tall ship. Tourism correspondent Stephen Pullinger interviews Sven Holzhausen, captain of the Minerva, the Dutch three-masted schooner offering sailings on four days.

Name of Captain

• Sven Holzhausen

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What is the history of the Minerva?

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• The Minerva was built in 1935 in Germany as a steel sailing cargo vessel with an auxiliary engine. Her first name was Uwe Ursula and she and her four sister ships were among the last sailing cargo ships to be built. Based at Hamburg she worked the coastal waters of North West Europe until the mid 1980s. Her masts were removed in the 1960s and a new more powerful engine installed to make her more competitive.

• Rescued by a Dutch enthusiast in 1987, she was restored as a sailing vessel at the Minerva Shipyard in Amsterdam. She was the last ship to be converted at the yard and was renamed Minerva in its honour. The ship had another refit in 2010 and more recently, the main engine was overhauled for the 2014 season. The Minerva is based at Scheveningen.

What is your seafaring background?

• I started in 1998 as professional ordinary seaman on a Dutch barge on the Ijsselmeer. For the next four years, I was sailing as a professional bosun on a wide variety of sailing vessels, square rigged ships and schooners.

In 2001 I began sailing as skipper, also on different kind of sailing vessels. The largest was a four-mast barkentine, the biggest in the Netherlands.

In 2008 I started working on sailing vessels on the Baltic Sea: Hendrika Bartelds three-mast top sail schooner, Loth Lorien, a three-mast barkentine and and J.R. Tolkien a two-mast Schooner.

• From 2011 I sailed mainly on the Rembrandt van Rijn a three-mast schooner, working in West Greenland, for eight months of the year. I have skippered Minerva since 2013.

• I have worked only on sailing vessels as a professional sailor. I have never worked on a cargo vessel.

How long have you been Captain of the Minerva?

• I have been Master/ Captain on the Minerva for two years.

What do you like the most about the Minerva?

• Minerva is one of the few sailing vessels, which is mainly in its original condition.

What will passengers experience on a sailing trip from Great Yarmouth?

• Once aboard, everyone will fit in easily, one at the steering wheel, another hoists the sails or enjoys a coffee while admiring the scene. Actively participating in sailing, steering and navigating is also possible.

What will Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival visitors see on board the Minerva?

• A historic cargo sailing vessel converted into a comfortable passenger sailing vessel with an enthusiastic crew!

What is the Minerva's programme before Great Yarmouth?

• During the 2014 sailing season Minerva has sailed from her port of Scheveningen and made a number of rips to maritime festivals in Germany: Hamburg, Kiel, Rostock and Flensburg.

What are you looking forward to experiencing in Great Yarmouth?

• I am looking forward to meet all international crews and especially the British sailors and crews.

Have you been to Norfolk before?

• I have never been to Norfolk before.

What is the Minerva's programme after Great Yarmouth?

• We have some sailings from Scheveningen and maybe one more trip to Poland.

Minerva Sailings

• Thursday September 4, 1pm, ticket £33

• Thursday September 4, 6pm, ticket £33

• Friday September 5, 6pm, ticket £36

• Saturday September 6, 6.30pm, ticket £39

• Sunday September 7, 7pm, ticket £39

Sailing duration depends on the tide, but will last from 2½ to 3½ hours.

Tickets can be purchased at Great Yarmouth Tourist Information Centre t. 01493 332200, or the e-shop at

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