Weather beaten, tattooed men of the sea deliver environmental message to visitors to Maritime Festival

One of the stories to come out of this Year's Maritime Festival is that of a band of 'bewildered sailors' who travel the globe on a mission to keep the tradition of wind powered transport alive.

The international crew of the Tres Hombres - a traditional sustainable freight service with a cargo capacity of 35 tons and the worlds only cargo vessel without an engine - seem like a vision of the past.

Weather beaten, tattooed and demonstrative, they combine a genuine cargo transport service, available for private hire while being profitable from selling their own cargo, with a message of sustainability that they deliver to the world.

They moored at Yarmouth's South Quay having just returned from the Caribbean, laden with rum and other goods reminiscent of Hollywood pirates. Each crew member is at sea for eight months, but this is a passion, not a tough life. They speak of the need for the world to remember how the globe was explored with nothing but the power of the wind, and how, in today's energy crisis fearing times, a return to the waves would be a very good thing.

Crew captain Arjen van der Veen, from Holland, said: 'We were invited and are delighted to come and be a part of this event.

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'It is important that people know there is sustainable transport, you rely on the wind for your voyages.

'You can get from A to B, emissions free!'

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Ernie Childs from Great Yarmouth Pottery vowed to paint the Tres Hombres, as he gave painting demonstrations to festival goers.

'Ernie is a great painter, it will be huge!' said Mr Van der Veen.

First mate Ruurd Offringa said: 'We have had a great response, we are very happy to be here. This festival is a nice, human size festival.

'We do not come to many because we are sailing, we are a full time cargo vessel, bringing it back to sell.

'We are trying to make a revolution in merchant sailing, bring in a new era of sailing.

'This ship is an ambassador for this idea, it is an environmental statement.

'Plus we are bewildered sailors, we like sailing and this is part of our journey.'

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