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Estonian maritime academy open sea yacht Tuulelind

The former open sea yacht of the Maritime Academy served the school with dignity for 22 years. Everything becomes old and the academy had a long time dream of contemporising its marine navigation practice possibilities, so in the year 2016 a new yacht was purchased and named Tuulelind. The new yacht is used by students studying sailing and those becoming skippers of recreational craft. The yacht is additionally used, together with students, for participation in national and international sailing regattas. An annual tradition, each May, is the sailing regatta for open sea yachts - Tuulelind Cup. Tuulelind has twice participated in the summer international sailing regatta The Tall Ships Races – in 2017 and 2018. On both occasions the first place was won in the own class (D-class).

Thanks to the supporter: Kalevi Jahtklubi (Kalev Yachting Club).

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The board of the Maritime Academy Student Council chose as the yacht’s godmother Marii Metsmaa, a second year student in navigation. Tuulelind was christened and launched according to all ancient traditions on the 26th of April 2016.

„Now we can continue sailing training with a new contemporary yacht. All TalTech students can participate in the course „Sailing theory and practice“, which includes practical training hours at sea. Sailing allows students to practice teamwork, spend time sportingly at sea and implement theoretical knowledge in practice“, explained Roomet Leiger, the director of the Maritime Academy, about the importance of the open sea yacht. „The opening regatta of every season, important to us, is certainly the Tuulelind Cup, which is organised by the Maritime Academy, which always takes place on the last Saturday in May.“

Tuulelind is a cruiser-racer type open sea yacht

Tuulelind is a Varianta 44 type cruiser-racer open sea yacht. The yacht’s characteristics can be illustrated by a comparison with pure cruisers and racers. It is important that cruisers have a lot of space. The yacht should be as comfortable as possible, can take on a lot persons. Speed is not that important – the main thing is that one moves. Cruisers therefore do not have a verge large sail nor tall mast. For racers the exact opposite is important – the yacht must be as fast and light as possible, have a high mast and lots of sail area. The cockpit is usually large and the salon/cabin area smaller“, explains the seller of the yacht Roland Silluta. „Tuulelind is a cruiser-racer type of flat bottomed yacht; as the aim is that when the yacht moves, the movement should cause the yacht to rise more above the water. This serves the purpose of reducing water resistance and helps move the yacht forward quicker.“ It is at the same time important that working or in other words learning to sail, is as comfortable as possible and that the yacht can accommodate as many students as possible, with the opportunity to spend the night, prepare meals and use the washroom/toilet as needed. „Engineers, based on the previously highlighted parameters calculate the optimal sails of the yacht. Tuulelind has on board a jib headsail that can be conveniently rolled together, also a mainsail and of course additionally a gennaker and spinnaker for sailing downwind. These sails are perfectly sufficient. True cruisers at the same time manage with just two sails and racers require even more than four sails“, describes Roland, the differences in needs of various yacht types. „The keel is what actually holds the yacht upright. In a strong wind and storm the top of the mast of the yacht may even hit the water, but the yacht uprights itself like a roly-poly with the help of the keel.“ The Varianta 44 type yacht has been granted the A-category, which means that the vessel may be used for transoceanic crossings, but despite that the good and comfortable sailing weather is with winds roughly 7 m/s. It is not sensible to go out to break the yacht when a storm warning has been given, when winds are around 17 m/s. The great advantage of yachting is that when the wind is right, then travel from point A to point B is totally free or costs very little.

Tuulelind has a four cylinder Volvo Penta 39kW diesel motor, which is very economical and uses 5 litres of petrol per hour. The cockpit of Tuulelind is equipped with a large helm so that the captain can comfortably steer the yacht according to the weather conditions. „The helm is so large that while beating (sailing against the wind – ed.) it is easy to sit on the board“, shows Roland. There is also a chartplotter or multifunctional screen here, on which can be displayed the radar picture, different sonars and instruments, in other words all data that is available in the NMEA system that are required for navigation. The yacht at the same time is equipped with sounding equipment, which measures depths and augments the information of the electronic map. It is always good, from the perspective of safe passage that all data is duplicated.“ Tuulelind is also equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that sends the yacht’s data to other vessels and in turn receives data from other vessels. The equipping of a vessel as small as Tuulelind with AIS is actually not compulsory, then from the point of view of safety and security, it is in any case necessary and useful.

The yacht’s interior

As the yacht is a training yacht its interior is very simple and it is only equipped with the utmost necessities. The yacht has 10 berths, three cabins and a salon, kitchen, as well as a washing area. The salon, in addition for sleeping is used as a training class, where there is a large desk, TV, which the captain can duplicate with the map plotter in the cockpit and explain to a large group of youths different nuances. The total number that can be on board at one time is 12 persons, despite there being a total of 10 berths. 

Data about Tuulelind:

Length: 44 feet or 13.15 m
Width: 4.18 m
Weight: 11.2 tons
Mast length: 18.25 m
Draught: 2.2 m.