On a sunny afternoon in May 2014 it got a little crowded in a Dehler 31’s cockpit. That was, however, exactly what we had in mind. It was the start of a wonderful sailing week in the Danish South Sea.
The idea was quite simple: Two days of getting to know the boat, family sailing and relaxing on the water. Then reducing crew size and heading off to adorable Danish islands, enjoying some brilliant sailing in Denmark. Simple plan, simple actions (one tends to think).
We started off with the usual activities when chartering a boat: Handover, shopping food and drinks for the week, unpacking bags and playing around with the electronic equipment. Luckily – and that was exactly what we had been looking for – availability of this electronic paraphernalia was very limited: GPS, radio, small fridge, lights. Nothing else. Perfect.
The first day we spent just sailing up and down between Kiel and Laboe (Kiel Bight). We finished sailing early and waited for our ladies to join us. Two young ones, and two slightly older ones. The Sunday was an “all family members on board” day. Four adults, two kids, and wonderful sailing it was again. The kids loved roaming around the boat in the marina. They also enjoyed the for them unusual surrounding of boat and water. Happy me: They liked it.
It was a rather sad farewell on Sunday evening when all ladies departed. The joyful “noise” of kids was not around any longer. Now it was men’s talk, ready to get started with a serious bit of sailing – just joking.
Off we go – finally sailing in Denmark
On Monday morning it was time to head for one or the other Danish island. The start was rather promising, but as soon as the last bits of fog had disappeared, so had the wind. Very close to dead calm it was. It took us the rest of the day to get to Schleimuende – an absolutely beautiful and quiet little place to stay overnight.
I don’t really want to bore you with too many details of the individual sailing days. They are similar, and at the same time they are not. Each day is unique and each one is a treasure. A couple of marvellous sailing days followed, with additional stopovers in Lyø, Mommark and Damp.
Tiny harbour in Mommark as highlight of the week
Mommark certainly was our highlight of the week: We both knew the “old” Mommark harbour, with fishing boats and a ferry line regularly coming in.
We also knew it had its share of ups and downs recently. Wondering what it was going to be like – and brilliant it was indeed! It is still a very small harbour, which is very good. Lots of newly created or newly built marina equipment and accessories, plus some of the old fishing boats are still around. Not to mention a huge and very delicious burger in the café. Having talked to the harbour master we gave the idea of leaving a boat in Mommark for an entire season a very good thought, we liked staying there an awful lot.
So what is it like to be on a Dehler 31?
Apart from a couple of excellent days out sailing on the Baltic Sea, what was my impression from sailing a 25 year old Dehler 31?
I am a supporter of simple, high quality sailing. As mentioned above, electronics were scarce on that boat, and that was not really a problem – I do like working with paper charts and keep everything simple (but reliable). Sails as well as the rest of the boat were in very good shape, there was absolutely nothing to moan about regarding the Dehler 31’s condition. She can be handled easily by one person only, a crew of two can have a very relaxing time with her.
Sailing a Dehler 31
Sailing her is a joy, especially windward. Going out of Lyø we were joined by two Bavaria 41, and for one hour they did not manage to gain a single metre on us – going windward. They sped off after a change of heading, and before that their crews seemed to be a little agitated (frustrated?) as they were not able to smoothly pass that smaller boat.
Sailing a Dehler31 downwind is one of the more challenging tasks. Due to how her stern is built I found her to be swaying quite easily downwind (something which I don’t like and I guess quite a few people might get seasick from). Whenever possible I have adjusted the course to be less direct downwind, and although this usually meant longer distance and longer sailing time it was much more fun.
Dehler 31 – will we meet again?
Would I sail a Dehler 31 again? Of course, any time. The only thing I would probably change or add if it were my boat: I’d install a wind vane, so life could be even more simplistic (for the sailor) on longer cruising trips. Nothing else to add, that week was absolutely great, the boat fantastic.
Are you sailing / have you sailed a Dehler 31?
Are you interested in a Dehler 31? Have you sailed one before? Are you a Dehler 31 owner? I’d be more than glad to get your feedback, especially (but not only) if you are based at a German Baltic Sea harbour or marina.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your sailing!