Zero Emission Sailing Around The World

What a trip! Sailing around the world is one thing, nothing unusual for a couple of young chaps. The more than amazing element is that their sailing boat has not used a single drop of fuel. They were running on zero emission. Including cruising the 40 nautical miles along the Panama Canal. How did they do it?

The four guys from the Eco Sailing Project first had an idea, which turned into a plan, which turned into pretty cool reality. Wanting to tour the world they decided to go for the very sporty option: sailing around the world. And not just that. The boat should be self-sufficient in power and energy supply, surviving on re-usable energy only. Brilliant.

zero emission sailing yacht (c ecosailingproject)
zero emission sailing yacht (c ecosailingproject)

Once they had bought a 1978 built yacht, the old motor had to go, same as the exhaust system and the diesel tanks. Old stuff out and gone, lots of new equipment came on board. LED lights, solar power, wind turbine, e-motor. One of the items I found simply great is the propeller turning to hydro generator while sailing – how cool is that? An overview of their energy supply you can find in the little picture here. I love it.

Continue reading “Zero Emission Sailing Around The World”

Classe Mini Sailors, What Is Your Biggest Frustration?

Sailing projects not completed, a sailing career abandoned, agony high instead of spirits rocketing. A question that keeps coming back to me: What frustrates you most with sailing in the Classe Mini?

gimme speed... Classe Mini 6.50 (D2V2)I have followed the Classe Mini rather closely in the last 18 months or so, and despite successful stories of winners and finishers, of smiles and laughter everywhere, there are quite a few sailors feeling extremely down. ‘Feeling down’ meaning they are in the middle of a major crisis. Lack of funding, injuries, race calendar, weather, boat size, boat handling, the list could go on.

Those are only a couple of the reasons I have found when looking at Classe Mini sailors’ websites or social media entries. What a disaster! And that after so much bravery they had shown in the past.

Continue reading “Classe Mini Sailors, What Is Your Biggest Frustration?”

Budget Mini Transat 2015 – Plus Some Other Insights

A very fast Mini Transat 2015 is history. Glory and tragedy, as usual so close together. This is not only a summary regarding my questions to those sailors on their Mini Transat budget. It is an article about an extraordinary experience.

before the start of the Mini Transat 2015 (c) Lina Rixgens
before the start of the Mini Transat 2015 (c) Lina Rixgens

I have watched and followed the joy, relief, smiles, parties, tears, pains, laughs and friendship of this Classe Mini family. And it has been pure bliss. The sailor in me had been a bit envious during the final preparation stages. Even though this is just one regatta out of many it is a fascinating event indeed: race and sail across the Atlantic in a 6,5m yacht (well, “yacht”, behaving like a dinghy…).

Anyway, one of the things I love doing is checking with some folks (i.e. experts) whether a mere theoretical research of mine makes sense or not. Back in January 2015 I put some numbers in a spreadsheet and came out with a EUR budget-figure which would get you to the starting line of a Mini Transat. All theory, of course. And there were mainly two ways to figure out whether the results of this research were kind of useful or not:

  1. Run a Mini Transat campaign myself and see which budget I would need
  2. Check with participants and let them tell their story.

Without going into too much detail, option 2 was the only one at this point in time which would bring me closer to an answer. Continue reading “Budget Mini Transat 2015 – Plus Some Other Insights”

Three Optimists Extend Rainbow Pirates Fleet

Third time lucky? It is rather a case of lucky to the power of three – on the very first try. The team of “Meer bewegen” were on cloud nine when they received the news that they had been granted a donation of three new Optimists. They are an extension to their fleet of barrier-free sailing boats.

three new Optimists (c Meer bewegen)
three new Optimists (c Meer bewegen)

The IMMAC Sailing Academy regularly sponsors training and development of young sailors. One way they are doing this is by giving away Optimists to sailing clubs and schools.

Meer bewegen” had sent in their application for a sponsorship. They knew how unlikely it might be that they get assigned a boat by the independent committee. I would have loved to see the team when they heard the news that they will in future have not one, not two, but rather three brand new Optimists. With those they can enable their youngest to go sailing on the Wittensee. Continue reading “Three Optimists Extend Rainbow Pirates Fleet”

Will Unlucky Romain Try Again?

No matter how hard you try or how much you want something to happen, occasionally it simply won’t work out. Romain Mouchel has made this experience twice already. His intentions to complete the Mini Transat have been shattered in 2013 and 2015. Here is his story so far.

Romain Mouchel enjoying the sunshineRomain has been sailing as long as he can remember. The range of boats he gained sailing experience on is vast, from Lasers to F-18 and 49ers and yachts. At the age of 16 he set himself a challenging target. He wanted to fulfil a childhood dream, race in the Classe Mini and complete the Mini Transat. While in his last year in university, Romain decided to not do things by halves and chartered the Mini 346 for an entire season. And what a boost to his offshore racing as well as single-handed sailing experience it was! Continue reading “Will Unlucky Romain Try Again?”

Baltic Sea Calling

Some call it pond, for others it is already an ocean. Quite a lot of folks hardly know where exactly it is, and some sailors never even dream of leaving its sailing grounds. The Baltic Sea can be described in many ways, some of them are “gorgeous, diversified, underestimated”. As for me: I love it.

last couple of kilometresThe Baltic Sea is the largest brackish inland sea on the planet, covering 412.500 square kilometres. The deepest you could dive (theoretically) is 459 metres, the average depth, however, is only 55 metres. Along its coastline of 8.000 km something between 50-85 million people are living. That was it already with facts and figures, let’s move on to the interesting stuff. Continue reading “Baltic Sea Calling”

The Magic Of A Sunset

sunset on SyltSunsets are magical (at least for me, that is). No matter where I manage to see them they are always fantastic to watch. Although it could be said that it is the same stuff every night I find each sunset to be a unique experience.

In the mountains, on the beach, in a city park with the skyline in the background, on a yacht while anchoring, in front of a tent camping in the middle of nowhere – sunsets are everywhere. My photographic skills do not really allow me (yet) to capture each one the same or even similar to what my eyes are actually seeing, but I am getting there (I hope). Continue reading “The Magic Of A Sunset”

Any Young Sailors Around?

No, I am not trying to set up a talent pool for the next generation of America’s Cup sailors. What kept the question of “any young sailors around” in my head was my own experience from ex- membership in two sailing clubs, as well as friends’ experiences from their clubs. A recent article by Judith brought this topic back to the surface and has led me to ask some folks all around the world what their impression is.

grey nomads (pic by Marc McCormack)
grey nomads (pic by Marc McCormack)

Back in 2008-2010 I was a member in two sailing clubs. One right next to the shores of the Baltic Sea, the other one for sailing on the Ratzeburger See, a large lake in Northern Germany. Club events we (the family) only rarely took part in, mainly because the “shock” of the first party had a rather negative effect on us. We were the youngest by many years – and we had already been in our mid-/end-thirties back then.

No other young families, no kids around, and this all made it a bit boring for us. Interesting stories to be heard, yes. But always being a junior by something like 30 years or so took the fun out of spending time at the club’s premises. Continue reading “Any Young Sailors Around?”

Three Weeks Sailing In Denmark’s Beauty

sunset, anchoring, fishing - what a dreamThe Danish South Sea, or Southern Fyn Archipelago, is one of my absolute favourite spots for sailing in Denmark. I have sailed and explored those waters on boats ranging from 18 to 44 feet. And I am always more than happy to read other sailors’ stories and experiences. One of them is Øyvind Hansen, a Norwegian living in Denmark. Here is a summary of his sailing tour on board S/Y Ramsalt, a Beneteau Oceanis 373 Clipper.

“I have heard countless stories about the beautiful Southern Fyn Archipelago, and this was also the highlight of the trip”, writes Øyvind in his final summary. “The island of Ærø has to be my favourite island in this region, with the interesting towns of Marstal and Æreskøbing.” (and I certainly won’t disagree with him on that one). Continue reading “Three Weeks Sailing In Denmark’s Beauty”

Restarting “baltic sea. pure energy. 2.”

Beginning of 2015 I was all fired up to get my project “baltic sea. pure energy. 2.” to the starting (and finish) line in 2016, maybe 2017 latest. After a quick start with lots of information, research, ideas and talks my enthusiasm had cooled down quite a bit.

The main reason for losing motivation and drive was the not so successful handling of my sponsorship ideas. In other words: Getting sponsors on board was a disaster. Last week I got re-inspired by a very interesting article on Herb Benavent’s website about his comparison of e-motor vs diesel engine. This was the igniting spark to finish my extended summer break for bspe2 and get back to some “doing” again. Continue reading “Restarting “baltic sea. pure energy. 2.””

Lord Nelson Sailing With Mixed Physical Abilities Crews

Lord Nelson under full sailsThousands of ships and boats get built every year. Not many of them can effortlessly take on board disabled passengers, not to speak of those passengers becoming a part of the crew. For the two tall ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious this has been very different ever since the first stroke on the drawing board.

There are dozens of good reasons for going sailing, and there is not really any logical reason why handicapped people should not be doing so as well. More and more yachts and ships are equipped to such an extent that disabled fellow sailors can become part of the crew. As a full crew member, that is. Continue reading “Lord Nelson Sailing With Mixed Physical Abilities Crews”

Rainbow Pirates Sailing Dinghy With Disability Kit

rainbow pirates logoBy accident I literally stumbled over the team of “Meer bewegen” during this year’s Hanseboot. The team’s ambition is to get people with and without disability to go sailing together. They have equipped an ordinary dinghy with a kit especially designed for disability. With that they are roaming the waters on the Wittensee in Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany.

Sometimes little accidents turn out to be a positive event after all. While staring at a rather unusual boat interior I bumped into Eike Ketzler, who turned out to be the leader of the “Meer bewegen“-pack. A pretty interesting chat evolved and here I am with an article about the “Rainbow Pirates”, folks (and especially kids) with and without disability on a mission to go sailing together. Continue reading “Rainbow Pirates Sailing Dinghy With Disability Kit”

Quote Challenge Day 3

sailing on the Baltic Sea - hard to beatToday’s quote, my final one for this brief challenge, brings me back to sailing, water and oceans. It is, however, not about the beauty of the oceans or the joys of sailing. I keep this in mind when thinking of (or doing something about) pollution, waste in oceans and environmental difficulties.

The quote refers to lots and lots of different scenarios. Meaning: for each and every time when we feel that what we are doing is nothing but a drop of water on a hot stone. Or, as Mother Teresa has put it, a drop in an ocean. However, every little action helps, every step, move and smile results in something positive. Andnd that’s why ‘doing something’ is much better than thinking “it won’t matter anyway”. Here we go:

We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.     (Mother Teresa)

Continue reading “Quote Challenge Day 3”

Quote Challenge Day 1

sunset in SchleimuendeThe inspiring and admirable estelea has nominated me for a quote challenge. How does it work? Post three quotes on three consecutive days, and each time nominate three bloggers to do the same. Sounds like a pretty cool way to keep the data flowing all around the world… I’ll happily go along and post my thoughts here.

Here we go, my quote for Day One:

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.    (Seneca)

To start with, this seems to be an obvious one for a sailor. For me, however, this is not only related to sailing but rather about life in general. Continue reading “Quote Challenge Day 1”

Being Seasick Is… Yuck!

Have you ever been seasick? I mean, really really seasick? It happened to me once, and I can assure you I do not need a second round of that. Here is some background and advice on seasickness, how to avoid it and how to deal with it.

Hubert being seasickIt was the second night of our 230 nm nonstop sailing trip from Flensburg to Gothenburg on a 44ft yacht. My watch ended at 22:00h, next one to start at 04:00h. When I went to bed the wind had stabilised at something like 20 knots. The forecast for the next 24 hours showed slightly increasing wind speeds first, then dropping down to 12-15 knots.

Very bumpy and shaky it was when I woke up at 03:40h, and I was wondering a lot why a fellow sailor needed to sort the dishes by size. Then by colour. Then by size again. And that in the middle of the night. A lot later it became clear that this was the distraction he needed from feeling extremely unwell. Continue reading “Being Seasick Is… Yuck!”