Endangered Species: German Traditional Ships

“Not happy” is very likely the current state of many owners of traditional ships in Germany.  About a third of all traditional ships have stopped operating in the last couple of years. The overall situation could indeed be a lot better. What happened? And what is the way forward?

Ernestine (as seen on traditionsschiffe.info)
Ernestine (as seen on traditionsschiffe.info)

Getting the operating license for a traditional ship had been difficult before. And owners as well skippers struggled more and more since 2001. An increasingly demanding checklist needed to be adhered to to get the desired license. Also, a confirmation that the ship in question was indeed a “traditional ship” needed to be obtained. And that has proven to carry lots of potential for disagreement and misunderstanding between all parties involved. Continue reading “Endangered Species: German Traditional Ships”

Mini Transat – Dream Or Nightmare?

Braveheart or Madman? I am very likely not the only one who gets odd looks when talking about the Mini Transat. Depending on whom you are talking to, reactions vary from verbal shoulder padding to secretly calling a mental home.

Classe Mini 6.50 boat (D2V2)
Classe Mini 6.50 boat (D2V2)

The boat is 6,50 metres long, the Atlantic a lot larger; waves are (not only) sometimes higher than the boat is long; in addition to that, the singlehanded sailors are short of sleep for the entire race. If one person did that once – ok, it would be a challenge and an adventure. But every other year close to a hundred sailors race across the Atlantic to compete in the Mini Transat. Why? And: why not?

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Sailing Boat: Motor Or Not

After having read yet another great article by Viki Moore (Astrolabe Sailing) I could not stop thinking about a topic that had been at the back of my mind for quite a while: “motor or not” on a sailing yacht.

Lin & Larry Pardey have sailed around the world without one. Bastian Hauck on his folkboat Tadorna has completed his second half of the tour around the Baltic Sea without one. And the 12mR s/v Anita has sailed the seas for many years without one: a motor. I am sure there are many more examples of sailors solely relying on their sails, not only for day trips but also for cruising. What is it then with that motor-thing on board? Continue reading “Sailing Boat: Motor Or Not”

Young Female Sailor Targets Mini Transat 2017

She is a young female sailor, she is talented, and she is focused. Lina Rixgens is aiming to become the first German female sailor to complete the Mini Transat. And well on the way she is indeed.

Lina Rixgens - (c) Andreas Jacobsen
Lina Rixgens – (c) Andreas Jacobsen

She will be all by herself. On a boat smaller than some cars. Racing across the Atlantic. She knows that it will be her toughest race to date – and that is one of the great positives about Lina: She is realistic in seeing what she is getting herself into.

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Nothing But Fun Sailing A Dehler 31

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).

fantastic sailing with a Dehler 31
fantastic sailing with a Dehler 31

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.

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Dinghy Cruiser Weekend Havel Lakes

When spending time sailing an old “15er Jollenkreuzer” (wooden dinghy cruiser, P-Boot), and that in a beautiful setting like the Havel Lakes, you can very easily forget the noisy and fast living high-tech world.

What is it that makes sailing in an old, wooden boat such a pleasure and joy? Maybe its history, being older than the sailor itself. Or the material it is made of, wood, a renewable resource that has been used for centuries. Those are just two reasons out of many for choosing to travel with an old wooden dinghy cruiser.

Here is the beauty I had the pleasure of spending two long weekends with. This type of boat that keeps me dreaming about longer journeys in a dinghy cruiser, in a simple fashion:

wooden Jollenkreuzer (dinghy cruiser)

Class:  15er Jollenkreuzer (aka P-Boot, cabin dinghy cruiser)
Length:  6,50 m
Beam:  2,50 m
Draught:  0,20 / 1,15 m
Displacement:  550 kg

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Costs Mini Transat Campaign

The Mini Transat is one of the most exciting and challenging races you can take part in. The big question is: How much money do you need to sail over the finish line? What are the costs for a Mini Transat campaign?

Before going into monetary details, a couple of important assumptions need to be made:
– this is amateur’s talk (i.e. not a professional, fulltime campaign)
– for a production (series) boat
– for simply getting there (i.e. finishing)
– and with a very, very conservative budget calculation.

From a sailor’s point of view…

the Mini Transat is one of the ultimate challenges and adventures. Single handed racing across the Atlantic. In a boat just 6,5 metres long. And anyone can participate as long as qualification has been passed (and that is achievable when concentrating on it). In addition to that, it has been the “cradle” and starting point for many successful ocean racing professionals.

From anyone else’s point of view…

the Mini Transat is a near crazy event with boats way too small for an Atlantic crossing, and everyone taking part is more or less on his way to finish his days amongst the living.

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Start Of The Barcelona World Race 2015

The 2015-edition of the Barcelona World Race has started. One boat, two crew, ninety days of exhausting sailing. What it also means: Ninety days of excitement following those courageous sailors in their quest around the world.

There is no point in me trying to explain what the Barcelona World Race (BWR) is all about. Quite a few professional sites can do that much better than me, for example the Barcelona World Race website itself. The boats, IMOCA Open 60, are real sailing beauties – and fast. The circumnavigation and its approximately 25.000 nautical miles they will very likely complete in round about ninety days, meaning an impressive average boat speed of 11,5 knots.

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Long Weekend With A Varianta 18

Wind almost perfect, lots of sunshine, good company and excellent food. There is hardly anything else you can ask for when sailing a 18 ft boat in the Lübecker Bucht (Luebeck Bight) for a very long weekend.

How is that for starting a sailing weekend: air temperature 28°VA18_bow_water C, wind 2 bft, blue sky, and the forecast not seeing any major change coming. The only unknown for us (two chaps) was the boat, a Varianta 18, which we both had not sailed before.

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In Danish Waters With My FAM

A couple of days sailing in Denmark can make such a difference. And being on a tiny sailing boat while cruising the mighty seas of this planet automatically brings a major danger along with it: You could get addicted to this kind of sailing.

Horuphav, final preparations

Capriole had been my sailing boat (well, enlargened dinghy) for three years already before I went on this trip along the beautiful Danish island of Als, near the fjord of Flensburg. For sailing on the Baltic Sea, or rather sailing along the coasts of Germany and Denmark, Capriole was a rather tiny example of a sailing boat.

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