When spending time sailing an old “15er Jollenkreuzer” (wooden dinghy cruiser, P-Boot), you can very easily forget the noisy and fast living high-tech world. Especially in a beautiful setting like the Havel Lakes.
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:
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
Dinghy cruiser weekend on the Havelseen (Havel Lakes)
Both long weekends I spent on the lakes of the river Havel (Havelseen), starting the journey in the city of Brandenburg. From there you can, if time is not limited, easily get to Berlin, Potsdam, Mueritz, and via the river Elbe to Hamburg – and from there round the world, theoretically.
The boat we chartered was not the only wooden dinghy cruiser available. A couple more of her class plus some larger ones can be enjoyed when chartering from Bernd Helmers, a wooden boat expert.
After an hour or so of motoring on canals, beneath bridges and along more and more beautiful and increasingly wild banks, we put up the mast and started our sailing sessions. By the way, those dinghy cruisers have a pretty good system installed for setting and lowering the mast. As there are quite a few bridges to be passed, you better get good practice with that…
Sailing with a cabin dinghy cruiser (Jollenkreuzer)
Sailing on the Havel Lakes is pure joy. There is not really a major need for continuously checking the nautical charts. You can easily concentrate on the boat, sails and wonderful green landscape all around you. If you feel the need for a cup of tea, some lunch or simply a brief cooling-down, just drop the anchor and get your drink, food, or jump overboard.
Stop for a break – just drop anchor
On the second weekend we had two afternoons with thunderstorms, heavy showers and quite a bit of gusty wind. The good thing on the Havel Lakes also in this kind of situation (in case you are not feeling too inclined to continue sailing): drop the anchor. You can then go inside, enjoy the spectacular rain, and continue sailing once it is over. Simple as that, and even for non-sailors rather relaxing.
Jollenkreuzer – perfect for relaxed sailing
The Jollenkreuzer is just one more example of a simple, yet great sailing boat. What would I change or try to improve? Just one tiny thing – the motor. Sailing and living is perfect, the boat proven and fantastic. The motor, however, I would want to have as an e-motor, to stay in sync with the quiet nature of travelling on a sailing boat. Apart from that minor item those days were simply brilliant.
Some more impressions – wildlife and a bit of rain:
And not to forget – other tours on small boats
Those two long weekends with this dinghy cruiser were more than wonderful. However, I have sailed quite a few other small boats and enjoyed some dinghy cruising with them. While the Hansajolle is another magnificent example of a wooden boat, the Gruben FAM as well as the Varianta 18 are of newer design and made of GRP.
Are you sailing a dinghy cruiser? Is dinghy cruising something you do on a regular basis? I’d love to hear from you, your boat, your stories – maybe you even want to publish a post here?