Lina Needs To Wait A Little Longer

The (first) wait is over. Today was the day lots of sailors had so eagerly expected. The first version of the Mini Transat 2017 starters’ line-up has been published.

Lina Rixgens has kicked off her Mini Transat CampaignLina Rixgens has successfully passed all qualification requirements for the Mini Transat 2017. She has enrolled on the very first day the list opened, and since then it has been a waiting game. And the wait needs to continue, unfortunately.

Today the organisers of the Mini Transat 2017 published the first version of the official starting line-up. Lina is on position 5 of the waiting list – not ideal and, of course, it would have been better to be a confirmed starter today already. But at least she is on the list at all. Continue reading “Lina Needs To Wait A Little Longer”

Two Short Hikes Near Bad Staffelstein

What do you do when your family does not want to go for longer hikes? Yes, plan and organise short hikes. In late autumn, we went for two colourful short hikes near Bad Staffelstein.

colourful autumn near Bad StaffelsteinThe last week of this year’s autumn school holidays offered a great opportunity: our kids wanted to stay alone at my parents’ place. This may sound “normal” to lots of folks, for us it isn’t. My parents live something like 550km away.

Less than an hour’s drive from my parents place is Bad Staffelstein, a cute little town in Franconia. The “Bad” in the city name means quite the opposite from the English “bad”, it stands for “spa town”. So, hotel booked, kids taken care of, and off we went.

Continue reading “Two Short Hikes Near Bad Staffelstein”

Seehamster Started It All For OEOO

It does not always have to be the cleaning of plastic in oceans that gets attention from the public. Seehamster (Sea Hamster) has made some swimmers in Southern Bavaria really happy (and Bavaria is a long way from the sea).

Seehamster on a lake (c One Earth One Ocean)
Seehamster on a lake (c One Earth One Ocean)

One Earth – One Ocean (OEOO), an association aiming to free the oceans from plastic waste, has built some very interesting clean-up boats. I have already posted some lines on their catamaran Seekuh, starting its clean-up mission in Hong Kong beginning of 2017.

The one having started it all for OEOO, however, is a tiny boat called Seehamster. Its looks might be, well, “harmless”. But it is efficient in getting quite a lot of unnecessary stuff out of the water. Continue reading “Seehamster Started It All For OEOO”

All You Need To Know About Celestial Navigation

When thinking about celestial navigation, the very first thing coming to my mind is a sextant. There is, however, a whole lot more to it than just that. Viki Moore has put together an awesome series of articles on everything related to celestial navigation.

sextant with explanations and details (c sextantbook.com)
sextant with explanations and details (c sextantbook.com)

Viki wants to sail around the world. If there is one sailor qualified to do so, then it is her. She has more nautical miles in her sailing books than most sailors I know. Right now, she is studying for her RYA Ocean Yachtmaster exam – and for her, one way to learn all the stuff required is to write it down neatly. Plus, share it with lots of other folks worldwide.

This she has done also for celestial navigation. Continue reading “All You Need To Know About Celestial Navigation”

1 Day, 13 Breweries – A Rush, Not A Hike

It is my own fault so I won’t complain. 13 breweries in one day sounds like a lot, same as the 33 km hiking distance. Add starting late, getting lost and darkness coming early, and you will get a rush instead of a hike.

13 breweries trail - colourful autumnMaybe the two days prior to my 13 breweries trail experience had been too relaxing. A magnificent breakfast I finished way too late, and hence my hiking start was an hour behind schedule. Bad news right at the beginning. Why bad news? I knew the end of the trail would lead me through some woods, darkness I expected to creep in by 18:00h latest. And I certainly had no intention of having a candlelight rendezvous with a hungry family of wild boars, numerous as they are in Franconia.

Continue reading “1 Day, 13 Breweries – A Rush, Not A Hike”

Seekuh Ready For Cleanup Mission

Ok, it’s ugly. Compared to beautiful sailing boats the catamaran ‘Seekuh’ (Sea Cow) is a no go. It has, however, been built not for beauty but to get pollution in oceans out of the way. And that is what it will be doing soon, starting in Hong Kong harbour.

Seekuh in harbour (c One Earth - One Ocean)
Seekuh in harbour (c One Earth – One Ocean)

Back in March 2016 I have published some lines about the prototype being built (with a very colourful picture to go with it). Now construction of Seekuh has been completed.

It looks a bit strange indeed, or let’s say unusual. However, as soon as it is in action on the water I am sure it will find many friends.

The ship’s christening has taken place end of September 2016, and Seekuh is now ready to tackle its first challenge: Hong Kong harbour. The current plan is to get Seekuh to Hong Kong and into operating mode by January 2017. Continue reading “Seekuh Ready For Cleanup Mission”

Lina Qualified For Mini Transat 2017

What a year this has been – and now she’s done it. Lina Rixgens just completed all required qualifications to be able to enrol for the Mini Transat 2017.

Lina and Sverre after Mare Nostrum race (c Andres Mata)
Lina and Sverre after Mare Nostrum race (c Andres Mata)

The start of this year’s sailing season was all but ideal for Lina. First race not finished, severe weather meaning most of the race fleet missed the time limit. A flu had Lina down for the second race, start not possible at all. After that, however, she really got going.

Continue reading “Lina Qualified For Mini Transat 2017”

Outwell Montana 6P, My Outdoor Castle

I could live in there permanently. Sell the house, move in, enjoy fresh air all year round (ok, including a backup for very cold winter nights). Our Outwell Montana 6P is a fantastic tent for a long term holiday, or something even longer than that.

Outwell Montana 6P and some camping equipmentFive years ago some friends showed off their newly purchased tent. It was huge, looked like a UFO and had the entire family in a camping craze. We were still unsure whether we should go for a camper or a tent, so we checked the website of that UFO-tent producer. Outwell, a Danish company.

After hours of comparing their various family tents we finally went for the Montana 6P. A choice we have not regretted at all, and talk about a camper has since then not happened in our family.

Outwell Montana 6P – that’s what it’s like

The Montana 6P sleeps six (in theory), we have used it for max. four so far. It is a huge tent for the four of us, and that was our intention when buying it: to have some space and a playground for the kids just in case it is pouring down outside.

Continue reading “Outwell Montana 6P, My Outdoor Castle”

Your Chance: Sailing On A Pogo 2

Have you ever dreamt of a pretty cool ride on an even cooler sailing boat? This is your chance: get onto a Classe Mini sailing yacht (Pogo 2) and race on the Atlantic. Lina Rixgens will take you out for a day you won’t forget.

approaching La Rochelle (c Lina Rixgens)
approaching La Rochelle (c Lina Rixgens)

No matter whether you are a novice or an experienced sailor, this is a great chance for something unusual. Spend a day on Classe Mini “732 mini doc” and see what it is like to sail on the Atlantic in a (more than safe) nutshell like this.

Starting point of your tour will be mini doc’s current home base, La Rochelle. Depending on tide, general weather forecast and wind Lina will plan (with you) the day’s approximate route. After some additional thorough preparation for the boat and yourself you will head off – and more than very likely have a grand time. Continue reading “Your Chance: Sailing On A Pogo 2”

Weekend Break On Als, Denmark

beach near SkovmoseNo surprise here: I love the Northern European landscape. It is not as lush, colourful, maybe impressive as the Alps or the Mediterranean. Still, the entire North in all its scarcity is great for being outside, and the island of Als (Denmark) is no exception.

Quite a while ago I have briefly described one of my beloved quiet spots, some friends’ summer cottage in Denmark. It is located in Skovmose, a beautifully quiet location on Als. A couple of weeks ago the four of us went there for a long weekend. This brief break was so fantastic that only two days later I took the chance to go back with the girls and spend another couple of days in peace and quiet. Well, whatever you might want to call “peace and quiet” with two young girls.

Hiking on Als

hiking place/hut for staying overnightThe entire island of Als offers lots of possibilities for one-day or longer walking trips. The cool stuff about hiking in Denmark is that you find those very basic huts (or whatever they might be called) along more or less every officially marked hiking trail. No need to put up a tent, simply throw your sleeping bag in there and have a rest. Another great thing both for hiking and sailing: barbecues can also be found almost everywhere, they can be used for free and are a perfect place for getting to talk to other folks. Continue reading “Weekend Break On Als, Denmark”

Outwell Montana 6 Front Extension For Sale

It is the best add-on we have bought for our Outwell Montana 6P, and now it is up for sale after just three weeks of usage. Why? Because I bought the wrong one! This front extension is intended to be used with a Montana 6, not a Montana 6P.

Outwell Montana 6 front extensionThis spring we decided to extend our voluminous and large tent Outwell Montana 6P by a so-called front extension. This front extension is something I love having around wherever I “live”. You can stay dry during rain and still be outside. Fantastic.

Montana 6 Front Extension – our holiday saviour

In fact, this front extension has saved our summer holidays this year. During our three weeks’ holiday in The Netherlands we have had quite a few rainy days, more than all of the previous five years combined. The Montana 6 front extension has been a perfect gateway and dry path into the tent. It was also more than ideal for having meals outside despite the rain (or a glass of wine in the evening). Continue reading “Outwell Montana 6 Front Extension For Sale”

Polo Shirt For Lina’s Mini Transat Campaign

What on earth is that, just another polo shirt? No, it’s not. It’s a statement. A statement for saying “support this young lady on her quest to complete the Mini Transat 2017”. Would you like to make that statement as well?

polo shirt Lina Rixgens Mini Transat Campaign - frontInitially I thought this is an idea born to fail. Who would want to walk around in a polo shirt crammed with logos? After a brief design session with a local printer I changed my mind – and here is the result. A polo shirt where the original colour of navy blue can still be seen, logos are not too big and at the same time still fully present. Plus, two URLs on the back (well, they had to go somewhere and “inside” was not really an option).

Is this a great polo shirt for Lina’s Mini Transat campaign?

What do you think, does it look like a winner polo shirt? Or the exact opposite? I really like it. And that is also the reason why we have decided to offer it to anybody interested in getting one (‘we’ meaning Lina and me; read more about Lina’s Mini Transat campaign). The catch is that we won’t be able to sell it for small money and ship it to anywhere on this planet. So if you would like to support Lina’s Mini Transat campaign plus get the polo shirt, then there are (a minimum of) two ways to do that: Continue reading “Polo Shirt For Lina’s Mini Transat Campaign”

Wales vs Belgium And A Long Weekend Tour

Wales vs Belgium: show just before gameThe Euro 2016 (football) in France is history, and I went on a long weekend tour to watch one of the games. And lucky we had been indeed: we saw one of the best games of that tournament live, Wales vs Belgium in Lille. Without knowing who might play on that quarter final we bought the tickets beginning of the year. A good idea it was indeed, same as to not travel for the game only but to go for a long weekend tour.

wet and rainy but bbq up and running
wet and rainy but bbq up and running

Chap no. 1 picked me up on Thursday afternoon, and after a “let’s get going” espresso we set off for the long weekend tour. On our way to Ghent we stopped in Osnabrueck and picked up chap no. 3 (having arrived by train from Berlin). The remaining drive passed rather quickly. The main concern for the day: Will the camping site still be opened when we arrive or will we need to camp outside?

The real reason behind that question was not concerning toilets or shower. It was rather electricity for keeping the beers refreshingly cool that worried us. It’s all a question of priorities.

Just 15 minutes after a wonderfully charming and relaxed welcome by the receptionist at Ghent Blaarmeersen Camping we had our barbecue up and running – late check-in, late dinner.

Continue reading “Wales vs Belgium And A Long Weekend Tour”

Eatable Wild Plants For A Yummy Meal

Starved… that’s one way to phrase what would have happened to me if I had relied on my skills of getting food directly from mother nature (wild berries, wild plants). It was a try, it was yummy, and it certainly was not enough to drive my hunger away.

looks nice, tastes nice - part of my backgarden
looks nice, tastes nice – part of my backgarden

The initial inspiration came from a book called “Essbare Wildbeeren und Wildpflanzen” (eatable wild berries and wild plants). It is by a chap called Detlev Henschel and – am sorry – all in German. I bought this one after having read a rather remarkable book by the same chap. He paddled long distances with his kayak, the book I read was a tour on the Baltic Sea, with him only eating what he found wherever his day ended.

I do know a few wild plants and berries. However, apart from my own, parents’ or friends’ garden (and, of course, the local market) I have not really plundered nature’s huge resources on eatable wild plants. This little book was going to the basis for my personal cuisine-adventure – that was the plan, and it kind of worked well. Continue reading “Eatable Wild Plants For A Yummy Meal”

Waste At The Bottom Of The Arctic Ocean

Waste at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean is about to become a real problem. Is that my personal opinion only? No. One brief paragraph of a recent study by the AWI has left me absolutely speechless: “In comparison, even the lowest values from the Arctic seafloor are ten times higher (than the waste concentration in the so-called garbage patches)”. They must be joking, I thought. No, they’re not!

First of all, how cool is that: You are on a ship, and every 30 seconds you get a new picture from the ocean ground beneath you. The OFOS (Ocean Floor Observation System) is the technology behind this. It drifts a metre and a half above the ocean floor and delivering still and moving pictures.

In the past, the scientists from AWI have observed the ocean bottom for sponges, sea cucumbers, fish or any other living creature down below. In recent years, however, their attention has also been grabbed by waste at the bottom of the ocean, directly on the seafloor. Once they started having a look also at that waste in oceans, they produced some worrying numbers. Between 2002 and 2011 the waste at the bottom of the ocean in one square kilometre more than doubled (2.500 metres beneath sea surface). Continue reading “Waste At The Bottom Of The Arctic Ocean”