Crashtest Dehler 31

Is fiberglass (or glass-reinforced plastic, GRP) really suited for cruising yachts? What about those submerged obstacles potentially damaging the boat beyond repair while under way? Quite a few years ago a Dehler 31 had deliberately been put in major agony, needing to cope with all sorts of floating menaces.

This video I have watched so many times already. I am still excited about the Dehler 31’s behaviour and how she handled everything thrown at her. For a brief overview, here are the film’s main characters, in order of appearance:
– Dehler 31 (protagonist, getting in trouble with all the other film characters)
– steel barrel, 200 l (1x)
– trunk (1x)
– steel platform, 1,5 t (4x)
– stone mole (yes – mole! 3x; starting at minute 4:03)
– speed: 6,5 knots.

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Plastic Pollution In Oceans – Potential Solution(s)

After decades of ignoring plastic debris in our oceans and its effect on water, wildlife and humans, the situation seems to be getting out of control. What is there for us to do? The not so good news: There is no single solution to the plastic waste problem. Some slightly better news: Various possibilities exist or are about to be called into existence. Let’s have a look at some of those solutions.

bird's cadaver showing not digested plasticIn a previous post I have had a look at the so-called “problem domain” regarding the plastic pollution in our oceans.

What can we do to minimize, if not eradicate the long term impact to our complex planet Earth?

The main steps for a solution, at least as of today, seem to be:

1. do not use (and produce) plastic at all, or at least reduce consumption
2. clean up plastic wherever it can be found
3. stop plastic being spewed into oceans
4. clean up the oceans.

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Today’s Partial Solar Eclipse

How unprepared can one be when wanting to watch and take photos of a solar eclipse happening in the backyard? I should have lookep up the exact time, and it would also have helped to check the battery status of the camera before the event.

solar eclipse 2015 Hamburg cAndreasSchmidtUp until today I had never shown any major interest in watching solar eclipses. What is so exciting about it getting dark for a couple of minutes? It does, in normal circumstances, happen every night.

Ok, it is a rare event when the moon fully or partially blocks the sunlight reaching planet Earth. This happens only something like two to five times per year all over this world. And today, with it all taking place right here in my garden, I might just as well watch it.

That was the plan. Plan B, to skip this one and watch it the next time my garden was the stage for it, would not really work too well: 66 years to go.
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Unplanned Morning Walk

hometown castle - Schloss Ahrensburg (no sun, no snow)
hometown castle – Schloss Ahrensburg (no sun, no snow)

Sometimes, unplanned stuff is pretty good. This is not something I have just learned today.

However, this morning, just before leaving for dropping off the little one at her kindergarten an idea crossed my mind. After waving her Good Bye I would go directly to the library. The time until it opens I could spend having a wake-up morning walk.

Time available: close to two hours.

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Cruising With Kids

Sailing around the world, kids on board, having the time of your life. Really? One who certainly knows is amazing Dini Martinez, s/v Happy Dancer. Enjoy her wonderful, inspiring and encouraging article.

cruising_with_kids_a_navigator_is_bornWe’ve been living aboard Happy Dancer, our Moody 425 centre cockpit sturdy sailing boat for over eight months now. We, that’s me, a 30 year old yogini from down under, a 34 year old Argentinean accountant aka Papa, and our 3.5 and 1.5 year old sons. The youngest one was a mere three months old when we sold all our belongings in Sydney and left Australia to sail through and from the Mediterranean Sea. Continue reading “Cruising With Kids”

Plastic Pollution In Oceans – The Problem

Try this: Enter “plastic pollution oceans” into your search engine of choice, then click on pictures – still smiling? Thousands of tons of plastic enter our oceans every year. The effect on wildlife, economies and – ultimately – us cannot be denied and is immense.

marine debris on Hawaiian coast
marine debris on Hawaiian coast (Wikipedia)

Less than a hundred years ago plastic floating around in oceans, littering beaches and polluting birds, fish and other wildlife was unheard of. The waters were not clean back then either. But whatever the kind of pollution might have been in those days, at least it was something planet Earth and mankind could get rid of again, eventually. With plastic having turned up in our lives – and making it quite a bit easier on one end or the other – this has changed dramatically. Continue reading “Plastic Pollution In Oceans – The Problem”

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”

BSPE2 – Energy Project Initiated

The budget nowhere near being covered. Showstoppers all over the place. Support and timeline on very shaky grounds. This just sounds like the ideal project for me! The topic is twofold: self-sufficient power supply on yachts (including e-motor), plus view of renewable energy projects along the coasts of the Baltic Sea.

How did I come up with the idea for such a project? It was the initial project a couple of years ago, “baltic sea. pure energy.” (website in German).

It is more than just appealing not needing to rely on external power sources on a yacht (including an e-motor). Also, I wanted to check out the status and progress of renewable energy projects all around the Baltic Sea. What has happened since then? Can it be applied to larger yachts for the ordinary yacht owner as well? How are the renewable energy projects doing five years later? Are new ones all over the place or has enthusiasm died off? Continue reading “BSPE2 – Energy Project Initiated”

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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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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