Updated April 2016
My dear English speaking Friends,
for all of you, whether your mother togue is American (makes it easy for me), English, (makes it reasonably easy), Chinese or French, or whatever, I created this part of my web page.
You may understand that I will not be able to keep the whole website up to date bilingual, but, on the other hand, I fully understand you complaints and will at least try to fulfill some of your wishes, inputs, pushes, kicks of any kind ...
This is a short form of what I did in 3 years that I live on the boat. Have a look at the pictures I collected during my cruise around half of the globe, since I am in New Zealend since November 2015.
What did I do in those challenging 3 years?
I have bought a yacht early 2013, in a marina in Teneriffe, with “Pütt und Pann” (pot and pan), means as it is at the time of contract, So, more or less, ready to go, since the previous owner was not a lazy guy. He was sailing the yacht at least from the Baltic Sea to Teneriffe and back every year, depending on the season. He has also been twice in the Caribbean before, and in Turkey, and in lots of places in between.
After doing some homework, means giving up on all my belongings which I did not need anymore, close my buisness, etc., I moved to my new home on May 10th, 2013. Life needs changes, I tell you! This radical change is a very helpful one, cleans ones brains and is recommendable to many people.
My first goal was the Slovenian/Italian Adria, from Teneriffe not “just around the corner”. The distance adds up to 2600 nm, about the same distance as from the Canaries into the Caribbean, and most of the way in busy waters, together with the big vessels and all kinds of weather, so - quite a bit of a challenge, for me more of a challenge rather than crossing the Atlantic after I have done both!
For the first leap, some friends helped me, thank Gods, since we had to fight weather and all kinds of technical troubles. Before leaving Teneriffe, the alternator went crazy, cooked all my batteries, and we fought energy problems all the way into the Mediterranean with the starter battery, until I bought a new one in Cagliari, and all summer long with the 4 comfort batteries.
In Madeira, where we landed for two nights, a bloody “electrical specialist for engines”, who was not worth any fraction of what he charged me, caused even more troubles. Anyhow, we safely arrived in Malaga, where the two friends left, and from that time I was alone. I knew now how to fight the problems, and I was a little bit under time pressure. So, I went on.
The route took me to Mallorca, meeting some dear friends, ad also repairing some of the big energy problems. Not that my problems were gone, but I learnt to handle it. In Mallorca I wiped out part of the problem, new alternator, in Sicilly I invested 200 USD into a starter battery. The rest of the batteries I kept, half dead or alive, until September. I thought I could save them, but no chance. They finally cost me another 1500 USD.
From Mallorca to Sardinia I had company, a very intelligent and eager guy, met him at the docks, (what you of course never should do). It was his first trip on a sailboat, and it was fun, for him mainly, but also for me. An endlessly positive person, with 1000 ideas to bring his mothers business up, after the father left, a pony staple with all kinds of side entertainment. He had ideas for patents etc. I wonder how he succeeded in the meantime, and writing these llines, I think I should contact him and check.
Why did I want to go to the Northern Adriatic and not to Greece, one of my favourites, directly?
The friend who bought my car, had to agree that he would come and bring all my remaining stuff to a marina in Italy, Slovenia or Croatia, and he was happy to do so, to get rid of all that junk in his “new” car. A second reason was to visit my most recent grand child and her parents, Julia, my daughter, and Stefan. The grand child was born the day after I left.
Getting back to the ship, from then on I had company, through the Adria back to the Ionian (Greek) Islands, through the Corinthian Canal, into the Agaean sea, the Cyclades, from Athens to San Torini back and forth a few times.
When the season went down, I had a solar panel installation arrangement installed to make me independent of marinas and power recharging. After all, it was time to hurry westward again. Greece, even more the sea around Sicilly, south of Mallorca and the Straits of Gibraltar may be turning a little ugly, if you are in bad luck at that time of the year.
And, I had a company to pick up, Györgyi, who ever since she heared about my plans some 6-7 years ago, wanted to join for the Atlantic crossing. I picked her up in Syracuse, and she left after a successfull, but not smoothly going crossing in Januar 2014. I hoped she may be coming back some day, since we went together very well. She seems to be born to be a sailor, one of the few women to take larger passages just like this.
Not to tell the last before what is coming next, with still 3000 nm to the Caribbean to go. Italy to Mallorca we were alone, in Mallorca, just for a week, a very nice couple joined us. The wanted to check, whether they would join for parts of the world tour, as I offered some places in the web. She had lost her job, and he was ready to quit his. Anyhow, after all, they did not join us, and I would not have recommended to do, since after he told his company what he planned, they obviously made him an offer her could and should not refuse, although, I openly regret not to have them on board. Very good sailors, both, very nice company, just what you want. And difficult to find.
We had a very nice week in Mallorca, after season, when all the bays and cuts you dream of, and there are not to many in Mallorca, are vasted and open for you.
Now, after they left, we hurried to the West, and our hurry turned out to be good. Thunderstorms were after us, I remember a couple of nights where we did really have to figure out where to go, left, right, be slow or fast to pick the least probability of being in the middle of lightnings once a minute.
We managed to keep out pretty well, and we took the chance of the last tide at “good” weather to cross Gibraltar, compared to what was coming up. Gibraltar, due to its narrowness, the big guys passing at high frequecies, and not to forget the tide, is always a big challenge for us little and weak sailing yachts. We are pushed to a marrow band along the shore, leaving the main road for the big and very fast guys. Since it was the last tide with resonable weather, and we were late, for the last few miles we had to invest some gallons of Diesel to get out of the flow, but we managed and anchored safely to recover. The weather forecast said that if we did not make it that tide, we had to wait for 4 days!
The rest - Strait of Gibraltar to Teneriffe - was not a little step, 4-5 days on the Atlantic, on the same route as all big ships, with close watch, but predictable and not endless.
We rested a couple of days in Teneriffe, to prepare the boat, (new oven), check all we knew, recover a little, and not to forget, meeting with friends about whom we knew that they would also be here.
A few days before we left, I had the chance of buying a SAT-Phone, but this bloody thing was broken. Why do I, buying under time pressure, pick the only SAT phone in Teneriffe that is dead? Easy answer, I bought the only one available in Teneriffe, and it added three more days of delay before we could leave for the Atlantic.
Our Atlantic passage was “interesting”, not to say breathtaking, since we lost some parts of our rigging, which can lead to losing your mast, in very bad cases lose your boat. Don’t worry, we made it. First, the Baby Stay broke. A day later one of the upper shrouds gave up in those 24 h/7d waves of 4 meters or more than 10 ft. every 6 - 8 seconds. We used only minimal sails to reach our goal, slowly but safely. No risk at all. We made Teneriffe to Martinique, Fort de France in 24 days, this is 3 days more than Columbus did on his first crossing. I will honour him forever!
By the way, we did not have the supporting weather, trade wimds almost from the canaries, as Columbus had. Due to an unusual situation, we had to search for the Trade Winds for about a week. Sailors always have excuses, if they are slow!
This ship which I own now, a couple of years ago with the old owner did the same crossing in 16 days and was close to win the ARC. (At much better weather, of course, you knew that I would mention that either).
To be honest, we did not look for the time we used, but I was glad we made it with the broken rigging, and since then, we were enjoying the Caribbean, weather, friendlyness of people, “izi” and cool way of living. It’s great, man.
In the time between end of Dec and June 2014, I could explore the Windwards or Lesser Antilles, including Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and Grenada pretty closely, and showed it to more than 20 guests, good friends who visited me. This continued end of the German summer. And, as a last guest, my daughter Julia with her husband and the 2 grandchildren visited me in January. The little one was the one born the day I left Germany for the cruise. Right after they left, Györgyi, who crossed the Atlantic with me, came on board, together with Janos, her husband. The plan to at least stay until we arrive in Australia or New Zealand.
End of Jan. 2015 we had to get into gears. The season will not wait for us. Polynesia is calling. Curacao, San Blas Island, Colon/Panama, the canal, and then Galapagos.
Bluewater Sailors, just that you understand, are pushed around the world by the weather, means should not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They also wait for wind from the rear..
Galapagos was disapointing. Big name, average islands, overregulated expensive, a well working tourist trap. I will remember the animals, birds, iguana, crabs that you can get much closer before they run away, This obviously comes from the fact that there were no humans permanently living until 180 years ago.
From there in 21 days to a paradise, the Marquesas Islands. Worth some weeks to stay, explore the various islands, different by character and interesting to explore the inner part, not just the shores. Marvellous people, friendly, smiling, happy. a little paradise.
Following West, it is a few days to the Tuamotus, Islands of the Dead, because of the difficult navigation through this area. Today, with GPS and chart plotters, really no problem any more. You have to learn though, when and how to get into an atoll, and how to find your way inside. But you will learn that quickly.
The Tuamotus are one of the best areas in the world to snokeling and scuba diving, unforgettable due to swimming with sharks, touching rays, seeing reef fishes very close.
Society Islands are nice to meet with the world again, after one has been really in the middle of nowhere before. Tahiti and Bora Bora are big names and therefore too touristic. There are better spots, moorea next to Tahiti, and Huahine on the way between Tahiti and Bora Bora.
After all, we are ready to leave and look forward to Tonga, Fiji, independant states, not belonging to French Polynesia. And Tonga even is a kingdom.
In November 2015, Tonga, Fiji is history. New Zealand is the choice now. Why? Because we want no Taifuns, and there are really only 2 strategies in this area: either you get your ship into a real safe place, and those are very rare when a Taifun is approaching. Or you out of their way. And this is what we did. Best choice, since Fiji was hit by a very strong taiphoon Winston early 2016, with damages even in so called hurrican holes like Savusavu.
There is plenty of space for long term crew, male of female, and/or guests for a limited time. Just ask, if you are interested.
What are my plans?
We will head for Fiji mid of April, stay there for 6-8 weeks, after that leave vor Vanuatu, a very pleasant country (former New Hebrides) and end the season in New Caledonia, before returning to New Zealand again around end of the year.
In case you want to join, please ask for exact dates when and where you could fly in or out.