Wind from south and to the airport

The next day really does get hot and after breakfast we immediately head to the beach again. After all these weeks with cold wind and rain we enjoy every minute of sun – and especially going swimming ! As we row back to our boat in the afternoon we count no less than 45 boats. After lunch, we decide to leave today as tomorrow we’ll have the wind against us.

Als wir nach der grossen Hitze lossegeln, ist der Ankerplatz echt voll.Raus auf die SeeEnge, felsige Fahrwasser.Ab und an passiert auch was...

First we sail a bit, then we run under engine. We head south towards Göteborg again and on the we we’ll look if we find a nice spot to maybe drop the anchor. We nearly decided to go into the marina as we finally spot a little beach on the little island Rivö just a few miles from G. – The sun is already gone and we drop the anchor in the last light in 6m water.

Geht aber NOCH enger ! - Und da parkt noch einer in zweiter Spur... (DHL Fahrer ?)Kilian eingeschlafenIm Juli sieht man hinter jedem Felshubbel Schiffe stehnWunderschönes Licht und Segeln bis in den späten Abend

Die Sonne geht langsam unter... Bei Ankunft, Gestern waren wir alleine...Beach day !Kilian im Dinghy-Schatten

Kilian is extremely happy in the water, although it is just about 20°. And for Moana the best is when I row her around in our little blue dinghy and she can tell me where to go.  To spend another night at anchor definatly was a good choice. But later that day when the first clouds appear, we move to the marina because we’ll meet friends from a time long ago. The too were sailing through the Pacific. Back then just the two of them in a small 26″ boat. Now they have two golden haired children and are searching for a larger boat to move aboard in about a year’s time. We spend some wonderful hours together, laugh about the past and dream about the future.

Grosse Marina. Lange StegeAm SpielplatzJuhuu !! Wir sehen die crew der SY Ninita wieder !Die Kinder verstehen sich sofort - trotz unterschiedlicher Sprachen

The future … Yeah. Gui will fly back to Berlin with the two small ones… The destination is Rügen and that’s another 200 miles. I will sail these with Viola together. That isn’t exactly as it was planned but it will be better for everyone. We’ll meet again in Rügen and spend some more days at the beach together. Kilian is still too small for these longer distances as he just started crawling and walking a few days ago and that is not a good time to be ona a moving boat.

Auf der StangeMoana unterhält Kilian im Cafeund dirigiert uns was am SpielplatzGui und die Kleinen fliegen zurück nach Berlin

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From Norway back to Sweden

On Sunday we wait until the wind eases a bit and leave the little island Flekkeroy in the afternoon. As we round the northern tip, we shift the genoa and try to get comfortable under our cockpit roof.

Abfahrt noch mit dunklen Wolken, aber etwas weniger WindSchleicht sich ein Kreuzfahrtsschiff um die EckeUnd drängt uns ganz an den Rand des FahrwassersLeuchtturm Oksøy, letzter Landkontakt in Norwegen

While sailing out, a cruise ship sneaks up behind us and forces us to go higher on the wind. But soon it is past us, we leave the lighthouse Oksøy behind and set course 110°. That should get us just past the south-east tip of the traffic seperation area north of here. Also it’s a convenient course as it will take us out of the counter current sooner and we hope to enter the NW setting current somewhere midway. We have wind from WSW to W with five to six beaufort. That is a bit more than was announced and we rapidly leave Norway behind.

Mit 6.5kn raus in den berüchtigten SkagerrakNorwegen verschwindet bald am HorizontWenn wir SE-Ecke des Verkehrstrennungsgebietes passiert haben, fallen wir etwas abStrömungsverhältnisse im Skagerrak

But the wind against current situation creates really ugly waves and a few hours later Moana gets seasick. Kilian also wakes up and so Gui tries to keep lookout in the cockpit while I am in the forepeak changing diapers. One should be well on the lookout around here as there is a lot of traffic and some ferries are really crazy fast.

The trip doesn’t start too nice. We have too much wind and the kids keep us very busy. – But what could we expect ?

Es wird etwas ruppiger und rolligerMoana verträgt das leider nicht gutSchlaf-VersuchRasende rote Rennfähre

At some stage both little ones fall asleep and it is a bit easier on the watch. Dozens of freighters, tankers and fishing vessels pass us on the starbord side. All coming from the baltic and heading down towards the english channel. During the very short phase of semi-darkness, between midnight and about two in the morning, a cruise ship is coming towards us and passes close by.  A bit north of Skagen, in the early morning we meet the only other sailboat. We did have mobile reception while sailing past Skagen from a distance of about 12nm and then again from 22nm west of the swedish coast. Quite irritating to suddenly receive messages in the middle of nowhere with no land in sight.

Party mitten in der Nacht, irgendwo NW von SkagenWir haben hier echt Mobilfunkempfang !Endlich mal wieder ein Sonnenaufgang auf SeeLand in Sicht !

In the early afternoon we arrive in Slubberholmens, a beautiful little anchorage, friends of us suggested. While entering, there are only (?) four other boats. It is warm and tomorrow it is supposed to get really hot. So we eat a sandwich and quickly inflate both dinghy und SUP and head for the beach ! The children are immediately happy and play with the sand in the fingers, in the water and explore the island. We spend a wonderful afternoon at the little island and head back to the boat when the small kids get tired. The tension of the at times agonizing trip falls of me and as we paddle back to the boat we realize how full the anchorage has become. We eat and soon fall into the beds.

Der Anker fällt in 9m glasklares Wasser, die Sonne kommt raus.LandfallBlick hinausBlick zur offenen See und zur Einfahrt, die Dragon steht rechts um's Eck

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A lot of wind around the corner

We have a lot of wind these days and while in Egersund we decided to stay for a day and let the big rainfronts pass while we are in the local library. In the afternoon the sun comes out, the laundry is dry and we go for a little hike up the hill and around the little town.

Einfahrt in die Schären vor FarsundFischerdorf am WegDas unfassbar gelegene Farsund - das gelbe Gebäude ist die Schule.Moana: no.

Next day we sail to Farsund, where I’ve already been with Bruno on the way up. This harbour is very convenient as it’s right after (or before) one of these peninsulas and as we come down, we’re glad to have passed it in rather nice conditions. These points can be quite dangerous and the wind always picks up a bit on these corners.

Aufbruch um die Südspitze von NorwegenViel Wind, heute.Vor allem, wenn man gegenan möchteImmer etwas mehr Wind, um die Landzungen

We actually wanted to stay in Farsund and let the stronger wind pass but the sky is blue and the sun is shining, so we decide to leave anyway. The wind is strong but constant, without any rain or fronts. Although the waves are significantly higher and we have more than 30 knots of wind south of Lindesnes, the small ones and Gui take it a lot better than on our trip to Egersund. Then we had less wind but swell coming from an odd angle which really made the trip a challenge for the whole crew.

Die Westseite von FlekkerøyDie NW-SeiteSonnenuntergang......mit schickem Schiff

Our last night in Norway we spend in a little bay at the northwest side of Flekkerøya, in Åshavn. We are quite surprised to see that the little island is connected via tunnel to the main land. As usual after arriving, we take a little hike and walk to the east side of the little island where we find some beautiful anchor spots between the skerries. Otherwise there is not much here. A supermarket, lots of small beautiful houses with flowers and electric cars in front, green hills over grey rocks and crystal clear green water that is too cold for me to go swimming.

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Back south again

Right after dropping Bruno off at the airport, we head out and sail past the north tip of the little peninsula that is home to Stavanger on the inside and Tananger on the outer, westside. Today we have wind from south so we sail a few very sporty tacks and enter the little, very sympatic harbour.

Fjordcruiser coming very close while we try to stay as close hauled as possibleThe girls lie in bed with boat heeling and rolling in the wavesMarkerTananger Gjesthavn

Again we find ourselves a bit in a hurry as the next stretch of coast is the one with the ‘dangerous waves’ marking and there is this gigantic low between Iceland and Scotland and it’s coming closer fast. So next morning we head out again as soon as we see the wind change more towards the west.

Sailing with the roof upEntering the skerris west of EgersundThe nymph greeting the sailors...IMGP1084

The ride is bumpy and for a while Moana gets a little sea sick. But in the evening we are glad that we are a bit further south and again in the beautiful Egersund. This time in the marina – laundry needs to be done and we’ll wait until friday for the wind to ease a little bit. Then we’ll try to round the next little peninsula and hope to make it to Farsund. We’ll see how our plan works out. Uh. Let’s check the weather again….

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In the Lysefjord

After seeing the Hardangerfjord only in the rain, we were quite lucky with the weather in the Lysefjord. Going towards, through the Høgsfjord we had very lovely wind and above 20°C which is quite warm up here.  At the entrance to the Lysefjord we stop at the gas station to top up our little 50l tank. Tomorrow there will be less wind and deep in the fjord there won’t be much left of it.

Durch die Schären östlich von StavangerEinfahrt in den LysefjordIMGP0842Viele Schiffe sehen wir diese Tage nicht (sehr überraschend !)

The entrance to the fjord is marked by a huge bridge and starting here, the wind became very ‘fjordy’ – meaning very light but with strong and surprising gusts dropping from the mountains.  The combination of absolutely breathtaking landscape with sudden gusts had me hold the main sheet in the left and the camera in the right.  – The good old Pentax with the 200mm zoom already traveled the world with us and still works great after more than 40.000 images.

Staunen - und nicht vergessen ab und an ein Foto machenAm Fähranleger in SongesandAuf EntdeckungstourChilian und ich

In the evening we tie up at the ferry dock in Songesand – in the outer most corner, which is the only place with more than 2m depth at low water.  Directly beside the little harbour a little stream, a mini waterfall and four go on discovery while little Kilian is already asleep and a fish curry is being prepared.

Nah am Ufer ? Hier ist's über 100m tief !Bilderbuch-Wasserfall, einer von vielenDer Preikestolen. Und es schaut jemand runterEndlich mal wieder ein SommertagDie Fahrt durch den Fjord dauert (zum Glück) Stunden. Am Ende Lysebotn und davor rechts der KjeragKjeragUnd der Kjeragsbolten. Da steht auch jemand drauf !

On the second day we pass a picturebook waterfall, sail past below the famous Preisektolen, east, deeper into the Lysefjord. The weather is fantastic, the wind absent and the day is so great it would be worth the long travel by itself. These nearly vertical mountain faces, hundreds of meters high. On both sides, everything sprinkled with lush green, reflected in the sea. No other boat but us, no other people except the one head looking down from the mountain. We go left and right and take a closer look at whatever we want. We sail east until we can see the Kjeragsbolten on the south side. We sail a big circle, visit yet another gorgeous waterfall and head back to the west.

Viola im Bugkorb, ein bekanntes Bild.Grün, Grau, Grün - die Flaggenfarben Norwegens, oder ?Wasserfallmehr Wasserfall

Without wind, we arrive in Stavanger at nine in the evening. Full with amazing impressions, with a light sunburn but also a little bit sad: Tomorrow I’ll have to bring Bruno to the airport. Nearly 700 miles we sailed together in the past three weeks. And it’s been a beautiful and very harmonic time. It also made me very proud and happy to see how enthusiastic Bruno is about sailing. The fastest trips were his favourite, the most exciting the days tacking through the swedish skerries and when it was raining and we had to reanchor a third time in the pouring rain, he never lost his humour. But for six people, the boat really is a bit small and our cats need someone to take care about them…

DA ! Ein Fischotter ! (zu schnell für die Kamera)Genug Landschaft gesehenEs kündigt sich bereits wieder anderes Wetter anBruno fliegt zurück nach Berlin

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From the Hardangerfjord back to Stavanger

It seems that the closer one is to Bergen and the deeper in a fjord, the more it rains. – After two days with only very short breaks of sunshine we decide to leave and sail southward again.

Leaving the rainclouds behind usIMGP0730Everybody staying inside, dry and warmIMGP0783

The rainclouds are soon left behind and as we get closer to the open sea, the wind picks up. Soon we’re sailing with more than six knots again and the kids stay below to play, sleep and eat. The whole day we sail out of the Hardanger fjord and in the evening we arrive in Haugsund. Moana and me take a little walk while little Kilian is about to go to bed.

Reminders of The ferry at the charging stationHaugsund, looking northHaugsund, looking south

Everywhere in Norway we see the trails of the oil industry: oil rigs, gigantic working vessels and cranes… but also the clean future: in some cities a third of the cars is electric and even the fjord-ferries and small cruise ships are electric and can be found at the charging station when night comes. Even the large cargo vessels and cruise ships have proper cleaning systems and run without leaving a dirty yellow-brown trail in the sky. When the dirty money from the short oil boom is invested wisely, this is possible…

In Vikevåg harbourAt the beachA beautiful little beach (water: ~16°C)Moana, fascinated with plants and trees

Another short stop we make in Vikevåg, where we are lucky with the weather and also find a small beach not far from the fishing harbour where we tied up. From here it’s only a few miles to Stavanger where Viola will come on board and we’ll be all six on the boat for a few days.

Through the skerries towards StavangerIn the very noisy city harbour (Vågen)...with concert and night clubsViola arrived

In the ‘city harbour’ it is a bit noisy as it’s the party location of Stavanger, it seems. Also this harbour is completely unprotected to the west wind (that blows 90% of the time ;-) So next day we move the boat a tiny bit to Børeviga. Viola arrives at midnight from Berlin and next day we celebrate Gui’s birthday.

Beautiful wooden houses in the city centerKilian having fun - standing. :-)Colorful houses and cafesThe family is all together for Gui's birthday

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Bergen – Os – Rosendal

Gui, Moana and Kilian arrive at Sunset (~23:10h) in Bergen and after a Night at the Brygge and a little stroll through the neighbourhood, we move the Dragon (that sounds very nice ;-) … to a little Marina a bit south. There we have easier access to the boat as here in the city center we’re tied up to the harbour wall and at low tide have to climb up truck tires. The marina is also way more quiet and … there is a little artificial beach close by.

Bergen at nightBrygge, in between housesCity centerMarineholmen Gjestehavn

In Bergen (the city oif rain) we had really hot days with up to 27°C and so we actually spent an afternooon at the beach (beside Marineholmen Gjestehavn). But next day at noon we already wait for the pedestrian bridge to open, we want to see the fjords….

The sail south is nice in the beginning but soon we have a good amount of wind against us and with gusts up to 7 Bft, we are somewhat shaken and stirred when we drop the anchor in the little bay of Os. Twice Bruno has to pull up the iron again before it bites but then we finally fall asleep … with the raindrops drumming on the roof again.

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Unfortunately the rain stays and so we miss some good views of the absolutely stunning landscapes we sail past. The wind is slightly more favourable and we have decent sailing conditions everywhere but in the Lokksund where the wind is straight at us and the sound is too narriow to tack. – Also there is really strong currents and swirls in the more narrow part.

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After the Lokksund we don’t have to beat against the wind anymore and can relax a bit. We sail past two corners and behind a lengthy island appears Rosendal: mountains with still some snow, three waterfalls dropping onto lush, green hills… Straight out of a Bob Ross’ painting.

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We take a little stroll through the lovely, little village and get some salmon for dinner. The walk to the waterfall we move to tomorrow in hope of better weather.

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But today it rained nearly constantly and although I hurried up to the little waterfall with Kilian in the stroller, nobody really was into a longer walk in this weather. So we spend the time waiting for a hole in the clouds with books, paper and bingo. At the end of the day we did get a fat, double rainbow – which really made Moana’s day.

Tomorrow we will have to exit the fjord as Viola arrives on the 8th – in Stavanger – and we have to get there with difficult wind to sail, it seems.

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Farsund – Egersund – Skudneshavn – Hatlevik – Bergen

So much sailing and so little time to post… I’m getting behind it seems.

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From Farsund we start with rain and thunder around the southwest corner of Norway. It will take hours of sailing until we finally see the clouds lift a bit to let us get a glance of the coastline… The sail is short but with a bit bumpy waves and in the evening we make stop in a gorgeous anchorage in the Egersund.

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From Egersund northwards we find one of the very few stretches of coastline with no anchorages or harbours. We sail past Tananger and pull into Skudneshaven. Another one of these many old fishing villages. Next day, we sail through the Karmsund and the Stokkasund and make a last stop in a tiny, slim natural harbour called Hatlevik. To our amazement, the alignment is exactly right to see the sunset from our boat. Nice.

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Last day towards Bergen, Bruno is very motivated and is steering for hours while we match ourselves with a slightly larger Bavaria 32. Somewhere in another sund, she sails east and we continue towards Bergen where we finally arrive in the early evening. We tie up in the very center of the city, at the “Brygge”. Bruno and me did 560 miles in 10 days  – not bad. We get a day off before Gui and the two small ones come from Berlin…

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Risør – Mebø – Farsund

It was a good choice to wait that one day in Risør. – Yesterday we then had perfect conditions. Our sail down towards Kristiansand probably was the fastest I ever had. Not in the beginning though, when we thought the promised northerly wind wouldn’t come, but then it did ! First with a good 5 Bft and in the end, the last 10 miles or so it was blowing with up to 30 knots. This and having the current with us resulted in an average speed of >8 knots and sometimes two digits when we were surfing down the waves. Oh what fun !

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We decided not to go too far into the islands and chose a little island southwest of Kristiansand for the night. We found an empty mooring, asked, and were allowed to use it for the night. It was a long and super exciting sail and when I lay down and hear some raindrops falling, I fell asleep instantly.

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Again we awoke to a blue sky … and the sound of children jumping into the water. (brrr) We had breakfast and left just to find ourselfes in fog as soon as we exit the anchorage. Going through the skerrys in foggy conditions is quite eerie. But after two weeks of sailing through narrow gaps in between rocky islands we’re not getting too nervous anymore.

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After passing the southernmost point of Norway, we arrive in Farsund and tie up on the guest bridge. The small town is a little marvel like most we visited the last week. But the real stunner we only see when going up a little hill: There is a fjord hidden in the back, all covered in thick, lush green ! Beautiful.

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Gothenburg – Grebbestad – Koster – Risør

Bruno arrives on the 18.6. by plane from Berlin and I feel both proud an happy to continue this trip with him. – What could be better than 500 miles father and son sailing ? Next day we take two bikes of the sailingclub to get some fresh groceries and then we immediately leave. – Into the Skerries an easy 30 miles north and drop the anchor behind a fish farm in the Möllösund.

Leaving GothenborgLeaving the anchor place in the MöllosundPassing Gullholmen...where we decided to get a boat agagin...

After breakfast we immediately leave and it should become one of the most amazing sailing days in my life. We tack 52 miles towards north in between the islands and sometimes only have a few shiplengths to maneuver. Really exciting  – and challenging to navigate.

IMGP0468Another house wedged inbetween some rocksIMGP0464IMGP0462

The Skerries get more beautiful as we go north and although most of the islands seem empty, one can find hidden little (or not so little) houses hidden in between the rocks on most of them. We are very happy to have met John with his SY Josin, a very well outfitted Ballad 30 . He is a very experienced sailor and gave us many tips for our trip of which all have been absolut marvelous so far.

Aufkreuzen_zwischen_Gullholmen_und_GrebbestadIn the Gasthavn at GrebbestadGrebbestadTomorrow is Bruno's bd !

On the island Koster we actually wanted to celebrate Bruno’s 16th birthday and go out for dinner but it seems like the whole island is closed. The only thing open are the footpaths – everything else is closed. And I thought it would be big party as it’s midsummer today ? – But the swedish people will celebrate on the next weekend it seems. Well. We cook and Bruno blows out the candles and next day it’s sailing again. We don’t have much time as we should be in Bergen on the 30.6. and that’s not too much time.

Leaving KosterEntering the skerries W of KosterBruno chillin'First view of the E coast of Norway

So we’re really happy that the light wind that was predicted actually blows with nearly 20 knots. Going against with a 30ft boat is not too comfortable but on the other side we’re doing 7 knots and arrive in Risør, Norway at eight in the evening.

Bruno doing a Lebowski-pose on the foredeck (Tai Chi)In RisørBeautiful wooden houses in RisørRisør

The little town is really beautiful with it’s white wooden houses. – We’ll stay for a day as the wind will continue to blow from SW. Tomorrow it’ll be better and we’ll continue our way towards south Norway…

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Summer trip pt. 1: Stralsund – Gothenburg

After many years, the opportunity has finally come for a slightly longer sailing trip. I have eight weeks off and since this might be one of our last trips up here in the north, we wanted two things off our bucket list: the Skerries of the swedish west coast and the fjords of Norway.

Since the way to the fjords is long and the wind is usually not in the right direction, we decided to split the trip in three legs. The first one to Gothenborg I’ll do with my old friend Wolfgang who also came with us across the Atlantic back in 2011. The second part from Gothenborg to Bergen, Norway I will do with Bruno who just turned 16 ! Then, once in Bergen Gui will join us with the two small ones, Moana and Kilian. Viola will join us later in Stavanger where Bruno will fly back to Berlin.

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We headed out of Stralsund on the 8th of June with wonderful blue skies and light wind from southerly directions. As the wind was absolutely perfect, we decided not to stop for the night but keep sailing through the Øresund until we want to stop. We slid under the huge Öresund bridge right after sunrise and were pushed northwards with a steadily increasing current.

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In the evening of the second day the wind went to zero. – So we pulled into a tiny fishing harbour called Skallbroken for the night.

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Next day we encountered our first Skerries and also met some seals sunbathing on them. After a beautiful day sailing, we anchored behind the little skerry called Öckerö.

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The last day we sailed into Gothenborg with a wonderful blue sky and perfect wind. Here the trip ended for Wolfgang and I did a bit of work on the boat (and in the “homeoffice”) while I waited for Bruno’s arrival on the 18.6.

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Short update

Six years have passed since the last entry…  A few things have happened since then, some of which might be told here later on … but first of all this reactivation is mostly for family and friends who wonder where and how we are. For all others who still might be reading this blog, here comes a very very short update:

Since 2014 we are landlocked again in Berlin. My wife became full time teacher and I started a company specializing in energy consulting (and we build our own ultra portable energy meters). Of course we’re still travelling a lot. Initially with an old camper van, until one time when we visited friends in Gullholmen, Sweden – the sailing fever hit us again. So sometime in 2018 we exchanged the VW van for a small Compromis 720.

Mit dem VW Bus in AlbanienIMGP9519Die Schummla (in Wiek, bei Greifswald)IMG_2782

And then … we got two new family members – first Moana (2018) and then Kilian (2021). So now we have a wonderful family with four kids (and two cats). The boat of course was a little to small so since 2020 we have a Carter 30, Bj. 1979 which we share with another family who are very good friends and neighbours.

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Or to put it short: Yes. We still are LosLocos. :-)

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Article in the YachtRevue 03/2016

So many months have passed without any news from the LosLocos.

Well, at least it isn’t only us. So far I have yet to discover sailors that keep blogging once they’re back on land. There are several reasons for this. First – there isn’t much to write about. It’s just something completely different to brag about sailing adventures and post the most gorgeous pics of idyllic islands. – To write about daily life in Berlin, work, school and all the stressful moments of this everyday life just isn’t as interesting. Second: there just isn’t time for this. Our lives are busy and demanding and to invest an hour a day to keep friends and ‘followers’ up to date just doesn’t work out. And third: the switch to the so called ‘normal’ life wasn’t exactly as easy as planned (psychologically that is). I felt quite depressed and wasn’t able to write at all. But it seems that’s changing now…

Ein bisschen Winter in Berlin - und unser neues Land-Segelschiff ;-)Unsere neue, alte Heimat - BerlinDie Kinder kommen aus Argentinien zurueckArtikel in der YachtRevue 03/2016

But fortunately there still are sailing magazines and one of those – the austrian YachtRevue was kind enough to ask for a few pages about how it was to come back after three years at sea. It wasn’t easy for me to write about this and had it been any earlier I’d probably have declined altogether. But the developments of these last weeks were promising and got me in a better and more optimistic mood and thus I complied and here ist the outcome.

I couldn’t put the full article online as that wouldn’t be fair for the publisher but maybe when the next issue is out, I’m able to update this post with the full PDF…

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The Suvarov has a new owner

Just a few moments ago we sold the SV Suvarov. So our journey ends but another one begins. I hope the Suvarov will finish her circumnavigation (looks like it) and the owner will have many happy moments and great adventures together with her !

Here a picture of one year ago, the SV Kira and the SV Suvarov anchored together in Port Resolution, Tanna (Vanuatu). The Kira was sold two days ago !

Kira_und_Suvarov_in_Tanna

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Berlin – Flensburg – Brisbane

Just a few days ago we were freezing our asses while sailing with friends in the Baltic Sea. Today I’m sweating in the tropics. What a trip ! What a chaotic life, what an adventure…

Frueh morgens geht's von Berlin losUnd einen Tag spaeter - frueh morgens - geht's mit der Marlin weiter...Eis am DinghyBereit zum Anlegen

I’ll start from the beginning: Last weekend it finally happened that two cruising families who know each other since ages via Email, Skype and Facebook get to meet each other in meatspace. I’m talking about the crew of the SY Ironlady or nowadays SY Marlin. Even before we began our own journey, I’ve been a keen reader of their blog and the first book they wrote about their own journey with kids: ‘Meer als ein Traum‘ was the trigger for us to go sailing. So finally we met in Flensburg to get to know each other and go on a little sailing trip with their amazing new yacht. The weekend was exhausting but totally beautiful and just as expected the kids immediately connected to each other and off they went blabbering in three different languages, running around with the dog, chasing sheep or producing chaos on bord. The big ones enjoyed the (chilly) breeze on their faces, the sea, the moving of the yacht – in one word: sailing. It was gorgeous. And hopefullly not the only meeting.

Die wunderschoene Marlin gedockt an der OchseninselGrosse Tafel, im Salion der Marlinund am Abend wieder zurueck nach FlensburgSchoene Stadt. Haetten wir evtl. auch gewaehlt, waeren wir mit dem Schiff zurueck gekommen...

Back in Berlin, I immediately prepare to leave again. This time the journey is a little longer. Destination: Brisbane, Australia. Our ship the Suvarov has been in Redcliffe for several months but the plan to sell her with the help of a broker didn’t really work out. That’s why I chose to fly around the globe to tidy her up and take it in our own hands. I’ve just got two weeks but it should be possible to find a new owner – or at least a cheaper place to leave the boat.

Morgens in Tegel bei RegenUnd Mittags in Abu DabiMit etwas kleinen AugenUm Mitternacht dann in Brisbane

After 1.5 days of air travel, Brisbane welcomes me with tropical-moist, warm air just after midnight. I take a cab to Redcliffe where our marina is located. Luckily everything worked out as planned and I find the deposited security token and our ship’s keys – I get onboard without having to climb fences or getting wet. Heh. On bord no surprises (good !!): everything is in it’s place, no bad stench, no little animals. Without searching, I find the lights in the dark. I sit down while my surroundings together with the ship’s smell remind me of past adventures and places. The soft hissing of the wind generator takes me away to lonely anchorages in the south seas… a torrent of emotions start to break down on me. Despite the exhausting journey I can’t sleep and start to search for a drink. Finally I find an old hip flask with some Whiskey in it. I grab it and sit down at the bow where I immediately catch sight of the constellation Scorpion….

am Strand in RedcliffeUnd zusammen mit unserem alten Zuhause, der Suvarov.

Eventually my eyes get tired and I fall asleep having crazy dreams. I wake up as a tropical shower pours down on deck and I run through the ship to close windows and hatches. When viewed in daylight I can see a few little specks of rust here and there but nothing essential. Actually a lot less than I imagined. One fender lost it’s air but otherwise I cannot find any defects. In the afternoon I walk through the little town to get some groceries and have a look at the nearby beach. Back on board I start the engine which comes to life on the first turn – just as if we’d been getting into harbour yesterday. I’m amazed how well the Suvarov has taken the six months without maintenance. Hopefully a potential buyer will also notice. Tomorrow – hopefully halfway recovered from the jetlag, I’ll start working…

Posted in Berlin, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel | 3 Comments

Life returns

Half a year has passed since the last entry on our blog. That’s not exactly as I planned it. Rather the opposite is the case: I wanted to document our re-entry into western ‘civilisation’ just as I did with our journey. Often I asked myself why other sailors’ blogs turn quiet pretty much the same instant they arrive ashore ? Now I know the answer and it’s rather simple: There is no time.  The life on land is a busy one and sometimes quite depressing and that’s not something I want to document on the internet.

Fruehlingserwachen unter den HainbuchenDer erste bunte Farbklecks im winterlichen Grau

The question we heard the most often during these last months is: ‘And ? Have you settled in ?’ This question is asked without much thoght and unsuspecting that the answer might be a long and complicated one. Just as for the typical ‘How are you ?’: people expect a simple ‘Good/well/whatever.’ and definately not a lecture on the positive and negative sides of different lifestyles. So right now I could just write ‘Good.’ And all of you would be satisfied, wouldn’t you ?

Or do you really want to know how we are and what’s been going on these last months ? I guessed so…

The initial arrival was quite nice. Hugging old friends, knowing the surroundings and the neighborhood, meeting family and friends of our kids… All very lovely. But we also knew from other sailors’ returns that the actual arrival hits you after a few weeks and it’s not a nice one. It was just the same with us. It’s not that suddenly you realise that the journey and the free and wild life is over. It’s more subtle. The changes get you slowly.

One thing I miss the most are the intense, deep conversations we had with our sailing friends. It seems that the people on land are just too busy or too fearful to really dig in deeper. So the conversations stay on the surface and the essential parts of life mostly are kept out of focus. This is a thing that really makes me sad and it is something that one starts to accept after a while – although it really hurts.

Our kids took it the best, I would say. They really integrated themselves rather easy and fast and Viola had no problems at all to find heaps of friends and find herself to be one of the top students in her class. For Bruno it wasn’t that easy as he was rather slow when it came to reading and writing. He had done school on board in spanish and german but his new school was all english so this was a big step. But after a few months he also had settled in and is now gaining on the midfield in his class. His teachers are optimistic and tell us that by the end of the year he would be above average. Well at least that is no reason for concern anymore. Before arriving in Berlin we were quite nervous about school but it all seems to develop very well. The kids have lots of friends and frequent sleepovers and playdates and both are quite happy.

IMGP3295Und die erste Biene macht sich ans Werk

And how are the grownups ? Well we didn’t have it that easy so far. During the first weeks we had a lot to organize (appartment, insurance, school, taxes, furniture, jobs, etc.) but that was all settled quite fast. More difficult for me was the fact that during our absence the development in politics, economics and society are still in the wrong direction and even picking up speed. So rather than getting more independet from the axis of evil (the five eyes) we embrace them with TTIP and CETA and at home ‘our’ institutions ECB, European Comission and IMF do everything to make the situation worse, to play everything into the hands of a few rich people while the big part of the population in Spain, Portugal and Greece is driven into poverty and unemployment. The news regarding the global surveillance through the NSA are not publicly discussed and the rather shy comission of enquiry that the german parliament put into work was dissolved during the first hearing when a double agent was discovered on the team. Business has to continue. Business as usual with full speed towards the abyss. These developments make me rather nervous (a huge understatement) and I’m quite sceptic when I look into the future. But here comes one of the most important learnings of our journey into the picture: Even when the future looks rather grim, we still know that a different life is possible. And we HAVE lived that life for some years. That gives hope. As does the awakening of Podemos in Spain or Tsipras in Greece. Maybe all is not lost yet.

Well now I’ve disgressed completely into the political arena. But well. Politics is important and the developements right now will have a huge impact on all our future. So. What have Gui and me done during these last months ? Gui was busy with her clothes label Coquito and travelled to Argentina in January to create the new collection. On the side she works three to four days a week in a little french restaurant here in Berlin. I started to work with my old company again. Back at the computer instead of painting the deck or working on the engine. It’s not exactly better work but it pays better and that is quite important for us right now. But still it’s not what I would want to do forever. That’s why I’m currently trying to establish a new company together with a friend. We’re still quite at the beginning but it will have to do with conserving and monitoring energy, focussing on small businesses now but going towards private households in the end. This is really fun and involves a bunch of skills that I really like to work with. Mostly electronics, electricity, programming embedded and web and also installing the equipment on site which gets me away from the computer at least one day a week. But the best is that doing this work, we’ll improve the human impact on our planet just a little and that’s great.

That all means that we both ususally work six days a week while our kids are in a full-time school. We meet only shortly in the evening then everybody is really tired. During the weekends we usually work one day each so there is no time to do anything together as a family. We were prepared that re-entering the ‘normal’ life wouldn’t be easy but we really didn’t expect it to be that hard. But still: spring is in it’s starting blocks and slowly one thing fits to the next and the outlook get’s better and better.

Many friends also asked me whether I would be writing a book of our journey ? Yes. I want to. Definately ! It’s just – right now I have no time to do that. And with two jobs and a lot of chaos around us it’s quite difficult to organize my thoughts and put them on paper (or rather on hard disk). But I have tons of content, a lot of good ideas and slowly the story is developing in my head – despite all the crazyness around me. So don’t give up yet and bear with me. It’ll be worth it. Promised !

But the best thing right now is that in two weeks we’ll be sailing ! YES !! It’s not gonna be the tropics but a little trip in Flensburg with friends will really be good for us. And actually – speaking of the tropics: I will be back soon. In three weeks I’ll have to fly to Australia visit the Suvarov. We’ll have to move her to a cheaper marina and also there might be two potential new owners having a look or a testsail. So please keep your fingers crossed that we’ll sell the Suvarov. That would definately cheer me up !

Posted in Berlin, Coquito, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Final landfall

Sorry for the delay but there was just too much happening these last weeks leaving no time for blog updates or other forms of communication besides what was absolutely needed…

So here we are. Back in Berlin, the city we left with the Rancho Relaxo of the Seas just a little over three years ago. We relocated six (!) times during these last weeks, moving from appartment to appartment and back and forth in between Austria and Germany. And to intensify that experience, Gui flew to Colombia to have her very first Fashion Show with Coquito, then visited Paris to have a look at the children’s clothes fair ‘Playtime‘ where hopefully Coquito will be present next year.

The models getting prepared.Little beauties in gorgeous dresses...Fashion show in tropical climate. Nice.Gui and her models.

In the meantime I was working overtime to get back into ‘the machine’, getting registered as a citizen, getting insurance, enlisting and visiting the school of our children, organizing the transport of our few belongings that we left with my parents in Austria, meeting friends, finding a job, getting essential furniture and finding out why our stuff from the boat still didn’t arrive in Germany and and…. Believe me: the life in the south seas was a lot more relaxing.

In beautiful AustriaAnd back in BerlinStreet artFirst day of school !

But compared to my last visit of Berlin where I was quite shocked by the ‘western civilisation’ – coming just from French Polynesia, this time it’s different. It probably is mostly owed to the fact that we all were very looking forward to being in Europe again, having access, money, a smart phone, running water, a fridge and shops that are around the corner instead of a one hour dinghy ride away. Despite all the stress, we all enjoy ourselves, are quite relaxed and happy with the city life.

Leaving the house early in the morning, excited and happyMy beautiful girls on the way to schoolThe welcoming of the first graders takes place in the historic cinema 'Babylon'.Every single new scholar is greeted by his teacher

Still, when I hear the wind shake the leaves I immediately search the sky for signs of bad weather, we don’t really know what to do with all the space in our appartment and all my clothes still fit into a cabinet too small to even qualify as a bedside locker. We enjoy seeing so many old friends and connecting with new people. The kids started school last week and although it’s a little tough for Bruno starting school in 3rd grade and in english, he does very well. Viola’s classes will officially start on monday and she cannot wait to finally go to a ‘real’ school. Heh.

The class 1cIn school...Playtime !Brain jogging

So on monday we’ll all leave home early in the morning… dropping the kids off at school and then I’ll be starting work in the office again. Funnily enough I also got a VERY interesting offer to deliver a yacht from Turkey to France. But I had to decline since all the other stuff going on didn’t make it seem clever to leave my family with all the chaos. But – hey – maybe again in spring ? Offers welcome !

Posted in Berlin, Coquito, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Travel | 5 Comments

Backup the wrong way around

After straying around for a few weeks, the LosLocos finally arrived at the final destination: Berlin. And the skipper – having nothing to repair on his boat – finally is able to take care of our website. But what’s happening ? Why is my backup running that fast ? What… “not found” ?  … deleted ? How ? But, but I actually wanted to…. Well. It seems I’ve done it.

All is gone. Everything we uploaded in these last three years: thousands of photos and many videos…. all gone. That’s something not everyone could do. And definately not as fast as me. To efficiently delete these amounts of data you need a proper internet connection and the right tools ! Heh.

Flaggenparade im GartenBauzaun Discount !! Jetzt !!!

But as I’m not really new in this arena I don’t get a stroke but keep quite calm and start searching through the backups of our blog. But not ! Funny enought it’s exactly that ONE folder that somehow is not included in the nightly backup routine. Heh. So the only option that is left: To restore everything manually. Up until mid 2012 this is an easy task as I did a complete backup of the whole site when we were in Moorea. The rest I have to extract from a PDF export I once did in Brisbane. And the final posts I restore manually.

Two days later our site and all our pictures are online again. And now I’m finally starting on a long overdue update. There was quite some things happening during these last weeks, believe me !

Posted in Berlin, It's funny ! Laugh !, Learning for life, LosLocos, Net, Pics, Work | Comments Off

Surprise party and boat porn on the Attersee

I love that… when everybody is conspiring and people giggle behiond my back and I don’t suspect a thing…. then I enter the garden of my brother without a hint of an idea what’s going on and….. PFREEEEEEP, TADAAAA !!! Everybody’s there ! Friends from far and from close home, alone or with the whole family. The storm of hugs and kisses catches me unprepared and without a reef in the sails I’m flying up the treehouse where I seek shelter for a minute and wipe away a tear or two.

Grosse Tafel mit vielen alten Freunden (und vielen neuen Kindern)Die LosLocos fluechten sich mal kurz in luftige HoehenBruno darf Wirt spielenLagerfeuer. Mal nicht mit getrockneten Kokosnuessen, sondern mit Buchenholz.

We party till late in the night and tell stories and I’m amazed how many kids there are around me and how big they all are. And more stories and more drinks… A dream !

Ouuh yeah ! Racing !Absoluter traum SegeltagMal nicht Skipper spielen. Auch schoen.7.7kn. Am Wind, bei 3 Bft. Ohne Anstrengung.

To prevent the skipper falling into a depression or getting sentimental, Guenther picks me up on Sunday to go sailing with a ‘proper’ ship. Ok. For living aboard, the Platu 25 would be a bit small but it’s a fantastic feeling to not be the slowest in the field. Actually pretty much all the other sailboats seem to stand still as we overtake one after the next. Only my friends Roland and Christine cheer as they zoom past in their Tornado, probably doing ten knots more than us.

Die Kulisse ist auch ganz gut.Viel Verkehr hier. Vorrangregeln habe ich in den letzten 3 Jahren vergessen..... Zum Glueck bin nicht ich am Steuer. ;-)DA ist der Wirtn !Kurzes Erfrischungsgetraenk zwischendurch...

Yeah, yeah. I agree. Sailing on a lake can also be fun. The weather is perfect, the water has a color that I’ve last seen in the lagoon of Huahine but here you can drink it. The deck isn’t encrusted in salt, we don’t have to shower after taking a bath and there even is a floating bar ! Heh. We pick up a few friends along the way and sail to the other side to have a ‘Summer Spritzer’ Mmmmh. Salzkammergut. Salzkammer VERY good !

Klassisch....und modernSportlich unterwegs...und Vollgas !

 

Posted in Austria, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing | 2 Comments

Arrived in dumpling-country

After 1.5 days in the airplane and endless airport-security fun we finally landed and were greeted by my parents who picked us up at Munich airport. We filled the car with our bags and drove to Austria where my sister already was waiting with a big meal including the famous austrian dumplings. Mmmmmh.

Arrived in Munich after 36 hours of flightThe family back togetherIn the car, on the way to Austriaand arriving at my parent's house

While the grown-ups were a big jet lagged, the kids had endless fun with their cousins and the brand new bikes they got. Today we’ll be at my grandmother’s place for a different kind of dumplings (with apricot inside). Hehehe. Later more…

First thing in the morning: getting fresh berries from the gardenAnd the kids get long awaited bicycles !Viola forgot how to ride a bike...but we're getting there.

 

Posted in Austria, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Travel | 3 Comments