Skipper and boat

I have owned my Waarschip 725 since 1989 and have sailed numerous trips on the North Sea and Baltic Sea. At home at the Elbe in Hamburg, my sailing career began on a youth cutter. After that, I spent many years sailing a beautiful Elb-H-yawl. I learned the sailing trade from an early age, so to speak, with all the nonsense and mistakes that one can make. In the end, however, it was a solid education with the emphasis on experience.

I never lost the enthusiasm for sailing with wooden boats, which I was also ‘allowed’ to maintain in the winter, and the switch to a Waarschip-725 was obvious. I could admire the classic lines of a Waarschip-725 especially in Holland and so the decision quickly made.

Since I first went on a longer trip to Norway in 2003, travel with a small boat has never let me go. In 2015, I made a single-handed ‘training stroke’ around Denmark, so to speak, as practice for further trips. I was pleasantly surprised how well it goes. I not need a bigger boat.

 10 reasons that make me want to throw off the lines and sail out.

I want to feel the forces that push a boat downwind and propel it. It gives me a feeling of happiness to use lines and stretchers to optimize the sail position. It is an extremely satisfying feeling when, at the end, the water brushes faster along the side of the boat and joins the wake with a gurgling sound. Yes, this is where the dinghy and regatta sailor in my speaks.

I enjoy listening to the silence on the sea. By that, I don’t mean soundlessness, but the absence of the bustle and noise on land. Only a few sounds remain: the breaking of wave crests and the rush of bow wave. The sound of the wind in the shrouds and the creaking of the lines.

I find it very pleasant to feel the permanent movement of a swell and to expose myself to wind and waves. Sometimes it’s rough, sometimes it’s gentle, but it’s always up and down, back and forth.

This also requires again and again not to lose respect for these forces of nature, to learn humility and patience. In the end, nature is stronger, not every plan can be carried out and not every route can be sailed. Waiting for better conditions is a quality I had to experience again. Slowness becomes a virtue.

Instead, a different sense of time develops, there are no deadlines that have to be met, there is no longer a need to be ready, and there is no longer a need to achieve. Performance defined differently when sailing. It is nice to be able to ask myself more often what day it is.

Moreover, of course there is the taste and smell of the salt water, the tingling feeling on the skin. It is more intense the further west I go towards the Atlantic.

Moreover, the warming rays of the sun at sunrise or after the passage of a rain front are always uplifting experiences.

I rise to the challenge of navigating even difficult waters with good navigation and good meteorology. At the end, I pat myself on the back for having accomplished such a feat.

The experiences in other regions and countries are particularly exciting. I get a much more intense feeling for the differences than if I just take a short holiday trip to the countries. I can engage with people more intensively, and you meet fascinating people along the way. Language communication is secondary, curiosity overcomes all obstacles.

In the end, when everything settled, the boat has become a new home. That is all I need!

What I have not found is adventure and freedom. At most, there have been adventurous situations that I do not want to experience again. The only freedom of decision I have, is to go out, but then wind, waves, current and weather determine me. And what about the much-vaunted relaxation as a contrast to today’s professional life or the hectic life in modern society? The schedules are different, the tasks are different, the demands are different, and that may result in a different quality of life. Nevertheless, I also met people who could not get involved at all and planned their trip meticulously.

I deliberately chose the title “Waarschip 725 on a long voyage” to distinguish it from long voyages, as the latter associated with sailing at least across the Atlantic. However, I am already on longer trips, i.e., more than holiday trips. Longer refers to both the distance and the duration. As a funny attempt to define long voyage or longer voyage, I once found the answer in a forum: You are on a long trip when it changes you personally. On the other hand, to put it more drastically: at some point, you have to deal with loose screws, both those on the boat and those in your head. You can tighten the ones on the boat, but you can not prevent yourself from getting weird. Many who have been out for a long time rarely find their way back into ‘normal’ everyday life on land.

January 2017