Sunday, 28 March 2010

My life this far.

I was born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1979. I'm now 31 years old, weighing 15.000 kg with a 50 ft LOA. The taiwanese craftsmen who built me did a good job over all but cut a few corners where no one would notice. When I was finished I was put on a freighter together with 5 of my sisters and after two days we were shipped out. I had no idea where I was going or who had bought me. The older boats at the shipyard had talked about far away oceans, some beautiful, some terrible and fraightening but all beautiful in their own way. They also talked about their owners, some would take very good care of thier boats, some would neglect them completely. What would my owner be like? Would I be a wreck in 10 years? What oceans would I get to see? I was scared and excited all at the same time.

The freighter who carried us in her belly told us strange tales about salty water, white beaches, colorful corall with thousands of fish, fierce storms and wonderful creatures called dolphins who would come to play and sing. Oh, how I longed to see those things!

After 28 days I woke up and the freigheter was silent, her engines shut off. In the morning I was off loaded and put in a cradle, people around me talked in a language I didn't understand and the weather was cold, I felt so alone. I was put behind a large building, I couldn't see the ocean but I knew it was there, I could hear the large ships coming and going at night. I sat in my cradle for almost a month, then one day a truck came and put me on it's trailer. After several hours I was put in a new cradle next to a dozen other boats, I could now see the marina that would be my home for the next 10 years. From the other boats I learned that I was in Germany.

The next day I met my owner for the first time and all my worries went away. He was an older man with white hair and a gentle face. I could see on his face when he laid eyes on me how thrilled he was, there was a big smile on his face as he ran his hand along my hull. He told me he would take me to the Caribbean and maybe even around the world. What joy! The next nine years we spent cruising the Baltic, just him, his wife and me. These were exciting times, with East Germany and the Soviet Union just around the corner. We needed papers, a thousand stamps and a permission just to leave the territorial waters.

In 1988 my owner left his company to his son and he told me that it was time for us to sail away. We spent almost a year to prepare, my owner was with me almost daily. Then one day he didn't show up, the days went by, then the weeks. One day he showed up with a young couple in their thirties. What was going on? They all climbed on board and I could hear them talk. My owner told them about our trip and about his company and about his son. His son was ruining the company that my owner spent a lifetime building. He would have to go back and I was to be sold. I was heartbroken!

The young couple loved me and they bought me right away. The day they came to take me away I could see the pain in my owner's eyes as we left. I was moved to a small and very beautiful marina, the Naturhafen Krummin. My new owners treated me with love and affection and took very good care of me. The new marina was beautiful, especially in springtime when the sun broke out over what could have been a mirror and the morning mist came creeping from the yellow reed. In 1989 the Iron Curtain fell and it got easier to visit other countries. We continued to cruise the Baltic for almost twenty years. I got to see the children and grand children of my owners grow up and I got to take them sailing. The last few years I was mostly kept in my marina and was used as a summer house. My owners still took good care of me and kept me varnished and good looking. Since they didn't sail me much though, they let my main mast rot and my standing rig was in poor condition. I still hadn't left the Baltic.

One early spring day in 2009 I had a deja vu. My owners came with a young couple in their early thirties. This time I knew what was about to happen. The couple had a long look and they talked to my owners for a long time. They then went away and I didn't hear anything for a week. Then my owners came and made me ready for the water, the young couple had bought me, they were swedish and seemed nice, the boy was called Hampus and the girl Lotta, funny names I had never heard before. I had visited Sweden many times and I loved the country although I found some of the native boats a bit unfriendly.

One day in early April my new owners came and my old owners handed over my keys and papers to them. Hampus and Lotta stayed with me the entire weekend before they went away again, they talked a lot about their plans and I realised that I would be sailing again. I could hardly wait! I was left alone until the beginning of may when they came with two friends and sailed me to Sweden. Hampus got help from the same friend who helped sail me home and they spent a month repairing my main mast, it's now as good as new. We spent the summer cruising the coasts of Denmark, Germany and Holland and I got to taste the North Sea for the first time, it was very exciting and I wanted more. With subtle hints I pursuaded Hampus and Lotta to take me further. They are now preparing to go to the Caribbean! I will finally get to see those white beaches and play with dolphins! They are getting me a new mizzen sail and they bought me a new shining wind vane. I'm getting a new standing rig and a million other gadgets. It's like being born again after more than thirty years. I'm so happy and I can't wait to set sail together with my two new friends!


Sunday, 21 March 2010

No longer unbearably cold! And thoughts on economy.

I think that spring might be here! We've been able to work on Ingeborg this weekend. We ripped out the old autopilot anno 1979 and installed a "new" one. I bet it's no older than 15 years! It's an Autohelm 6000 and we got it for free! We hooked it up to the old Robertson hydraulic pump and it worked. Of course, I got the cables wrong, there were two ways of connecting them and Murphy, as usual, couldn't mind his own business. I wasn't sure wich side was wich on the pump so now it steers to port when it should go to starboard, but it's an easy fix. The reason we changed pilots is that the old Robertson had a broken compass and since we got this one for free it was clearly cheaper than buying a new compass. Comparing the two, the Robertson is a Rolls Royce and the Autohelm is a Volvo, but a newer Volvo. We're also making a new instrument board and with half the stuff ripped out of the old one and all the tools lying around down below Ingeborg looks like a war zone.

We've had no luck in selling the apartment. We'll give it a few more weeks then we'll try to sub let it. I hope the the entire project doesn't fall with the apartment... I'm a bit worried.

We also have to order a new mizzen and it won't be delivered until the end of June and we had hoped to be away by the beginning of that month. Doesn't matter though, there's no rush, we're just eager.

With all the things we hadn't forseen, but should have, costs are piling up. There's the mizzen, the new standing rig and a bunch of other things. We had hoped to leave with at least 200.000 SEK ($27.000) on the bank account and live off it for at least 18 months. I actually don't know how we're going to reach that amount but we'll go with what we've got and see how far we get. Maybe working along the way is an option? I work with marine electronics and navigation equipment so it might not be impossible... Any advice, short of selling organs on e-bay, on how to put an extra $ in the wallet while sailing is apreciated.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

A new adventure

So this is us, after a rough sailing in a hailstorm (40 knots) but ending in a beautiful dark grey sky with magic beams of sun.

I´m not a sailor at heart, like Hampus. I´m more of a traveller, a vagabond who happens to go by salingboat, happy to reach the next port. It´s not that I don´t like sailing, I do, it´s just that I prefer to visit new places, make new acquaintances and explore the culture of a foreign town, country or continent. And now I´m somehow on my way to the Caribbean - sailing?! But after all, I do like seeing new places and people and I do like sailing. But things change, and maybe by the time we reach our destination I´ll become more of a sailor and less of a traveller?

As I embark on Ingeborg and on this journey I also bring a lot of fears with me. Most of them concern my bad back. Since a carcrash, 18 years ago I've got a bad back and I´ve gone through a arthrodesis and just about a year ago I got hit from behind and got a whiplash. It scares me to be this fragile if it ever would come down to "man against nature" and the fact that I´m in a lot more pain out at sea. The good side of it is of course that there´s no cars on the sea...

So this is me. Looking forward to a new big adventure in my life and to be a part of Hampus' lifelong dream, but a little uneasy because of the fact that I sometimes feel like I´m in the shape of someone twice my age.

The photo summarizes a lot of my feelings about sailing, it can be beautiful, breathtaking or scary - but it´s always nice to make landfall and have gained a new experience. It´s freedom.


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Where to draw the line?

Well, where do you draw the line? How much stuff do you buy and how many spares do you bring? Every little thing we buy will shorten our potential time away. It's easy to focus on all the things that you need, instead of trying to focus on how little you need. Do we really need all the things that we think we need now? Isn't it better to leave with less than you think you need and buy it along the way if you find that you miss it? A lot of the stuff that is on the wish/need/want list are things that I've done well without for many years and 1000's of miles. I think I'll post the list here some time...

And regarding spare parts. What really sucks about them is that you always need the one thing that you didn't get. So why get any at all?

We just get scared looking at the sum at the bottom of our list. Of course the boat has to be in a sound condition. But apart from that what do we actually need, to sailg away? I guess that's a question to you readers. All 7 of you :)

/Me in my most optimistic and cheerful mood

Monday, 8 March 2010

Just a short update of present plans.

In december we suddenly decided to leave. The date is set to... well some time between may and july this year. Only a few months left and there's so much to do. Ingeborg needs new standing rigging, new thru hulls, new anti fouling, something to sort out our charging needs, we need to mount the windvane, install the "new" used and completely free autopilot and a thousand other little things. On top of that we also need to pack up our regular lifes.

When all is done we just hope that there'll be enough money left to buy ketchup for the rice and beans to keep our teeth from falling out.

But boy are we looking forward to it!

Yeah, the destination. We don't have one really. Or we do, but we won't tell you just in case we end up somewhere else. A clue though; I've heard that they are really big on pina coladas and coconuts...