IN german Waters – MIDSUMMER SailiNG 2017

This year I (Marc) allowed myself almost 3 weeks for my sailing holidays. Yeah, I was really looking forward to it – and had earned it. From the start it was clear, that it would be quite different compared to our usual business. First of all, Matthias, as a quasi-permanent crew member, didn’t join us cause he had other plans. In fact he did his own sailing trip with his wife and daughter onboard a training vessel. This meant Rainer and me would act as a double-handed crew for most of the time. It turned out, that this worked fantastic – no surprise, by the way. Besides the good atmoshere onboard it once again turned out, that the MONITOR windvane plays a major role in crew relief and overall wellness, even more with our double-handed crew this year.
Our starting point was Wackerballig, where Frank and his family left Rolling Stone. Our first destination was Heiligenhafen. We just went there to overcome an old trauma connected with this habour 🙂  THIS time we did it…However, Heiligenhafen is a crowdy and overloaded port and the rainy weather did the rest. We were lucky as we were finally able to leave it and entered Großenbrode, respectively the small and beautiful habour of the Klemens-Shipyard – one of our favourite destinations. Finally in Warnemünde „Hohe Düne“ my brother Jens came onboard…see below. „Hohe Düne“  is a somehow snobby 5***** marina resort. To give you an example: there is a landing field for helicopters but no barbeque area. In fact, every kind of open fire is strictly forbidden. Maybe you like another example: harbour masters don’t move by bike there – my god no, they use golf carts.

Second, my brother Jens managed to leave his law office and joined us for a weekend. These were great news! Besides the fact that he is a highly experienced sailor I was really happy to meet him again and also to have some fine hours of sailing and talking with him onboard Rolling Stone. You must know, it is quite difficult to meet Jens on other boats than his own, the 1/4 tonner Haiopei…On a grey but blustery Saturday we left „Hohe Düne“ heading East –  destination unknown. Even with double reefed main we were still going quite fast – hitting 7.5 knots SOG from time to time. Finally we decided to go to Barhöft, which is a well-known little habour with a tricky approach – and many mosquitos. And I mean very many – and very aggressive…The next morning we did the same trip retour. The weather forecast was alarming, but nothing we hadn’t seen before: isolated tunderstorms with the usual mixture of rain, lightnings and force 9 conditions were predicted. But on this Sunday something different hit us. Although sailing my whole life in these waters (and Jens as my older brother even longer), nobody of us had ever experienced something like that before. Even bare poles (more than just in time the sails were down and lashed) Rolling Stone was furiously hit, shaken and pressed down by gale force winds and gusts, coming from all possible directions. Starting from the mast the boat itself was vibrating like hell and was making noises I have never seen respectively heard before. This scenario was accompanied by intense rain, lightning strikes and a fierce and steep, wind-forced sea. In the shallow and narrow waters of the Baltic Sea a well proven and tested tactic is to power the boat against wind and waves, but this became almost useless under these conditions with gusts and waves coming from everywhere. You must know, this is no gale blowing for hours or days but a very local and short-term weather phenomenum. Running was no option either due to the nearby and leeward shore of Ahrenshoop. However, with full power of the engine Jens at the helm hardly managed to stay on the desired course with minimal speed over ground. The only good thing about these local weather phenomena is, that the nightmare is usually over within 45 minutes. By the way, this system developed in minutes in front of us, it suddenly appeared on the weather radar and came over us.

After Jens left us in Warnemünde, the next day Rainer and me made the „hop“ across the Lübeck Bay and once again landed in Großenbrode. From there it was just another short trip to Travemünde, where my girlfriend Diana wanted to join us on our tour to Braunschweig through Northern Germanys canals. Once again great news! I have to admit, that I was really curious to see how she would act onboard a small boat and if the „simple life“ would be something she could like or even love. To make it short: it was wondeful for both of us and I think also a great experience for her. Interestingly this year we spent all nights at locations (berths) we had never visited before: Donnerschleuse, Bad Bevensen and Weißes Moor.