An old sailboat in the snow

Thursday morning, Bodil was shoveling snow on the deck of Jensine. Crazy really, considering it was easter in Denmark, and usually the spring flowers are starting to peek out from the dirt. But this year it had snowed during the night – a snowfall that meant that Esben and I had to drive with a speed of 60 km/h from the Elbe until we hit the highway, and eventually arrived in Årøsund at 2am the night before.
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Hard choices

I have dreamed about sailing the world oceans for as long as I can remember, so at least for me, the choice of leaving to live on a sailboat for a while is not at all random. But even then I have been wondering lately what the price will be.

For the last 15 years, my life, and in the end also Esben’s, has been largely driven by my desire to learn about the ocean. We moved to Gothenburg so I could study physical oceanography, and when I was offered a PhD in Bremerhaven, we went, even though I actually had a job offer in Denmark at the same time. Continue reading

Offshore safety course

The wind is howling in the darkness, and as I take a step out and fall the three meters down into the cold waves, I hear the thunder behind me. I look up and see Esben follow me into the water. We get a hold of each other, and together we move slowly away from the entrance site, fighting the wind and the waves. Around us, we see the others in the water, and soon we have formed a small group of four people, creating a tight ring to keep each other warm, while we are pushed around by the waves. Continue reading

Big plans in a small boat

“They are gonna sail around the world!” I overheard one of my colleagues explaining our plans to another colleague, and rushed over to correct him. Not around the world! Just to the Mediterranean – and then wherever we want to go. My colleagues didn’t see the difference, to them my plan somehow sounded pretty much the same as sailing around the world…

It’s been almost two years since Esben and I started talking about doing a sabbatical. To take a year off and go traveling before the kids get too old. Maybe in a RV in New Zealand, or backpacking in Asia. But then we started thinking about sailing. The intention when we bought Chip-Chip was never to go far. We chose a boat that was strong enough to take us to Norway or even Scotland for our holidays, but also small enough that we can handle the work ourselves, both at sea and during winter. Had we wanted a liveaboard sailboat we would probably have chosen one a bit bigger than 28 foot. Like everybody else.

But the thing is, we’re fine in Chip-Chip. And Chip-Chip is right there. Maybe not exactly ready to go on an extended trip, but still. I came across some blogs about people sailing from Germany to the Mediterranean through Europes rivers and canals. The trip is beautiful and also nice for kids (and adults) who tend to get sea sick. So this is how we will start. Runa got a bit worried when “Ultra news” said that there’s a butter shortage in France, making problems for croissant bakers, but then Damien, my French colleague, told her that France have some of the best cheese in the world, so now she’s onboard again.

We’re planning to leave this summer. We do not have firm plans for the route we want to take, but if you don’t dream it, it won’t happen, so we have made a preliminary plan below. The trip may end up being exactly like that, but most likely we will change our minds along the way. And that’s exactly what it’s about; to take the time for us as a family and enjoy spending time with the kids and exploring the world with each other. We’re not sure how long we want to stay away. As long as it’s fun – and as long as we can afford it.

 

Lithium battery setup: A first plan

We are pretty sure we want lithium batteries (LiFePO4) in Chip-Chip. Mostly because we don’t have a lot of space, and as lithiums can be discharged to about 20%, they will give us more power in less space and with a lot less weight.

But lithiums are fairly sensitive, so it is necessary to carefully think the electrical system through before installing them. Our first thought was to  buy a “plug-and-play ” lithium setup, which includes a BMS system. This seems like the easiest solution, but the more we learned about lithiums, the more uncomfortable it made us not knowing the details of the system. Continue reading