“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.
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
Sailing in the Danish Belt Seas is really nice and easy, usually with day sails from island to island. But I have been doing that type of sailing with my parents for many years, and still do. So this summer we were ready to go a bit further. We actually wanted to cross the North Sea and go to Scotland, but the weather put those plans on a hold. Our backup plan was to go to Bornholm. Preferable directly from Kiel Holtenau to Bornholm, without stops on the way. We figured that this way we would get much further much faster – and Runa would be able to sleep some of the way instead of feeling seasick. Continue reading
When Runa, Mattis and I returned to Chip-Chip after visiting the Stralsund Aquarium, Esben was nowhere to be seen. He had stayed behind to change filters on our motor and to take a walk in the old city and do some grocery shopping. We began preparing the boat for leaving, and went up to get our deposit back for the shower card. Of course it turned out that the deposit was lost, as the harbor office only opened for one hour at lunch, and naturally there was no other way of returning the card. This is Germany after all. We wanted to cut up the card and leave it in their mail box with an angry note, but ended up giving it to our neighbors instead. Continue reading
As time passed on Bornholm, I became more and more aware of the departure date that was looming in the distance; we had planned our return date so I would be able to catch a plane from Hamburg to Tromsø, to join the Polarstern on a Fram Strait expedition. And the south-westerly winds, which had been such great help in getting us to Bornholm, were still there – and now they didn’t seem so appealing. Continue reading
We arrived in Hammerhavnen in the morning, and after getting some breakfast, we decided to take a walk in the area. Bornholm has many hiking paths, and one reason we had chosen to go to Hammerhavnen was its location right next to the nature reserve Hammeren. On this northern tip of Bornholm, granite makes up the ground, making it very different from the rest of Denmark. We filled our backpack with drinks and snacks in the hope of making Mattis want to walk the whole route with us, and started the route that took us up the coast. We soon came past goats and sheep living in the reserve, and met many other tourists taking in the beautiful nature. When we reached the ruins of a small chapel we consulted our guidebook and decided that the 7 km route was too long for us. Instead we started back and crossed over and up towards the light house located at the highest point of Hammeren. The road up there was steep, and Mattis didn’t find the hike that great anymore, but in the end we made it, and from the light house we could see all the way to Sweden. On the way back to the harbour, we made our way along the man made lakes in the area that originate from the granite quarries. Nowadays, they are impressive rocks which I guess most people visiting Bornholm go to see. Continue reading
The kids had gone to Denmark to spend some time with my parents, so Esben and I could sail the first leg of our summer holidays alone. As it turned out, that was lucky – the weather was not cooperating, and I ended up motoring directly against wind and waves from Bremerhaven to the entrance of the Elbe, while Esben was dying from seasickness below. As we turned and sailed down the Elbe towards Cuxhaven, we finally had following winds and I could pull out the genua, turn off the motor and continue inwards by sail. And after a while Esben came up to join me for the last part of the day. After almost 12 hours of sailing, we tied up in the harbor in Cuxhaven where a seal greeted us at the pontoon. Continue reading
I asked Runa what she likes best about sailing. “I don’t like sailing!” was the answer. This is something we practice with her – to notice the good thing that happens and not just remember what you didn’t like so much. So I asked her again, there must be something nice about sailing, right? “Maybe walking the little paths on Nordbjerget” she said. That was on Anholt last year. We talked a bit longer, and it turned out that we she really likes is exploring a new place. I like that too. Arriving somewhere and go out and see the place you ended up in. Actually, I like it so much that I’m dead set on not visiting the sailing grounds south of Funen, which I have visited plenty of times with my parents throughout my childhood. Continue reading
Dark teak interiors are valued in the Danish boating community – strange since we all seem to favor light Nordic design. Chip-Chip has been owned by people who have loved to sail, and to sail far. Consequently, countless screw holes in the teak reminds us of long forgotten instruments, storing containers, fire extinguishers etc. And the interior is somewhat worn. Practically it doesn’t really matter, but still… Continue reading
“STOP PULLING THE WOOD!!!!” Mattis jumped when I started screaming at him. It was summer and he had been playing in the cockpit, and was checking out how the seats were made of marine plywood with a teak coverage. Only problem was that the teak coverage was basically paper thin and peeling off. And while it’s not really a big issue, it’s not aesthetically pleasing, and if the teak is not fixed, the marine plywood below would slowly be damaged by the water creeping in. Continue reading