Since we don’t have a lot of sailing experience, we figured it would be best to start sailing with someone who knows the ropes. I asked around and one of my friends was prepared to help us skipper our boat for a week during easter. Another friend and Thomas’ dad also tagged along for the week.
It was was a great opportunity to move all of our stuff on board: we stashed every square cm of the car with clothes, wetsuits, books and kites and headed south. To move all this stuff on board and still leave space for a five-person crew, we had to do some advanced tetris. We almost succeeded, but there was this one kiteboard that just kept getting in the way. Wherever we put it, it had to be relocated within a few minutes. Thomas had the genius idea to stash it under the dinghy, where it immediately broke through the old plastic hatch and left a big leak directly above our bed. We noticed it when our bed was already dripping wet (and salt water dries up VERY slowly).
During the week, we had very strong to very light winds (ranging from 3 to 25+ knots) which was awesome for trying out everything on board. The previous owner left the boat well equipped with two spinnakers and a hydrovane which provided hours of entertainment. The hydrovane is a mechanical steering system which keeps the boat on course like an autopilot (without electricity). It’s like an extra crew member. We decided to name him Helmut.
Sad enough we found out that the reefing system of the headsail has died of old age. We had to help it get through the week by sending a strong crew member to the front of the boat to help it furl by hand. Getting that replaced and threading the second reefline are two major jobs we have to get done before we set sail.
But first we’re going to get back to Basel for our last weeks of work and our wedding in May!