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Ice Age 2017 | Mannheim Harbour

„If there’s more than one possible outcome of not getting your boat out of the water before onset of winter, and one of those outcomes will result in disaster or an undesirable consequence, then someway it will end up that way.“

An example of applied Murphys Law. Personal circumstances and some kind of procrastination were leading to the fact that my little sailyacht MILVA18 – who definitely is not built for an expedition to Antarctica – had to stay all winter long in her berth. Due to very low water level already in beginning of December, there was no way to get her with 1,15m draught into the wharf for craning at level 0,5m. Surely, exactly this winter is supposed to become a tought one.

Any ideas to prevent her from damage are more than welcome.


The old can and the sea

Recently I voluntarily payed double prize for a bottle of dishwashing detergent of the same environment-friendly pretending Belgium based company just because of nicely designed bottle and a label attached that was saying ‘This bottle is produced from plastic waste found in the canals of Amsterdam before it could reach the North Sea’. The limited edition bottle is the eye catcher for the company’s Ocean Plastic Project and attracted me even more after having read the truth about the bio-degradable potential of different kinds of waste that is continuously thrown into the sea, check out the oceancrusaders.org article about Aluminiumcans in the ocean! What I did not know – waste_DKNorthseaCoast1hence not playing the environmentalist on board and rebuking my captain and friend for throwing beer cans into the North Sea – that these metal cans are not just oxidising quickly and decomposed after a short while lying on the sea ground, but taking around 200 years for that process! The reason is a plastic layer put onto the Aluminium to keep the beer from turning into a foul taste due to its metal turbidity character when canned. After that I hope my GFK boat will never sink, and That I can still use the content of the ocean-waste-recycled bottle for washing up onboard and from board with a quiet conscience.

Lola Bodum Diver

N 51° 33.242′   E 003° 48.530′ | Delta Marina .  Kortgene

The initial plan was a good one. To get up early, have a quick breakfast and start sailing when other sailors start sailing: in the morning. The point is, that during the passed three weeks of having MILVA swimming in saltwater, we never managed to get out of the harbour before 3 in the afternoon. It was a cloudy day, Windfinder gave a forecast with wind from north-west of 4 beaufort. Our idea was to sail to Veere for a coffee. We started with coffee from my specifically for MILVA acquired Bodum french press (like all other dishes actually too fancy to use on a boat with the kitchen utilities stored in four wooden wine boxes) on the day after having met Roxani, Greg and the twins in Woluwe shopping mall. A special french press so to say. Even though I prefer espresso and Lola under circumstances of yachting the quick instant coffee solution. And the breakfast took longer, as I normally can spend hours sipping on a black tea, kind of meditation, and Lola went through some state of nostalgy telling Argentinian stories.VA18breakfast-8412

Around ten Lola started washing the dishes, the quick way – with cold water from the water hose attached to the berth. Everything was clean but during rinsing the french press filter attached to the metal stick on the pot’s lock the three metal pieces making out the filter went into the sea. underground. we could hardly see the three pieces due to the cloudy weather. “OK – I jump!” – Lola announced, Astonishing me, as i didn’t feel for swimming today. It took some time, some legs in the water, until I took initiative to make use of the scuba diving equipment and the thought that any sailor should be able to dive underneath her boat. I hate diving. It scares me. in several tries diving in 2m deep dark water, which was harder than what my memory gave of accomplishing the silver swimming badge at the age of 10, I could rescue two of the three metal pieces. the third one stayed on the ground, hidden under the dust, seaweed and oysters I dispersed during my panicking dives. We gave up. Seeing a french press some days later in a shop, the diving was totally useless anyway, as with the three metal pieces the most important part, a tiny screw, went underground too. And MILVA is just no submarine.va18-8414
In the end, we departed at 1 p.m. and realizing at the corner towards Veere that the wind coming from the front is with 5 Beaufort just too strong to get there. So we turned and went back for two unnecessary Kiss & Rides 😦   

Kiss & Ride

N 51° 31.846′   E 003° 43.518′ | Veerse Meer around red buoy S4

In Belgium there’s an expression for a car dropping a person and continue onwards: Kiss and ride.  MILVA under command of her all female crew seems to be a gooder kisser and rider as well – especially in narrow-shallow Veerse Meer at stronger wind forces losing speed in failing tacks and drifting onshore. Kiss the ground with 1.15 metres draught of her keel and get herself floating again without external aid! Just the five horse power outboard engine, the crew hanging on the sidestay to get the boat tilt a bit, in extreme cases pushing with a paddle, and MILVA with her 800kg and keel is in maneouvrable state again. Our neighbours with their 22 feet longkeel boat and 6HP engine reported never having been able to get out of the mostly sandy ground by own forces. And just recently saw a far to big yacht for this area getting stuck in the middle of the fairway. Which brings me to my other observation sailing in Zeeland: never ever navigate and trust fancy navigation apps! Use a recently updated paper nautical chart. Following screenshot of Navionics app shows my track doing the two times kissing & riding by drifting too far starbards of the imaginary line marked by the red buoys. Considering the paper chart during sailing (as on the IPad with daylight beaming  on its surface you cannot see any dot on the digital chart) I knew that the depth was around 1.3m – 1.1m. The echolot showed 0.8-0.9 when the boat got stuck on ground. There is almost no tidal range in Veerse Meer. But Navionics showing 2.4m depth is just wrong and proofs that it should only be used for planning, tracking and checking the current position with where you think you are pointing on the paper chart.

Distance: 13 nm
Duration: 3h 48min
Max./Avg.Speed: 5.6 / 3.4 kts
Wind Speed: 4-5 Beaufort

MILVA & TECHNIK: Freddy, le vibrateur

N 51° 32.639′   E 003° 51.837′ | Veerse Meer – Zandkreeksluis

Wollte MILVA etwa mit den Herren von der Schleuse flirten oder braucht auch ein Außenbordmotor etwas Zuneigung?
Und Vertrauen?Es wäre nicht das erste Mal, dass mich ein Mercury Außenbordmotor nicht so ganz mit seiner Zuverlässigkeit überzeugt, denke an das VIBRATEUR MALHEUR oder die Ausfahrt mit Madame C, nach welcher sie nie wieder wagte ein Boot zu besteigen. Jedenfalls keines, das ich steuerte oder gar segelte!

Wir haben die MILVA heute mal durch die Schleuse gejagt und die Oosterschelde schnuppern lassen. Sowas kann man ja mal fürn Ernstfall üben bei wenig Wind und Verkehr. Ein nettes niederländisches Seglerpärchen, das wir im Bistro La Barca getroffen hatten, gab uns den Tipp, eine Leine von der vorderen Klampe durch den Ring an der Schleusenwand nach hinten auf die hintere Klampe durchzuziehen. Eine Methode geeignet für Einhandsegler und MILVA, die eh zu kurz wäre für ein Festmachen in der Schleuse mit Vor- und Achterleine.

Die zwei Seemeilen zur Schleuse liefen wunderbar. Wir überstanden den Prozess des Schleusens an sich mit der Erkenntnis, dass es doch einige Meter aufwärts ging und man die Leine besser auf Slip hält und das Boot gut abfendert. Die Brücke ging auf. Wir werfen die Leine los, stoßen uns von der Schleusenwand ab, und der Motor geht aus. Die Frau mit den Fendern hat tolle Tipps parat, die Frau am Motor versucht vergeblich den Motor nach gelungenem Start mit Und ohne Choke am Laufen zu halten. Milva driftet wieder Richtung Schleusenwand, die Jungs von der Schleuse werden unruhig und fragen was los ist. In anderen Worten: man schreit sich panisch an, was nicht zur Lösung des Problems beiträgt. Wir bekommen Tipps vom Schleusenwärter, die Brücke bleibt offen, und schließlich hilft uns ein französisch sprechender Motorbootfahrer beim Starten des Außenbordmotors, indem er beim gelungenen Start ohne Choke Kurz Gas gibt.

MILVA ohne Segel. Findet den Fehler in der Betakelung!

Wir verlassen die Zandkreeksluis durch den schmalen Kanal in Richtung Oosterschelde, bis kurz vor der Einmündung an Tonne Z1 der Motor erneut ins Stottern kommt und ausgeht. Wir ziehen die Fock aus dem Rollreff, starten den Motor erneut und machen kehrt, zurück zur Schleuse, zurück ins Veerse Meer und den sicheren Hafen. Bei ein bis zwei Windstärken und wenig Strömung wie an diesem Abend ist ein unzuverlässiger Motor nicht das Problem, aber macht uns wenig Hoffnung bei ändernden Windbedingungen mit MILVA auf große Fahrt zu gehen.

Wir schaffen es mit drei weiteren Ausfällen in und durch die Schleuse und zählen bis zur Delta Marina dreizehn Motorneustarts. Verflixt! Was hat ein neuer Mercury 5PS Außenbordmotor gemeinsam mit dem alten 3.3 PS Mercury, genannt LE VIBRATEUR?

Le Vibrateur hatte zuletzt einen verschmutzten Vergaser. nach der Reinigung beim Neckarstädter Rasenmäherfachmann brachte ich ihn gar nicht mehr an, da das Gelbe Sofa ohne den Ballast besser zu segeln war. Das Vergaserproblem kann man vermeiden, indem man nach jeder Fahrt den Vergaser und die Benzinzuleitungen leerlaufen lässt. Wir taten das, mit jeder Hafeneinfahrt. Die Wasserkühlung funktionierte, bei Verwendung im Salzwasser sollte man den Motor mit Süßwasser spülen. Das konnte aber nicht der Grund sein. Ich gebe dem Außenborder den Namen Freddy und spreche ihm Vertrauen zu. Vielleicht ist es so wie mit Krankheiten. Je größer die Angst davor, desto wahrscheinlicher dass man betroffen wird.

Wir öffnen den Deckel und stellen fest, dass der interne Tank fast leer ist. Aber was das mit dem vollen externen Tank und den Ausfällen zu tun hatte, die so klangen, als bekäme der Motor nicht genügend Benzin kam uns nicht in den Sinn. Nach intensiverer Studie des englischen Handbuchs und Einholen mehrerer Meinungen von Autobastlern und Motorboothändlern hatten wir die Lösung: der Motor zieht Benzin von dem Ort des geringsten Widerstands. Und die Zuleitung zum fast leeren internen Tank war während aller unserer ca. 20stündigen gesamtnutzung des Motors geöffnet.

MILVA, the Veerse Meer and its shallow shoreline

N 51° 32.728′   E 003° 48.341′ | Red Buoy Number VM22

After a day of craning, setting up the mast, sprayhood and preparing the main drop system, MILVA went on her first cruise in the Veerse Meer. Two sweet Belgian ladies in the harbour, with a lifetime experience in sailing doing an afternoon tea time in the sun, commented our departure with ‘next time you should prepare that just a bit better’.

kortgene_vm22At wind speed of 17 knots in peaks, lots of motor boats and sail yachts around (due to the public holiday in Belgium) in the narrow channel just in front of Delta Marina in Kortgene, it was a quite demanding first time cruise and ended up in drifting to shore due to an unnecessary giving way to a motorboat. It is to blame La capitana who let MILVA pass red buoy VM22 starboard side trying to tack at almost no speed and wind gusts. The tack didn’t work, so MILVA slowly drifted on shore and slightly got stuck with its 1.15m keel in the ground. Two sailors in a dinghie offered their help, people onshore trying to give advice, but in the end Lala-lala-Lola managed to get the engine running backwards and La capitana could push the boat with the rudder standing at the bow and donating her (for sailing apparently unsuitable) green Rayban sunglasses to the Veerse Meer. Another reason to finally get the fancy polarized Polaroid sunglasses!