FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

A couple of questions come up frequently on Facebook or YouTube. Usually, I try to answer personally to all the questions that appear on my channels. With a growing number of followers, I have decided to put up this small FAQ. This way, those frequently asked questions can be answered here and I can use more time to answer new ones that come up.

And of course, the FAQ starts with a topic, about which people asked most:

Money to finance sailing around the world

White Spot Pirates pin green rightHow much did you pay for your boat KARL?

I paid 8.000€ for KARL. For that I got a lot of boat and myself into a lot of trouble. A real bargain,hm?

White Spot Pirates pin green leftHow much did you invest into KARL after the purchase?

Well, I spend about 25.000$ in the first year after the purchase. But this includes all my living costs and marina costs at Shelter Bay. This year (2015) I will have to invest another 8.000$ (more or less, hopefully less) to get him ready to cross into the Pacific. Fingers crossed!

White Spot Pirates pin green rightWhat are your monthly expenses?

Honestly, I am super bad in keeping track of my spendings. I try again and again and usually, after two months, the detailed documenting of expenses kinda fades out. And also, it is very difficult to give a good average number of monthly spendings anyways.

I have had months in remote areas like Guna Yala where I spent as little as 200$ a month (happy times!). And I have had months with high country check in fees and lots of spendings for KARL and I would be spending around 2.000$ a month (ouch, yes!). I try to keep those painful months low, I can tell you.

But that’s more or less the range, I would say. Between 200 and 2.000$. I know you are not fully satisfied with this ansewer, but this is all I have to offer ;). There are other blogs that publish super detailled monthly spendings. So far, I am not one of them, sorry…

White Spot Pirates pin green leftHow do you finance sailing around the world?

Before departing I have worked quite hard to be able to save a good amount of money (read the section on the right to find out what field I was working in). Those savings are gone by now. When I have bigger expenses coming up, like having to buy a new engine, then I need to take a break from sailing and make some more cash.

Since the beginning of my travels, I have worked very hard to produce the weekly sailing documentary UNTIE THE LINES. The videos are free to watch on YouTube. I have set up an account at Patreon.com where people can voluntarily support the creation of the sailing videos, which is providing a monthly income that covers some of my costs.

But this money is also used to pay for internet and for upgrading my filming equipment, so it is not heaps that ends up in the cruising kitty. But it helps for sure and I am very greatful for this support! I also try to write articles for magazines which I need to do more in the future.

Sponsoring…well, so far I have only been able to get some small discounts for this and that, rarely something for free and surely no financial support per se. I guess I could try harder in this area (believe me, it is not as easy as you might think, at least it has not been for me so far)…but sponsorship also meens control in a way, so keeping it low means being free as well :).

My family helps me with traveling costs when I come back home…and my dad is paying the bill for my Iridium phone – both things they do totally without any personal interest ;). No, seriously, this also helps a lot and I am very greatful!

There is a whole page dedicated to KARL where you can find general information, some numbers and a bit about my equipment on board. That is why I will only include questions here that are not being answered there.

White Spot Pirates pin green rightHow and why did you chose KARL? And why did you buy him in Panama?

White Spot Pirates pin green leftWhy did you choose the name KARL for your boat?

For some reason, I wanted my boat to be a male companion. And I was looking for a short and easy name. KARL has always been a name that I have liked and when I looked up the meaning of it, I found out, that it means “husband” but also “the free one”. That was the moment I knew that it would be the perfect name for my boat.

White Spot Pirates pin green leftHow much sailing experience did you have before you started your journey?

Not a lot, around 2.000nm. Those miles were coastal sailing with some overnights but no multi-day passages nor big ocean crossings.

I never single handed a boat before in my life – well, except an optimist…does that count? But I did go sailing twice with the stepfather of one of my best friends that let me pretend I was single handing his boat whilst he was on board (that was on a pretty Halberg Rassy 35). Mostly, I was focused on docking manoeuvres on those trips…which in the end I have done only once single handed since I bought the boat. Sailing in the Northern and Baltic Sea is different to sailing in the Caribbean for sure ;).

White Spot Pirates pin green rightHow did you learn to sail?

My dad is a sailor. When I was 14, he put me into sailing school and that was the first time I sat in a sailboat, an optimist, yelling sailing commands at myself. But no, there was no passionate sailing youth that followed, if that is what you thought. Rowing was my passion at that time and Sailing was more a way to travel rather than a sport for me (which still is the case).

I did a couple of sailing licenses in the following years during summer holidays (Germans love licenses…) and with 16 I had my coastal sailing license that would allow me to charter yachts. That is how I learnt about navigation, laws (don’t remember much of that), lights, seamanship and all that stuff. Theoretically mostly.

Practically, those 2.000nm I sailed before my departure were mostly in the Med and in the Baltic and Northern Sea. Those trips were with the sailing school, with my family (I was my dad’s very proud first mate) and then later on with the boat of the stepfather of one of my best friends.

But really, how I learnt to sail was after the purchase of KARL. Well, still learning day after day…it’s a never ending challenge!

White Spot Pirates pin green leftWhat did you do before UNTIE THE LINES? What is your professional background?

Here’s a short CV: I finished school, went to study Business Studies with a focus on Strategic Management and then started to work for a medium sized company in the North of Germany. I worked my way up to being the leader of the Marketing Department, which allowed me to save some money for this trip (see section on the top left).

Of course there were little bits and pieces inbetween, some small explorative detours…I have always loved to travel and took some time off in between to do so or to work abroad for a while…But greedy as I am, I wanted more than just “a year off” or “three months unpaid holidays”. Well, here I am, guess I worked that one out!

If you want to know how I took the decision to finally UNTIE THE LINES, you can read this blog post.

White Spot Pirates pin green rightDid you have any technical boat refit skills before buying KARL?

Nope. Nothing, nada, rien. Well, I did visit a course about boat engines and electrics. Did I remember any of that once I was on my own boat and did it help me? Nope again.

Apart from a bit of wood work with my dad when I was a kid, I really did not have any skills that would qualify me to work on my boat.

But no worries, I am the living proof that you can survive without knowing all these things beforehand! You can do it! Just go out there, ask people, ask the internet, buy a book and get your hands dirty. You will swear and sweat, but you will be imensly proud and happy once you finished your first project! I promise!

White Spot Pirates pin green leftHow many languages do you speak?

My mother tongue is German. I am fluent in English and Spanish and I can have a conversation in French, but not a super fluent one…

If you wonder, why this documentary is in English, altough I am German, you can watch this small Interview with Jochen from segel-filme.de (it’s in German, though).

White Spot Pirates pin green rightWhat camera do you use for filming?

For the whole first season and the beginning of the second season I mostly used a GoPro Hero 3 White Edition. For the second season, I upgraded to a GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition.

I also have a Canon Camcorder Legria HF G25 that I used a lot more in Season 2. It is nice to have a camera that you can actually zoom in with to make the videos a bit more interesting. But with the Camcorder, you also have to be way more careful not to get it wet or smashed.

That’s why I added a Nikon Coolpix AW130, giving me the zoom option but still being in a rugged waterproof case. Also, I prefer the underwater filming with this one than with the GoPro.

White Spot Pirates pin green leftWhich editing software do you use?

The editing is done by Patrice Lange. Check out this blog post to find out why he is doing the editing. Patrice uses Premiere Pro and sometimes After Effects.

White Spot Pirates pin green rightWhy don’t you make your videos longer?

The reason people would like the videos to be longer is the proof that they have the right size. If they were longer, they might become boring…That is why we keep them nice and short. We want you to stay tuned and come back next friday to watch the next one :)! I know, it’s mean…

White Spot Pirates pin green leftWhat is the music used in your videos?

Most of the music is from a band called Uniform Motion. One of the theme songs is called “There Is No Way”, another frequently used one is “Little Tomcat” by Josh Woodward .You can find a playlist here.