Crew, Guests & Buddy Boaters
Most likely, I will never forget that moment, when I took out KARL for the very first spin inside the breakwaters of Colón, being the captain of my own sailing vessel. And it’s even less probable that I will ever lose the memory of my first solo sailing trial that ended…well, let’s say “not so elegantly”.
Growing up close to Hamburg in the North of Germany, I have always loved the sea, but I cannot say that I have ever been a very active sailor. My first sail was in an optimist in my early teens and it was approximately twenty years and only 2000 nautical miles later, that I pursued one of my biggest dreams: to buy a sailboat and to UNTIE THE LINES.
Read this blog post to find out why I took the decision to sail the world.
When I set out for this adventure, I pictured myself on a sailboat somewhere on the ocean – all by myself. Soon I realized that it was nice to have some crew once in a while but it was not until meeting Matthieu that I felt my heart opening up to the idea of having someone on board with me for more than just a day or two.
Matthieu and me sailed together for a month through the San Blas archipelago, heading east until reaching Colombia and then back to Puerto Lindo in Panama. He more than deserves the title KARL’s “first mate” and will always have his berth available on good old KARL!
Thank you for all those precious moments, Matthieu!
It was in Green Island, when I met James on his boat CHAPPY. He came over on his stand up paddel and after five minutes, he sat in my engine compart-ment, holding my heat exchanger in place so I could tighten the hoseclamps.
James, a single handed sailor, told me about a nice anchorage and some friends he was about to meet. The next day, we buddy boated from Green Island to Disneydup. I think, this was the first time KARL overtook another sailboat…what a proud moment (sorry James, I had to mention that. And ok, KARL’s Genua is slightly larger than CHAPPY’s).
And typically for crusing, our ways crossed again later on the island Aridup.
Now these girls rock! Not only do they have this crazy old steel schooner called JOANA that they live on, they also do all their refit work by themselves: mechanics, electrics, welding…you name anything, they surely can do it and have the right tools at hand.
And not only that, there is always a smile on their faces, cold beers in their fridge and a fresh fish on Maria’s speergun. I have been flashed by their positve attitude and amazed by their knowledge. Not surprising, though, have they both sailed around the world and further.
Ladies, you are my personal heros! And buddy boating with you has been a great pleasure.
When I arrived in San Blas after some troublesome ten ours single handed (motor)sail, Emmanuel & Michel were the kindest people in the world, having the finest lobster & crab dinner and a chilled glass of rosé waiting for me when I dropped anchor.
I had known Michel and his trimaran from Puerto Lindo and when we buddy boated from the Lemon Cays to Coco Bandero, it was only a short moment that I actually saw CES ÎLES flying by. Damn, what a fast boat!
Michel has crossed the Atlantic back to Europe by now and I admire him for his bravery and knowledge as well as Emmanuel for her courage to accompany him for parts of this trip, without having any previous sailing experience. Chapeau!
Whenever I chat with Luís, he is always working on some new project. A boat that has to be refittet, a charter company that he wants to set up or a boat delivery from some place A to some place B.
And whenever you meet this lively Portuguese man, you can be sure, that there are three things involved: great food, nice wine and a handfull of interesting stories. He’s the one you want to have at your dinner table entertaining the crowd. That’s why I did not hesitate, when he asked me to crush on KARL in Shelter Bay Marina for a couple of nights and I hope that one day, we finally get the chance to sail together!
One more person on the list that got promised lobsters and palm trees but ended up with tools in his hand trying to fix KARL…The plan was to have KARL’s bottom paint ready by the time that Tobi arrived from Germany. But things took longer than planned – as usual. I am very greatful to have had his helping hands to give KARL’s bottom some new layers of paint, but for Tobi, it was holidays “on the hard”.
The only time we spent on the water with KARL, was moving him from the travel lift to his place on E-Dock. At least, it was a very special moment that he shared with KARL and me: back in the water after all had nearly been lost.
Panama has become Pierrick’s home and it seems as if he does not miss France all too much. When I met him, he worked in Shelter Bay Marina as an electrician but still lived in Puerto Lindo. He helped me to sail KARL from there to Shelter Bay and was also on board when KARL and me finally left Shelter Bay for good. Happy days!
Pierrick has taught and helped me a lot. Some of the stuff, I have to admit, was a bit too complicated for me; this man just has too much knowledge…And I am very greatful to have had his enriching company during many dinners on KARL and happy hours at Shelter Bay.
He’s got his own Catamaran now and I hope to meet him out there when he leaves Shelter Bay behind one day.
Having your family visit you when you are travelling is always something very special. My sister had just finished her master in nutrition and therefore it was the perfect time to go cruising for a while with her older sister.
Would have been, yes. Unfortunately, KARL was not quite ready yet at her arrival. That way, Lotte got to see far too much of Shelter Bay Marina, dinghi glue, sanding paper and sealing gasket. But finally, KARL thanked Lotte her efforts by letting us sail to Puerto Lindo vía Portobelo. At least.
I hope to have her back on board one day for some more quality sister time doing a bit more sailing and less refit!
When KARL and me departed on one of the first trial runs, we ended up being towed back by Miguel to Shelter Bay. He was working as a skipper at that time and because he was short of crew due to his selfless act to bring KARL and me back to the marina, Dimitrios and me volunteered to sail the boat he was working on to Bocas del Toro.
During the towing maneuver, the perfect overnight sail to Bocas del Toro and during many shared dinners and glasses of wine in Shelter Bay, not only have I learnt a lot from the Portuguese skipper and dive master Miguel, but also, I have appreciated many long and deep conversations with him and shared some great music.
So when will you come to sail KARL, Miguel?
The plan was that Dimi would stay for three weeks to help with some of KARL’s refit projects. We are friends since school time, later on he studied product design and therefore is super handy with wood and metal works. I promised him deserted palm tree islands in return for his efforts…instead we ended up having some troublesome trial runs with KARL.
He extended his stay for another two weeks and finally, we got to do some sailing together…not much on KARL’s keels unfortunately, but at least Dimi got a little bit of relaxing time before he went back to Germany and the launch of his own interior and product design company.
Thank you, Dimi, KARL and me owe you a lot!
KARL had just been my new home for a couple of weeks when I met Beth in Shelter Bay. A free spireted Kiwi, who was looking for a boat to cross the Pacific, and had placed her guitar into the exchange box – without being aware of it. Well, me looking for a guitar at that same time…you can imagine what happened. After solving the confusion, KARL became her temporary home as she needed a bunk for a couple of nights and in return, Beth taught me to play one of her beautiful songs.
We crossed the Panama Canal together as line handlers and had some fun experience being six people on the 28 foot sail boat MATIRA.