three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

The journey commences

Hamburg – Amsterdam – and beyond


From the Hamburg marina, St. Pauli and the Reeperbahn are not far away, so it might be understandable what happened to two NXP colleagues. They came round about 10:30 p.m. In the dark they couldn’t easily find us, so they asked someone where the trimaran is moored. First reaction: “Trimaran, what is that?” After the explanation that it was a quite large, wide ship, followed instead of an answer the next question: “Oh, are you the call girls for the trimaran?”

Having received many visitors to our ship the departure day finally dawned. A few last-last-minute arrangements with the office and our daughter, shopping for provisions in the Hafencity (on foot), stowing away the many farewell presents (thanks again to everyone) and emptying the surfaces in the boat. 

In the evening we went out to eat in the Portuguese quarter.

On Thursday, 1.8. at 4:45 a.m. it was time to set off!


We almost were delayed. When Mathias went to the door, he discovered a stowaway on our bench in the tent! A young man had made himself comfortable in his sleeping bag! In the future we will activate our electronic dog in the harbour. 

The casting off manoeuvre went well and the trip through the illuminated harbour was very beautiful. After that I didn’t see much of the surroundings anymore, but cleaned the Elbe mud off our fenders. We drove down the Elbe under motor, because the wind blew unfavourably. Just before we reached Cuxhaven, the engine suddenly stopped. We weren’t in the fairway, but next to us was a sandbank and dangerously shallow water. Mathias anchored and the troubleshooting started. The mistake was quickly discovered: The day tank was empty! Turn on the pump for the tank and suck in diesel again with the hand pump at the engine. After a quarter of an hour we went on and all on board know now, where the hand pump at the engine is. 😉

Iris sails with us for the first three weeks. She has studied the English Channel intensively for the SKS exam and is looking forward to putting the theory into practice. 


In Cuxhaven we made a stop to refuel with diesel. The wind pressed us against the landing stage and so we managed an elegant mooring manoeuvre with me at the wheel and Mathias with the rope and the big step on land. From the outside it probably looked as if we had lots of experience. ☺


We continued along the coast. The wind was moderate and the trip therefore calm. Iris cooked us a delicious dinner and the night shift could begin. We sailed between the traffic separation area and the coast. Unfortunately the wind came from the front, which is why we had to use the engine a lot. Next day the weather was hotter and the wind decreased a bit, but also changed direction. Now it was possible to try out one of our spinnakers. For the first time. Just stay calm. Very thoroughly we laid out the sail on the foredeck, thought through the arrangement of the lines, checked that the halyard was not twisted and finally pulled up the sail successfully. 1 ¼ hours had passed, but hey, there must be room for improvement in the optimization of maneuvers☺

When I wrote these lines, we just sped along at 10 knots and the sail stood perfectly ☺. Mathias did not want the spinnaker down until there were 20 knots of wind. The task of recovering the sail in this wind already gave my helmet its first use. Only the spi halyard hit lightly against the helmet while I was tying it, but that could have hurt as well.


This time I had to cook the dinner. Iris went on strike, she didn’t want to cook in “the swaying living room”, because you fly farther than on a normal ship. I had that problem in the beginning, but you get used to it and just stand up with your legs wide like an old sea bear. ☺

The second night was windier. We tied the third reef into the mainsail and only set the self-tacking jib. In the first part of the night it was rough. Iris and Mathias were radioed by a helicopter, they should pass the stern of a bigger ship in order not to disturb the approach manoeuvre. When my guard started, the sea had calmed down a bit and we only had to watch the lights of the other ships. Steering from below warm and dry, we sailed a detour around two wind farms, in order not to arrive too early at Amsterdam and to let Mathias sleep a bit longer. 

At the marina in Amsterdam we had not made a reservation (we had too many other things on our minds in the last weeks). We were told to call after 1 p.m. and ask if there is enough space. That left time to drive into town together with a few gay awareness parade boats. 

Shortly after 1 p.m. we arrived at the marina and moored at the same place as last time, properly parked. This time with Mathias at the helm and I made the big step onto the jetty. ☺

We stayed in Amsterdam for two days, one day we used for some sightseeing and had a few visitors. The second one we declared a resting day. Mathias tinkered with his antenna cable for the satellite phone and I sorted things. By the time we’ll arrive in the Canary Islands, everything should have got it’s proper place where it can’t fly around.

Now we are on our way to Southampton and hope that we will make such good progress that we will be able to call at a port in between. The wind is not favourable. The strength and the swell let the ship rock. I sit with my computer on the bed, where the computer is safely cushioned to all sides. Because the bed is elevated, you now climb in with a judo-like jump in order to avoid shooting headfirst through the window 😉

But I will tell you more about it in the next blog.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Micheline Lang

    Endlich der Bericht eurer ersten Tage auf See. Nun Reise ich mit. Toll!! Die sportliche noch nicht ganz olympiareife Judoschulterabrolltechnik ist wohl noch verbesserungsfähig…
    Weiterhin viel gute Fahrt im Wind.

  2. Ann & Dennis

    Love following your blog! Thank you so much. We are 3.5 years away from buying our Neel 51. We currently have a “practice boat”, a Catalina 30′, in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA. We have done a demo sail on a Neel 51 and will crew aboard hull #1 in 2.5 months. Check out our new YouTube channel – search for ‘gtfo plan’ to find our channel. We only need 3 more subscribers to name our channel. Woo hoo! 🙂

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