So yeah, still haven’t bought a boat 🙂 So I did the next best thing and went sailing with a friend. Five weeks, from Amsterdam (Netherlands) down to Oostende (Belgium) and back to Wilhelmshaven (Germany). I’m not too much in the mood for writing much, so here’s just a couple of photos…
Buying a boat (on a budget)
So this will be a series I guess. Giving me a better grasp of what I want and to give the uninitiated a better understanding of my struggles. Luxusprobleme is the german term for the struggle to find a decent yacht btw.
Question #1 is normally: How big a boat should be? This one is relatively easy to answer: As small as you feel comfy with. The larger the more expensive. As a rule of thumb the price doubles for every meter of length, so a 11m boat is 4 times the price of a 9m boat. The curve gets rather linear for large values, Superyachts for example are around a million per meter. Since I’ll be living on the thing I want standing headroom and some space, so it will be around the 11m of length and 3m wide. Less room than a 20m2 room for comparison (boats ain’t brick-shaped).
Question #2 is normally: Price?. This depends on Question #1 of course. For Example a new Dufour 350 (35ft -> 11m, mid range mass produced model) retails around 150.000€ and is neither equipped nor really suited for long distance travel. A new suitable and decently equipped boat for travelling probably runs around half a million but since these are not really mass produced there are no price lists available. Having a boat is also pricey, if you’re not into DIY expect to pay 10% of the buying price each year as expenses (insurance, service, harbours, …). To cut a long story short: buying new is beyond my budget, even if I could come up with the purchase price, the running costs would push me in a full time job which would take all the travel time away. So were looking more at 40+ years old boats, costing around 10% of the aforementioned sums.
Question #3 might be: Sailboat or Powerboat?. This one is related to #2 as well. Powerboats are so thirsty that I just can’t afford long distance travel with them. And there’s the impact on the environment, organisational issues (no gas station in mid atlantic), the noise of the engine, …
To sum it up: Sailboat, around 11m long, 3m wide, and 30+ years old. Standing Headroom, suitable for long distance travel. Got a picture yet? No? Just bear with me, I’ll fill in some details…
"If you want to get stuff done, get a German" -- Some Aussie dude I once bought a car from
Yeah, plenty folks over here pride themselves for their work. But let me tell you a story about bureaucrats. And yes, it’s so long and complicated that I don’t know how to make it entertaining.
So I have a commercial grade skipper license for coastal waters (motor/sail). Since regulations, signs and stuff differ on inland waters I have to make another license for that, which I’m totally fine with. It’s 180 multiple choice questions, with a selection of 30ish in the exam. The fastest folks finished their tests after five minutes, literally.
You have to apply for the thing, adding a health certificate (had to get a new one, since my old one was older than a year, 25€) a picture and around 70€ in fees.
After passing the exam, I returned my coastal license and now I have to wait up to a month for my new license card for coastal skippering (motor & sail) and inland (engine only) since it’s printed by the government. Then I have to fill out another form, add another picture and send my new license to the same address again. Pay another 30ish Euros. Wait up to another month. And then I finally will receive my license card for sail&motor inland/coastal. So two month and around 140€ for five minutes of exam.
This is not including multiple phone calls & emails to figure out the process. Did I mention the process changed while I was in it at least once?
So, this is the new and improved process for the new plastique license card. Wanna know how it was in the old days (like pre 2018)? You apply for the exam, pass it and get your new license handed immediately.
… and more pictures
Prepare to heave-to
There’s guests coming over for coffee.
Next to a 38.5m boat, mine looks quite small..
The weather picked up, so we had to leave fast.
The night wasn’t to comfortable either.
Single best thing about sailing: Sundown at anchor. Never gets old.
Taking pictures for selling the boat. Note the neatly stored foresail, thanks Julia.
The river Trave seems to be a hotspot for nice sunsets
This time I had guests over for coffee.
just passing by, nothing happened
harbors can also be quite nice.
There is no tide in the baltic. But if there’s wind the water can drop by 1,3 meters (in the kieler bight)
Traditional motoring: Hoist all sails and then the largest boat starts the engine to tow all the smaller boats.