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…


… 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.

Burning field/harvester

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.

more pictures

Speed record that season.

And some wind as well, gusting 8bft…

End of Season 2016

Not on a boat, Camping close to Hamburg. And boom, it’s 2017

Unhealthy habits…

Some people like to anchor uncomfortably close.

Dutch guy who ran aground.

it’s been a while… again

Yeah, the longer I don’t write the harder it is to get into it again because there’s so much catching up to do. Let’s just break this cycle and not catch up. Or just a little bit. The last one and a half years was more or less a filler episode. Same old, same old. Sailing, tinkering, working, travelling, … Not too shabby at all but also not spectacular in any way. One noteworthy thing is that I sold the boat and a bunch of other stuff.

Now I’m yet again working on some weird project which is conveniently a couple of 100 km away from my flat. yay! So let’s just look at some pictures in anticipation of next year. Let’s just say there is more of that to come 🙂

Some pics from sweden:

What’s happening here? Sometimes you need the AIS to get clarity.


Ah, a Search And Rescue Helicopter is hoisting somebody up from a boat.

Sassnitz, the shittiest harbor I’ve seen so far. Literally.

The little red ball is my anchor buoy, approx 25m away.

The nice thing about sailboats: You can tinker while sailing. That’s a step up from the so called “rolling restoration” of cars…

Turning back

Written on Ranö, near Stockholm
Log: around 880nm

After chilling out in the Stockholm Archipelago for some weeks I’ll start heading home. The 300odd nautical miles to the German coast seem like quite some distance. I’m sort of afraid. Will I manage to go there? What if I don’t find a harbour/anchor spot in the evening. What if my engine fails? What if I fuck up mooring in a harbour? What if my anchor drags? I kind of feel like I’m just acting as if I’m a sailor. The same stuff happens to me at work and with different hobbies. It’s called the imposter syndrome. Many folks have these issues. For me the solution is to make my accomplishments visible to myself. I’ve been sailing around 1500nm this season, more than half of it single-handed. I’m just sailing back the way I’m coming from. Also I’m technically a newbie on this I’m not doing too shabby. It’s good that I question my skills. That’s what keeps me sharp. But sometimes it drives me crazy as well.


If you’re good at stuff plenty seems granted. An example: Lately a really nice guy had problems with his engine. It wouldn’t start up, supposedly the starter solenoid. So he waited to Monday to drive to the next town to shop for new solenoids. While changing them I had a look at the problem and the hardware he bought. A 30A Solenoid for the starter of a 4cyl perkins diesel? Unlikely. Some retracing of wires later we found out that he exchanged the solenoid which disconnects the two battery circuits (so you do not drain the starter battery while at anchor) and the one for the charge control indicator (I had to look up the magic behind it on the interwebs). Both do not interfere with the starter in any way. After identifying the actual starter solenoid and some measuring / hot wiring we diagnosed some rotten connectors and a broken cable and replaced it. From my point of view this was no biggy. Besides that the old perkins has “positive ground” so all the logic is backasswards. I should remind myself that being able to that kind of stuff is quite an achievement. No rocket science for sure but still a skill which takes time to pick up.


Owe and Helina, the swedes with the broken cable

I can’t quite wrap my head around it but on this trip I don’t feel to much like blogging. One reason might be that I didn’t have any 12V computery with a keyboard with me and I try to avoid harbours because of cost and hassle of berthing. Maybe I’ll do some writing in winter. Probably not. After all there is not much to write about. Scandinavia is freaking beautiful. Swedes, though often too shy for my taste, are a really nice and helpful bunch. I left as a landlubber and will return as a sailor.


Swedish Mooring. Drop a stern anchor, slowly approach the rock, jump over and either tie bow lines to trees or hammer nails in rock crevices.

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