Here is something to listen to while you read this:
With these extremely cheap plane tickets nowadays you can choose almost any European city for your short weekend or four-day trip. We’ve done that many times already but I’m getting bored in most cities very quickly. Of course, you can go to the mountains or some back-country hikes which is usually a lot of fun but this summer was all about sailing for me!
This trip has already been planned at least 8 months ago and it finally took place in August. Our start point was the harbour of Heiligenhafen in northern Germany. To reach it we took a bus (yes, decided to ride rather than fly) from Vilnius to Berlin and had to suffer a very tiring and long 16-or-so hour ride. After a couple of days spent exploring Berlin we met our other travel companions and here we are on the road again driving northwards.
This was probably my first trip (not only sailing but in general) with an international company and thus my first post in English ever. We were a team of seven – three Lithuanians, two Czechs and two Germans. Two of us had an extensive sailing experience and I had some as well. Others had some brief experiences or none but we were a good team all together.
So the first evening we did some shopping and settled down in our new French built home Beneteau Cyclades 43.4. This is the largest boat I’ve been on so far.
Next morning we had a safety briefing and some other procedures with the yacht charter company. And there we are – leaving to the sea! It was a beautiful sunny day, a bit too windy but that’s not something we would worry about.
It was only a second time I was going to the sea on a sail boat but there is something I noticed – once I am off the coast I start feeling thirsty and weak even if I was feeling rested before. I also found that there are two ways to get rid of that special feeling – you either drink a lot of water and do something engaging, like steering the boat or you go to sleep. This time I did both but mainly lying on the first day.
An hour or two passed since we left the coast and I got to know what the Sea can really be like. Winds were blowing quite heavily, at least compared to all my previous experiences, waves were slamming our boat and tossing it here and there. Then came the rain. We reduced the area of sales couple of times and the waves were still doing the same to us. Four of our team were not feeling well in one way or another. It was actually nothing unusual for proficient sailors who have seen this many times before but for me it was a good chance to transmit some philosophical thoughts through my head. I felt that we, together with our very well equipped modern boat are such an extremely small piece of shit against the nature, we are nothing against the greatness of the sea.
I know that people cross the oceans in even smaller ships and sometimes even alone. I can’t image how would I feel doing that and even started to question myself whether I would really want to do that at all. Before, obviously, I had thoughts that one day I will set off on the round-the-world sailboat trip (definitely not alone). But let’s leave it for the future, things sometimes come naturally to us.
Every time we reach the harbour in the evening and touch the solid ground – I get some special feeling of accomplishment and pride. I feel like I defeated something and grew up inside a little bit even though I’ve been sitting all day in the cockpit and resting.
Our trip was planned for four days but we reached Copenhagen in three. On the way we stayed in two very cozy and quite Danish harbours and had great meals cooked on the boat – every evening by a different crew member. Those harbours have a wonderful atmosphere – very serene and peaceful places isolated from the rest of the world (it’s just how it feels like, not literally) where it seems like everyone is paying their respect to the sea by being very silent and polite yet every person you meet there is relaxed and smiling.
We did 110 sea miles in total which is approx. 204 km. Reached Copenhagen and moored in the very city center – Nyhavn (how can you not feel privileged after that? Especially in the country where equality is one of their main values:) ). But it was not our goal to show that we are superior to the local people. The harbour was not too crowded and no competition with other boats so why not do that?
We had another great evening together on the boat chatting about future trips and adventures and eating one of our delicious dinners. The next morning everyone who was still left at the boat did their part of cleaning, preparing the yacht for the next crew and contemplating about the latter few days. The trip was pretty much over. At least the sailing part…
This trip gave a lot think about. It’s the first time I realized how much sailing in the sea differs from sailing in the lake. I also realized how fast you need to be when making decisions (which I am not always good at) during harsh conditions in the sea. I didn’t feel very well when on water and felt much better on land but I’m already looking forward to the next sailing trip whenever it might come!