Some Day In May

Maiden Voyage is the name of a jazz tune by (the legendary) Herbie Hancock. I used to play it a lot in my previous life as an aspiring jazz pianist, but little did I know that one day I would actually embark on a maiden voyage for real, on our own boat. It’s wild. We have speakers in the cockpit, by the way (!), so if the rest of the crew approves, Herbie might come along for a while as well.

The Handover

Our HanseYachts dealer says that when they’re finished with the commissioning, our boat will be ready to go (minus fuel and water), and if we trust them (we do!) we basically just have to show up, go through the handover checks, take possession of our boat, and then sail away.

We do need to bring some stuff to the boat (se below: Stuff), and I do think it’s important to verify that everything is in order before the rest of the crew flies down, so I will travel to Greifswald a few days in advance myself.

The handover is provisionally (no confirmation yet) scheduled to take place in the second week of May, somewhere between May 6th – 9th.

From Greifswald to Turku

The Route: Greifswald – Rönne (Bornholm) – Visby (Gotland) – Turku

The journey from Greifswald to Turku is about 500 nautical miles in all (to all you nonseabeards: one nautical mile is 1.852 kilometers, so that’s a tad less than 1000 km in total).

The first leg, Greifswald – Bornholm is the shortest one, just under 100 nm, but I’m sure it will be crazily exciting (with an expected dose of nervousness) as it’s the very first time we’ll be sailing the boat. We plan to leave in daytime and arrive the next day. Well before our well deserved dinner that we have planned đŸ™‚

The second (Bornholm – Visby) and third (Visby – Turku) legs are longer, but leaving from each place in the morning we’re aiming to reach the destination harbours by late evening a day later. Sunset in Visby will be at about 9 pm and it’s easier to dock if the sunlight isn’t completely turned off.

The Stuff

Below is a brief list of what we need to add to our lovely boat to be able to safely sail it to Finland. I stress the word safely here, since our first journey more likely than not will not be just an easy sunshine cruise.

The sea temperature could be as low as 4-5 degrees and there is a real chance of a substantial amount of wind, usually from the “wrong” direction.

In other words, it might get a bit challenging and in any case it will be quite cold.

Safety stuff

The leading cause of boat fatalities is falling overboard, hence the most important safety objective is to stay aboard. Life jackets (with integrated harnesses), lifelines and jacklines are basic tools to make this more likely.

A jackline is basically a rope that runs on the deck from the bow to the cockpit (or stern). Whenever a crew member (who ALWAYS wears a lifejacket) leaves the cockpit, she/he clips her-/himself on to the jackline using a lifeline. When in the cockpit, there should be fixed pad-eyes for clipping on. (Practical Sailor has a nice article about jacklines.)

UPDATE:  Philippe mentions something seriously important in the comments: “Make sure you get the updated carabiner on the Spinlock tether. The one shown on the picture is now deprecated, since it eventually twisted and open to lead to a deadly MOB in the last Clipper Round the World.” Read more about it in this Yachts and Yachting article and this Practical Sailor article.

It is very unlikely to happen, but if [stuff] hits the fan so badly that staying aboard isn’t the safer option, and we have to abandon our new sailboat, then we need a liferaft. There’s a good liferaft test in Yachting Monthly and while the best liferafts tend to be a tad more expensive, I think saving a few euros here isn’t a great idea.

Below a picture of the Plastimo Transocean ISO 9650-1 in a hard container. The container will be fixed with a cradle to the stern of the boat.

In addition to these we need a led signal light (to attract the attention of people trying to find us), a rescue line, a life ring, a boathook and a grab bag that contains the most essential stuff to quickly “grab” if the unthinkable happens and we have to step off the boat.

Obviously it’s better to not get into bad situations in the first place.

To be better seen by the big ships on their radar screens we need a radar reflector. To be better heard in the fog, we need a foghorn. Frankly, though, I think nobody will hear our foghorn so it’s extremely good that we have a transmitting AIS.

And the safety list doesn’t end yet!

In case of fire we need two fire extinguishers and a fire blanket. In case of damage to the thru-hulls (where there are holes in the hull below the water line for sensors and hoses) we need something to plug the holes. In case the standing rigging fails critically, we need a good-sized cable cutter to cut it away (otherwise it might damage the boat).

And finally, for nursing ourselves, we need a first aid kit and for nursing the boat we need a good toolbox.

Navigation Stuff

Getting from A to B with a boat is a lot easier nowadays with electronic charts and GPS easily available on fixed chartplotters and most mobile phones and tablets.

Electronic devices might fail, though, and that’s why it is important to have backup devices and also backups to the backups.

And although all the devices might work properly, there is still the possibility to run out of electricity, so the final backup should be one that runs without battery: a paper chart! (Overview navigation is much easier on a large paper chart than on a 9″ chartplotter, by the way!)

The charts we need

We also need binoculars, some basic navigation tools for the paper charts and a handheld compass.

Comfort Stuff

After bettering the chances to survive and after making sure we might actually get from A to B (and not end up at Ă‹, which is a weird french letter with two dots on top, quite far from our route!), we’ll invest in some additional stuff to be able to do it all comfortably.

We need sheets, blankets and pillows in the cabins. I think it is a good idea to protect the mattresses with a waterproof layer. This will all be cheaply made by IKEA, for sure đŸ™‚

We need to eat, so casseroles, a frying pan, cups, plates and utensils.

Finally, in the comfort section, to be able to cook food we need a liquid gas bottle with an adapter to fit the German system on the boat.

The LPG/gas stuff is actually a bit tricky since the gas bottles are quite expensive and once the boat is in Finland we won’t be able to use a German bottle in our Finnish refill system. I might have to bring one from Finland but, on the other hand, that means I can’t travel by plane.

So, that’s it regarding stuff.

If there is something essential missing (I’m sure I didn’t remember everything!) or something obviously unnecessary included, I’ll be happy to get your feedback and update our plans.

T-84 Days

It’s less than a hundred days until the provisional start of our first journey.

Charlotte and the kids won’t be joining us for the delivery (we need to start our family sailing in a lot less demanding conditions), so instead I’m embarking on this cool adventure together with three friends from work.

Now I’ll leave you with what I started with. The great Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter, Tony Williams and their Maiden Voyage. Cheers to that, and to waiting for our own.

4 comments

  1. Mak sure you get the updated carabiner on the Spinlock tether. The one show on the picture are now deprecated, since it eventually twisted and open to lead to a deadly MOB in the last Clipper Round the World.

  2. Svaneke east side of Bornholm is also an idyllic village and worth of visiting even instead of Ronne. Small marina but good shelter against wind and swell.

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