It’s spring. Deep breath. Smile.

On Sunday we built up the catamaran, our Dart 18, the Seebock. It’s now sitting down by the beautiful Ammersee, ready to go. Looks good, but could use a new trampoline and some lines. The water was 7.5 degrees centigrade, brrrr, so we decided to go and have potato-leek soup and tea (me) and dark beer (him) instead in the beautiful beergarden under the little medieval church.

It was First Communion Sunday, the girls in white and cream, the boys in suits, moms in purple and grandmoms in lilac… and a big sister being flaky in green and purple stockings. Photo ops against a blue-grey-green lake and sky. A few white sails. Flowerpots with pansies and forget-me-nots. Sparrows. Perfect.

I didn’t have anything to take a picture with. Sorry. I’m afraid you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Grammar Guru: 90′ x 90′

“The boat is very simple. It’s a 90 foot x 90 foot platform, trimaran, with three hulls, with a magic wing, close to 200 feet high.”

Read “90 by 90“, “90 times 90” or “90 to 90“?

In 1851, a boat named America won the 100 Guinea Cup in a race around the Isle of Wight. The winners donated the trophy to be held as a ‘challenge’ trophy. This became the America’s Cup, named after the boat, not the country. The winning yacht club makes the rules and hosts the subsequent event, often making it more difficult for the challenging club(s) to win. The 33rd America’s Cup completed yesterday was raced for by two giant multihulls. BMW ORACLE beat Alinghi, the defender of the cup.

Yellow jacket

When we put away the sailboat at the end of our stay on Drummond, we managed to set the trailer right down on a nest of yellow jackets in an old rotten log – or perhaps it was a nest up in a tree, we’re not quite sure. We didn’t notice it right away. But when I pulled out the trailer and stood it up horizontally to turn it around and over, a wasp dropped out of the air onto my eyelid and stung me. Suddenly we had the whole swarm all over us. I was wearing my thick wetsuit, so I was safe except for my face. But the men really had to leg it.

I’ve put Benadryl, an over-the-counter ointment for insect bites, on my lid, but that doesn’t reduce the swelling, it just relieves the itch. So all I can do is wait.

  • to leg it, to make a dash for it, to scoot, to take to your heels = to run away fast
  • over-the-counter drugs = pills and ointments (Salben) that you can buy without a prescription (nicht verschreibungspflichtige Medikamente)


Everything on Drummond is makeshift. Metal things rust and break, lines fray, material rots and decays, so you are forever fixing things with spare parts and tools that themselves are anything but new. There’s a hardware store on the island that sells pretty much anything you need, and over on the mainland there’s a huge Walmart with a Do It Yourself section where you can get a far wider variety of tools and parts at about half the price. But fixing things is a matter of being consistent and staying with the project until it’s done, and you never really know how long it will take, so you might find your repair job only half finished by the time you have to leave. So the next person to come here finds “projects” lying around. I’m used to it, after all, this is what we’ve been doing for years, but I’m not sure if Helmut is all that happy with it. We’ve had fun on Adam’s sailboat, but Helmut is rather sceptical of the material, and tends to err on the side of safety.

I hate it when things break, especially things that were bought to match other things, because it’s often so hard to find a similar replacement. This morning it was the sun umbrella, which must be 30 years old now. Mike repaired it last year, in fact it’s been repaired many times. Now Adam is fixing it and it looks like the old umbrella might have yet another lease on life. But even that life won’t last forever. It’s an eternal cycle of makeshift.

(I’d like to upload pictures, but the internet connection is too slow.)

Question: What’s your happy day?

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but several magazines here in Germany (Spiegel and Focus) have featured “happiness” as their title story. Well, it’s clearly a good thing to think about and discuss. The Beatles sang “Happiness is a warm gun”, with more than a touch of irony. For me, happiness is a wet sailboat, or more specifically, a wet catamaran. Here you see me rigging the “Seebock”, which got its name because it once threw Helmut off and sailed away without him across the lake. Listen to the podcast, and I’ll tell you what exactly it is about sailing that makes me happy.


So : What makes your day happy? Or can you describe a really happy day? Please post your response with a link to this question post, or comment below. If you’re not sure how to start off, read this or get in touch with me by email.

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abcThis is a slightly embarrassing story, but the reactions it’s been getting tell me: You have to make a fool of yourself and tell everyone about it from time to time. So here goes. Down in Croatia with ABC Wassersport, on board the Taiga, a 37 foot Bavaria sailboat, I managed to go overboard.

Continue reading Overboard