wilfried erdmann

In 1987 I met Wilfried Erdmann. I was 15 at that time and he had come to my hometown to give a talk about his 1984 to 85 non-stop, solo circumnavigation from west to east with the prevailing winds with his boat Kathena Nui in 271 days. I don’t really remember why I went to this event I only remember that I went there by myself.

Winfried Erdmann is the first German sailor who sailed across the world alone. Because of the size of his boat, nobody in Germany believed him first. Erdmann was able to give proof of the visited ports of call, though.

Later he would go on to spend his honeymoon with his wife Astrid on a 1011-day long journey (69 to 72), which eventually became his second circumnavigation. Having sold Kathena, his first boat, they traveled with his second boat Kathena 2. From 1976 to 1979 another journey to the South Pacific with his wife and his 3-year-old son Kym. 1984 to 1985 the solo circumnavigation he presented in his talk and in 1989 he did two Atlantic crossings with winners of a contest of German magazine Stern.

In 2000 to 2001 another non-stop, solo circumnavigation from east to west (contrary to the prevailing winds) with Kathena Nui in 343 days. He was the fifth sailor worldwide doing such a journey.

Needless to say he is quite a hero in the sailing world and I have felt inspired by him and his journeys. Partly because of the event in my youth did I start sailing. Being the youngest at the event he asked me to come to join him on the stage. He asked me if I liked sailing and I said, sure but had never been on a real sailing boat.

Following that another sailor in the audience spoke up and offered to take me and a friend on his boat in the Med for a trip. A few months later I joined Willy (who had offered the trip) on his boat and we sailed the Med. Coincidentally we he had his boat in Alicante the exact same place where Wilfried Erdmann had started his first circumnavigation! Another coincidence I only found out today is that I share the birthday month with him. On the 15th of April Wilfried Erdmann turned 80. Happy Birthday – you are an inspiration!

Wilfried Erdmann books (in German)

Wilfried Erdmann Website (German)

back to finding a boat

It is about time to re-focus mind and soul and continue our search for our future home. Being confined to our land based place combined with plenty of time (ok, the kids have been given their Minecraft 60min) at hand I continue my search of the “perfect” vessel for a long term trip, if not circumnavigation.

Apart from being a very helful writiing and research excerise it is much more fun doing this than talking Covid.

I have a sailed a few boats but most of the sailing boats I am going to describe here have either been recommended to me or have a reputation for Bluewater sailing by there very nature – build for bluewater sailing.

Let’s get started with bluewater sailing and what it actually means.

Bluewater sailing is a type of ocean cruising: it refers to long term open sea cruising, for example, passages (ocean crossings). Bluewater sailing implies a lack of support and requires a certain amount of self-sufficiency since you’re away from land for long periods of time. An example is crossing the Atlantic. Bluewater in general means, you can only see blue water wherever you look. No land in sight. Not that is matters but I read somewhere that the difference between offshore and bluewater sailing lies in the fact that you can go offshore for 10-15 km (that’s when you lose sight of land based on the earth curvature) and if you return home at that point you have been offshore sailing, if you keep going you are to different shores you are bluewater sailing. It doesn’t really matter but I thought I’ll entertain you a bit.

So obviously the above needs a capable seaworthy bluewater sailing boat to deal with everything the oceans can and will throw at you.

There are two types of sailing boats (well three if you count trimarans) that work for bluewater sailing. Catamarans, or cats, and monohulls. Catamarans are part of the multihull group like trimarans so in the end we are down to two categories of boats – multihulls and monohulls. I am not going to bore you to death why we won’t be using a catamaran. I don’t like them, but they can be capable bluewater boats. Check Sailing Zatara and La Vagabonde crews they love their cats and there are plenty of blogs that explain the difference between a cat and a monohull. You will see that most times cats score higher on the “livability scale” because given the same length they have mich more space, little to no heel, fast and more. Still, I don’t like them. The landbased equivalent ould be a caravan or a heavy motor home. It’s just not me. Check out the O’Kelly’s video about Cats vs. Monohulls it is very entertaining.

Back to bluewater sailing boats. Bluewater boats are generally stronger, more stable, and the majority has centre cockpits (although that’s not a requirement but I prefer them). The main difference is usually the build quality and hull thickness or composition.

Another difference between a blue water and inland sailboat is the production method, hull type and shape, material, and general safety and quality of the boat. The most important aspect of ocean sailing really is a strong hull and strong rigging. Most production boats are made of thin layers of GFK are pretty light and flimsy. Don’t get me wrong people have been crossing oceans in nutshells from 10ft onwards – check out this article and The Sailing Frenchman’s Video channel (26ft boat)

So to close this blog entry I leave you with a list of requirements for our boat and will introduce our shortlist of boats that fit most of our requirements in the next blog post.

Our requirements:

  • Most likely used ($$)
  • Length minimum 45 ft to maximum 60ft
  • Displacement of 15 to 25 tons
  • Centre cockpit or safe aft cockpit
  • Hull – aluminium or GFK composite
  • Maybe centreboard keel
  • 6 or 8 berths (3 double cabins – 2 identical port / starboard)
  • min 2 heads
  • diesel capacity 1000l
  • water capacity 1000l
  • sloop rig
  • in-mast furling mainsail or lazy jacks
  • electric winches main
  • forestay, staysail, main
  • genset
  • watermaker
  • solar

Let me know in the comments what your think. I currently have 6 boats on my shortlist and will introduce them to you over the next few weeks.

chasing the dream?

What’s your dream? What do you enjoy doing? What life are you living?

If you are a parent, what do you want for your kids? Picture the day they walk out of your home as grown-ups – what do you want them to look back at, and more importantly, will you have managed to give them everything they need to live their adult lives?

Do you enjoy getting up everyday at the same time, hopefully have breakfast with your loved ones, then make your way to what ever you do for a living, 8-10 hours later you touch down at home (if), have dinner, spent some time doing something (kids, hobby, reading etc (hopefully)) then rinse repeat x 5 interrupted by weekends x 52 x your life expectancy – The End?

Oh, not to forget the one or two times you have a 10 days break per year to “recharge your batteries” and then back to rinse and repeat?

So, again: What’s your dream? What life are you living? Is it your dream life? Do you enjoy what you are doing?
Love to hear what you think.


I recently finished a book by Richard Eyre – The Happiness Paradigm. Don’t want to go into too much detail but there is a part about serendipity as an alternative to control (ie. control everything in your life to be happy that is).

Serendipity is often defined as fate or luck or something good happening to you by pure luck. It is a bit more than that.

Serendipity does not come from Latin or Greek, but rather was created by nineteenth-century author Horace Walpole after having read the ancient fable called the 3 princesses of Serendip (now Sri Lanka!)

In the fable the 3 princesses search for fortune but through their awareness and perception they discover love, truth and opportunities to help others and realise they got more than they intitally were looking for.

Walpole realised there was no word in the English language that expresses that happy ability to find things that are better than what we were looking for – so he made up the word serendipity.

So it’s not just luck but the fact that you are exploring that will lead you to something much better 🙂

sv rehua- the “dos angelos” cruising family

After a sailing holiday in 2013 Audrie and Seathan decided that quitting the rat race and going full time sailing with their kids made perfect sense. They have been sailing ever since.

The "SV Rehua" crew has been cruising since

Wow, number 3! If you have been following my blog you know that I have started a series of short profiles about some of the most interesting and inspiring cruising families. People I have come across via social media or in person.

If you are not a follower of my blog, but reading this and think it sounds quite interesting…well, now is a good time to subscribe

SV Rehua is the third family that was so kind to answer my questions and provide some background information on their sailing life. You can find a full list of families and reasons why I am doing this here. Check last week’s post about “Sailing Alma” here and my first post in this series about the “Feel the Breeze” family here

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sailing alma – the “challengers” cruising family

In 2015, Angela and Yulian followed their dream to become full-time cruisers and sail the world.

The "Sailing Alma" crew has been cruising since

If you have been following my blog you know that I have started a series of short profiles about some of the most interesting and inspiring cruising families. People I have come across via social media or in person. 

Sailing Alma is the second family that was so kind to answer my questions and provide some background information on their sailing life. You can find a full list of families and reasons why I am doing this here. Check last week’s post about the “Feel the Breeze” family here.

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feel the breeze – the “young baby” cruising family

Rianne, Gerben and Jr. Captain Benjamin set sail to explore the world and feel the breeze on their Beneteau 57 “Perfect Sense”

The "Feel the Breeze" crew has been cruising since

Over the next few weeks I will be posting a series of short profiles about some of the most interesting and inspiring cruising families. You can find the full list of families here and if you feel I missed someone, please shout. 

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families sailing around the world

Sailing around the world as a family might sound crazy but I am glad to let you know there are plenty of families doing exactly this. We have been following these families on social media and are in contact with some of them.

Continue reading “families sailing around the world”