Young German Solo Transatlantic sailor visits WSC

Kristof and his itinerary on his windvane

Like a tired swallow alighting on a telephone wire during migration, ‘Shalom’, a battered-looking Hurley 22, came to rest yesterday on the pontoon in front of ‘Aliya’. The owner, Kristof, is making his way back to Hamburg, seeking help from fellow sailors as he goes, as he is now short of funds – no great surprise, having just done a 10,000 mile Atlantic circuit, celebrating his 19th birthday on the way!

Fortunately WSC Trustee and long-distance sailor Jeremy Parkinson found him there, and he was able to spend the night there, though this morning he had been ‘moved on’ to the Cove by the time I met up with him - but if you’ve hit a sperm whale in the Atlantic, such minor setbacks are easily forgotten.

If you’re around tomorrow, do go and say ‘hi’ to Kristof, who has a deceptively casual manner when talking about his experiences; for instance he explained that his windvane rudder broke on the way from Hamburg to Heligoland, where it was repaired using an Optimist rudder, but that then broke in Biscay, meaning he had to helm half the way to the Canaries; luckily Kristof’s persuasive letter to the maker of Wind Pilot vanes resulted in him being sent a new windvane free of charge which has worked fine ever since.

Such is the mutual support real sailors provide for each other, which we have all experienced and hopefully been able to offer when occasion required – without which the wide blue world of sailing, and ‘seizing the day’, turns into the grey monotony of rules and bills and premature old age, which is what we go to sea to avoid, even if one day we won’t be able to...

I’m happy to say that Kristof admired the clubhouse, liked the look of the Squibs, enjoyed meeting some of our members, and we may well be able to set up a link with his club in Germany. On Friday Kristof sets off for Hamburg - we wish him ‘gute Reise’ and a safe homecoming after an admirable voyage. He is an example to us all.

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 4th October 2017