Captain Ralf - Moving Full Time on a Sailboat

Posted Dec 07 2021 in Guides

It has always been my dream to live on a ship and explore the oceans. Captivating my childhood imagination, I was wondering what it would be like.

A dream I had almost forgotten. I had a stressful working life. At the same time, I had to look after my parents and grandparents for years. Exhausted, I sat with my friends on the shore of Lake Constance in the summer of 2015 and we talked about circumnavigations over a campfire. Like a violent gust, it shot up inside me, the time is ripe, the dream came back and can now become reality! 

I didn't have to think about it for long. I was single, no longer had a family to look after, had a small office that I could close more or less easily, and a flat that was paid off. The decision was made and I announced it to my friends at the same moment.

When I woke up the next morning, I had an oppressive feeling inside me. Have I set my sights too high? Sailing the oceans means quitting my business. Do I dare? Can I do it? Can I really afford it? How much money will I need each month? Will I miss my friends and get homesick? Can I crank up my business again if I don't like it? What will happen to my flat when I'm not there? 

I started reading on the internet how others were doing, watched countless videos on YouTube to find answers to my questions.

To note in advance, the reality is often different. We have not yet experienced the horror scenarios often described on the internet, and life as a cruiser is not as easy and carefree as in many YouTube videos.

There was no going back for me. I wanted to change my life. I wanted to experience, see and do something I had always dreamed of.

So I started to wrap up my last projects, rent out the flat, sell the car and unnecessary household stuff, cancel insurance and telephone, etc. The more was done, the better it felt. The first feeling of freedom. However, there was also the feeling of fear of going into the unknown and getting out of the "normal" rut.

The next step was to find a ship, of course, an old two-hull sailing boat, a catamaran. It had to be reasonably comfortable, but also simple to keep costs down and have good sailing characteristics. I found the right ship for me with a Catana 411 called FRIDA in Valencia. The previous owner was an old sailing friend from my regatta days. Great, you don't buy a pig in a poke. The journey should start from Valencia in spring 2016. Project Sunshine - Off to Greece! 

A crew was already available in the form of my two young cats Carla and Lilly. All that was missing was the right partner to enjoy the journey together. I was confident that I would find someone suitable on the way, but I was also afraid of being alone. 

The crew - Carla and Lilly

One rainy Sunday morning I was lying in bed, sleepy, watching one of the videos from the YouTube channel "Sailing Delos". There was this damn pretty girl from New Zealand, funny, sporty and so likable to me. That's exactly the kind of partner I need to find on the road. That's the kind of life I want to lead.

Another dream? Yes, because she is right on the other side of the world in New Zealand and surely she has a boyfriend or is even married.

Nina on Delos
Nina on Delos

I said goodbye to YouTube and scrolled through my Facebook account. When I got to the people I might know, I couldn't believe my eyes. There she was, yes it was the girl from the Delos video. What was her name? Nina? Yes! This cannot be true. 

I couldn't resist and had to send her a message. I wrote her that I think it's super great what she's doing, what kind of life she's leading and I hope she can keep it up for a long time. I wished her good luck and fair winds! I will probably never get an answer.

Not much later I received a message from her. She thanked me for my good wishes and we started talking. At some point, she asked me what I was doing and I told her that I had just bought a boat and wanted to sail from Valencia to Greece on 16 May 2016. Before I had to go back to Germany to finish a project.

She told me that she had just booked a flight to Valencia for 18 May 2016 and whether there was still room on the ship. Unbelievable, yes of course! I could not believe it! 

On 20 May 2016, the time had come, Nina was on FRIDA, the journey together could begin and it continues to this day. 

Next, read how we prepared the ship for the voyage, what equipment we bought and what we really need after five years now. Tips and tricks that make our lives easier and enable us to live on the ship financially, our experiences of the first season in the Mediterranean, and our most beautiful destinations on the way to Greece.

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