Young Sailors

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of meeting German sailor Johannes Erdmann, who recently completed an Atlantic crossing this year at the young age of 19. Johannes departed in 2005, aboard a light-weight boat built primarily for Dutch lakes, a Fellowship 28. His story is exceptional, however all the details will have to be left to his upcoming book, which I can only hope will also appear in English. His site is in German, but I do suggest taking the time out to use various online translation tools to get the gist of his story.

What was most inspiring about Johannes’s journey for me, was his pragmatism and approach to the trip. Instead of terrifying stories about 60foot waves, tankers and insisting on requiring expensive gadgetry, his advice was straight-forward and realistic, which I was most appreciative of. Taking several hours out of his exceptionally hectic life, combining full time university, writing a book and doing talks, he answered a myriad of questions that have been building up in my head for the past several months, over coffee in Berlin. I gleened a lot of practical information about finding cheap sails, windvanes, the realities of storms, the cost of mooring in Kiel and even tips like making an effort to stock my food from Germany due to the low cost. I asked Johannes what he would do differently if he could take time capsule back and do it again, and his response was ‘take a better boat’. At which point he strongly commended the Contessa class, and believes the boat choice was a good one for its intended purpose.

I also heard certain stories which I cannot divulge (feeding the rumour mill!) regarding Robin Lee Graham’s old boat ‘Dove’, Hawaii and musical compositions…

Be sure to keep up to date with Aron Meder’s two year solo journey around the world, aboard a 19ft boat. I’ve been in contact with Aron, however I don’t think we will cross paths, as he has left already and I believe is somewhere in the Mediterranean. His site is in Hungarian, but photos are worth a million words in any language, and Aron tells me there will be more English information soon.

The 26 year old British sailor Aurelia Ditton is set for a second place in the Route Du Rhum. I found Aurelia when the race started, and was excited to see that she shares a similar passion for art and sailing. While her interests are very specific to sailing itself, and I feel I have more of an interest in the actual experience of sailing, it was interesting to note her prior work and the fact she is an honours graduate from Chelsea, a school who has produced big names such as Anish Kapoor, Gavin Turk and David Hockney among others. Don’t be too saddened at the news she will be chopping her very slick racing boat in half on arrival!

Bis sp?ɬ§ter, Nick