Mediterraneo Part II
"To the far end of Europe"
All around the Balkan peninsula in the Seascape 18 "October Saray"
Sporting sailing along the coasts of Slowenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Turkey to Istanbul. The Velebit Channel with its tricky Bora winds, the remote Karaburun in Albania, the three big capes of the Peloponnese and famed Cape Maleas, the Dardanelles and the rugged Marmara Sea, all are a bit of a challenge to an 18ft-boat, but at the forefront is the amazing variety along this route paired with the high performance and the luxury of a dry cabin on my little "October Saray".
Mediterraneo Part III
"Crossing the threshold into the Unknown"
In the dinghy "Omen XII" to Troy and onwards to.........
Now it's only a very small dinghy - without an engine. Only wind and muscle power are called upon to advance further. This is ultimate freedom! With every mile sailed the magic wake grows into something bigger and bigger that fulfills me and will stay with me forever. Troy is the threshold where I arrived full of hope for a new life and love. But this all crashed. It took me over two years, a time during which I sailed "Seamoon", my Island Packet 320, from Majorca to Miami, before, finally, I had found the courage to come back to Troy and continue the "Journey for Life".
"Nostos" is the term for the homecoming of the ancient heroes after the Trojan War. It might entail an Odyssey and it can end in death or transformation, as we well know from the old myths.
It was fantastic sailing for me after Troy, also many friendships and renewed energy - but something starts changing from here into a new dimension.
The Turkish coast promises to be changing too, the farther I sail East. The border to Syria is currently "only" around 400 miles ahead... stay tuned.
Mediterraneo Part I
"The Call to Adventure"
All around Italy in the open yawl "October First"
A very different way of cruising under sail: Yacht-author Egmont M. Friedl sailed a small open boat along all of Italy's coast steering South from Genoa, rounding the islands of Elba and Sicily and from the southernmost tip back North in the Adriatic to Trieste. More than 3000 nautical miles were left in the wake of Egmont's traditional Drascombe Longboat. Many friensdhips and even an encounter with the mafia formed part of the numerous stages on this outstanding voayage... (YACHT magazine)
Egmont M. Friedl
Where is the finish?
All around Italy
From Genoa to Trieste
3165 Nautical miles
Boat: "October First"
Type: Open dinghy
Length: 6,60 m
Boat: "October Saray"
Type: One Design Sportsboat
Length: 5,50 m
All around the Balkan Peninsula
From Trieste to Istanbul
2842 Nautical miles
To Troy and onwards to.....?;)
From Istanbul to...? currently Karaöz
8 Stages (as of now)
88 Days (as of now)
1177 Nautical miles (as of now)
Boat: "Omen XII"
Type: Open dinghy
Zef-dinghy, built 1966
Length: 3,70 m
Life itself is a great journey - and a meaningful journey comes alive as well. First it is born, then it grows, changes and develops its own fate. This great and on-going coastal voyage gives me meaning, excitment and vital energy. The deep continuity I find distinctly more fulfilling than the ever changing of one thing for another.
On this "Journey for Life" I sail on small boats always following the coast. Since 15 years and in 34 stages, so far. When I sail on I feel like "being on my way" - there is a distant finishing line, but I seldom think about it.
"Don't forget to listen to
your heart and dreams.
A love to explore is the
spirit of any true journey."
If challenges weren't of great appeal I would have never embarked on this voyage. You got to love a challenge!
Every stage, every day, even every single mile can be challenging. Many miles may come easy and in sunshine, others will test your stamina if not stubbornness. The game plan is to follow the mainland coast which is always held on port side. I make no major shortcuts. To the contrary, I often sail out to islands which are just too tempting to be passed by. I don't want to rush. I want to see and experience the land and meet its people. Everyday sailing depends on the ever changing coast and the weather. Above all, this is a voyage of great enjoyment.
Sailing conditions can be challenging but more important is the personal challenge. The sea becomes a great teacher when you sail long distances to new countries without an engine and by the simplest means only. It will test your integrity, strength, seamanship and decision-making. No matter how much experience you may have, you can always learn something new. That is what makes it so fascinating, what keeps you young and feeling alive.
It may sound a bit commonplace but the journey is the reward, the way ahead, the feeling of being "on the way". Surely, somewhere back in my head there is the dream of the whole Mediterranean with Genoa at the end of the way. But there are far too many closer highlights ahead of the bow which I look forward to and which are hard enough to realize. One step after the other is my thinking ;).
In the third part of the "Journey for Life" I sail a 3,70 m (12ft) dinghy. It's a Zef, built in France in 1966. I bought this boat in a derelict state in Belgium for 200 Euros and restored it completely. It was with the same type of boat that I made my first sailing trips in the 80's, when I sailed from the Greek islands of Patmos to Kos and from Genoa to Barcelona with the first "Omen". For this nostalgic reason I chose to tackle the third part of my voyage again with a Zef.
The big advantage of such a small boat compared to its slightly bigger predecessors (Drascombe Longboat and Seascape 18) is that I can pull the boat out of the water on most any beach. Thus I am very independent from ports and it also means added safety.
Length: 3,70 m
Width: 1,55 m
Weight: 90 Kilogram
My equipment is minimal, everything is packed watertight and secured to the boat. Anchor, bailer, regatta-type pfd. I use topographic charts or satellite imagery of the coast, a cellphone is used merely for weather forecasts, not for navigation.
No engine, no electrics, no instruments, no GPS, not even a compass, only eyes, ears, nose, instincts and experience:)
Last stop: Karaöz at the end of stage 34
Miles sailed in total: 7184
Miles sailed with "Omen": 1177
The 34th stage was sailed from Kas to Karaöz in June 2022 together with my daughter celebrating her graduation.
The 33rd stage was sailed from Datca to Kas in April 2022.
Beginning of March 2022 I returned from the 32nd stage which brought me from Bodrum all the way inside the Gulf of Gökova to Akyaka and back out to ancient Knidos and to Datca.
Two young students from Yemen posing
with "Omen" on the beach of Akyaka, photo.
At the cape of the Datca peninsula near Knidos,
westernmost point for a very long time, photo.
In January 2022 I reached Bodrum at the end
of the 31st stage. This is just how one imagines
arriving at a sunny saiing destination ;) video.
Mediterraneo Part III, the stages
Black Sea, Bosporus, Istanbul to Ekinli
Ekinli to Sahinburgaz (Marmara Sea)
Sahinburgaz to Troy (Güzelyali)
Troy, Güzelyali to Ephesos Kusadasi
October / November 2021
Kusadasi to Bodrum
Bodrum to Datca
Datca to Kas
Kas to Karaöz