Sailing Turn

from 2000 to 2009


Only who gives up,
has no chance



was never my most popular sport. I love the water, the waves and diving, but as soon as the sea got rough, I became seasick. Nevertheless, the romance of an adventure at sea lured me on the ocean. The mental breakthrough came on my first flight around the world, on the island of Ovalau, in Fiji. There, as I overflew the turquoise blue bay of Ovalau, I saw a 2-masted sailboat at anchor, a schooner. The following morning, when the Tuk-tuk of the engine woke me up, I saw the schooner’s sails disappear on the horizon. The sight gave me such a romantic impulse, that I knew, my first world flight wasn’t finished yet, what my next adventure would be. A sailing turn around the world.

Ala di Sabah

In August of 1999, I took the decisive step. I bought an old and romantic wooden boat. An American designed 2-mast clipper, built in Japan in 1965. Beautiful handcrafted work in mahogany, teak, oak and spruce, and excellent maintained. 11 meters long, inclusive bow sprit. Perfect for single-handed cruising. I baptized her Ala di Sabah.

I left California

after the fireworks 2000 in Long Beach. I set all three sails of my Ala di Sabah and headed for Mexico. Already on the way to Puerto Vallarta I lay the first time on my side, as the first hurricane of the season, Aletta, came to close. My seasickness experienced its highest point, and I thought of selling the boat should I ever arrive in Mexico. Eleven days later, when I reached Puerto Vallarta, I had my sea legs and was a genuine sailor.

Central America’s

west coast of is a fantastic sailing area and I experienced for the first time the community and solidarity of the cruising community: sailing together, helping each other and partying daily.


attacked me one night at anchor in the fishing village of Sua in Ecuador. I had to fight, and a 9 mm bullet landed in my chest. I owe my survival to my sailing companion Tim and the assistance of the fishing villagers. Three months later I was operated in Germany and the bullet was removed from my heart. Six months later I celebrate my Second Birthday with four Skydives over the beaches of Salinas, the little Miami of Ecuador.

The Pacific passage

began at the the Galapagos Islands.  These beauty islands are a place of exotic species, above and under the water.
The onward sail to the Marquesas islands was a three week journey of my soul into infinity.  And of my understanding of the enormous ocean and the tiny myself. In the paradise atolls of the Tuamotus I experienced an underwater world of the most alive beauty and color. And so were the locals with an Ukulele at hand and pearls around their necks.

French Polynesia

kept me an additional half year on its beautiful islands as my Mizzenmast broke in Papeete. It was hard work to splice the old wooden mast, but there could not have been a more beautiful place.

Via the Cooks islands

I went on to Tonga. These islands I knew very well from the birds eye view.  During my adventure flight I looked down at these colorful reefs in joy and awe. Now, from a sailor’s perspective, I was scared like hell to land on one of them. Fiji, with its thousand islands, was a further sailing paradise. Through the islands of Vanuatu and the Salomons I sailed with friends. Due to bad weather we could not reach our destination Tikopia.

In Papua new Guinea

I visited the city of Rabaul again. The city, whose beauty I enjoyed so much on my adventure flight. Unfortunately, this beautiful city died 1996 in the ashes of the Matupit volcano. The inhabitants left the city. To see such a beautiful city die broke my heart. I too, had to leave the city after only two days. My boat was covered with black ashes of the still active volcano. I sailed further northward, to the Hermit islands, a formerly German colonial territory. As a German engineer I was warmly welcomed. I spent weeks repairing outboards and canoes in exchange for my daily food, Lobster.

To the Philippines

I sailed via Palau. In the Philippines I was again connected with the rest of the world. I enjoyed the joy of life of the Philippinos, who for me are a mixture of Hollywood and Spanish history. Owing to the bad weather, I sailed to Borneo without incident through the pirate-infested Zulu Sea. The navigation to Singapore permitted only catnaps of maximal fifteen minutes. Whether during the day or at night, already 50 miles before Singapore begins the Rush Hour at sea. Storms are plenty and I was busier than on a Los Angeles freeway.

Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore

are such a paradise for sailors that I sailed back and forth around Singapore to sail the China Sea. In the straight of Malacca, fishermen with their often not marked, and at night unlighted, nets are the biggest problem. The Malaysian Coast Guard has the pirates under control, and the good Malaysian marinas give you a good rest when needed. On my way to Thailand, I barely escaped the Tsunami 2004. By pure luck, I left the marina just half an hour before the big wave hit the beaches. For three years I sailed through Asia. With pain in my heart I left the Land of Smiles.

To the Maldives

I sailed 60 miles south of Sri Lanka to avoid the pirates. On the HF-radio I heard about two sailboats being attacked as they were 15 miles close to the island. In the Maldives fantastic islands and deadly reefs surrounded me. The saying Each sailor finds his reef hit me also and I ended up on a reef. Only by deadly risky work, and a bit luck, I manage to get Ala di Sabah, and me, off the reef.

The Indian Ocean

showed itself from its worst side and my eleven-day sail to the Seychelles became a torture on the wind. The bad weather continued after the Seychelles and I did not make Madagascar direct. I had to take the detour via the Comoro Islands.


offered wonderful bays and anchorages. But as single hander I could enjoy only half of it. Many times I could not go ashore. An unguarded boat is free game in Madagascar.  But on the sea, the Madagascans are excellent sailors. Just forget the one that ran into Ala di Sabah at anchor. Via a stop at the French island of Juan de Nova I sailed along the coast of Mozambique.

South Africa,

after a three day sail, was only a few sailing-hours away. But a suddenly arising storm, with changing wind direction, was so strong that I had to turn around and head back to Mozambique for protection. For the first time on my sailing adventure, I had to turn around at sea. Sailing in the Aguela Current, along the Mozambique and South African coast is very risky. For days, sometimes weeks, you have to wait for the right weather. As a ‘whitee’ I did not always felt welcome in South Africa. I felt unsafe there. However, the Marinas are safe and the South African Yachties are very helpful and friendly. Cape town is a pulsating and beautifully situated city. A perfect place for a haul-out. Thus, I used the opportunity to rebuild my -reef in the Maldives- damaged rudder.

The South Atlantic

with its stormy weather and constant cold fronts from the Antarctic, gave me as single-hander no sailing pleasure at all. The sail to St. Helena Island was a wet and cold one. Appearing in the fog on the big ocean, St. Helena looked like a fortress in no man's land. A further three weeks hard sailing was needed to reach the Bay of Salvador.


brought me back to strength in no time, thanks to Caipirinha, Samba and the excellent al Kilo restaurants. But my gut feeling told me, that 9 ½ years at sea, was enough. According to my philosophy, that everything in life comes at the right time, a Brazilian couple stood next to my Ala di Sabah.
“We love your boat, we like to buy it”.

Three days later, after 9 ½ years at sea, I land in Germany and a new period of my life begins:


Germany after 25 years