Logbook entry #14 | Oh Boy!

In the last days we got some worried mails and phone calls: Where is Axel? Why don’t we hear new stories from him? No, we didn’t forget to update our map. Axel’s position just didn’t changed too much. The reason: The Zest had a dismasting!

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It seems as Portugal desperately wants to keep Axel on European ground. His rudder break off Dover at the end of October throwed him back anyway – the crossing to Morrocco where he wanted to visit our kitespot in Essaouira is cancelled for now.

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Axel’s short summary of the dismasting: “We left on 27 December in the evening. Had Southeaster which was relatively strong (30 knots) but we could navigate the Zest with the storm jib and the second reff. Also because of the new rudder – auto pilot didn’t fail. When the wind turned south and came slightly from west it made sense to change the bow and make a turn. The wind had already ceased with 25 knots gusts. About three minutes after the turn, I navigated the boat by myself, I heard a crackle, the rudder pressure ceased and I just wondered if that would really happen now or if it was just a nasty dream. I waked my brother and I figured we had to come to the right decision for an happy end. In the 3 to 4 meters waves the boat pitched and tossed and our tripartite mast with canvas, staysail and lashing floated deeply in the water.”

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Axel just sent off a radio message when he noticed that the antenna was in fact still on the mast – but the mast didn’t stand upright anymore. Ouch! Sat phone didn’t work as well.. The last chance was the Delorme Inreach Messenger which he had bought some days later. So circular message via SMS and Facebook to friends and let’s hope that someone comes up with the idea of informing the sea rescue in Bremen or Portugal about a dismasted sailing boat in the channel off Sagres.

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Oh Boy! Our captain of sorrow is really out of luck. With the broken Zest and full diesel tank they went back to the Portuguese mainland what wasn’t too easy. On the way they almost got overrun by a cargo ship which could fortunately “beaten off” with a torch light. And a bright planet was no rescue helicopter. Don’t lose your head, Axel!

Along the way they had a fishing net in their screw, the harbor in Lagos was closed because of too high waves and when they surfed with high speed, bold waves and mast on the boat’s side in the Portimão harbor it was pitch-dark. Enough excitement for one whole trip..

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Captain Hackbarth took it calmly once again: “Better it happens now than later between Sal and Barbados”, he says. At the New Year’s Eve party which actually should have taken place on African ground Axel found the fitting slogan for his trip – above a toilette door. Where else?

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And know? First of all kitesurfing.. Let’s see what happens next.

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On our map you can check Axel’s location. Also if there won’t be a big change in the next time ;)