Cross-country skiers and other sailors

In the past I have written many times about long-distance drivers and made one or two statements about it. We also count ourselves to it. Why actually? And what distinguishes cross-country skiers or cruising sailors from other sailors? Other sailors are, for example, the regatta sailors, the charter sailors, the weekend sailors or the dock sailors ... This question has arrived a few times in my mailbox and I would like to answer it here with a few pictures.

Here, in the Marina of Lagos, are all types of sailors. That's why I was able to walk through the marina with the camera and take a few photos. However, I stole a photo from the Marina Kornati website in Biograd, where there are over a hundred charter boats. All of them are polished and cleaned, waiting for the next charter customer. He is happy about a flashing, flashing boat and has a great vacation.

Charter boats (picture stolen from Marina Kornati in Biograd)

Old master Bobby Schenk explained it on his homepage many years ago. The cruising sailors have other priorities. Most of the boats are not sailed, they are inhabited. Occasionally you move them to another place, where you live again. Sailing as such takes a back seat, it is only a means to an end. That's why cruisers usually don't look so shiny, they have other qualities.

Cruising boat

In this specimen from Liverpool you can see a wind generator, solar cells and a lot of additional equipment (surfboard, heel porsche, dinghy, fuel canister, life raft, many antennas and and and.

The additional equipment is similar in most respects on most cruising boats. An essential point is the energy supply. Charter boats are usually driven from port to port, rarely overnight and the number of nights in an anchor bay is manageable. Certainly not the charter customer stays in the same place over a longer period of time, the costs are much too high. There is an electrical outlet in the harbor and therefore a charter boat does not need a wind generator or solar cells.

Power generation

Cruise boats

The cruising sailor in turn wants to be independent of the socket. He installed thick batteries in the ship and would like to recharge them whenever possible so that the refrigerator runs and the navigation instruments work. That's why he decorates his boat with everything that can somehow pump electricity into the batteries. Nothing happens without electricity. The charter sailor can fill the water tank from the water hose in the harbor, the cruiser's watermaker needs a lot of electricity. There are no sockets or water connections in the anchor bay.

Diesel canister

Reserve fuel

In addition to the regenerative energy sources, the long-distance driver only has the diesel engine (in addition to a thick alternator) to recharge the batteries. But diesel is only available at the petrol station and it is not in the anchor bay, so most cruisers carry more or fewer reserve canisters with them to be independent for as long as possible. We also.

Charter sailors, regatta sailors and weekend sailors keep coming to gas stations and can refill their diesel there. In my time as a charterer, I always refueled before returning the boat and was happy when I used less than 100 liters of diesel in a week. With 100 liters of this we get hundreds of miles because we rarely start the engine. Unlike charter sailors, we have all the time in the world.

Rotatable solar panels

Rotatable solar panels can be seen in the photo on the right. We don't have anything like that on the Sissi, ours are fixed upwards. The current efficiency of the rotating panels is of course better because they can always be optimally adjusted to the sun. But that does work that we save. We solve the problem with the sheer volume, the large number of square meters of our panels. And we could upgrade even further ...

Sissi - with improved cruising sail optics

In addition to the wind generator and solar panels, you can also see the wind vane control at the rear of Sissi. You can also see this on the 99% of the other cruisers, because an electric autopilot consumes a lot of electricity, which could also be used to operate the refrigerator. Economical electricity is also a priority when cruising. In conversations on the jetty, barbecues or in the harbor bar, you always talk about power consumption, power generation and power storage. There are wars of faith over the choice of the right batteries (by the way, we drive simple lead-acid batteries).

Different sizes, different ages and certainly different uses. But polished, sparkling clean and currently uninhabited (in November). These boats are most likely not cruising boats. There are no additional power supply facilities that can usually be used to identify long-distance boats.


The boat in the third picture has no anchor. This cannot be a long-distance driver. The owner may have taken the anchor home because he made the boat winter-proof. He probably only left the anchor out because he doesn't use it anyway. The anchor is a super important equipment of a cruising boat, also from Sissi, even if we have mostly been gentle on ours so far. That is still to come. Cross-country skiers spend weeks in anchor bays and must be able to rely on their basic iron. If you stroll through the marina, you will notice that certain anchor shapes have established themselves in the scene.

Delta anchor
Bracket anchor
Rocna anchor
Rocna anchor
Rocna anchor

The currently most popular anchor seems to be the Rocna anchor. It is not exactly cheap, but it is said to be overwhelming holding forces. The bow anchor plays in the same league. You don't see the Delta anchor that often. When I spoke to the owners about anchors, the Delta anchors were rather older. Some of the owners of these anchors would like to exchange them for a bow or a Rocna at some point. However, as long as the anchor works, it is not likely to be replaced. After reading books, watching a lot of videos on Youtube and reading many websites, I also opted for a Rocna to equip Sissi, because we had to drop the CQR anchor that we had at Sissi in the IJsselmeer (this is not an anchor story, this is a diesel engine story that I will tell another time).

Sissi and her main anchor

We also have two other, smaller and lighter anchors that we can deploy with the dinghy if need be. This is also the case with 100% of the other cruising boats.

With the charter boats, the choice of the anchor is rather secondary. The anchor on the charter boats has to work an afternoon when the crew goes swimming or a night when the crew decides to go outdoors.

The two anchors shown here are photographed on two charter boats from the same charter company in Lagos. If it were important to the owner, he would have at least equipped both boats with the anchor that he considers the best. So he probably took the anchor that was supplied by the shipyard. The choice of anchor is of secondary importance on a charter boat.

Charter boat in Lagos


The boats are as different as the purpose of the boats. Cross-country drivers value the greatest possible independence and less the cool appearance of their vehicles or the good sailing properties. Regatta sailors want good sailing characteristics, cosiness takes a back seat. Charter sailors want a shiny boat with which they can spend a nice week of vacation. That's the way it is.

So it doesn't matter whether we need four and a half or five and a half days with Sissi from Lagos to the Canary Islands. We spend the time comfortably under sail and once we have arrived we stay in the same place with the fast sailors for a few weeks. Or the neighboring bay.

Bouldering on Sissi

Then there was the rig. For weeks we have had one item on the to-do list, namely the control of the rig. Since we have no mast steps on the Sissi, we have to do it differently. In Leixoes we saw an unusual mast ladder on a French boat, which we immediately liked. We did some research on the internet and one providers found.

This ladder was then made to our measurements and delivered to Lagos. It fit.

Mast ladder

You take down the mainsail and pull up the mast ladder where you would normally pull up the mainsail. We had to measure the mast slides beforehand, they are custom-made, so to speak, in the right size and design on the ladder.

Then you can easily climb the mast. I had to pull Jens up to the top of the mast last year after driving the mast into a tree in Holland. Yes, in Holland trees are sometimes very close to the waterways. That was a lot of pagan work and Jens didn't feel particularly good about it either. It is very different now with the ladder. I just have to secure Jens against falling, he can now climb up alone.

Check the rig

We are now happy about the easy way to climb the mast. That really takes us further.

We also fill the reserve canisters with diesel, the refrigerator with food and and and. It goes on!

Perfect wind

It's that time again. We want to go. Today is a special day because we are leaving continental Europe. A special mood. Thrill and yet normalcy. Sissi is ready, we checked everything. The rig has been checked, the engine too, the supply loads are bending and the fresh water tank is also full. What else can go wrong?

Weather forecast for today

Of course, everything can go wrong. But we are confident. Not only for today, but also for the next few days beautiful wind is predicted from the right direction. We expect between 15 and 25 knots of wind from the north, so we can comfortably drive in front of the wind - our favorite direction. We expect to see land again sometime during Sunday. The Canary Islands.

We weren't there yet. As a flight denier, I never wanted to go there. It has been cold and rainy here in Lagos in the past few days. I even got the winter blanket out of its sink again tonight. That will change, because the Canary Islands are said to have “eternal spring”. Let's see how it feels.


We have five days without internet. Five days of continuous operation of the ship. Alternately sleep and be awake for five days. Five days of wind, waves, movement in the ship, noise from the rigging and creaking of the interior. A little foretaste of the Atlantic crossing in the coming month and yet a big step on our journey.

The wind forecast is pretty stable for the coming days. We have been observing this for some time now and are seeing thick, fat low-pressure areas on the North Atlantic that are moving towards Northern Europe. our wind blows on the back. Our perfect wind.


Now we take another shower, this is the last warm shower to the Canary Islands. Then departure. We're going to the sunset again.


It is still very crowded in the Canary Islands. We could not reserve a berth in any marina and hope to be able to tie Sissi somewhere near a shower. The ARC has not yet started, there are still several hundred boats in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria that want to cross the Atlantic towards the end of the month. But we cannot and do not want to miss the good wind. We won't get such a perfect wind in the foreseeable future.

Why am I raving about the forecast? Because, exceptionally, we are in the right place at the right time. Because the forecast is exceptionally so incredibly stable. And because I'm fed up with Lagos.

Ferry Cat

Only we are not fed up with the cute cats. We would like to wrap up a few more if it were feasible.

Let's go to new shores!

DHL - The historical slowness

It's finally here! The last package we were waiting for here in Lagos. It's been 11 days from Frankfurt am Main since our parents gave it up. We almost gave up waiting, Susanne offered to send it to the Canary Islands.

Finally arrived!

The content will take us a few weeks further, it is full of delicious coffee from our favorite roastery. Many thanks to our parents for the delicious beans.

According to Google Maps, it is around 2500 kilometers from Frankfurt to Lagos, which can be covered by car in 24 hours. The truck from DHL is certainly a bit slower and such a package would also like to be sorted, scanned and left behind. With 10 days it pays off more comfortably. 2500 kilometers in 240 hours is a speed of five and a half knots. So the package was traveling through Europe at Sissi cruising speed.


My former colleague Marco wrote to me that we are in one of the most beautiful corners of Europe. Somehow he's right. Here in the Algarve the coast is really beautiful.

Steep coast between Lagos and Portimao

We also enjoy the great colors that the setting sun paints on the clouds. That's how you imagine it. This is pure relaxation, you can let your mind wander.

Sunset kitsch

But my personal opinion is that there are too many tourists here. When we walk the streets, we mainly hear two languages - English and German. Around half of the tourists are probably from Great Britain, another third come from Germany. In October and November, the streets are packed with tourists.

Tourist mile in the city center

We are not spared from this in the marina either. A boat starts every few minutes with tourists who then drive along the cliffs and visit the grottos. It's still going around here!

Grotto trips

When we sail the coast with the sailboat, we naturally have the reverse view that a tourist has from the hotel room. Then we see what horrible effects mass tourism can have on a beautiful landscape.

Mmpf. How beautiful this coastline could be.

We are slowly getting tired of Europe. Where the weather is generally warm and pleasant and the landscape could have a dramatic beauty, the concrete mixers were decades before us. It was different in Scotland, where the weather is rarely such that it attracts tourists in droves. But in France, Spain and Portugal, the coastline has been transformed.

It's still nicer here in the corner than it is in many other places. Anyone looking for a place where they can escape the German autumn weather is in good hands here.

By the way, today I finally have that Lagos page updated. There you will find a few pictures of the place.

English is unhealthy

Many restaurants line the marina in Lagos, and everything is geared towards the needs of the British. You can get bar meals like the ones in the UK. There is a Chinese, an Indian and Pizza Hut. The Algarve is a popular holiday area for the British and this is fully reflected in the culinary offerings. That's how Jens and I went to eat in one of the restaurants - there was a Chicken Tikka burger on the menu. This is rather something for the island, which still belongs to the EU - I can't help but tip, after all, today is November 1st.

The Marina Bar has opted out among the bars. I noticed this sign the first time we stayed in Lagos, I didn't take a photo at the time. Now, on our second stay, I couldn't resist temptation. We got a berth in the far corner of the harbor and walk past this sign every time on the way to the shower:

English Breakfast or Healthy Breakfast?

Otherwise we ended an unpleasant time on the Sissi. We had been out of insurance since the beginning of July. Of course, that's pretty shit because you can easily do a lot of damage with sailboats. Once maneuvered incorrectly in the harbor and damage worth millions can be done. Unfortunately, we did not find an insurer all the time who wanted to insure our old lady for worldwide travel. We did not want to have a certificate that only applies to the Canary Islands.

David von der Cosa was arrested with a sealed oar in Spain for a few days because he could not provide the insurance required by law. We were lucky and somehow struggled with the expired documents. Fortunately, this state has now ended. The insurance broker Martin von der Fairytale called us was able to get us the coveted policy. Now we can safely go to the Canary Islands and I can finally dare to let Jens do the harbor maneuvers. Phew!

We are still waiting for a package from Germany that has now made it to Lisbon. I had already written a few lines on the subject of “DHL”.

At the weekend, a weather window for the crossing will open that seems to last for over a week. We are happy and hope that our package will arrive here in time. It is unclear to me whether parcels will be delivered here on November 1 (All Saints 'Day) or on November 2 (All Souls' Day). These are both public holidays in Portugal. Even if the package arrives here on Monday, we can still use the weather window, which is nice. And there is still enough work on the ship, you never run out of work on a sailboat. No way. That's for sure.

Lagos Ferry Cats

There is a cat house on the quay of Lagos. A community of semi-wild cats lives there, which are also regularly fed there. If you drive into the port of Lagos, you will inevitably pass this house and with a little luck you will see the cats sitting on the shore.

The cat house

We bought a pack of cat food a few days ago so that we can always delight a cat on the way. Cats love food and most are bribed. We then tried that out at the Lagos Ferry Cats.

At the cat house there is a kind of instruction manual. I think it's very good that there is a warning against abandoning small kittens. In any case, the big ones seem to feel very comfortable here.

operation manual

To make a long story short: We fed and petted the cats. They were really happy and rewarded us with purring, cuddling and cuddling.

Two out of many ...
... that can really live in a species-appropriate manner. This is much better than I know from animal shelters

Actually, we would have preferred to pack one of the cats and take it on board. While that would not be a good idea, it would cover our cat's needs. So we will probably go there again tomorrow, it is only five minutes from the marina.

After stroking, first straighten the fur

And we were able to fire the action camera with the right action. There is again a cat video in our blog. I could watch it more often ...

Lagos Ferry Cats

karma was right. Cats are cute and I bet this video is going to get a ton of clicks. Meow.

Back in Lagos - work assignment on Sissi

We have landed in Lagos again. In the evening at 7:10 p.m. we arrived and moored in front of the bascule bridge at the marina office. This has two advantages - on the one hand we do not have to pay the night at the waiting pontoon and on the other hand the way to the marina office is very short, there are five heavy packages waiting for us.

Bascule bridge in front of the marina - only opens during the opening hours of the marina office

Because after the nice stay in the anchor bay, it is now a matter of further optimizing, stocking and cleaning Sissi for our long journey. First of all we felt like we had to wash two tons of sand out of the boat and the dinghy, we seem to have half Headache Beach taken on board.

As I have already written, we had a current gap of approx. 60 Ah a day. With almost 600 Ah in the supply batteries, they were drained within five days (you should only use half the capacity of the battery). We ordered a complete new solar power plant from a large mail order company for sailing accessories, which was waiting for us in the marina office. The office man was quite amazed at the large packages, he was even more amazed when we announced more packages. We planned two days to set up the new electricity supplier and started work immediately.

Sissi's super solar power plant

After installation and wiring, it was a great feeling to press the switch and see how the charging current suddenly quadrupled. Strong !!! It was totally worth it. After about six hours of hard work, we were ready and ready for the shower.

Today, the day after assembly, we switched off the shore power charger and switched on all the devices we need when sailing. The radio also plays and there is almost no wind, the wind power station does not provide any electricity at all. Nevertheless, after several hours with partly cloudy skies and partly beautiful sunshine, our batteries are still filled to 100%. Feel good. Tonight is billing, then let's see what the electricity production was like.

Solar power plant at work

In my opinion, the panels do not really deface our boat, we have rather improved the "long-ride look". You cannot see the other solar cells on the cockpit roof when you are not on board.

Walk-in solar cells on the cockpit roof

A little jaunt with the land dinghy, the on-board bicycle, to the photo shop later we took the print of a great photo Frankfurt Romans in the hand. Our father took the beautiful picture a few years ago. Now the picture is hanging in our salon and looks good.

Frankfurt Romans

The man in the marina office had a slightly tormented look on his face when I was back to pick up the next package. He probably had to drag them to the parcel warehouse himself. There are two packages from our Frankfurt Bonames Favorite butcher Haasethat will help us across the Atlantic. At this point, once again, many thanks to Jens Haase and the whole team in the butcher shop. Without you, our menu would be less tasty.

40 kg of delicious sausages and coffee from Frankfurt am Main - home to eat!

At the beach party, one of the other sailors said to me that if we ordered canned food from home we would not have set off yet. Maybe that's because you can't really start from Frankfurt, Frankfurt simply stays in the heart.

Speaking of Frankfurt in the heart: We are still waiting for a last package from Frankfurt am Main that our parents have sent to us. But we feel a little like back then in Waleswhen we were waiting for the watermaker. DHL did not send the parcel to Athens, but it was misdirected again and apparently has not yet come out of Germany. When I announced another package to the man in the marina office, I saw that pained expression again.

Another misdirection by DHL

Our previous experiences with the different parcel services are very different. UPS has always delivered on time, sometimes even before the announced date. DPD was reliable and on time. DHL has produced misdirections in half of the deliveries and has never delivered on time. It is punctual for me when the package arrives on the announced day.

It still takes a few days until the wind is right for the crossing to the Canary Islands, so we still have a real chance to get this delivery. We are optimistic!

Small tiling

Admittedly, I have never heard of the subject of “tile studies”, but in Portugal I was able to start extensive studies on Portuguese tile art in construction and the common Portuguese tile facade. I could now write a book on this subject. Every reader would probably fall asleep reading it, so I would rather imagine what it would be like to furnish your own house with a Portuguese facade.

Decorative tiles

First of all, I have to be clear about whether I want an artistically valuable decorative tile strip on the facade or even decorate the whole house with such tile decoration. Such tiles can only be seen on large areas on church walls. The Portuguese prefers to be more discreet in private houses.

Classic pattern

Maybe I'll make the facade with simple decorative tiles. No motifs, but a nice, washable front facing the street. The white tiles on the south side of the building are great, so the rooms don't get that warm in summer. And there is a large selection in the hardware store.

Classic pattern

After looking at it for a long time, the pattern is too restless for me. I'd rather look at a few other patterns that are less stressful to the eye.

Modern pattern

At first I thought that wall was not tiled properly. Here the beginner can live out and bring a lot of personal contribution. The result then also looks as if the neighbor's three-year-old son had helped.

Also available in other colours

In Germany I would not necessarily recommend only white tiles. If we can manage climate protection to some extent, darker colors may also work. Only the red is too intense for me.


From a distance, the more subtle colors and shapes are often no longer recognizable as a tiled facade. Certainly good for German building authorities, but in my opinion the Portuguese style does not get through with the more subtle tiles.

On the outside of the facade and inside, these also go in the bathroom

My house would look like a swimming pool turned to the left if I put these tiles in large numbers on the outer walls.

In the end, I decided on my top favorite, a green, patterned tile. I would use this to tile my house, preferably a house with many trees in the garden.

Favorite tile

Now you shouldn't get a fright, from a closer look it may look horrible. But I can imagine what it looks like when the whole house is tiled with it. I like it.

Green tiled house

The guy with the guitar wasn't bad, but he can stay in Lagos. I photographed all these tiles in Lagos, but the place is representative of Portugal.

End of the small tiling.

You are on the move!

Today Daphe and Gentoo started towards Madeira and the Canary Islands. We wish you a safe journey and a fine wind from the right direction. The wind forecast looks good, we would probably use this weather window if we were in a hurry. As a participant of the ARC they have to be in Las Palmas at the right time.

Empty berth

This makes us one of the slowest boats again. The Fairytale drove us away and on the way to the Mediterranean. So we will karma probably no longer see. The Milena Bonatti is already in Gran Canaria. We don't know where the tonic and the cosa are.

We didn't go out to anchor because today the Roede Orm comes to Lagos in the marina. We drive tomorrow and look forward to seeing you again tonight.

In the meantime, I no longer wonder whether we are too slow. We are as fast as we should and want to be. We drive at the right pace. We drive at our speed and will hit the boats again that have not turned into the Mediterranean. That much is certain. We just don't know where and when that will be.