Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Seawolf on the Ammersee

Wolf Huber sails on the lovely Ammersee in Bavaria, which I have fond memories of. I rowed the lake one bright autumn morning, nursing a horrible hangover as Luftwaffe Starfighters roared overhead to protect Germany against their natural enemies, the Swiss.
Wolf got third prize at the Water Craft competition at Beale Park in 2003 for his boat Elgol, but Elgol has proved a bit too large for cartopping, so he converted the rowing tender he built for his yacht. into an easily cartoppable rowing/sailing dinghy. Unfortunately, he as he had to do it in a third floor apartment, as he relates:
Dear Chris,
My problem in the past was getting my 3m boat Elgol on top of my car. My solution is Seewolfchen or Little Seawolf, designed and built by me eleven years ago as rowing tender for my self-built 5m cabin yawl and sold together with her some years ago. The new owner took her to Lake Mueritz.
Last year when sailing with him I found Seawolf in his garden looking very neglected and found out that he had no more need for her. So I bought her back with the plan to alter her to a good sailing/rowing combi boat.
I did the alterations in two months in our third floor living room, building first a 2.5 x 4m compartment with transparent plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling and a strong one over the floor. Without  a tolerant wife I had no chance to do that, so I'm very happy with her understanding.
I first cut out the lengthwise sitting substructure, then built up a forward buoyancy chamber with mast partner and daggerboard case. When sailing I sit on a detachable thwart with  foldable side flaps on a detachable underconstruction. When rowing this  bench  is used lengthwise as it was before. All  the fittings were leftovers from earlier boat projects or made up by me.
For varnishing spars, daggerboard and rudderparts I used our little balcony.
Last I sewed a comfortable watertight sitting mat with three layers of foam mats inside as used for camping and three long watertight sacks for sail, spars and oars.
I have had a couple of nice sailing days with Seewolfchen on my home lake. Predictably, such a short sailboat is not at its best in big waves and sailing upwind can be difficult. Often wind was thrown out of the sail by the strong multidirectional movements of the boat between the waves. But nevertheless she sails very dry, taking in little water, and sailing on a broad reach is a real pleasure. Even so, with her tiller fixed she sails a straight course for long distances like all my boats do and I can make small course corrections by shifting  my weight a little to left or right. Naturally my 3m long Elgol will remain  my normal and my favorite boat when sailing on my home lake, but now I have a nice boat to take away for future voyages and in the colder out of sailing season she will be a good future rowing partner. We possibly leaving for Brittany mid of  August coming back mid of September and  I hope enjoying sailing  her on some nice spots there I still visited often without a boat.
Nice greetings,

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