200 days to go

Our last winter in Luxembourg

The weather has turned gray. And cold. At night there was already the first frost. The trees have thrown off their leaves and in the evening it’s time for the fireplace and red wine. Our fish start their hibernation. When they wake up again in their pond, they are no longer ours. Our last European autumn and winter has arrived and we are full of melancholic anticipation. What was I looking forward to this last winter, because from then on it would only be half a year. And there we are now. In 28 weeks our new life will begin in Cape Town.

830 days before the day x – the takeover of the Rivercafe in Cape Town – I started to count the days. It seemed endless but now the number 200 is written in the fog of my shower. It seems as if time suddenly passes faster. Some even think we’ve already left. On some days it also feels like that, in thought anyway. So this is the final spurt.

In the last 100 days since my 300 days report a lot has happened and we have accomplished a lot.

We were sailing with friends in the Mediterranean Sea and could remember a breath of our future life. We met other sailing friends by chance. When you meet friends from Australia and California in France, whose ship is in Guatemala, you feel connected to the sailors of the world.

It’s been over 1.5 years since we signed the purchase agreement for our Leopard. In the meantime, other Cat shipyards have been busy introducing new models: Fountain Pajot the Elba, Beneteau the Excel and Lagoon the new 46. After we could see the vessels at the Boatshow in Cannes, we are very satisfied that we do not feel any regret. The new cat models did not cause any doubts in the slightest. So no cold feet before the wedding. We are also happy to get one of the last 45 Leopards in the performance version. The new ones have another lounge on the upper deck, which in my opinion is suitable for gardeners or pub owners. Or for a pizza service.

In the last 100 days we have concentrated on our fitness and health and continued our education. Ka is in a great shape as never before and I have already considered to cancel the electric winches. A fit body is the best disease prevention. The mind then recovers on the journey. We have improved our medical knowledge on a great seminar of the Seadocs from Hamburg. From our last trip we already knew a little about medicine on board, especially Dr. h. c. Ka, the saviour of my hand. But who can resist to sew chickens or to put syringes into the arms of course participants?

Speaking of health insurance – elegant transition: I have given up with our uniquely bureaucratic health insurance. I follow Ka’s advice and do not share my insults with you, which were well formulated, even if not youth-free. So we look for something abroad.

We have also eliminated a few causes of an earlier death – we have been vaccinated against yellow fever and other stuff, which can shorten the life time in the tropical regions unpleasantly. There are also countries that require vaccination on entry. I know sailors who have walked around Colombia for days because of a yellow fever vaccination without which they should not have entered Fiji.

At the beginning of the year we will also refresh our passports, which are only valid for 5 years in Luxembourg. So we can order fresh VISA for the USA and other countries again.

And because we’re talking about brushing up: I have further improved my technical skills for on-board technology in seminars. I will probably never get close to the technical brilliance of Duncan, Garry or Hermann, but I try my best – and there are very good seminars for sailors on technology on board.

And another nice experience of the last 100 days: this is you, our dear readers. We are overwhelmed how many readers we have gained. And more and more people come forward and we exchange ideas on different topics. Thats a big pleasure for  us. We have also personally met some fellow readers and shared wisdom about ships and cruises.

On our to-do list there was some more work to be done. Job and private. I was allowed to learn that even on eBay small ads there are internet scammers on the way. Are people really that stupid? Send a table to Nigeria? And pay the “forwarder”? Seriously?

In our house there is only one delivery direction: getting stuff out. That also applies to my stock of clothes. As a consumer I am now officially a failure. People in our habitat buy 60 items of clothing a year. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart that someone has to buy 115 pieces of clothing to compensate me. But I save several times 9.000 liters of water, which you need for the production of one jeans.

As the year draws to a close, as usual, grey, wet and cold, I often think of the sailors who are now on their way to the Caribbean. Going with the ARC, the “Iles du Soleil” or just alone. I think about the crews who are busy provisioning on the Canary Islands and Cape Verde – looking for the best wind on the Atlantic or already smelling land. They are full of anticipation and uncertainty, whether the adventure lying in front of their bow. Some only have time for a crossing, others go for a year or longer. For most of them it will be fantastic. I know people who already prepare their crossings with the ARC next year and the year after. What a challenge and courage, great decision.

It’s the last Crossing season without us. In the next one we will be on the almost 6,000 nm long journey from Cape Town to the Caribbean. The next winter will no longer be grey and wet, but warm and sunny. In Barbados it is 24 degrees – at midnight. I will soon buy our last Christmas tree and we will celebrate the last New Year’s Eve with friends in the future ex-home. The following New Year’s Eve will be celebrated in the Caribbean and we are eager to see who of our friends will be with us.
I can’t wait to finally spend every day in shorts again and enjoy the sun. I am looking forward to islands and friends with which we will have a good time. /Holger Binz


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