Hanse Sail 2016 or Why I’ll Never Be a Sailor

It’s that time of the year again, when 180 sailing ships come to Rostock, the city in Northern Germany where I live. I told you about my sailing experience last year and since we had lots of fun, we decided to go sailing again.

Rostock turns into a beautiful city during the Hanse Sail. The tall ships are stunning and I love watching them. But nothing beats the experience of sailing out on the Baltic Sea on one of them.

Hanse Sail 11

When we started, we were in a good mood. After weeks of waiting for summer to arrive, we had managed to book tickets for a sunny day. The weather seemed to be perfect. We were both tired from a long week but we were excited to go sailing.

Our ship was called Jachara and it’s usually anchored in Northern Germany, not far away from Denmark. The captain and the crew seemed nice enough and the captain’s wife greeted us with sparkling wine. Three ships were parked next to us so we toasted and slowly sipped the wine while waiting for them to leave so we could follow.

Hanse Sail 9

From where we were anchored, we had to go a few kilometers down the river to get to the sea. While the distance isn’t long, there are a lot of ships trying to leave the harbour and you always get what looks like sailing ships stuck in a traffic jam. This year, it was so bad that it took us two hours to make it to the sea.

Too bad that the sunshine only lasted about thirty minutes. Dark clouds appeared and soon, an icy wind picked up. Back in the harbour, I had rolled up my sleeves because it had been so warm. Now, I was putting on my jacket and desperately wishing I had brought a hat and my winter coat.

Soon, we were shivering from the cold.

One of the guests had been more clever than us and when he put on his hat, I came up with elaborate schemes on how to steal it from him. I just wanted to get warm again!

What I never would have expected was that the cold would soon be the least of my worries. We were about to reach the Baltic Sea when suddenly, the ship started rocking from side to side.

I have managed to get seasick on giant ferries on a perfectly calm day. We were on a medium-sized sailing ship (which translates to a tiny boat in comparison to a ferry) in the middle of a storm.

My friend and I had foreseen some waves. We had taken some ridiculously expensive pills against motion sickness that offer the advantage of not making us tired. Too bad they not only had less side effects, they didn’t have much of an effect on my motion sickness either. Soon, I was staring at the horizon, because that’s what everyone had told me. If you get sick, look at the horizon. It’s easier said than done when you can barely keep upright because the boat is shaking so much.

I had some chewing gum against motion sickness which I was desperately chewing, wishing that we could return to the harbour. It didn’t help that I was still cold, with my lips, according to my friend, having turned blue. Some people were still walking around the ship while all I could do was lean against a wall and hope for things to be over.

Fortunately, we didn’t stay out on the open sea for too long. It still seemed like an eternity to me.

Hanse Sail 10
I’d like to see you try to keep the horizon straight while you’re busy trying not to fall over board.

Imagine my relief when we were getting closer to the lighthouse and the harbour entrance!

On the river, it was a lot calmer. We also managed to find a spot inside where we were protected from the freezing cold wind. Too bad that the chewing gum against motion sickness had made us so tired, we had trouble keeping awake. The soup we got might have been delicious but it made us even more drowsy.

I can now say for sure that I’m never going to be a sailor. I don’t regret going out on the sailing ship yesterday. It was an experience I wouldn’t want to miss. However, I’m not going to get myself stuck on a ship for more than a couple of hours. I know that as soon as the wind picks up, I’ll spend the time feeling sick and wishing I could just get back to the shore.

Sailing might be fun when the weather is good and you’re not shivering from cold and hanging over the railing, feeding the fish. And I think it was fun for most of the guests, who didn’t get sick and had remembered to bring woolen hats in the middle of summer. But it’s not for me. I’m not a sailor and while I will go on boats again, staying there for more than a day is not for me.

So what about you? Have you ever been horribly sea sick? Or would you love the thrill of sailing through a storm?

6 thoughts on “Hanse Sail 2016 or Why I’ll Never Be a Sailor

  1. Oh my goodness! It doesn’t sound like fun. My roughest journey in a boat was the ferry crossing between north and south island in New Zealand with 8 metre seas! I followed your trick of watching the horizon whilst my daughter, then 8 years old kept her face planted in thee opening of a paper sick bag the staff had handed out. Mostly though, I remember the sudden calm when we entered through the heads and into a tranquil bay on the south island. All bad feelings disappear. So, after reading your post I can relate but I do wonder whether you will go again next year?


    1. Oh god, that sounds like hell. I’m so glad the sea was calm when I did that ferry crossing in New Zealand.
      I would go again next year, hoping it would be better. But unfortunately, I can’t because by then, I will be travelling around the world and I won’t be in Germany anymore. Maybe in 2018…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’m so much lookikg forward to it! I’ll start on the Silk Road to travel to Asia, then I’ll spend some time there before crossing the Pacific via Australia, Tahiti and the Easter Islands.

        Liked by 1 person

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