Hinnerk Weiler gave up the mooring lines in April 2009 so that he could go around the world with his IW 31 Paulinchen - to make his childhood dream come true. In this article, the 36-year-old traveler sums up his own monthly total.
Hinnerk Weiler's world
When the yachts of long-distance travelers meet, it rarely takes more than a couple of minutes until the first tuzik sets a course for the newcomer to the anchorage. As always, to begin with, with the same questions: where, where, how was it?
I have lived in Germany for many years without knowing my neighbors. In a sparsely decorated entrance with linoleum floors and white walls, they were strangers who, when they met, evoked a feeling of awkwardness rather than trust. We avoided each other with quick steps, knowing full well about the correct behavior, muttering a greeting formula with a nod until the doors closed behind us and the light turned off by the timer. What reason did we have to talk to each other?
My boat was then in Lubeck, right next to the Autobahn. And here, it seemed, we were all gathering just to hide from each other.
Every Friday I met my neighbors at the pier, who, as quickly as I did, loaded their purchases and handed over the mooring lines. Leaving their daily worries on land, they guided the bow of the boat to one of the many bays of Trave, before anchoring.
The good manners here are joined by a bit of a common hobby and the anticipation of the joy of the coming weekend trip: friendly waving and a short "where are you going?"
Long boat travel for introverted individuals is compulsory therapy. This is especially true for singles. Not only because I have to ask for help from time to time, but even only because I have to approach my neighbors at the marinas and anchorages more openly than before. Much more begins to operate here, between strangers, which was then lacking in the entrance: a real sense of life in a community that helps and cares for each other. If I start comparing my previous life on land with life on board, it is even more surprising that this life together becomes closer if random crews from different parts of the world intertwine.
Then no pretext like "Where is the nearest supermarket located?" or a supposedly empty salt shaker to speak to a local or other sailor. A new yacht comes in, interestingly equipped, with a flag from the other end of the world or just with pretty faces on the deck, I go around the circle on the boat and just say: "Hello, where, where, how was it?" Answers often drag on until late in the evening.
And then I often think about the moments when I didn't ask. For example, when years ago I met a yacht in the port of Maskholm on Shley. The couple on board seemed a little lost and gazed little inspired into the late summer drizzling rain from the yacht's shed in Pit Lane. Our gazes met, and for a moment I tried to come up and just ask: "Hello, where, where, how was it?" But I had no other basis other than curiosity about their story. And then I still thought that turning to someone for no reason would be a sign of bad taste. So we nodded to each other in a friendly way and then disappeared into the sunset, while the evening dimmed the daylight behind us.
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