Sailing is such a thing. When we were preparing for our coastal driving licence, we once stood up to our waists in water between Helgoland and Sylt during a storm to salvage the torn headsail. On the Adriatic Sea we bobbed up and down in sweltering heat for days, and around the Cyclades the Meltemi caught us with such force that instead of merrily sailing in swimming trunks and bikinis, we had to hurry to the nearest port.
Can it be less extreme and not quite as dramatic? For example sand yachting on solid ground? We only get disparaging comments from our old sailing buddies: “Something for landlubbers and wimps, without us,” says a number of voices. So we set off on our own to the North Sea island of Borkum, the only place in Germany next to St. Peter Ording with a licensed beach sailing school. We register for the taster course and are curious to see whether it will actually be boring.
Don’t be afraid of a total lull
In the morning, before the lesson, we have our first concerns, because there is not the slightest breeze in the town center in front of the hotel. At least we can feel a gentle breeze behind the dune, the flags flutter lazily. The sand yachting school is called World of Wind, and at least that sounds like a promise. “But it’s not,” says headmaster Chris John, “we also have days with total calm here on the North Sea. To compensate, of course, sometimes a storm.” So it’s all like sailing on the sea after all? No, because the difference is that when the weather is bad you stay at the base, wait for things to improve or postpone sailing until the next day instead of being unpleasantly and inevitably surprised somewhere at sea. So yes, a little gentleness for wimps.
Lots of sand, hardly any people: That makes the East Frisian island of Borkum the ideal area for sand yachting. : Image: dpa
The course is scheduled to begin this morning on the Plate at Borkum’s north beach, a level, tide-independent piece of beach that can be ridden at any time because it is protected by a sandbank in front of it. In St. Peter Ording, on the other hand, the travel times are very limited, because there the sand yachtsmen always have to pay attention to the tide and wait until the tide is sufficiently clear. When the tide is particularly high, this can exceptionally happen on Borkum. “Then we can windsurf here,” says Chris John. On other German islands and coastal strips, the beaches are not wide enough to set up a course for beginner training. There, the frantic ride would only go close to the water’s edge, which is allowed at certain times and in certain places. On Langeoog, Juist and Norderney, for example, autumn is the sand yachting season. If you are traveling there alone, you definitely need a pilot’s license, a license from the German Sailing Association.
The layman learns quickly
But now our group of seven registered sailing students can start on Borkum. Several long rows of red and white cones and markers are already laid out on the beach and seven shore yachts are ready. The trainer’s name is Justin, and he dispels our skepticism in view of the moderate flag fluttering: “Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry about the wind today, it will freshen up.” His word into the ear of the wind god. We begin with a brief introduction to the technology, immediately connected with rigging the sailor: the plastic hull is shaped like a kayak, the front fork, which is held when moving the sailor, three wheels with rubber tires, two footrests for steering of the front wheel – it’s all obvious. Then we have to put the mast in its holder. It consists of three or four tubes, depending on the sail size. Now put the land yacht on its side, pull the sail onto the mast and fasten it.
#Speed #frenzy #sand #yachting #Borkum