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Patrice and his team have been working like crazy during the last months to finalize the 104 minute long documentary about Karl and my joruney through the Caribbean:

UNTIE THE LINES – A Journey Of Salt, Sweat And Determination

Untie The Lines is made from the material of our weekly YouTube documentary in which we have been portraying the ups and downs of my dream to live on a sailboat and to travel the world by sea during the last five years.

In my early thirties, I was working as a marketing manager in Hamburg, when I decided to quit my job and let go of the comforts of home. I reduced my belongings to the essentials, packed my bags and bought an old sailboat in Panama. Even though I had very little sailing experience, I dreamt to set sails with my boat that I called “Karl” – all by myself.

Trials & Tribulations

The ones of you that recall the beginning of my journey with Karl will remember, that the casting off was a big challenge: The condition of the boat was a lot worse than expected, the engine failed continuously and the hull was damaged from corrosion. Quickly, two months of planned repairs turned into twelve. I started to doubt my own abilities and began to wonder if I made a big mistake in buying such a work-intensive boat. But I did not give up and finally made my dream come true – I untied the lines.

A Rollercoaster ride through the Caribbean

What followed was an adventure of circumnavigating the Western Caribbean, a roller coaster ride through tears and utter bliss. Again and again, I had to leave my comfort zone. Throughout the movie, you can see me sweating through 2.000 hours of refitting my new floating home and sailing more than 4.000 nautical miles, forming a beautiful unity with my boat “Karl”. You will witness how I try to develop from a landlubber to a salty sailing woman, by adapting my needs and skills to the rules of the ocean.

More than just a YouTube recap

For nearly five years, I have documented my endeavors on camera. More than 50.000 followers worldwide have joined me in this epic journey on YouTube. Those hours of self-made video material – plus interviews with my friends and family, back ground information, unseen material and beutifully animated charts – have now been made into a full-length movie by Patrice and his team.

The aim was, to create a movie that would fill in missing gaps that had not been targeted by the YouTube episodes and to give a different perspective of the adventure by adding comments from friends and family. Plus, the look and feel of the movie are way beyond the weekly episodes due to professional color grading and audio fine tuning.

From the early feedback we have gotten so far, it seems that Patrice and his team succeeded in this task! Well done, my friends!!!

You can order the English version here. The German version can be pre-ordered here and will be released on the 16th of February 2018. I hope, that Untie The Lines will inspire you to cast off on our own journey, to make our own dreams come true.

Thank you for your support

The movie has been completely privately funded. If you happen to know anyone, that works at a magazine (online or print) or runs a Blog / Vlog and for whom this topic could be interesting, then it would be an awesome help if you could let them know about the movie release.

If you have watched the movie and have enjoyed it, then rating it on Facebook would also help tremendously.

A massive thanks to Patrice and his team for making this movie and to all of you who have been sharing this adventure with me during the last years. I hope there will be much more ahead!

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West Marine & The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Raise More Than $41,300 through In-Store Fundraiser


West Marine is pleased to announce the results of a successful collaboration with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that took place throughout the month of October.

West Marine is pleased to announce the results of a successful collaboration with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that took place throughout the month of October.

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National Sailing Hall of Fame Inducts Eight Sailing Heros

The National Sailing Hall of Fame celebrated its seventh class of Inductees on Sunday, September 24, during ceremonies hosted by New York Yacht Club.

The National Sailing Hall of Fame celebrated its seventh class of Inductees on Sunday, September 24, during ceremonies hosted by New York Yacht Club.

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Florida & Caribbean Cruisers Group

A place for Florida and Caribbean cruisers to share news, updates and photos.

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Newport for New Products Winners

The judges have spoken! These are the best new products on display at the Newport International Boat Show.

The judges have spoken! These are the best new products on display at the Newport International Boat Show.

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Hall Spars Opens New Facility in Rhode Island

hall spars

High-performance yacht mast manufacturer Hall Spars recently opened a new service facility in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

High-performance yacht mast manufacturer Hall Spars recently opened a new service facility in
Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

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Confusion Over Cuba Cruising


President Trump announced tighter restrictions on traveling to Cuba, but what does that mean for sailors?

President Trump announced tighter restrictions on traveling to Cuba, but what does that mean for sailors?

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NOAA: Above Average Hurricane Season Expected

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year.

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San Blas Adventures: Lisa’s famous jungle waterfall hike

Most San Blas Adventures take place on picture perfect deserted palm tree islands or in crystal clear water around pristine coral reefs. Not this one. The famous “Lisa tour” is actually one of the few main land based activities in Guna Yala (San Blas in the Guna’s language). It’s a lot of fun combined with a great insight to the culture of the Guna people. Lisa, your tour guide, will show you the beauty of the jungle that surrounds the river that runs by the same name as the village she is from: Rio Sidra.

Let the San Blas adventures begin

San Blas Adventures in Lisa's Lancha

Around eight o’clock in the morning, Lisa comes by the boat with her lancha (a little dug out canoe with an out board engine) to pick us up. Us, that’s Maria (captain of SV Joana), our charter guests Kerry and Scott with their daughters Lyla and Carly and me, Nike (crew on SV Joana at that time). We were anchored off the island Salardup with SV Joana, but I think there is an anchorage just off Rio Sidra as well where you could be picked up.

In our case, the boat ride was some 15-20 minutes cruising towards the beautiful green hills of the mainland. I just love it, when the trade winds have blown most of the thick rain clouds away and you can see the soft green curves of the mountains that look like comfy pillows.

San Blas Adventures: crusing towards mainland

Even though I spent a good four to five month in total in the area of San Blas with my boat Karl during the last three years, I never got to do the Lisa hike. I once tried, but there were some boat issues on the way there, so I had to turn around. Now that I finally get to do it, it’s during my first charter trip that I am working for Sail Joana. This is the second day of our guests being on board and we are off to the jungle. Fortunately, our guests are ok with me filming the adventure, so you will be able to see the trek in one of the upcoming episodes of Untie The Lines Season 3 sometime in the future.

The funeral of a saila

When we arrive, Lisa is discussing some issues with our lancha driver in Guna language. I only know about five words in Guna and have no idea what they are talking about. Our guests are looking at me with big question marks in their eyes and I feel thrown back into the times when I worked as a tour leader in Peru in my early twenties. After some investigation I find out, that there is a funeral today in the graveyard that we have to pass on the way to the river. And it is not just any funeral, but they are burying one of their sailas, which are political and spiritual leaders in the Guna culture. Understandably, they do not want to be disturbed by tourists marching through their ceremony.

Graveyard in Guna Yala

Silently we walk for some twenty minutes, keeping together and trying to find a path that will cause the least disturbance possible. It seems that the ceremony has not started, yet, and Lisa shows us the cemetery where her family is buried. She tells us that she cannot go any closer because she is feeling a bit unwell. When the Guna are ill, their spirit becomes weak and if Lisa would pass too close to her family’s graves, their spirits would try to catch her and drag her with them. Who could blame them…

When we come by some Guna women along the river, they ask us for some matches to light their incents but unfortunately we did not bring any. But we did bring Joana’s boat dog Niko. The Guna always giggle when they ask for the dog’s name, because “nika” means “I have” in Guna language. The Guna ladies have a dog with them at the river as well, and we have to make sure Niko passes quickly and smoothly. I call out “achu nika” to them, which means “I have a dog”, and they giggle again. Those moments always leave me wondering if they are laughing about me or if they are just a very jolly bunch of people.

San Blas Adventures: jungle hike

Walking uphill through the jungle

We continue hiking and the path winds slowly uphill through lush green vegetation. Lisa is pointing out some medicinal plants along the way and sharing more stories about the Guna and their beliefs. A highlight are some little red flowers along the way that she calls “the lips of Marilyn Monroe”. I will let the pictures speak for themselves…

San Blas Adventures: Marilyin Monroe lips

It’s hot and humid, but the walk is very pretty and we know that a refreshing waterfall will be waiting for us at the end of this trail. Niko is romping through the bushes somewhere and Lyla, the older one of our charter guest’s daughters, asks if there are any tapir around. “They will come out once the mangoes and avocados are ripe, still a month from now”, Lisa replies.

Our visitors are in good shape and after an hour and a half we reach our lunch spot. Just before that we enjoy a beautiful view of Salardup on the one side and the highest hill of San Blas on the other. The sacred mountain that stretches in front of us is also the border of the comarca Guna Yala, the San Blas territory.

San Blas Adventure: sea view to Salardup

A refreshing waterfall lunch break

We have just reached the Rio Sidra and the two adventurous girls, Lyla and Carly, are already splashing around in the delishous cold water. They did not hesitate for a second before they jumped off the rock, some three meters above the deep cristal clear pool. Lisa does this tour all the times, so she knows where it’s safe to jump and where not. She has been guiding this jungle hike for thirty years now and she tells me she still loves it each time she gets to do it. You can tell by the enthusiasm in her voice when she tells her stories.

Ok, but now it’s lunch time. Where are the cups, the cold water, here’s the pasta salad, the forks…”did you pack the pineapple, Nike?”. Ups, no, I did not…we had talked about it in the morning but then nor Maria nor me had actually put it into one of the backpacks. Well, “how about some Trail Mix, anyone?”. I am taking mental notes for the next run: remember to bring some fruit, Lisa and the second guide have asked for soda…Mosiquito repellent for the guests would be good, too.

San Blas Adventures: refreshing bath under the waterfall

Sliding, jumping and wading down the river

After lunch, the best part of the trip begins: from now on, we walk down the river, through the river. We are gliding down natural water slides, jump off the rocks into sparkling pools and there is even a liana to play Tarzan on. Well, in our case it’s actually mainly Janes that get to use the natural swing. The kids seem to love it.

San Blas adventures: kids having fun in the water

The only tricky part is to keep my phone reasonably dry because I don’t trust any of these waterproof phone cases…The two video cameras I took along are waterproof, but I don’t want to bugger up my new to me phone. Maybe because I did not have one for more than three years, I still guard this one like a precious treasure. But the temptation to use it for snapshots along the way is bigger than the fear of loss.

Two further attractions along the way back are the spotting of a white hawk (that of course I did not catch on camera) and a wooden “ulu” that is ready to be sent down the river for the final wood carving. “Ulus” or “kayucos” are the kayaks that the Guna use to get around the islands. They are carved in one piece from a massive tree trunk. Some of them even have a mast and sails, the others are moved purely by muscle power.

San Blas Adventures: ulu in process, made from a tree trunk

A fun day trip comes to an end

When we come back to our lancha, we are still counting four charter guests and a dog. That’s a success, I’d say, right? It’s been an exciting day and I have to say, if this is what working in charter business is like, then hey, I’m up for more! But I have to keep in mind that this is not the usual daily charter routine. It’s an additional tour with Lisa as a guide that can be booked for an extra 25$US. This fact makes it easier on our end because we only have to provide food, translation and entertainment. Wait a sec, isn’t that, what we usually do as well? Never mind…it felt good and our guests seem very happy, not only the kids…And if the guests are happy, we are happy!

San Blas adventures: happy charter guests

Cheeky Scott enjoyed the day that much, that he actually wants to try and keep this place a secret from all of you:

In case you would like to explore the beauty of this part of the world and join us for some San Blas adventures, we still have room on our two special Untie The Lines charters in June 2017 on Sail Joana. You can check out rates & dates here. Maria and I would love to welcome you on board!

San Blas Adventures: Captain Maria

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Newport-Bermuda Race Adds Multihulls

Gunboat Tribe prepares for the 2018 Bermuda Race.

For the first time ever, the Newport-Bermuda race will allow multihulls 58 feet and larger.

For the first time ever, the Newport-Bermuda race will allow multihulls 58 feet and larger.

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Get on the Water at Pacific Sail & Power

pacific sail and power

Get on the water with one of the many educational courses offered at this year’s Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show.

Get on the water with one of the many educational courses offered at this year’s Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show.

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Of New Engines, Charters and Further Plans

Since the beginning of March 2017 I am back in Panama, after a four month break in Europe to see my family and friends but mostly to earn some money for a brand new engine for Karl. For those of you who do not know yet: YES, Karl is getting a BRAND NEW engine.

sailing vessel karl in Panama

The decision of buying a new engine

There are a couple of reasons why I decided to “go new”:

After some chats with different mechanics, I found out that the cost of repairing my old Ford XLD 418 would be somewhere close to half of the cost of a new engine. The timing belt had slipped, the pistons had smashed into the valves and cracked the cylinder had in various places. Who knows how it looks like further inside.

Buying a used engine often means buying someone else’s problems, which I already had a few of in the past.

But mostly I decided for a shiny new motor for Karl because

  1. Karl and I are going to head into the Pacific and are going to be far away from spare parts
  2. I have had so many engine issues in the past that I think I did tackle with a lot of patience. Don’t get me wrong, I am actually grateful for them in a way, because they taught me a lot. This is a very self-centered reason, but I think that due to the past troubles, I deserve a new engine that will give me some peace of mind for some time. I do promise to maintain it thoroughly and to avoid the mistakes from the past!

What kind of new engine is Karl getting?

Now I know you all want to know what I decided to put into Karl’s belly. It’s going to be a (massive fanfare tatatataaaaaaaaaaa):
Beta 43.

Beta Marine 43 new engine

I know, exciting, right?

It’s in production right now and will be ready on the 5th of April. I asked Beta for some pictures during the production and I hope I will get some to share them with you. I so cannot wait to open up that big box and take a look at that sexy red beast that will be part of this journey soon.

In the meantime…

Right now, I am spending some time in one of my favorite destinations ever: The San Blas Islands. No, not on Karl, since he is in the Pacific, remember? Instead, I am on my friends’ (Maria and Cathy) boat Joana that you already know from various episodes including the most recent ones.

sailing paradise san blas

Back in Germany, I have been working two jobs plus trying to fit family and friends in as best as I could. When I flew back to Central America, I just really felt like taking two or three weeks off and just enjoy nature, try out my new spear gun that I had bought for the Pacific but never got to try much yet, read a book and just enjoy cruising without the usual boat problems of my own.

Untie The Lines goes Charter

But it is not only pure vacation. I am actually helping the girls with some of their charters this season, because I am planning to kidnap Maria for the second attempt of the Pacific crossing with Karl this year. Two of the Sail Joana charters are in April and were already previously booked. But there are two charters coming up in June that will be special “Untie The Lines” charters.

sail joana charter san blas

Many people have asked me throughout the past years if I would ever take charter guests on board. Unfortunately I never had the time or facilities to do so on Karl. Joana is a boat that has anchored next to Karl for many days and has plenty of stories about him to tell (Karl loves her old French butt, but she always showed him the cold shoulder). But not only that, she is a truly amazing 70 foot steel boat with tons of comfy lounging areas on deck and a really cozy interior.

But what makes her even more special are her owners Cathy and Maria. Unfortunately, Cathy won’t be there this time, but Maria can talk for two, no worries. She is an incredible sailor, has spent more time of her life at sea than on land, has sailed around the world twice and fixes anything that comes up on her Joana.

sail joana fishing

Come Sail With Us in Paradise

There will be two five night charters in June 2017 from the 1st to the 6th and from the 11th to the 16th. You can find some more information about the San Blas Islands and sailing vessel Joana here. Joana can also be looked at in UTL III #01 and #02 and there will be some more detail about her history coming up in the next episode this Friday.

sail joana san blas

It would be really great to meet some of you in person and I know this is not Karl, but I think you are actually getting a way better (more comfortable and entertaining) deal this way!

So are Karl and I going anywhere this year?

The plan is to finally finish what was planned for last year: to cross the Pacific to the Marquesas, possibly stopping in the Galapagos. Right now the time frame for that will be something around July. But you know how it goes with boating. Well, or should I rather say you know how it goes with boating and Karl and me…

Last but not least for the ones that are still confused

This whole thing surely might sound confusing for some of you. I thought she is back on the boat, I thought she is in the Pacific, why is she all of a sudden in the Caribbean again and why is there a running engine in the new videos etc. Well, I guess, that’s life :)!

Here are some fast facts to make it a little easier to follow:

I am back in Panama, saw Karl shortly, but now I am on my friend’s boat Joana in the San Blas islands waiting for my new Beta 43.

relaxing in san blas on Joana

The new engine (Beta 43) is in production, but not here yet. Most likely it will arrive end of May and then I will try to get it in.

There will be two charters that I am doing on my friend’s boat Joana in June before trying to cross the Pacific with Karl.

The recently released videos of Untie The Lines Season III are made from material that was filmed in June 2016. We have put that info plus the location at the beginning of each new video in the hope to avoid confusion.

youtube info on time and destination

Season II finished with Karl and me arriving in Panama. Season III is starting where we left it: on the Caribbean side of Panama. There will be some episodes of prepping the boat, the crossing of the Panama Canal, some cruising in the Las Perlas archipelago and the engine failure.

Just always keep in mind please: the videos on my YouTube channel are not real time, unless stated differently! What I post on my Facebook Page is what is going on right now (possibly a delay of a day or three due to internet access) unless stated differently.

Thanks to all the great supporters of Untie The Lines

white spot pirates events


And to finish this post off, I would like to send out a very very big thank you: To everyone that has been and / or is still supporting the creation of Untie The Lines, to those who supported our work by coming to my presentations in Germany, Austria or the States, to the people who made those events possible, and to all of those who keep on watching Untie The Lines, give it a like, a comment or a share. And of course to Patrice, Daniel and Timo, without whose awesome work there would not be any Untie The Lines at all.

A Thanks goes out to all of you! Karl and I will be thinking of you whilst repowering and whilst hopefully peacefully crossing that big ocean this year.

panama city lights

Ahoy, Karl & Nike

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