Let’s cut to the chase and make this long story short! At least somewhat short! Marianne is jacked up on the hard next to the Okeechobee Lake in Florida and will remain there for some time to come. The Captain and I are currently back home, almost 8000 km away from our floating home of the past three years.
Our dream has always been to arrive in my home town of Rostock for the Hanse Sail festival this year in August – with tailwinds and Parasailor, minimal techno banging from gigantic loudspeakers on board and our guitar hero Ed DeGenaro playing the guitar solo of his life along, all on Marianne’s bow. But no. That ship has sailed. Or not, whichever way you want to look at it.
I can’t really say at what point dream and reality started to drift apart. Somehow we’ve always been a little behind our schedule but it never seemed too bad.
With the bare finger on the world map we marked and planned our passages. Two thumbs equate to 800 nautical miles, doable in two weeks, or possibly ten days if the wind was on our side. We always calculated our schedule in a way that we could stay a little longer in places here and there and still be able to sail from New York across the Atlantic back home just before the tropical cyclone season at the end of May.
If you compare the time on board with salt water in a slightly leaky bucket, then the water level was still almost at maximum level when we arrived in Brazil in April 2014. But a mix of loads of repair work on our 40 year old one-cylinder diesel engine and also truly amazing Brazilian musicians drilled a continuously bigger hole in our bucket of time.
No matter how many Brazilian mechanics came on board to have a look at the engine, not a single one of them was able to fix our metal grandpa. A fair amount of reais changed wallets, nevertheless right before our next entrance, the motor ‘reliably’ wouldn’t start anymore. This is why we pretty much had to sail along the Brazilian coast under sails only. And thanks to the recent world cup everyone knows that Brazil isn’t exactly small.
We actually don’t really need an engine on the open water and we even sailed in and out of a river in French Guiana. But sometimes it did get quite exciting close to shore, when the wind suddenly dropped and we drifted towards reefs, cliffs, rocks, boats, you name it!
After drifting around for two and a half days and no wind only a few miles from Chaguaramas in Trinidad and Tobago, we finally decided to completely overhaul our Yanmar YSE 12 upon arrival, or shortly after.
So we ended up lifting the huge engine out through the tiny cockpit, bathed in sweat and having to organize new parts for that old beast. Fortunately, spare parts are actually still available out there but it was definitely quite the mission. The engine was finally back on track. But when we left Cuba and smoke suddenly came out of the engine room, even the biggest optimist within me couldn’t argue away my bad thoughts: We’re not going to make it.
… at least not how we had dreamed it. Instead of “sailing and music” our motto on our arrival in Germany would have shrunk to just “sailing”, since our lovely little old lady Marianne has been more than enough work herself. But wasn’t this the reason why we started our journey in the first place? To go against the thought of time dripping from our imaginary leaky buckets? We can and will not have anyone or anything take this amazing bucket of salt water away from us. We will continue to dunk our greasy hands in exactly that water and flip off the conventions, or better cuffs, of modern society with our salty fingers!
Well alright, enough of the rebellious teenage talk and back to the facts. The difference between us in our teenage years and now is also the fact that we have learned to take on responsibilities and do things in a way that’s best for all. We owe all those truly magnificent musicians that we take their musical masterpieces and invest more than just the bare minimum of time in making the best of them. Instead of sailing across the oceans, we are currently surfing through our archives to recover and polish all those precious treasures. Much is to be done and the Sailing Conductors are nowhere near folding up shop or finishing their project. We are officially going into overtime!
And for all curious, interested readers and listeners out there, from September 2014 on we hope you turn from reader to watcher and tune in to our digital 4-episode TV show at ARD’s EinsPlus. In half-hour format Soundwave2Berlin, we will share intimate and real moments of our lives during the three years of life on and off Marianne.
Since for some reason Universal didn’t want to secure their rights to the soundtrack of our show, we had to open our own label to make all this great music available to everyone.
And let me tell you, a few of our limited (1000 copy) edition CDs are still available. So step right up and get your copy at music.sailingconductors.com. We hope that the songs will make you want to sing along and set sail, and we are sure that it will help keep this project alive and the musicians jammin’.
Until next time,
Smutje Hannes and his Captain Ben.