living on a vessel

18 Years On A Sailboat

…AND THE JOURNEY GOES ON…

Austrian Couple conquers the North-West-Passage with their “La Belle Epoque”

Claudia and Jürgen Kirchberger, an Austrian couple, live and sail since 1995 with their vessel around the globe and talk about it on their website: Fortgeblasen.at .

Claudia und Jürgen Kirchberger

Picture: Claudia & Jürgen Kirchberger

Right now they explore Alaska and made friends with an icebear.

Eisbär auf Scholle Foto: Claudia und Jürgen Kirchberger

An Icebear visits Claudia & Jürgen Photo: Claudia & Jürgen Kirchberger

WHERE HAVE YOU LEARNED SAILING (BECAUSE AUSTRIA IS NOT CONNECTED TO THE SEA)?

During our trip with a motorhome along the Westcoast of North America we came across the idea of sailing. I (Claudia) was thinking about my sailing week at the Millstätter Lake in Carinthia/Austria during school. Jürgen never sailed before. So we took a one week beginner class in Los Angeles, California. The whole class was held inside the huge marina of Marina del Ray. Two weeks later we bought a sailboat and headed to Mexico, to our first sail trip which was over three years long.

 

18 Jahre auf See

La Belle Epoque Picture: Claudia & Jürgen Kirchberger

CAN YOU GIVE US 5 TIPS ABOUT CROSSING AN OCEAN WITH A SAILBOAT?

You told me you already have 5 tips for the Atlantic (read HERE). I can give you some tips for the North-Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean. Let´s see if I have 5 tips…

1. You need a strong ship.

2. You need weather data (shortwave radio and satellite phone)

3. You need a happy community.

4. Precook food and put it into glass jars. That helps you during rough conditions. Take lots of fruits and chocolate with you.

5. Stop along the beautiful islands you cross. That´s the reason you are here. 😉 

Along the North-West-Passage – Video by Claudia & Jürgen Kirchberger

HOW LONG WAS YOUR LONGEST TIME NON-STOP ON YOUR SHIP AND WHERE DID YOU SAIL TO?
That´s a while ago. It took us three weeks when we sailed from Colon, Panama to Miami, Florida. And this trip was definitely not one of our best experiences (it was 1999 and Hurrican Lenny shocked us a lot).
WHAT WAS YOUR BEST MOMENT ON YOUR VESSEL SO FAR?

We have a lot of them. Right now the one that is stuck in our heads is an icebear. We were on our way along the Nortwest Passage and ankered. An ice floe came to our boat and woke us up early because it leaned against our boat. We wanted to run out to clear the boat from the ice when we saw a young, beautiful icebear upon the ice floe. The bear was watching the La Belle Epoque closely but  happily didn´t decide to come aboard. We enjoyed watching the icebear until the ice floe came free and floated away.

WHAT IS YOUR NEXT PLAN? WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW AND WHAT IS YOUR NEXT DESTINATION?

Right now we are in Alaska where we will spend the winter. Afterwards we will head to the South again. How far? Maybe until we reach the Ice again. But we will see…

 
I wish you lots of fun and adventures in Alaska.
If you want to know more about Claudia and Jürgen you can read about them at: www.fortgeblasen.at
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