Embedding PhotoSpheres

At some point in the fall of last year (2015) Google changed their technology and it was no longer possible to embed Google Spheres in other websites.
That technology changed again in January, from what I understand, and thanks to some very smart people it is again possible to embed a sphere.
As it takes a while for my spheres to become a formal Google Maps contribution, it takes a while to embed them in a blog post – but better late than never.

Below is a sphere taken at Quarr Abbey, close to Rye on the Isle of Wight. Alex, Thomas and I enjoyed the bicycle ride there from Cowes.

France to Germany – video

The last leg of our 2015 transatlantic tour took us from St Malo, France, via Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Cowes (Isle of Wight, UK) to Germany.

The Channel Islands are a destination in their own right and in three days we barely scratched the surface. Taking the ferry to Sark was a great experience and we wished we had more time (and less rain).
Sailing across the Channel past the Needles and down the Solent to the sailing mecca, Cowes, was a special experience (especially, when 400 boats participating in the Fastnet Race are going in the opposite direction).
On the Isle of Wight we enjoyed our daily exercise riding bikes up and down the rolling hills.
Finally pushing off to the final sail took us past the cliffs of Dover, lots wind farms and oil platforms and endless lines of freighters. Going through the locks to get into the Kiel Canal indicated that we were getting close.
A large reception with family and friends topped it off before we took Tioga out of the water in Kappeln.
All basic repairs are done by now and the more significant work is in progress. The new mast was ordered.

Distance traveled: about 680nm.

Life is good… (don’t wait too long to live it to its fullest 😉  )

Again, an attempt to provide access to the same video in countries where YouTube blocks this video:


Tioga slideshow and presentation at Dory Club

The number of chairs squeezed into our clubhouse last night might have broken a record. It was nice so see such as large and interested crowd during our presentation of this year’s journey across the Atlantic.

Given the close connection between our tour and the various people and places in France we visited, it was good to listen to Commodore Manny’s opening statements where he found the appropriate words to address the tragedy in Paris.

Manny handed over to Philip and we continued with a couple of photos summarizing the highlights of the tour, giving us the opportunity to explain the bigger picture in words and answering questions.

Fun facts:

  • preparation took about 5 years
  • 15 people sailed the boat this year, spread over three legs, supporters: many, many more
  • we sailed about 4000nm, roughly 1/3 of the entire tour
  • highest waves: about 45ft, strongest wind: low 50s kn, highest tides: approximately 40ft
  • sailboats seen between Nahant and Azores: 0
  • near collisions with whales: 3
  • time to paint mural in Horta: 3 days
  • number of significant storms: 3
  • highest number of concurrent AIS targets: 86 (North Sea)

After that, Corinna, Ellen and Peter presented the burgees to the Dory Club that we had exchanged at various places:

  • Peter  Cafe Sport, Horta, Faial, Azores
  • Guernsey Yacht Club, Guernsey
  • Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes
  • Island Sailing Club, Cowes

Videos for each leg followed, showing live at sea and the various places we visited.
Comments about Philip’s choice of music were minimal 😉

Photos we presented to explain overall route;

when you see dolphins jumping in deep blue water, life is good  our mark in Horta  Overall plan  Islands of the Azores we visited  Britanny and Channel Islands  Solent, Isle of Wight  A busy day on the Northsea  for 2 days we had to take every 90 min against wind in the high 20s  Kiel Canal (about 60nm)  crew of the first leg in Horta

Summary video of crew and this year’s highlights:

Where is Yahoodi?

As most people lose interest when watching hundreds photos of someone else’s trip, here is a very quick slideshow to get an idea of what this year’s trip looked like.
A teaser to our upcoming video night at the Dory Club…

Cliffs of Dover

We left Cowes at 18:00 in the rain and had a pleasant sail down the Solent past old Forts and numerous freighters. The former Volvo Ocean racer, Camper, sailed past us with 12kn speed and quickly disappeared in the distance.
Later the wind calmed down and we ran the engine for a while. By now we have a nice southerly breeze, have the gennaker up and just passes the white cliffs of Dover. The line up of freighters on the horizon is quite impressive and fun to follow. The new crew is having a great time in the sun.



Cowes is an old English word for Castles. There used to be two castles, one in East-Cowes and one on our side West-Cowes, or Cowes  (the one in Cowes now houses the “Squadron” – the Royal Yacht Squadron). In addition to a lot of historically relevant places, this beautiful town is a sailor’s dream come true. Lot’s and lot’s of boats, marina’s, yacht clubs, chandleries, supermarkets, pubs, restaurants etc; and all very close together.

You can tell that the locals are very proud (and knowledgeable) of their history. The girls met Paul, the Counselor of Cowes, and he shared his wisdom with us over a couple of days. Paul also invited us to his club, the Island Sailing Club, after sending us to the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club for their weekly Tuesday dinner the night before. Of course, we exchanged burgees with both clubs. The Island Sailinbg Club is rumored to have the largest burgee collection in the world with about 3500 burgees…. it is also the host of the Around the Island regatta which has thousands of boats on the line every year.

One of the highlights of our stay in Cowes was the visit by Peggy, Sebastian, Lawrence and Simon. They came over by ferry for an afternoon and it was really nice to catch up with them again. They’ll hopefully meet us next year at the Caledonian Canal again.
At the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club we also met Joy and her friends from Birmingham. Amazing to hear all her stories about the history and famous people of Cowes.

One of the highlights that is easily missed is the Sir Max Aitken museum. It is located in a former sail loft and exhibits very interesting artifacts, such as the gaff of Britannia, the crib of Napoleon’s baby, parts of Nelson’s boat etc – one large room; with a huge amount of history.

As with any of the previous places where we rented bikes, it was truly worth the effort as we saw a lot of the Isle of Wight (which is a lot larger and hillier than we expected) and also got a decent exercise.

Now that Bjoern arrived, the fuel is topped up and the food loaded, it is time to say good bye and make our way to Germany.

Simon Thomas Peggy Sebastian Philip Corinna Ellen Island Sailing Club - Cowes Royal Yacht Squadron

The crew from France to England

Cowes marks the first half of our final leg to Germany. This is where we change crew for the last time. Candace left the island per ferry on Monday (flying back to Boston via Heathrow) and Alex arrived here on Tuesday (coming in from Hannover via plane, bus and ferry). Bjoern will fly in from Munich on Thursday morning and we are planning to leave here Thursday afternoon (weather permitting).

We had a great time in St Malo, the Channel Islands, Lymington and Cowes and already miss Candace and our sitting in the cockpit dance club at the dock in Cowes….
The overnight sail from St Malo was about 60 nm and the daysail from Guernsey to Lymington about 100nm. Both were quite different in nature but quite enjoyable in their own way.

A couple of impressions of our crew:

Candace Corinna Ellen Philip Thomas


We left Lymington around noon with the expected low breeze and also against the tide. The goal was to be in the middle of the Solent after the Fastnet Race fleet left Cowes.
It was quite impressive to see about 400 boats (incl boats like Comanche or Rambler) sailing down the Solent towards us.

We motor-sailed against about 3kn of current around the fleet, enjoyed the show, sunshine and good food before we turned south into Cowes. Our marina, Cowes Yacht Haven, had a slip for us and we are now tied up here for a couple of days.

This is where Candace is leaving us and Bjoern and Alex will join us. We are also looking forward to seeing Lawrence & Peggy and Simon & Allison again.
Internet speed is fantastic (Wifi and LTE mobile) the facilities outstanding and High Street about 1 min away.

Fastnet Race   Solent

Crossing the Channel

The water in St Peter Port was high enough at 5:20 to make it across the sill and take advantage of the tide pushing us to Alderney.

You can tell be are getting better at maneuvering Tioga in close quarters as we got up at 5:30, woke up the Kiwis next door, untied them and then us, and crossed the sill just 15min later. No marks left in the harbor.
On the other hand, we still have to learn how to read the light signals a little better as we apparently ran a red light light when leaving the overall harbor while the high speed ferry came in…

we had 3-4kn current pushing us all the way up to Alderney, a nice sunrise (and no more rain) and a good breeze. The forecast was right on as the wind shifted from the NW to W throughout the day. In hindsight, we could have steered an initially much lower course to sail faster, as the change in tide pushed us up wind throughout the second half of  the crossing and forced us to sail dead downwind into the Solent.

This was our second time close to a traffic separation zone and as before our AIS system proved to be working very well. We could see the freighters before they came over the horizon and position us to cross the busy shipping lanes safely.

The Isle of Wight’s Needles were visible from quite a distance and it was a special moment for us sailing close past this famous landmark. As this week is Cowes week, we were not able to get a slip in Cowes before Sunday and therefore made landfall in Lymington. A very nice harbor with three marinas, lots of sailboats & ferries and an active dinghy sailing program (with a huge seawater pool). We had just tied up to another boat when the Sheppard’s Pie made it to the cockpit for another nice dinner…
A little shopping therapy on Sunday morning  lifted our spirits even more and filled the fridge.

We had called Yachtline when we arrived in England to formally check in (there are no formal ports of entry in the UK anymore) and were happy to see that after a couple of clarifying calls our inspection by customs in Guernsey was sufficient to enter the UK.

  Isle of Wight - NeedlesChannel Traffic