Hey There And Welcome!
Hey, my name is Jakob. I’m 17 years old and a solo sailor from Austria, a beautiful country in the heart of Europe.
I started with sailing when I was 6 years old, mainly inspired by my dad who sailed a Hobby Cat 16 when he was young. My family and I often stayed on a small Croatian island in the summer holidays that just had a little harbour with one pier. I always loved to spend time on that little pier and watch the sailing boats that were moored there. I always imagined what it would like to be out on the open ocean with such a boat and explore what is behind the horizon. Those evenings strolling through that little harbour were probably the birth hour of my love for ocean sailing.
Now, a bunch of years later I’m a passionate solo sailor and sail the North Sea on a 31 ft boat Wolf.
How It All Began
So you would rather say Austria has beautiful mountains and landscapes but when it comes to ocean sailing that is defenitely not a sport Austrians usually practice, we don’t even have a connection to any ocean in fact, eventough we have some beautiful lakes. So how does someone from a country that really doesn’t have anything to do with sailing get to that sport?
It all started when I was born (didn’t expect that huh?). In fact it started even earlier. When my grandparents were in their young years they had a little sporty catamaran, a Hobie Cat 16. That is a pretty fast and agile two-hull boat with which they sailed in the Adriatic Sea and on lakes in Austria. That little boat awakened the sailing spirit in them and that has also transfered over on my dad when he was born. He resteless sailed with that Hobie Cat alone along the coast at a very young age and wasn’t bothered when stronger winds hit. If it capsized, he would just turn it around again and go.
Decades later I was born. My parents often took me into the mountains, which I love to explore until today, and my dad often talked about sailing and explained all different kind of sailing related thinks to me. When I was little my grandparents often took me with them on vacation to the Adriatic Sea and I remember walking through yacht harbours with them hours on end and could just not stop looking at all the different kind of sailboats. One time my parents and I were on vacation on a small Croatian Island. It was shortly after sunset and getting dark. I was walking along the pier where the few sailing boats that visited the island were moored, when an Austrian sailor approached me and asked if I wanted to see his boat from the inside since I was staring at it for at least ten minutes. Of course I couldn’t say no and was just overwhelmed when he walked me through it and explained how everything works. I was 7 at that time.
Back at home we had one big lake, on which sailing is practiced. Not long after, I attended a kids sailing class there and got a little sailing certificate. That really wasn’t any official license, rather than a thing to inspire kinds to sail. Different than others I didn’t start with an Optimist, a little sailboat built for kids, but was soon out on the water together with my dad in a sloop rigged dinghi. And I loved it!
Unfortunately when school started I drifted away from sailing further and further. Years later I started reading a book, which I read when I was 8 without even understanding half of it, which I somehow discovered again about a girl that broke a huge record in sailing and that was the final element that inspired me to get into ocean sailing and from that moment on I was obsessed with it.