From about March onwards, the authorities that be allow us to re-immerse our boats into Lake Constance – the risk of the lake freezing over in winter and causing damage to boats, large and small, is considered worthy of strict rules. It also helps to support the Swiss opinion that nothing should be left to neglect and so offers a good opportunity for vessels to be thoroughly checked over each winter and made good for the following season, which lasts up until about the beginning of November.
With the sun having made an appearance here and there over the last few weeks, inbetween all the gloomy grey rain and cloud, we felt fortunate to be able to spend some time on the water again – it feels incredibly spacious at this time of year, because so many people are fairweather sailors and don’t actually go out till high summer!
The mountains were particularly clear this time; it’s unusual for them to be etched so starkly against the sky like this. She’s only small, barely 8 metres long from tip to tip, but our little vintage day sailer is quite a beauty and we’re very proud of her! Built by a renowned French-Swiss, Henri Copponex, down at Corsier on Lake Geneva in the mid-1960s (but designed in the 1930s as a sailing – i.e. racing – class of its own, known as “15SNS”), she’s had quite a history and a couple of name changes prior to her latest refit two years ago. She’s pretty fast as she whizzes along, requiring relatively little wind to achieve some smart moves. Inside, she’s not huge, just room for two adults (or maybe we can squeeze 3 little ones in!) and despite her lack of mod-cons, it’s no hardship to spend several hours exploring Lake Constance, getting the “good” spots in the various small ports and marinas when we stop off for a snack – she gets lots of admiring glances and we hear plenty of old sailor’s tales, too. When the wind won’t cooperate – and the likelihood of being stranded in the middle of the lake and having to row home being fairly high – she gets a push with an electric outboard motor that is surprisingly quiet.
That is, nothing is quiet if you try to take Alina along, who whines and howls unabatedly with equal excitement and terror and the lack of courage to actually jump into the water (fortunately!)… thank goodness for doggy life vests:
Three outings already and a whole season ahead…!