28 July, 2014

Lipno lake - two weaks in heaven

In the summer we went for two weeks to our largest lake in the Czech Republic called Lipno. It's artificial dam build in 1950' and is located in the national park Šumava. There is allowed to use the gasoline engines only on sailboats and it's pretty far from any big city so it's virtually free of speed motorboats. I call this sailboat heaven also because of the winds blowing almost all the time.

The only downside is that's its 5 hours away from our home. The trip to the lake was fine and the boat sat on the trailer pretty much like in the bed.

Near the dam, in the city called Lipno, there is one of the most modern marina in the country with great facility and perfect slip.

Marina Lipno

boat slip

view from the near by hills on the marina and small part of the lake

Even though the water level was almost 2 meters below the normal we were able to launch the boat without any issue. The bright side of this lower water is that you can see where is the sand or rocks on the shores which is usually impossible during normal levels, because the shore is usually covered by a grass.

preparing the boat and raising the mast in the staging area

There are also a plenty of play fields for the kids so they don't get so much bored during the boat preparation and launching.

The next day we headed upwards the lake to explore the other places and we set some first sails.

Simon on the watch

Lenka keeping the course

Look over there, the pirates!

...aim the cannon...

Dad, it's over, the pirates' boat sunk and we don't take prisoners.

We know that long sailing is not that real water life for our kids so we had to stop on the beach pretty often and let the kid play - with the water.

lifting rudder and the centerboard are nice

improvised bimini top

There are also plenty of the club marinas, but due to low water level, some of the keel sailboats had to stay on the ground.

YC Černá v Pošumaví

only 0.9m of depth on the entry of the marina
(blue Phobos 24 on the right)

YC Azura Frymburk

Sailing was truly amazing and I must say that the boat handles the wind very well and there is no problem to her get to the hull speed.

dead wind sailing in the evening
The national park has beautiful nature, so we often took some land trips to the nearby rocky mountains.

Devil's heel
family selfie on the top of the mountain

Devil's wall
Mozart's waterfall in the forests
Statue of Lipno's fairy
Treetop walkway
Mom, where is our Phobos?

Weather on the lake can change in a minute, because the lake is around 800m above the sea and there are plenty of the mountains. You can see the clouds are forming just above your head so the rains and storms can come very fast.

you can see rain is coming...

The second day we were on the lake one of this quick storm just passed over us while we were on the beach. One moment there is a blue sky and sunny weather, kids are playing with in the water and a few minutes later we saw big dark clouds and lightning coming from both sides pretty fast. So I decided to pull out the anchor, leave the beach and stay motoring against the wind. When the storm hit us I saw one small sailboat with the instructor and some kids without the outboard and teared jib heading to the shore and one big cruise ship in their course. There were not much time for thinking, my kids and wife were safe in the cabin and I was the nearest boat so I motored for them, threw them a line and towed them to the marina.

... and now there is a storm
All finished in about 30 minutes and when we returned to the marina we saw one more larger sailboat with teared main sail. Then the owner told me that it was very fast and had some technical problems with dropping the mail sail.

This two weeks of vacation passed fast and we had to take our "home" back.

on the way back home

10 July, 2014

Weekend trip to Zernoseky lake

I've taken some days off from work and extended the weekend. We decided to go to nearby lakes on the Labe river called Zernoseky. It's a and an old sand pit connected with Labe. There are nice islands with sand beaches which is great for the kids. Weather was nice and the water around 26 °C.

We used the public slip in the Lovosice town and parked the car and trailer in the near sailing yacht club where are really great people.
The plan was straight, launch the boat, have some fun and retrieve the boat back to the trailer. However, when we checked the slip it turned out to be very gradual so I had to unhook the trailer and that was my mistake. Our trailer has the axles with "cool" feature called back-o-matic, in a translation that means it simply cannot brake in reverse, so when you pull the parking brake, it does not work when the trailer in on the slope heading backwards (Updated 12/1/2015 - I've found that the hand brake works even with the back-o-matic!) I blocked the wheels with that funny plastic blocks, but the slippery rocks on the slip simply cannot hold it and the trailer with the boat just runs away into the water.
Luckily the trailer stopped just after the boat was fully in the water. That was great lesson how NOT to do it again. I have to tie the rope first before unhooking the trailer!
Unfortunately, my wife did not take any photo as she was helping me with the boat.

After this stressful launch, we had a great trip and nothing went wrong.

panoramic photo of the Porta Bohemica (heading to Usti nad Labem)

Last river lock on the river on the Czech Republic side called Strekov
(on the right castle Strekov from 14th Century)

Near the Strekov, there are also thermal swimming pools and toboggan with water about 26 °C.

popular sailboat water skiing

lunch time after building sand castle on the Zernoseky public beach

little swans begging for food

The amount of the water (50l) tank was just enough for this 4 day trip and the electricity from the motor and the solar panel was more than enough to keep the battery charged for the fridge.

Retrieving the boat was then pretty easy, I tied ~5m of the rope to the trailer and to the hook on the car and pulled the boat out of the water without any issue.
This is a space for enhancements to our trailer and building some steel tube extension.

03 July, 2014

Ahoy from the water

The last weekend was the day with big D when we launched the boat for the first time. We decided to launch on the "slip" near our marina on the Labe river.

preparing to get it ready
slowly into the water....
...and finally its there.

The naming ceremony was fun for the kids. I had some small speech and then the kids had to blow the whistles and spill some high class wine on the boat. By that high class I mean strawberries fizzy lemonade so even kids can get drunk :-)

naming ceremony
sacrifice the blood of the virgin to the god of the seas

proud owners

Then we took our grandma and grandpa for a short trip and headed to the marina for the first night.

first mate on the watch
at marina
Next day we headed upwards the river a few river locks and stayed overnight.
"wild" nature mooring

daughter loves the boat 
On Sunday we headed back to the marina and retrieved the boat back onto the trailer. This was not easy as I did it for the first time, but when we finally leveled the trailer, it was then peace of cake. The Kia Sorento is a wonderful car, especially with the reduction.
The boat is really comfortable and I loves that retractable keel and rudder. You can easily anchor at the shore without any problem and kids can get onto the boat very easily.
I did not test the sails, but hopefully on the next trip. Anyway, everything was working well and we had not technical issues with the boat.

I forgot to mention that we also bought the 20l portable fridge Engel MT27D with Sawafuji compressor. It's quiet and very low consumption. The solar panel helped to charge the batteries even it was not sunny all the weekend and the mast covered portion of the solar panel.