I was not very ambitious on new year resolutions, but one of them:
Signing up for a sailing club
Woodpecker had his first two days of Sailing at Lake Starnberg this weekend.
And what a great weekend we had!
It was quite bad weather, cold, stormy, rainy and with some pretty heavy wind gusts in-between. Of the 15 boats we went out with, three(!) overturned, leaving 7 people quite soaked to the showers. One mast broke and a shroud was ripped apart in a wind gust (a very rare event). And Woodpeckers boat was rammed twice(!) by the same beginner (…what did I do him that he was chasing us so hard?!?), leaving two quite unattractive dents in the wooden port side deck. We all were shivering and exhausted by the end of the days, but almost everybody with that frozen smile in the face, saying: “When do we go out again?”.
So, it was FUN!
(…and boy am I glad that I don’t own the poor boats)
But wait a second:
Sailing? Club? Starnberg?
Woodpecker, are you stupid? Did you leave the road of frugal living? Sailing is a posh and expensive sport, isn’t it? For the rich, the spenders and others who don’t know how to get rid of their money.
And Lake Starnberg! – the most expensive area around Munich, full of millionaires and other price-insensitive folk.
That doesn’t sound like a good treat to your budget, does it?
Well, interesting enough, as most times in life, there is a way to combine fun and cost saving:
In this case, I found out about the University sailing club, and an option to sign up as an Alumni with them!
Total cost per sailing day: 12 EUR!
That is for a day from 9-5. After theory, briefing, preparing the boats, lunch break, debriefing and securing the boats in the evening, this leaves about 5 hours of sailing, or 2,50 EUR per hour on the water.
This is incredibly cheap. For comparison: At lake Ammersee you pay about 30 EUR per hour for a rental small boat – and those are scrappy and old barges compared to the nice and well-kept wooden boats of the university.
Plus the University sailing club comes with a beautiful and centrally located own lake site, an own harbour, several different types of boats, most in a great condition, plus schooling rooms, a small dockyard, two motor boats for support and rescue, showers, changing rooms, food area and a variety of trainings and courses for free!
And the best of all:
It comes with a load of young, motivated and non-money focussed people sailing together with Woodpecker! This really is important, as it was a major donwturner to me that many commercial sailing club around Munich seem to attract mostly elderly and money-soaked posh people (this does not at all hold for sailors in general, but unfortunately often for clubs around Munich).
Obviously the University club comes with different rules – all of them very much appreciated by a downshifter, but not so much maybe for a career-driven consume-optimizer:
- You have to sign up well in advance for courses and commit to dates. You can only do whole weekends, two times 9-5.
No problem for a downshifter with enough of time available. Sure a problem for the career-optimizer where work always goes first and weekends are desperately needed to sleep or do household stuff.
- You can do spontaneous half-days as well, but only on Wednesdays starting from 16:00.
See bullet above.
- You don’t own your own boat but share the club boats.
Well, perfect. In most cases sharing is much more economic, plus see above what can happen to the poor things! You want to be on your own pulling overturned boats out, tossing them to land, repairing damage and so on? Me not.
- You have to prepare and store away everything by yourself, including sail drying, little repair works etc.
Fantastic! Part of the fun is to really work with the material instead of being a simple consumer of services.
- You are encouraged to help out at frequent occasions. Be it helping the carpenter in the dockyard for a day, instructing beginners, later becoming an official trainer or preparing a party, whatever. In return you are allowed to rent out boats outside the courses later on.
Man! That’s great! Excactly the model I appreciate. People volunteer on different things they are good at to the benefit of everybody. And you are in-between the action and the community. Much better than dedicating the woodwork to an employee and only sit dully on your deck having champagne, isn’t it?
So let’s see where this is going, but I am quite positive this was one of the best decisions so far this year.
I think in general that’s a good receipt:
Go out, think about your passion, find a way to do it the most cost-efficient way, take time away from work and devote it to your passion. And sooner or later, happiness will follow!