A Downshifter’s Boat Trip around Rügen, Baltic Sea. Or: Adventure and Kids, Part 2.

Nautic map of Ruegen, Germany, Baltic Sea. (more pics below)

Nautic map of Ruegen, Germany, Baltic Sea. (more pics below)

“You can’t do that, your kids are too young”

“Take it much more slow, think about the kids and if they can stand this”

“What if something HAPPENS?”

“I don’t know if kids of age 3 and 1 belong on a boat”

“Why don’t you go to a nice kids-hotel at the beach?”

This was some of the comments Woodpeckers got to hear when we quite spontaneously decided to do a family sailing trip on the Baltic sea around the island of Rügen (Germany).

Actually, why exactly didn’t we want to go to one of these family friendly kids-hotels, that other families in our situation cherish so much?

Because these hotels are boring!

They are ugly, noisy and hectic in their strange plastic charms. They are no adventure at all. They are quite the opposite: They are perfectly arranged avoidance of any unexpected or challenging situation.

And yet these kind of synthetic environments are very very expensive!

More expensive as chartering out a last-minute offer 32 foot sailing yacht at the Baltic sea.

So we did the latter.
Because if you are into it, a sailing trip – while being far from frugal – offers an excellent relationship of price vs. experiences, fun, being together, seeing and feeling nature. The high price is typically more than compensated by a unique experience.

And this is what happiness is about, and where I clearly deviate from the other early retirement and frugal living bloggers:

I am very fond of living efficiently and buying as little stuff as possible. And it is important to never spend more than necessary for a given good or activity as well as thinking twice or better thrice if it’s worth it. And to buy only things you really need and not things you are told to need. Reducing overall consumption and becoming less dependent on money is very important on your way to independence.


If you really love something, and if you thought about it long enough, there is nothing wrong with spending on expensive hobbies or activities occasionally and in a conscious way as long as the satisfaction you gain is really deep and long-lasting.

Actually, happiness research has proven that spending money on activities/experiences is a good way to improve happiness – a far better way than spending money on stuff, on status symbols or on everyday consumption.

So the Woodpecker clan did exactly this:

Encouraged by our experimental sailing tour on lake Chiemsee we took advantage of some last-minute offer and a family visit in Hamburg and continued to the close-by and beautiful island of Rügen close to Germany’s Northeastern coast in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

And I dare say it was a fantastic tour!

No, our boat was a bit smaller... (Photo: Stralsund, home of Mrs. Merkel)

No, our boat was a bit smaller… (Photo: Stralsund, home of Mrs. Merkel)

Despite circumstances were ok only, but not optimal: Weather was quite heavy the first days. Lovely for a boy’s tour on the boat. But with wind around 5-6 Bft first three days, for a first family trip a bit less wind would have been sufficient.

I admit I was quite nervous when we started out in the marina of Breege during strong winds, occasional heavy rain beating down on me at the wheel and an unknown area around as well as an unknown boat under my feet.

However, I was very impressed on the good moral and maritime capability of my small crew, with Mrs. Woodpecker being an excellent first officer, steersman and boat handler at my side plus our two young captains!

So after one or two days the tension and my initial nerviness dwindled away and gave way to this deeply satisfying feeling you get if you do something that you really love, something that challenges you, while being accompanied by people you love.

Weather gradually got better too and so we had a fantastic tour around the island within one week. As described in the other post, we tried to adjust our pace and activities to the demands of the kids – and the kids in return loved being on the boat, seeing new places, exploring small fishing harbours, little towns and beaches when we were moored.

And soon we noticed that kids and boats are perfectly fine – as did dozens of families around us. Actually the area is very famous for family sailing, partly because it offers a lot of protected bays with reduced exposure to waves and weather.

Only drawback was that this was much to short a trip and necessary mileage per day to circumvent the island was slighty too high – so the plan now is to do an even more relaxed two weeks tour next year in the Mediterranean Sea.

Costs: Around 1100 EUR for the boar charter plus 250 EUR spending on food and marina fees.

This is not cheap, but for a family of four and an unforgettable experience, it’s not over the top either. Especially when you think about what others spend on their holiday air fares already.

The boring kids hotel would have been more expensive 😉




Hover for caption, click to enlarge:

ps. Next post takes us to Poland – Germany’s eastern neighbour, where we continued our round trip – by car not by boat unfortunately…


11 comments on “A Downshifter’s Boat Trip around Rügen, Baltic Sea. Or: Adventure and Kids, Part 2.

  1. Woody says:

    Looks like a great trip! Not being a sailor myself, I’ve been to Fischland-Darß-Zingst a few years ago and was impressed by the baltic sea. It’s a great place to be.
    I like your attitude towards spending rather on activities then on things. I did the same recently and really had a great time with my wife. (Have you ever done a donkey trekking tour? It’s a great experience you might enjoy when your kids are a bit older!)

    • mrwoodpecker says:

      Hi Woody,

      no, didn’t do donkey yet – didn’t even know donkey trekking exists…but sounds like fun! I like most things where you are outdoors while moving around slowly in a nice surrounding. Where did you do that? What’s the cost?


      • Woody says:

        Hi Woodpecker,
        well, we’ve been near to Freiburg (Schauinsland) but there are other places as I just noticed in a recent article (http://www.spiegel.de/reise/deutschland/wandern-mit-einem-esel-bedeutet-entschleunigung-im-urlaub-a-918213.html). We paid 80€ for a short introduction and had to return “before sunset”. I don’t know whether you would consider this expensive. It was a great experience (especially when we were faced with a situation when the donkey simply didn’t want to go any further and I had to learn, how to convince him to continue the trip) and this day will be one of those we will never forget and talk about in years. So for us it was worth the price.
        We even met a family on a four-day-trip with two kids (around 7-9 years old) who enjoyed walking with the donkey quite a lot.

        Best regards

  2. Larry.lIvingston says:

    Hey Woody,
    sounds like a great experience and your pics are lovely. 1100€ for a party of four isn’t really that expensive for such a special vacation. Have you been accompanied with other families and some staff?

    • mrwoodpecker says:

      No, just the four of us.
      In the future I’d love to go with another family, but most of them with small kids have to be convinced carefully because sailing sounds somehow dangerous or difficult to them (Many German families unfortunately seem to be obsessed with “security”). And then interest must align closely, because in the end your are sitting in one boat – quite close together.

      Concerning staff support, this was only the kids and Mrs. Woodpecker 😉

      But if you are not a sailer and would like to go sailing, most charter companies offer skippers to accompany you, typical rate is 100 EUR per day + free food.

      Actually, in case I get fed up with my current job in 5 or 10 years or so, that would be an interesting alternative for myself.
      Much worse payed than my current office job – but sure much more fun!


      • Larry.Livingston says:

        So you know how to sail? Thats awesome! And you seem to love the idea… maybe you just found your profession for your early retirement part time job?! Well… sailing in Munich… ehm… good luck… 😉


      • mrwoodpecker says:

        You are absolutely right, I indeed would think about doing this as a side job should I ever go for early retirement.

        An even more lucrative way is to go for an additional patent that allows you to steer Mega-Yachts and rent yourself out to the owners of those – this is how an aunt second grade of Mrs Woodpecker plus her husband financed their 5-year around the world sailing tour 25 years ago. However, I am not sure if I’d like the idea to hang out with this rich folk all the time…

        There are so much opportunities out there, let’s see what life brings.

        But you also hit the weak spot of the otherwise lovely city of Munich: Far too little sea around! I’m still counting on a heavily rising sea level that takes the shore up to Munich.. 😉 (Joke!) Or we’ll have to move to Hamburg or so.


  3. […] Woodpecker clan’s summer tour continued from our sailing trip to Poland, Germany’s eastern […]

  4. Matze says:

    Nice pictures! In some way this reminds me on a sailing trip I was taking part in a couple of years ago 😉 I might upload some of the pictures from back then on my blog some day…

  5. […] for more work with a few more meals out, an occasional baby-sitter, nice holidays (like the costly sailing trip in summer). And we took it very relaxed with budget control, thus checking the figures much less frequently […]

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