In the pretty little marina of the Sailing Club Lemkenhafen on the south coast of Fehmarn, just west of the towering Fehmarn Sund bridge, we meet our winners of the boot.club competition in June, Toni and Michael Stern with their two grandchildren Celine (11), Jayden (9) and their niece Josephine (12). Our Buster S motorboat from Yamaha on the trailer is the first, big surprise for the kids during their summer holiday on the sunny island in the Baltic Sea: "Are we allowed to go out in the boat?" they ask with wide eyes. It will be their very first boating trip ever.
Dream of your first own boat
"Granddad" Michael, a crane operator from Bassum in the Diepholz district, and his wife Toni, caretaker in a kindergarten, are happy that the surprise came like a bombshell. However, they actually had some ulterior motives when they took part in the competition in the boot.club in June. "It's only five years until my retirement," Michael says, "and that's when we want to move to East Friesland, as close to the water as possible, and then, finally, we want to have a boat of our own." The raffle of a weekend with the Buster S, the small, open aluminium boat from Yamaha, came just in time to test how the idea is received by the wider family.
Easier than expected...
The compact boat is swiftly launched into the water from the trailer via the slipway of the harbour. "That was easy," Michael exclaims pleased. "I've never done this before and had imagined it to be more difficult." The plan was to go out for an extensive test drive next to give Michael a thorough introduction to the boat. He has been in possession of a boating licence for a while, but he has not yet gained much practical experience as a skipper. But in the west, over the Baltic Sea, an impressive dark thunderstorm is forming. So we have to keep the first test run short and to the point. Fortunately the handling of the 4.58 m long Buster S with the 25 HP outboard engine from Yamaha is not rocket science. Also the portable Lowrance chartplotter and fishfinder is explained quickly. So we are back on land just in time as the wind changes almost immediately and increases strongly. A textbook example of a thunderstorm. The previously calm water outside creates quite a stir!
The weather stays rather unstable over the following days, especially the wind remains very strong, so that our holidaymakers postpone the first bigger boating trip a bit. "The weather is part of a boating holiday," Toni is relaxed about the neccessary change of plan, "there is enough to do on land here on Fehmarn". But then finally everything turns out just perfect and the crew leaves for a first exploration of the Orther Reede, the large, but mostly very shallow bay in the southwest of Fehmarn. An ideal spot for beginners: beautiful scenery with its small island Warder and the adjoining protected landscape areas in the background. Not undemanding, however, in navigational terms due to the shallow water areas, but ideal for jumping into the water from the boat to cool off.
Small boat, great fun
Skipper Michael gets along well with the Buster S right from the start: "I never thought there would be so much power in the small boat and how much fun this would be. Boat and engine were also very easy to handle for me as a beginner with little experience". He quickly feels confident with handling the boat, so the thirst for adventure grows and the horizon expands a bit. They take the boat out of the bay into the Fehmarn Sund. "It was absolutely beautiful when we were under the big bridge", Josephine reports with beaming eyes. After the bridge they carried on into the Burger Binnensee and into Burgstaaken harbour. "We saw a submarine", Jayden (9) goes on to tell us.
The submarine museum in Burgstaaken was only visited from the outside, though - better get out onto the water again quickly! "Especially the fast turns were a lot of fun", explains Celine why the cultural programme on shore was not able to gain in popularity. "Yes, so were the waves," Jayden adds enthusiastically. Taking advantage of a brief moment when the kids' attention is elsewhere, Michael confides that actually at the beginning of the tour a few screams were to be heard from the youngsters when there were waves or sharp turns.
On the last day, our crew took a second excursion to the Orther Reede. "The boat hull made of aluminium really convinced me, robust and much less fragile than GRP. If you use such a boat for fishing it is certainly very, very practical. And on a trip with your grandchildren you can also drive right up to a beach that you might not reach from land".
Cruising by boat always gives you this feeling of freedom. It certainly sounds very convincing when Michael and Toni now say that the plan to purchase a boat once they have retired has become a bit more concrete after this tour. "A little bigger, with a little less adventure, but a little more comfort," Toni adds with a wink. It sounds like boot Düsseldorf will be on Michael's and Toni's schedule even more often before the final purchase to find exactly the boat that meets all their demands.
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