Sailors are strange people. You know that. The range is diverse: There is the introvert Moitessier-type of seafarer, the team-player and the chatty type on the one hand. And on the other end of the scale there are screamers and – very sad – the alcoholics. Somewhere in between we all find definitions for our own. No matter what, what unites us is the love to the sea, to the boats and to sail the oceans. One particular sympathetic and pleasant person is Henrik Masekowitz, whom I had the pleasure to meet last weekend only minutes before he was casting off.
Henrik is a German pro solo-sailor who participated twice in the MiniTransat ocean race, completing the trans-atlantic race in a Classe Mini in 2006 and 2007. He lost his boat after a collision during the 2013 edition of the MiniTransat in the Guld of Biscay and switched to Class 40 racing yachts. This is where I met him, readying his Akilaria CROIX DU SUD in the Glückstadt Harbor downriver Elbe.
The Akilaria RC2 – a thoroughbred Class 40 Racing Yacht
I love the Class 40, as you know, and it is always a treat for my eyes to contemplate the fine lines of those racing yachts. Some weeks earlier when I was visiting Glückstadt harbor I instantly noticed the rig of the Class 40 immediately as she was standing on dry land: Henrik just returned from his solo circumnavigation attempt some months earlier which he was forced to abandon due to a broken ankle joint off Cape of Good Hope.
CROIX DU SUD is an Akilaria RC2 racing yacht designed by Marc Lombard. As within the Class 40 box rule, she weighs no more than 4.7 tons and measures 12.15 to 4.5 meters with a draught of 3 meters exactly. She is a pure racer – not comparable to the relatively luxurious outfitted Pogo 40 S I used to sail. I admired her low freeboard, the wide stern and the distinctive chines.
“Sure, you are welcome to sail a bit downriver, if you want!”, Henrik spontaneously invited me as I phoned him. Having my family with me I declined the kind offer (with a bleeding heart) but was very keen upon waving him Goodbye and maybe set a foot onboard the Akilaria to see her with my own eyes. Which I was granted to do so as we arrived: Henrik seemed so calm – a wonder gven the fact that he was just minutes prior casting off for a trip down to the Azores.
Take a Ride with a Pro-Sailor
I was pleased in seeing his boat in a clean and neat manor, tidy and cluttered. No chaos below deck, everything just in order. This is how one should do it. He was calm, no signs whatsoever that this man is about to set sail to go to the mid-Atlantic to cross it. “Down to the Azores and there I´ll attend the ARC – Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – to the Caribbean.”, he explained. “My family will join me down there where we plan to spend a few months.” Henrik is going to attempt some events there. It´s possible to buy a berth on CROIX DU SUD for fast Class 40 sailing.
After some 20 minutes nice chatter with him, his wife and adorable children I catch my own kids and relief the family of our presence. Standing at pier side we wave and wish a safe journey. Henrik, as kind as ever, thanks us and waves back. A friendly, calm and contained man. This is how a sailor really should be, a role model indeed. I think to myself, a bit envy of him, as we finally head back home.
Henrik and CROIX DU SUD will attend the ARC, his boat will be available on different occasions in the Caribbean and Florida/USA. Anyone interested in sailing with Henrik on the great Akilaria should contact him via facebook. Live tracking of his progress here.
Read more about the Akilaria Class 40 Racing Yacht in my Interview with her Marc Lombard, her Designer
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