What the crew says

The crew rises to speak. What’s it like to be on the Berlin Express with its skipper Stefan? Is it a hard time of peeling potatoes and being keelhauled? Is it fun all the way? Or something in between?
Read along and hear the other side of the story ;-)

If you’re a (former) crew member you could drop some lines!
Please, send them to mail@kaeskesplace.de. If you want it to be published you can attach a photo of yourself. On which leg
during which time you joined the crew could be of interest.
Thank you!
Thommi


Jordon and Andrea, USA

Chloe and Stefan are the most patient, kind-hearted people you could ever
hope to share a space with. They are always up for an adventure (sunken
ships!) but equally enjoy the down time (endless cups of tea). If your
paths cross and you don’t take up this opportunity, you’ll regret it.


Emma, UK

I spent two weeks aboard the mighty BE last summer for a more relaxed sail around the greek islands. Chloe and Stef were the perfect hosts, even when i was chucking my guts up over board, completely incapable of helping, they still had smiles on their faces! Even though I had a apparent dislike of rough weather and big waves, I can certainly see the attractions… I’d love to drop everything and go back. The evening sundowners, waking up to absolute silence and jumping in the sea, the beautiful scenery, wonderful people, yummy (and interesting) food, but mostly the appreciating the mere simplicity that life can be … this is a fantastic way of making distance in a new and original way. It certainly beats sitting on those smelly cramped night buses. I can’t think of any home I would rather be welcomed into… but take a waterproof for those waves!!


Richard

I was on Berlin Express for 3 whole months from the Maldives to Egypt and it was absolutely bloody amazing. Obviously the Indian Ocean is a very big bit of sea to tackle when, like me, you’ve never sailed before. But Stefan has patience bordering on saintly and, even though he had to show me the ropes again and again, it was never with frustration. Overall, I would count myself extremely lucky that I got wind of this trip and went on it. The phrase that jumps to mind is ‘life changing’. If he asked me to join up again I would have to think really hard about why I shouldn’t drop everything again and head off on another adventure.

Oh, and about his cooking? No complaints. The problems start when you start to run low on provisions and the experimenting starts…


dirk.jpgDirk

I´ve spend 20 days (18.11. - 07.12.2007) on berlin express around the bali-islands in indonesia. The time we spend together was perfect as well.
It couldn´t be better. He is really the man who loves the adventure. I had seen just a little part of the adventure in paradise but i understand him perfectly. I could stay for a longer time on berlin express but you know why not……….
Hopefully you find anytime a good crew and i wish you further a perfect trip. Often i think about this time. Hopefully we have a see in 2008.
Dirk


ChloeChloe

The last time I sailed, I was about 7 and I capsized my minature sailboat, so when I met Stefan I was a little apprehensive about sailing off into the unknown with a stranger…but after the first afternoon on the boat I was hooked! He finally got rid of me after about 2 months around the Indonesian Islands…but if I didn’t have to go home for Christmas, I probably would have stayed forever!…He has the patience of a saint and is just the kind of man you want to be stuck with on a desert island (or a yacht!) or in a crisis…and I don’t know what the guys are talking about; he always cooked me amazing meals!!!


NickNick

Spent 15 days on the Berlin Express, sailing from Darwin to Broome via the magggggggnificent Kimberley region of Western Australia. One of the world’s truly great wilderness areas. Sailing colleagues were the tyrannical skipper, Stefan and Christina, a young Swiss girl completing a master mariner’s course. Both were great company and we all got on very well and managed to navigate our way to Broome without hitting any of the thousands of islands/reefs/shoals etc. that present a real navigation hazard in that area. Went ashore at Cassini island, Crocodile Creek (where Stefan and Christina went swimming in the croc infested water; me, I am much smarter than that) and at Cape Leveque where Stefan (on my advice) parked the boat in 4 metres of water, where the tide drop is a mere 11.4 metres. Suffice to say, we moved ithe boat in the nick of time. Overall, loved the trip and the time; scenery was beautiful, lots of wildlife and, although the winds were light, we still managed to stay on track tod get me to Broome for my connecting flight. I am planning on re-joining the boat wherever it is in the world next year for another exciting mariner’s chapter. Oh, and to teaching Stefan more advanced sailing techniques (he only has the very basics but he is learning quickly from ‘experts’ like me)


DominikDominik

Sailing across vast open stretches of water has been a dream of mine for more than ten years. A break of over one year, between my master and phd, most of which I spent working and travelling in Australia was the opportunity for me to make that dream come true. I met Stefan over the internet and was glad he let me join his adventure from Melbourne to Fiji.
Looking back the weeks on “Berlin Express” have been among the hardest but also the most interesting in my life. In agreement with the other crewmembers I have no doubt in Stefan’s sailing abilities which were formed while he was racing yachts in Melbourne: while never neglecting safety issues he was also constantly trying to make “Berlin Express” run at the maximum possible speed, day and night.
But it hasn’t been just sailing, Stefan is also an able handyman (and qualified engineer) and since there are always things braking on the boat you could also learn from him how to repair watermakers, 2stroke engines, windlasses and the like. And I strongly advise all potential crewmembers to bring some extra cash because an integral part of stefans mission is bars, tourist resorts and comparable places :-).
Enough said! Don’t hesitate to ask if you should have any more questions d.kneer@gmx.de


LeoLeo, Brazil

My overall impression of Stefan was one of a caring friend and a dedicated sea man, a problem solver. He proved this idea over and over again in the boat. I would 100% recommend him to anyone interested in sailing. He proves to be patient with beginners, motivational without being pushy. He looked for new ways to communicate with the crew to solve interpersonal issues, because he knows how to listen to people. Stefan is very enthusiastic and positive about sailing boats and the lifestyle, which makes things interesting for sure! The german picked up on the aussie positive attitude in life.In the boat life was simple, with the food following that line. So, not much fancy stuff in that area. I wish I read some fish recipes online before I left so I could help!Other than that, I felt like sailing with Berlin Express was almost 100%! I would suggest that one of the crew to create a recycling program that cared for the ocean a bit more.Cheers and Good Winds to everyone!Leo


RobbRobb, Australia

Hi, I am Robb van Toledo. I crewed with Stefan on the leg from Sydney to Lord Howe Island. Simply, it was fantastic, I had a blast. Stefan is a good and competent skipper who’s sailing ability and judgement I trust. I really recommend this trip of a life time to anyone and you are welcome to email me questions at robb.vantoledo@jhg.com.au.”


ThommiThommi, Germany

Hi I’m Thommi! I’m part of the shorecrew ;-) I created this site and publish the postings Stefan is writing when he’s on the boat and just having his HF radio modem to access the www.
As a skipper I know Stefan on his folding kayak. We did some paddling and sailing on the River Havel in Berlin. It was real fun. And he brought me back home well every time. It was a great time about 20 years ago! It was influenzing, too. Now I have my own kayak and I’m still having fun on the River Havel. Maybe together with Stefan again when he’s on a vistit. Probably I should exercise myself in Sponge-Wars :-)


DeanDean, Australia

My first time sailing and it just so happened to be on Berlin Express. What an adventure, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail on Berlin Express around the Fiji Island and New Caledonia for one and a half months.The skipper Stefan is an inspirational full of life character who is ultimately in search of the perfect wave. Stefan loves exploring with endless islands to cater for our needs in Fiji. Whether it was backpackers (partying), yuppi (relaxing), uninhabited or a remote island with local tribal Fijians we visited them all. Most importantly we visited the magical surfing location known as ‘cloudbreak’ before setting sail to New Caledonia.New Caledonia, while the surf was small on one or two days fishing and snorkelling soon took over with many different species caught and then taken to local tropical Islands to barbecue.

One little piece of advice for the game hearted who are thinking about sailing on Berlin Express, if you love your food make sure you can cook J!!!



Crew list

Billy, Scotland
Leo, Brazil
Dominik, Germany
Robb, Australia
Dean, Australia
Dirk, Germany
Milla, Sweden
Emily, US
Guy, France
Christina, Switzerland
Nick, Australia
Stephan, Germany
Swedish Volleyball team
Ingrid, Germany
Jürgen, Germany
Richard, UK
Marlon, Sri Lanka
Andy, UK
Emma, UK
Malcolm, Scotland
Gwen, UK
Maurice, UK
Jackie, UK
Conrad, UK
Phil, Australia
Roisin, Australia
Mark, UK
Stephanie, Germany
Verena, Australia
Bruce, South Africa
Karen, NY
Jordon, US
Andreas, US
and last but not least, the resident:
Chloe, UK