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A boat of your own means freedom. "Some years ago, having nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little", as Ishmael says at the beginning of Moby-Dick. Living some 300 km or 200 mi from the sea my first boat had to be easily portable and - most of all - it had to be easily affordable when I was younger. So it all started with an inflatable.

My most favorite pilotage area always has been the Croatian Adriatic, simply due to the fact that it is the closest sea area to where I live. When I moved close to the River Danube it was only natural also to use the river for boating. However, the Danube was, is, and will be only the second choice for boating.

My idea of boating was always: Brave men challenging the Seven Seas. Reaching remote areas where man has never been before, experienceing challenging adventures ...

Well, I never really was anywhere where no one had been before, however, the intention was more important than reality ...

I started with a 4m inflatable with a 20 hp Mariner outboard. Then came a 14' Fiberline G14 with a 55 hp Mariner outboard.

Meanwhile, I got married, lucky enough to find a partner who loves boating inspired by similar ideas as me. So, for the future it was no longer only "the guys' annual trips", but it became a hobby also of the two of us.

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When the first kid arrived it became quite clear that the open and small 14' Fiberline was no longer best choice: The baby would need more shelter and a place to rest. Two years later the second baby was born, and we knew that we had to change the boat. So we bought an old 21' daycruiser with a cuddy cabin, a 1978 21' Winner Viscount with a 228 hp 5.0 V8 Mercruiser.

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This had advantages and disadvantages: The good things were: much more comfort, not so dependent on weather and sea. The price was: The costs of maintenance, the difficulties in handling (no more slipping into the water from the trailer but lifting instead), not so easily simply "landing" anywhere, but needing a dingy with an extra outboard etc. All of you who have their own boating history know what I mean.

Another four years later our third child joined us, and again the boat was too small. This also came along with drastically raising gas prices, which made us think about a completely different boating concept. Sailing was not an option since the Danube - where we spend most time of the year - is a river with quite a current, and sailing is not only not possible there, it is simply not allowed. So we decided to look for a displacement hull type boat, big enough to accommodate five of us, still being able to be trailered to the Adriatic (which means constraints in terms of beam and displacement), and affordable for our budget. After half a year of intensive research we found - just by chance in some internet selling platforms - that an ALBIN 25 AK could fit to our needs. We had not seen any before in reality, as where we live that kind of boat is not very common. Due to the River Danube displacement hulls of that comparatively small size are not common at all. It is all planing hulls here.

So, in November 2008 I made a trip to Northern Germany to look at about 10 different boats, a few of them Albins.

When I saw the first Albin "live" it was love at first sight; I fell in love with the Albin 25 AK in general, and with the first Albin that I ever saw in particular, not knowing at that moment that I would end up exactly with that specific boat. So, I continued my trip, which took me about 3.000 km (1.900 miles) through Germany, to see the other boats. And although some of the other Albins looked neater and cleaner, the first one bet them all with her new engine, new shaft and propeller, whereas the others had the usual old Volvo Pentas or Albin motors.

Once back home the discussion was short: On the phone we negotiated a little bit and five minutes later the money was wired to Northern Germany and she was ours.

But the winter had only begun, so we had time left to "theoretically" get acquainted with the Albin, and we learned a lot via the internet, got virtually acquainted with many Albineers worldwide, made up our minds in terms of necessary or wanted refurbishments and modification. So we spent the winter with plans and ideas, and by the mid of March - when the snow had gone - I could put the Winner Viscount into the water and had the trailer empty to pick up the Albin (another 2.500 km / 1.500 miles).

When I arrived at the shipyard the nice gentleman whom we bought the Albin, named "Free" at those days, was also there. I arranged this so on telephone as I wanted him to explain all the special things about the Albin that I did not know. I expected an old man, hardly moving around due to his pain in hips and everywhere. He told us that he only would sell the boat because every part of his body was hurting and he would have to abandon boating activities. This information was exchanged via e-mail and on telephone when we closed the deal a couple of months before.

What a surprise when I met him then for the first time! He was eagerly climbing around the boat and helping to put it on the trailer and to tie it down. What had happended?

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Well, after everything was finished we had a coffee and he told me that just a week after he had sold the Albin to us he was in hospital, had a surgery made, and since then everthing was fine again. It was something with his intervertebral discs and the hip joints, and after that und some time of rehabilitation he felt younger than ever, he said.

And he would not sell the Albin now, if he had to decide. But as everthing had been settled months before, he had already bought another, smaller boat and would continue boating.

Anyway, I was happy to hear that everything was fine again.

After 3 days I returned home with the "new" boat, where the family was waiting impatiently.

Back home we all together opened our "parcel", and what we found made us happy.

 

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