High and Dry – 2022

For weeks now, Central Europe has once again been suffering from climatic conditions. High temperatures and persistent drought have caused the level of the Untersee to fall to historic lows. In the middle of the sailing season, an almost desperate exchange of moorings, which are rare anyway on Lake Constance, is taking place.

Even many owners of wooden boats have to take their beloved jewels out of the water at temperatures of 40°C and more in the hope of getting them through the summer reasonably unscathed with damp blankets, shady spots and watering the mooring.

Once again, I admire the boat builders in this situation, sweating in the heated shipyard hall to meet the many challenges of their profession. The automatic air humidification system on the ceiling ensures that every now and then a light cooling breeze brushes the skin. Nevertheless, the air is dry. The large quantities of wood literally soak up the moisture that flows out.

After months of rather rough work, Axel and Co have been devoting themselves to the finer points of boat building for some time. The noble interior fittings are demanding. The fine furniture has to fit perfectly into every conceivable curve of the curved hull. The installation of the pieces, some of which have already been pre-lacquered, is like a “Tetris game”. There is constant measuring, adjusting and inserting on site in the most impossible postures. Individual parts have to be brought out of the hull again for further work. The boat builders then carefully circle them past the already fitted inventory and first stabilising deck beams. With each piece of furniture that is placed in place, the space becomes tighter and the coordination between the 4 – 5 craftsmen who are working in the hull at the same time becomes more demanding.

The further the working day progresses, the more clearly effort and exhaustion are visible on their faces. The small-scale hull fitting will take many more weeks, but jumping into the lake at the end of the day is no longer the cooling off that they have been longing for.