Ralf Gude

I already knew Esther, Carol and Matthias from the Yachtmaster Theory Course and the STCW Medical Training Course in Malta. So, I was very much looking forward to seeing them again when rejoining onboard Regina Laska in Cuxhaven for our trip to Lymington in The Solent, UK.


Our first minutes onboard, just having cast off from Cuxhaven. Next stop: Den Helder/Holland.


As I had already experienced in Malta, Leon was once again totally in his element when sharing his great joy for sail cruising and his extreme knowledge and seamanship. This time possibly even more, since we were now onboard his HR46 Regina Laska with hands-on practical sail training.


Leon explaining his navigation and communication equipment onboard Regina Laska.


Simply speaking, Leon brings the beauty of cruising closer to the rest of us!



I was especially impressed by Leon’s calmness and the deep trust he showed in us when handing over the responsibility to sail his beautiful yacht. Here, I learnt a lot, since one grows so much more with tasks and responsibilities beyond the usual.


We worked beautifully as a team with Leon in the background in case we had questions or felt uncertain.


Certainly, this had not been possible in a larger group and/or with an anxious instructor.


Sailing into the sunset


Regarding Leon’s legendary hospitality, loads has already been said by other guests. Rightly so! Nevertheless, I cannot refrain from mentioning it myself as well, since it is so overwhelming. Whether it was during one of the great dinners onboard or the small snack now and then or the hot tea or coffee during the watches…. Leon was constantly looking after our well-being!



Having said that, Regina Laska should obviously not be mistaken by a cruise ship! Sailing on Regina Laska felt more like sailing together with very good friends, who all had ample time to practice seamanship and sailing skills together.


Sharing to do the dishes after a great meal onboard.


Talking of good friends: Leon has a really good feel for a good group, which was again proven on our leg. Already during the theory courses in Malta, I had really liked the informal, yet highly interesting and informative discussions and exchange of experience between the participants.


Sharing experiences and knowledge with the other crew members was fantastic. Here: Talking about medical issues onboard and how to stock up the medical stores for bluewater sailing.


Who needs a Cat-C first aid kit (little orange bag found on most charter boats) when you have a complete Cat-0 “hospital” onboard, like on Regina Laska?


Carol and me trying out the neck collar on Matthias, playing the casualty.


We didn’t like the neck collar Leon had onboard (too complicated to understand how to fit), so Leon immediately ordered a new type we had jointly used on our course in Malta and threw away this inferior one. Only the best is good enough on Regina Laska and not only for the sake to comply with rules…


You see, normally, I do not meet so many like-minded persons, but this was an exception! The exceptional experience is therefore also thanks to meeting all these interesting people!


Changing the guards: Lowering the Dutch flag, and hoisting the “bleu-blanc-rouge”. We have arrived in France!


Without any effort, my learning quickly surpassed the standard Yachtmaster-stuff you normally would learn on a similar RYA course. But here, with all these great people, the subjects and themes are spanning over a much wider range of topics – all equally important for good seamanship and for someone who wishes to take cruising to a new level…



I must say, I now feel very well prepared for my Yachtmaster Exam due next year.


Ralf Gude, Germany, having a new Bestevaer on order, participating at the Yachtmaster Theory Course in Malta, Medical Course in Malta and sailing Yachtmaster Prep Course Leg 2-2018 from Cuxhaven/Germany to Lymington/UK.