The Crew

We set out from Croatia in 2011 and have been cruising all-year-round ever since. We rushed through the Med and stayed a month in the Cape Verde Islands, before crossing the Atlantic in January 2012. We enjoyed a visit to Suriname and then spent the rest of the year island-hopping through the Southern Caribbean. After the Panama Canal we sailed to Galapagos and from there to the Gambier Islands in the southeast of French Polynesia. We fell in love with the 5 archipelagos of French Poly and spent the next 9 years cruising this big, diverse area with some visits to the Cook Islands and Tonga in between. In May 2022 we finally said “nana” (good-bye in reo Tahiti) to our home away from home and continued our journey westwards. We are still happy cruisers and still sailing towards the horizon!

Birgit Hackl (born in 1978 in Linz, Austria) took her first steps on her parent’s small motorboat in the summer of ’79. During her childhood she always spent her summer holidays on boats, first on Lago di Garda and later on the Adriatic sea. Her love for the sea, for boats and the freedom they bring, originates from that time. She studied English, Spanish, History and German as a foreign language and worked as a teacher for a while. Now she’s a writer and freelance journalist. She loves nature and often works on little projects with local communities for sustainability and against pollution.

Christian Feldbauer (born in 1976 in Grieskirchen, Austria) had a predominately dry, or at least boat-free childhood. As a teenager he was already interested in technical stuff and accordingly chose an education and career as an engineer. Thus he acquired technical knowledge and skills that would later on prove to be very useful while repairing and upgrading a cruising boat. During the past couple of years he has returned to his original passion: programming! Now he spends every free minute developing and improving his Pitufino nav data gateway.

In 1995 we got to know and love each other, moved to Graz (in the south of Austria) to study and discovered many leisure activities and interests together: motorbikes, diving and getting to know foreign (and preferably “exotic”) cultures as backpackers.

In 2000 Leeloo the cat joined the family, accompanied us to Sweden in 2006 and later on to England, and spontaneously turned into a ship’s cat when a new centre of interest started to dominate our lives in 2008: sailing. Even though she enjoyed spending time in the garden catching mice, she adjusted easily to living on a boat, as the most important thing for her was having us around 24 hours a day. Sadly she died in 2021 after a long, happy and eventful life. We still miss our little admiral…

So how did we end up quitting our landlubber lives and starting an alternative lifestyle under sails?
Sitting on a beach in Hawaii, gazing out towards the horizon it occurred to us that there were myriads of exotic islands out there on the ocean, only waiting to be discovered. Especially sparsely populated, exotic islands without other tourists were of particular interest to us. On the other hand these islands tend to have the disadvantage of being rather inaccessible (hence the desired lack of tourists), but a solution for this problem was found quickly: a sailboat.

After the return to rainy England, the idea slowly turned into an obsession. We had never sailed before (apart from Christian’s one week sailing course on a lake in the Austrian Alps while still at high school), but soon the shelves of our flat started filling up with literature on sailing and only two years later we found the ideal blue water yacht: our Pitufa. We bought her and then set out to sail her from Mallorca, Spain, to her new harbour in Pula, Croatia – it was our very first sailing trip, just the two of us and (of course) Leeloo.
During these three weeks we started converting our theoretical knowledge into practical seamanship. We had underestimated the distances and overestimated the reliability of the (fickle) Mediterranean winds, so there was little time for rest. We experienced the daily routine on a cruising yacht, went through a storm, faced tiring night watches and some technical problems.
But when we arrived after three weeks, the decision had been made: we would leave secure little Austria and sail towards the horizon aboard Pitufa.

Christian studied electrical engineering at Graz University of Technology (TUG) and worked as an assistant professor at the Signal Processing and Speech Communication Lab at TUG after his PhD . The end of the contract with the university in February 2011 seemed like the right time to start a new chapter of life.

Birgit worked as a language trainer for adults with various institutions after studying Spanish, History, English and German as a foreign language at Karl-Franzens University Graz. This highly flexible job would prove useful to fill up the cruising kitty, and the language skills help dealing with bureaucratic port authorities as well as making local friends.


  1. Thomas says:

    Do I envy you? – You are setting out to do, what I have always dreamed about, but never had the courage to do in younger years. I had two boats so far, but they never left the Mediterranean Sea.

    BTW, I discovered your page perusing Dylan’s Google group – as we share another interest: WordPress and Geo Mashup.

    1. Birgit says:

      No need for envy, pick up your courage and your sea bag! we’re also still working on the courage part ;-)
      I’m thankful that great programmers are out there who create stuff like WordPress and Geo Mashup – otherwise Christian would spend even more time in front of the computer…

  2. Matt Graven says:

    hey, i came across your website off the geo mashup plugin page, and i was just curious how you placed the images over the locations (palm trees, the boat, etc). id like to do this on my website as well, but don’t know where to begin…

    1. Christian says:

      Hi Matt,
      The palm trees are a custom placemark icon in a kmz file.
      The kml/kmz files are loaded in my custom.js (using gmap api) for geo mashup.
      For any static map content I recommend using kml/kmz files.

      The boat is a custom placemark icon for a particular wordpress category. This one is set by adding a ‘categoryIcon’ action in custom.js.

  3. martina says:

    hi birgit;-) ..hi christian ..;-)

    wie geht es euch?????
    würd mich freun, mal von dir/euch zu hören…

    alles liebe,b,bb,martina

    1. Christian says:

      a kaffeetschi issi jo leida nimma ausgonga, owa per mail in kontakt bleibn hamma beim letztn auslondsaufenthoit a scho guad gschofft,

  4. Chri says:


    So macht man das.

    Zwei Jahre ab durch die Mitte. Mit Atlantiküberquerung und einen wilden Schlenker im Pazifik – Respekt.

    Ich wünsche Euch eine feine Zeit.

    Alles Gute + Cheers, Chri

    1. Christian says:

      Hallo Chri,
      freut mich von dir zu hoeren. ja, so machen wir das. wobei die angesprochenen 2 Jahre halt einmal die ersten 2 Jahre sind… Wir sind heute auf den Kapverden angekommen.

  5. Jackie and Graham yacht Nicolyan says:

    Hello all three of you, just read your website, pleased that you are all ok
    and still enjoying sailing , they say that the Atlantic is the “litmus Test” for couples!!. Sure you are doing fine, Take care
    Jackie and Graham , we met you in Melilla.

    1. Christian says:

      we still haven’t finished reading your books ;-) Remember how nervous we were before venturing out on the Atlantic? It’s just like you said, the swell is longer and higher, the systems are bigger than in the Med, but we enjoy the constant winds here, sailing isn’t as annoying as with the fickle winds in the Med. Where are you now? Back in the UK or in France?
      Keep in touch,
      Birgit and Christian

  6. Yohannes Alemseged says:

    Hey Christian and Birgit…..you became our heroes overnight once we discovered your blog. Senait and Me spent hours navigating through your galleries. You are truly the Columbus of our time, We wish you great sail and all the best……keep on posting so that we know where you are on the map.

    Senait, Lewi and Yohannes

  7. doris says:

    hi ihr beiden!

    schick euch mal eine kurze nachricht aus good old vienna, austria.
    it´s fucking cold here.
    wo seid´s ihr momentan unterwegs?

    all the best
    doris *

    1. Christian says:

      Hallo Doris,
      der Kaelte sind wir entkommen :-) Hier in Suriname geht gerade die Regenzeit zuende, sollte sie zumindest theoretisch…
      Heute noch einkaufen in Paramaribo, morgen fahren wir weiter in die Fluesse rein.
      lg nach Wien,

  8. Didi says:


    alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

    GlG an dich und Birgit,

  9. Gernot Prommer says:

    Coole Sache — LIebe Grüße aus Graz, Gernot

  10. Gernot Kubin says:

    Hallo Ihr drei!

    Ich bin wirklich beeindruckt was Ihr bis jetzt geschafft habt, schau leider nicht so oft rein, aber jedesmal wieder ein Erlebnis…

    Alles Gute und viel Spaß im Neuen Jahr!


  11. Helmut Czermin says:

    Guten Tag Birgit und Christian,

    mit Baerbel, meiner Lebensgefaehrtin, bummeln wir mit unserem
    Katamaran Thalassa nun seit fuenf Jahren im Pacifik herum.
    Fuer 2016 ist ein Toern New Zealand- Polynesia geplant.

    Erfreut habe ich Euren Bericht ueber die Gambier Islands gelesen.
    Endlich wieder einmal eine Darstellungsform, die abgehoben von dem sonstigen Lapidaren auch verwendbare Informationen anbietet.

    Vielleicht koennt Ihr mir auf meine Bitte hin genauere Bestell- Angaben zu den von Euch verwendeten Garmin-Karten machen.

    Neuerdings moechten wir vornehmlich fuer die Ueberseegelei ein
    Garmin Montana 650 einsetzen.

    Nach endlosem Mailing Hin und Her bin ich bis dato nicht aus den
    Garmin-Support-Empfehlungen schlau geworden. Allein 3 Mails waren
    notwendig um dem betreffenden Amerikaner, man glaubt es kaum, geographisch klar zu machen wo der Suedpazifik liegt.

    Ist Home Port Base Camp vorzuziehen?

    With best wishes and good luck from


  12. Antony Masters says:

    Really enjoyed reading your blogs, particularly about weather forecasts. Would love to catch up and spend time over dinner. Have sailed Fiji, Samoa, Wallis, Caledonia, new Zealand and Australia for many years. Currently in whitsundays, sail Mandalay 111 a 50 ft aluminium ketch, with partner Maggie. Cheers for now, ps, love cats

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