“We live as minimalists on Liliput. We only buy what we really need for our life. One of the last purchases was a spear gun which delivers a lot of fresh fish into our pan. We love food, eating fresh and living healthy.”

Liliput, Schionning 44′

Interview with the Captain – Bert “Sailor Bert” Christmann

About the boat

Why did you choose to buy this particular boat and what else did you consider?
I saw the private sales listing in a local Phuket Facebook yachting group. While the pictures were totally uninteresting, she was on anchor just in front of our house, so we gave it a shot and scheduled to see it. It was the 4th boat in total we saw, and it was love on the first site. Elena and I both knew; this is our boat. This is our future home.

What boats have you previously owned?
Liliput is the very 1st boat either of us have owned.

What are the features you like most about your boat?
Its perfect proportions.

What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
Within 2 months after buying Liliput, we did an entire refit. We replaced all cables & hoses, built in a second head and a water maker. Replaced all of her electronics & navigation instruments, installed new sails and added enough solar power – which runs everything without a generator. She has a complete interior refit and copper coat. We replaced all the ropes and running rigging, put 35 liters of paint (only on the inside), and added new cushions & mattresses. Also, we installed new floors (inside and outside), added a built-in washing machine, a filtration system (for drinking water) & a new fridge system, cleaned all her tanks, and completed a hydraulic refit & engines refit.

There are now only 2 things that need to be done: the standing rigging (its original), and an outside paint job which is planned for the end of the year when we haul her out for the first time since going into the water two years ago.

Where have you traveled with your boat?/what do you have planned?
So far, we sailed Thailand (Malacca Strait) and started with Malaysia. Then COVID came and we spend most of 2020 in Koh Tarutao National Park, Thailand’s oldest National Park with 52 islands – which is our favorite place in Thailand, so far. Literally, we were imprisoned in paradise. When traveling one day without restrictions is possible again, we plan to go to the gulf of Thailand and sail Malaysia’s East Coast. The next country on the list will be Indonesia, then the Philippines..

What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
Making the money to pay for parts and specialists.

Who first introduced you to boating?
My involvement began as a bet between friends at a party in Düsseldorf, when discussing our hobbies and how deeply we indulged in them.  We ended up getting enrolled in an intensive 8-week course for both a power and sailboat license.  I loved it so much, I went on to indulge in sailing much more and am now teaching part-time as a Yachtmaster and Instructor in one of Phuket’s most established sailing schools.

Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Schionning like yours?
It’s going to be much harder, much more expensive, and much more frustrating than you ever can imagine. But it’s all absolutely worth it.  I wrote a longer article on the  top 3 benefits and top 3 drawbacks of living aboard a sailboat which you can read about by clicking here.

What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
The third member of our team is our dog Gulliver. He has Mexican ancestors, was born in Russia, and holds a Swiss passport which already has more ‘visited countries’ listed than most people are ever going to see.  In the fairy tale Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput is the island country in which all inhabitants are tiny (less than 15 cm tall).  In that vein, Liliput is our small world in a big one, as she is all we possess.  It’s our big world in the small area of this beautiful world we just sail in.

Any recent boating-related purchase you’ve been enjoying (e.g. product/tool/equipment etc)?
We live as minimalists on Liliput. We only buy what we really need for our life. One of the last purchases was a spear gun which delivers a lot of fresh fish into our pan. We love food, eating fresh and living healthy.

Do you have any other notable resources you use (apps, devices, etc)?
We love to use social media sailing groups and being connected to others who share the same lifestyle. Also, we share our way (our blog & vlog, here) and try to motivate the dreamers to make the first step, even it seems difficult (it is) – but I never met any liveaboard sailor who wanted to go back into the system.. 

Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Liliput!