When asked what is the most beautiful thing about sailing, she once replied with a quip that is as typical as it is of the blue water scene: "The drink on the other side of the ocean". It was a saying that suited her: fun-loving, direct, humorous. And one involuntarily wonders whether she will have it well now, on the other side of life.
As her husband, Bobby Schenk, friends and companions wrote over the weekend, KarlSchenk "started her last, the big trip" on February 15th.
She died at the age of 85 after a "long fight against an insidious disease" in a nursing home near Starnberg. The consequences of dementia had isolated and immobilized her for a long time - she of all people, who was a bundle of energy at a young age: German youth champion and multiple Bavarian champion in table tennis, a petite, but definitely hands-on, winning woman who always turned towards other people.
Photo gallery: KarlSchenk: Pictures of an eventful life
This is how she found sailing: sporty, pragmatic, undaunted. Two times - from 1970 and 1979 - she sailed around the world with her husband. Her third long voyage took her in a catamaran from France to Malaysia. Like the Kochs and Erdmanns, the Schenks are among the German blue water pioneers. Karl is still considered the first German female cruiser to round Cape Horn.
In terms of nautical miles, it is even a passage ahead of Bobby Schenk. After the two of them had skipped across the pond in the nineties without a compass or other navigational aids, she was the only one who sailed the return transfer. To Thomas Dobernigg, a journalist and friend who accompanied her, she said on the second stage:
"Do you know what the best thing about this trip is? That I overtook the big Bobby. Now I have more nautical miles than him. And he will never have the chance to catch up again, because we always do everything together - except this one Travel."
While her husband had made a name for himself through reports in the YACHT and many highly successful books, Karlstets had stayed in the background. If he gave presentations on the stage of large halls in front of hundreds of visitors, it was she who stood in front of the projector and threw the medium format slides on the wall. A supporting role that bothered her from time to time, as her joy about the logged extra miles already showed.
This is probably one of the reasons why the woman, whose sailing merits are no less than those of her lifelong co-skipper, insisted later on also reflecting on her view of what she had experienced together in her own book. It's called "KarlSchenk" and has the charming subtitle: "Adventurer, circumnavigator, Cape Horniere, pilot, crazy chicken!"
AlexandrSchöler-Haring recorded the memories, including thoughts about age, and sayings that KarlSchenk, née Schulz, passed many a test. Including this: "If you are afraid of everything, you spend your life behind the stove."
No, she certainly wasn't afraid. Her life took her from Pomerania, where she grew up, to Bavaria, where her parents fled to in 1945. And then all over the world. "Now the sea is my home," she once said.
17 questions, 17 answers from KarlSchenk about sailing, worries, idols and how to avoid stress on board