It was his favorite sport. He was fond of saying, “Sailing is the only sport that requires no physical exertion.” Albert Einstein was not only the greatest scientist of the 20th century, but he was also an excellent sailor despite his poor health. And it was precisely because of a heart ailment that he had to retire to Caputh, near Berlin, to a small house overlooking the lake. He would finally be able to play his favorite sport.
ALBERT EINSTEIN’S BOATS
On March 14, 1929, his 50th birthday, some wealthy friends gave him the boat of his dreams, the Tummler (dolphin). It was a delightful sloop exactly 7 meters long, 2.35 m wide, with a movable drift that rotated on a pivot that raised the draft from 0.33 to 1.25 m, equipped with a 6-hp inboard.
The sail plan, modern for the time, had a large 16.05 sq. m. mainsail, a 3.95 sq. m. foresail and a beautiful 8.25 sq. m. jib. Below deck a cabin with two bunks. Tummler was built of wood to the design of engineer Adolf Harms, who was also its builder. “When his hands grasp the helm, Albert Einstein enthusiastically tells his friends about his latest scientific ideas. He steers the boat with the joy and lightness of a child,” writes his biographer Rudolf Kaiser.
But in January 1933 Einstein must flee to America following Hitler’s seizure of power. His boat is seized and sold to a dentist. With the war over in 1945, the great scientist tries to find his beloved boat. The search is in vain. But Einstein never stopped practicing sailing.
He chose for his old age a less demanding 5-meter boat, the Tinef, with which he went out as soon as he could to Huntington, Long Island, near the U.S. university where he taught. Until his death in 1955.