Aug 31, 2013

Kiel Canal

N 53° 52.456', E 8° 42.350'

We didn't want to sail around Denmark, so we took a shortcut through Germany. 

When approaching Kiel there were almost too many marinas to choose from. We chose the marina in Holtenau right next to the locks that separate Kiel Canal from the Baltic sea. We were hoping to see the action in the locks, but it wasn't possible. But we did see a lot of ships passing and boats circling in the waiting area. 

There are four locks, two old ones and two new ones. Yacht usually use the old locks with smaller ships. We had been listening to VHF and watching the yachts for one and half days. There didn't seem to be any order for the boats. When it was ok to enter the lock boats just sped up and tried to fit in the lock. On Sunday it was more crowded and the slower more careful yacht didn't make it. Even though they had been in the waiting area for the longest time.

So, on Tuesday morning we were ready to go. Timo had his quick morning coffee and I had a banana. Then we joined the other yachts in the waiting area. A ship came out. A ship went in. There were two German boats that looked like they knew the drill. so we followed them. This time there was plenty of room so every one fit in fine.

I was kind of looking forward to see the scenery on the way. Well, there were almost none. We saw some nice houses, bridged and ferries, but mostly it was just trees after trees.

As I'm very keen on ships, we luckily saw many ships passing by.

We were not in a hurry, so we spend a night in Rendsburg. What a lovely little town. And I think they are quite good ship builders there since we saw some mega yacht that were just half way done. I think the millionaires who order them want the best quality.

Even though we have been sailing in the tidal areas before, we are quite newbies to it. We decided to spend an other night in the Canal in Brunsb├╝ttel and study the tide tables and currents.

In Brunsb├╝tttel the marina is really near the newer and bigger locks.

We had a time in our minds that'd be the best to enter the Elbe river and head for Cuxhaven. I called the lock on VHF if they had any estimate when we could enter the lock and they said NOW. This was maybe so far the fastest start up for the engine and the crew. Everything was not maybe ready for the open sea, but we cleared the tables and staff in the lock.

Our first calculations for tides and currents were really a success. The best current we had was almost 4 knots so we made our way quite fast to Cuxhaven. Entering the harbor in a 3 knot current was quite interesting, but there were no problems.

At the moment the wind is howling, but when the weather gets better I think we are ready for North Sea.

Aug 19, 2013

One tack in 3 days

N 55° 8.180', E 15° 8.671'

We barely made it out of Gulf of Riga without tacking.

For one day we sailed south really close to Latvian coast. Then the wind changed and we tacked heading southwest. 

We sailed close hauled for almost three days and made it to Bornholm. At some moments the sea was quite rough and life on board was a bit difficult. Not too much, but not the best time to make gourmet dinners. We really hope there's gonna be a time when the wind is not against us.

Svaneke harbour

Aug 14, 2013

We've been slowly moving south

N 58° 14.681', E 22° 28.295'

While we were preparing our boat in Helsinki it was blowing from north to east for maybe a month. By then we already knew that when we leave it's going to change. 

Now we have been on the way for 10 days and the wind has been from south to west. Btw, we are trying to get to Kiel  which is southwest.

Tomorrow our luck might change. We are now in Kuressaare, Saaremaa, Estonia. If the grib files are right we could actually make some progress for the next couple of days. Hopefully as far as Bornholm, but we'll see...

The season in the Baltic Sea seams to be already over. Kuressaare is the only real town and marina in Saaremaa. Here we are just Iiris and one other visiting yacht (German).

Aug 4, 2013

Finally we left Helsinki

N 60° 9.253', E 24° 53.464'

What a joy it was finally to sail today. We have already lived on board for more than two months, but we have just been working on the boat. Now we got to do what we love.

Our new life begins. Photo: Minna Pellikka