Cruising aboard Rolling Swiss II

21.04.-28.04.2012 Hamburg – Kiel

Skipper: Pierre-Alain
Crew: Catherine, Josiane, Marie-Claire, Jean-Jacques, Jean-Paul

 The cruise started so well when a distraught teammate stood in the saloon:
“Skipper! How do you install the toilet roll?”
Well, yes , these are the surprises sometimes waiting for skippers. But other experiences are certainly more interesting…
This cruise from 21 to 28 April took in  the Hamburg – Kiel area.

On the first day, after the provisioning the boat and calculating currents in the river Elbe, we decided to sail at 17: 00 from the Hamburg Hafen City to join Cuxaven located at the mouth of the Elbe.  Of course, to travel  the 57 miles, will take more than 5 hours at 1400 rpm with a speed surface of 8 knots and 10 in the water, which means we will be arriving at night.  The first hours of navigation are used to practice the techniques  that we will need at night: watching the chart, shadowing, lights, quick flash lights, group and duration, colours, everything would arise shortly before our eyes and we had better be prepared to interpret the light signals  that would lead us to port safely.

Sunday, en route for Heligoland, the beautiful small German island off the mouth of the Elbe often heckled by a sometimes hostile North Sea. We have the chance, 3-4 Bft of the NW, with 1.50 meters of waves. While the boat is feeling the swell it is possible to adjust the flaps and engine speed to  make perfectly acceptable navigation and it is 5 hours later that we based in the small port of Helgoland, just in front of the Smiling Swiss III, majestic Hallberg-Rassy 43, also of our club.

On Monday, we take the channel to the Eider we reach on a rising tide. The skipper prepares the crew, especially the navigator  and the helmsman of the day:
Cautiously, we arrive on the mouth of a river. The vagaries of the tides and the flow of the river can pose us some problems. Do not rely on mapping paper or electronic! They will certainly be wrong! Well do  look at the chart, local fishermen give lot of advice to just anchor whenever necessary, not to enter into the mouth of a river if the visibility is less than 2 miles and watch the waves.
As soon as the buoy marking the clean water of the Eider in sight, the remarks of the skipper were fair. The navigation had begun well following the charts, but quickly after, we decided to navigate on the foreshore. Sometimes panic from  the paper chart, sometimes the electronic chartwhich indicated a boat “on the green”, but strict compliance with buoys and marks certainly guided us slowly through that beautiful, but also hostile, landscape, where seabirds come to rest, standing on sand covered with 1-2 cm of water…. 5 metres from us and of our Trader 42!
About 10 miles later, the helmsman had the bow in the lock to into the Eider.  At 3: 10 pm we took the 2th lock, one that allows us to access the port for private motorboats of Friedrichstadt Club who gave us a great welcome as ever.  The little village of Friedrichstadt , named the Dutch city was built in the 1840s by Dutch. Today high 2500 souls dwell in a special atmosphere that really sticks with people who have experienced it.

Tuesday, a long navigation on the Eider awaits us. Successively, we shall have the pleasure to request the opening of the road bridge , and then the North Feld lock. After the Bridge of Pohlen was also too low for us, we stop in the small port of pleasure for a meal. Well satiated, we continue our journey  through two more locks. After  Lexfähre and Giselnau, we are leaving the Eiders to join the NOK, the Canal de Kiel (German: Nord-Ostsee-Kanal), which is a 98 km canal which connects the North Sea (at Brunsbüttel) to the Baltic Sea (in Kiel). The canal provides a shortcut of 280 miles nautical (519 km). With more or less 120 boats per day on average, it is the most popular man made  waterway in the world.
After carefully navigating  the NOK, in particular watching the ferries that allow cars and other pedestrians to reach the two shores, we arrive at Rensburg. Access to the port requires of us quite a bit of attention, with the passage of two successive channels, a front and a back. Past this narrow gorge, we discover a quiet inner harbour. We take our berth without drama on the pontoon for big vessels over15 metres, with the kind cooperation of the Hafenmeisterin, a great friend of the CCS.
In the evening, a small glass in a bar reminded us that this day was our second anniversary.

Wednesday;  day manoeuvres:  5 H 30, all the team members sleepy at the helm. In the program, take a boat in current or wind, rotate 360 ° only by engines, left and right, place a teammate on base on a pontoon, parking between two poles in a port, etc. These exercises were very much  appreciated by the crew that has been very disciplined, calm and efficient in these manoeuvres.
After a frugal meal for some Apple Pie and cod for other, we set sail for our base for the night: Flemurder See, a pocket on the NOK where it is possible to spend the night at the anchor.

Thursday, early start to reach the exit of the NOK in Holtenau lock that gives access to the Baltic Sea. We go out of the Kieler Förde to join the Kieler Bucht where the cargo traffic is a boon to the plotting with the radar. We forget the MARPA to use paper and blue green and red pencils. Threats from converging boats are easily identified, the rules and strategies of the COLREGs were well followed, allowing us to safely reach the entrance of the Schlei, an inlet of 42 km dug in German lands in the direction of Schleswig. We stopped in the friendly town of Kappeln where its streets without cars inspired us to wander.

Friday morning has the drama, the vessel had just wake up, when coming from nowhere, a team member jumps into the saloon wielding a metal rod!
“COP, how to put in place the WC of the toilet paper roll?”.
This vital question, PAB, our skipper took a few minutes of reflection and suggested that the team member to consult the documentation of the boat, documentation which is held in ten official files carefully stored in a cabinet dedicated to the documentation and nautical guides.
This welcome break gave the rest of the crew the respite to enjoy a hearty breakfast.
Life on board was able to return to normal on board, the toilet paper was fully operational again! Phew, panic over!

It was at noon we reach our disembarking port in Kiel Stickenhörn. All participants loved the comfort of this magnificent boat, and this beautiful region. Worth a visit.

 Auteur: Pierre-Alain


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