Skipper: Pierre-Alan, Patrick
Crew: Claude, Yves, Philippe
Our first day gives us a serene cruise up the Elbe, although even in this wide river passing container ships is still alarming. By night fall we are in the German resort of Cuxhaven.
A lazy start on Sunday means we won’t have time to visit Helgoland and make the entrance of the Eider at the right time, so we make straight to the lock at Tönning. The number of navigation marks and the twisting meanders of the channel are amazing. The n it’s on to the lock of Friedrichstadt, and one through that, we moor in that city and dine ashore.
The next day, a few locks and bridges and we have entered the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal, NOK, or rather, the Kiel canal. We spend the night in Rendsburg and dine on board after an aperitif to celebrate the skipper’s birthday in a bistro in the port.
The nest day we spend plenty of time training everyone to handle the boat in berthing manoeuvres, before heading onto to Flemhudersee, an adjacent lake wehre we can anchor out of the bustle of the canal itself. A little exploration with the dinghy, dinner on board and a peaceful sleep at anchor.
The Holtenau lock will carry us into the Baltic, but the area is busy with traffic, and we stick to the separation zones and keep a sharp lock out. Once we’re in the inlets of the Schlei, we visit the port at Maasholm and the onto the small town of Kappeln for the night.
An easy navigation in the Schlei is punctuated with MOB drills. We put into the small port of Laboe for fuel, but unfortunately discover they have been without any for at least a fortnight…After sorting this out, we make our way to Fredrichsort for refreshment and relaxation before the skipper leads us in our night navigation to Kiel. It is a magnificent experience, navigating the boat by the instruments and interpreting the light of the navigation marks and the other vessels. It is almost a regret to finally be tied up in the Yacht Club of Kiel.
This was a week of training for all of us. It was a wonderful exchange of ideas and camaraderie, all expertly lead by our skipper. I want another go!