20-07-13 to 27-02-13 Bergen – Bergen

Skipper: Rolf and Martin

Crew: Claudia, Justin, Urs and Franci

Guys, I feel guilty…

We went to Bergen in Norway to mess about with our boat Rolling Swiss
II and clock up some more miles towards our boat licences…Bergen is famous for
its rainy days, and we take over from a crew who had been very much
disappointed by the weather.

Instead, we had eight days of sunshine, and wore shorts the whole
time!  I hope we haven’t used up all the
sunshine for the rest of this summer’s crews.

You can see in our photos the happy crew and the amazing blue colours
of the sea and sky (as well as the frayed club flag on RS2, but it has seen a
lot of miles and I’m sure we’ll get a new one soon).

If you want to know where we went, I’m not sure I can remember all the
unpronounceable place names, but the locations were beautiful and the people
very welcoming. One note of caution; despite the beautiful weather, the sea
remained a chilly 11 degrees.

On the boat, the oven controls tried everyone’s patience and once the dinghy
outboard was reluctant to start but these small incidents could not tarnish our
joy of a fantastic holiday and we returned home invigorated and with many fond
memories.

P.S. As soon as we handed the boat over to the next crew, it started
raining!

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06-07-13 to 20-07-13 Älesund to Bergen

Skipper: Marc and Urs

Crew: Annemarie, Christian and Morten

“Forces of Nature”

Our fortnight in the Norwegian fjords was characterized by long
voyages, spectacular landscapes, and pretty much every variation in the weather
you can think of. It didn’t snow at least, although the mountains around us
were capped in it.

After boarding in Älesund, a small crew explored the Hjörunfjord,
Storfjorden and Geirangerfjorden and few days later the journalist and
photographer, Christian Tiedt and Moretn Strauch, from Boote magazine joined
us.

Our target for the next ten days was also the destination for what
seemed to be every cruise ship in Norway.
We would be going to the Nærøyfjord, the narrowest in Europe and the
Sognefjords, the longest, and Nebenfjorde, the deepest at 1308m.  Also we would go to the Auderlandsfjord and
Flåm the water is a kilometre deep, the cliffs 800m high, and mountains tower
above…it promised to be a unique experience.

I don’t want to write too much about the scenery, you can see it in our
photos, at least you could if the weather would have lifted a bit more and let
the mountains show themselves!

Many thanks to the previous crew for their many hints, tips and
contacts.

Marc

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29-06-13 to 06-07-13 Älesund to Älesund

The Rolling Swiss Gourmet Cruise

Skipper: Urs, Andreas

Crew: Agnès, Brigitte, Marc-Henri, Thomas

Huge! Not just the mountains that surround us as we cruise the world
famous Geiranger fjord, but also the cruise ships we share the waters with.

And the bread!  Brigitte always
makes sure the crew are well fed, and I’m sure we all put on a few pounds.  Fresh bread, cakes and the finest smells from
the galley always heralded a fine dinner.
Surely the finest gourmet cruise in the high north!

Rolling Swiss II made her most northerly point with us, and there were
few ships joining us up there.  The
weather was unfortunately rather Nordic cool, but the evenings were just
incredible with amazing sunsets and never getting completely dark.  Unforgettable.

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22-06-13 to 29-06-13 Kaupanger to Älesund

Skipper: Peter, Bernhard

Crew: Peter, Lotti and Robert

With Bernhard joining us as our new skipper in Balestrand which is
known as a tourist resort and artists’ village on the north shore of the
Sognefjord with beautiful clapper board houses – almost Swiss style!  The best example is Kvikne’s hotel and during
our visit there was a magnificent vintage car rally there with beautiful
Buicks, Studebakers and Packards to admire.
I would have gladly spent the night in this charming hotel, but it was
full, so it was back to the boat and my all male crew.

As well as the houses, many of the churches are decorated as well,
including Ts Olav’s Kirke, built in 1897 by a British minister’s daughter who
came as a tourist.  She wasn’t the only
one as many royals from around the world have visited, including Kaiser
Willhelm II who enjoyed 14 summers there.
Maybe he enjoyed the local salmon, like we did that evening?

The next day we cast off for Leirvik, 43 miles away and the fjord
looked just like the magical home of elves and trolls. Skipper Peter, whose
mother is Danish and he says the languages are similar.  So it’s no surprise that he handles all our
dealings with the marinas, which today includes an invitation tonight to a
BBQ.  It was great hanging out with
Norwegians, rather than other tourists, and enjoying their local foods,
including a sort of sweet porridge flavoured with cinnamon.

The next morning, the weather was lifting as we were on our way to
Florø out on the open sea.  On our way,
we passed the famous Stabben lighthouse.
Built in 1866/7 the oldest lighthouse in the Sunnfjord area is on a
sharp rock and a popular photo spot – and for us, navigation mark! Our
destination is now an oil town, but founded in 1860, it was home to fishermen
and the painted white buildings in the centre are from that time.  It is also the western most point in Norway.

The following today would be our day of days…we would have to round the
formidable Stadlandet peninsula which is reputed to have the roughest seas on
the Norwegian coast.  We ere nervous, but
the skipper was relaxed, reminded us that Rolling Swiss II’s A rating was the
highest available to yachts and gave the orders to go.

Robert did an excellent job navigating, although the ocean swells were
a new experience for him and unsurprisingly made him a little sea sick. As well
as the rough waters, the area is famous for history too, including the legend
of Sanct Sunniva, an Irish princess who fled a Viking marriage on the island of
Sertje and in the modern age, the sinking of the Sanct Svithu passenger ship in
1943 by Allied bombers.  We were happy to
arrive unscathed!

Once in, two surprises – firstly Bernhard finally managed to catch some
mackerel and secondly we met the Swiss owners of a campsite who invited us to
the Vestkapp, 496m up in the mountains – they told us a lot about the area, and
wow, what a view!

With a third of the Stadlandet to go, our next destination was Volda,
and Rolling Swiss II really had to show her stuff today, as the waves reach 1.5
metres.  The more we travelled, the more
inspiring it felt to be on the waves, but after the entrance to the
Rovdefjorden, all was calm again and once again we could admire the rugged landscape.  Getting in by 3pm we had plenty of time of
stock up on provisions and water.

So, for our final destination, Älesund.
I was already feeling sad about the trip coming to an end, when the
skipper announced a surprise – an interim stop on the Langevåg peninsula to
visit a factory making woollen clothing, from fishermen’s garments to fine
traditional Norwegian sweaters – at last, for all the ladies, a CCS shopping
trip!

It was only a further hour to Älesund where we refuelled and prepared
the boat for the next crew as we would be off at 4am the following
morning.  After chores we could stroll
through the town, which has beautiful art nouveau style houses built after the
town was destroyed by fire in 1904.  The
beautiful Lyst restaurant hosted our final crew meal and the superb fish soup was
particularly memorable, although it left no room for desert.

These were two varied weeks, with two different skippers.  We saw again and again the many tourists on
their ships and found that the facilities for yachts were often rather sparse,
but thanks to the equipment of Rolling Swiss II we were self-sufficient.  There were no unfortunate surprises, and as a
sailor having her first time on such a boat, I have to say I could develop a
taste for this.

Thank you for the great fellowship on board.

Stats:

Distance in two weeks – 404 miles

Fuel used – 925 litres

For those interested, you can research more at:

http://www.fjordnorway.com/de/

http://www.fjordkysten.no/de/

http://www.visitnorway.com/de/

http://www.fjordblick.com/

http://www.vestkapp.no/tysk_hovedside.html

http://www.stadskipstunnel.no/

http://www.vestkappcamping.com/de

http://www.devold.com/

http://www.lystmeny.no/

http://de.Wikipedia.org/wiki/ Ålesund

http://www.visitalesund-geiranger.com/de/

Lotti

 

 

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15-06-13 to 22-06-13 Bergen to Kaupanger to Ålesund

Skipper: Peter, Christoph

Crew: Peter, Lotti and Robert

We found our boat tied up before the beautiful Hanseatic Kontor houses
in Bergen, so it was clear that we would get plenty of Norwegian culture as
well as sea going experiences on our trip.

Once we had prepped the boat and had a good walk round, even finding a
Nespresso shop! We prepared to cast off.
There would be a music festival that weekend and the harbour was
packed.  We headed north and after
21miles found ourselves in Festo.  No
sooner had we arrived, than a party boat came in too, like a disco on the water
–  frying pan to fire…

For our first proper day, we would head for Skjerjehamn and the skipper
wanted us to practice our navigation skills in the narrow channels.  We were all surprised that the guides told us
to deploy fenders, but at Lindås we passed through a disused lock with a strong
cross current, so just as well we had them! Once in the open fjord, we
practiced MOB procedures, and with both skipper satisfied, continued to
Skjerjeham.  In total we have sailed 49
miles.

Here we found a beautiful Swiss style villa from the 1880s, now a
hotel, and the wonderful Konge-Öl Royal Beer as well as a great barbeque
buffet.

The next day we made our way to the mouth of the Sognefjord where the
mountains come down to the water, just like in Switzerland.  Snow capped peaks towered above us as we
berthed for the night in Bjordal.

We got in early, to walk in the meadows above the town and admire the
beautiful Hopperstad Stavkyrkje, a stave church from around 1130.  It and other beautiful historical buildings owe
their preservation to the archaeologist Peter A Bix who funded a lot of their
restoration himself.

After a fine dinner, we tried the local Gamalost cheese, made from sour
milk and with a very sharp taste.  We all
tried to like it, but no one could find the palate for it.

The next day we headed for Flåm.
After passing the huge statue of the Norse hero Fritjof the Brave, we
passed the Cape of Vangsnes (home of the best strawberries) and headed south
into the Auerlansfjord.  We were all
keeping a look out for the cruise ships that visit here, and they look unreal
from afar, like floating cities, absurd in the narrow fjord.

Flåm attracts many tourists and as well as souvenir shops has a famous
mountain railway, which rises 863 metres over 12.6 miles with a maximum
gradient of 55% and with many tunnels.
Unfortunately for Robert, our crew railroader, it was completely sold
out that day!

The next day bought the highlight of our trip, navigating through the Nærøfjord,
a Unesco World Heritage site.  On our way
to Gudvangen, the navigation was challenged and we had half a kilometre of
water below and a kilometre and a half of mountains above us – spectacular.

Because our boat is self-sufficient with her generator and large water
tank (and because our skipper could chat a little in the local language) we
were able to stay on a private pier in the pretty and small village of Bakka –
far from all the tourists.

Our final trip on to Kaupanger was conducted in the rain and we found a
berth in the new harbour by the ferry terminal, but unfortunately 3km for the
town.  A hike which Robert undertook, not
only to get food for a delicious dinner but also because he decided he needed a
Norwegian SIM card.   The rest of
explored the local stave church and admired the grave yard with stones
orientated towards the magnificent fjord.
Here swapped skipper Christoph for Skipper Bernhard.

Lotti

Stats:

Miles: 181.5

Engine hours: 29

Berthing fees: 450 NOK

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08-06-13 to 15-06-13 Stavanger to Bergen

Skipper:  Rolf, Lilo

Crew: Andi, Kathrin, Markus

An very early start in Switzerland meant we were all ready for an early
night after a fine Thai meal in Stavanger, although it was still bright
daylight at 10pm!

After prepping the boat the next morning, we were able to set sail in
the afternoon for Tau, a fine harbour with good facilities, and an honesty box
for sailors docking after 7pm when the office is closed.

A beautiful morning then greeted us, and after a fine breakfast
prepared on board, it was out to sea and the chance for all of the crew to
experience driving the boat and practice manoeuvres.  It is amazing how gentle such a big boat can
be in her movements.  Then it was on to
Haugesund 33 miles away and we passed alternately lush green meadows, forests
and rocky outcrops before getting about 5pm.
The harbour is in the heart of town and has good facilities for visiting
mariners.

On our way onto Rosendal, we discovered that the A2 format charts of
the fjords could be difficult to use as they have so much information crammed
onto them, especially describing the entrance to the Hardangerfjord, so maximum
concentration was required from all the crew.
Our long run of 50 miles was conducted in beautiful sunshine and a very
pleasant 20 degrees.  As the port in
Rosendal was not busy, we all practice our mooring techniques, although that
meant a lot of the attractions of the town such as the Barionet Rosendal with
its gardens and the waterfall were already closed – even though it is light
right into the night.  A lot of chatting,
and a “spiritual” nightcap, you know, the one from Scotland at dusk, and we
were off to bed.

We’re up at 730 the next morning, but the sun is already at full
strength and the sea is like a mirror – the scene is really rather one on a
Swiss lake.  In these perfect conditions,
we were able to show off our boat handling skills to a crowd of Norwegian
boaters who gathered to watch our training exercises.  What a joy it is to be able to handle such a
craft! Before long we were on our way to Norheimsund, and a bottlenose dolphin
joined us.  At sea, we were trained in
radar navigation and once in the Samlafjorden did our MOB practices.  On arriving in the harbour, newbie Lilo
executes a perfect docking manoeuvre. It is a pleasant harbour in a pretty
small town, and we find all the facilities we need nearby and tour the
town.  Locals are bathing in the water at
the sandy beach, but Markus judges it “brrr icy” after going in up to his ankles.

The next day, we sailed on to Osøyro.

It’s already Thursday. The last night in Osøyro was
like a cradle and an annoyed mother. The location of the port is not really
suited for winds from the south to southeast. Those that can not stand being
aggressively rocked to sleep should not use this port in these wind conditions.
The weather has now definitely turned. The barometer fell from 1013 to 1000 hPa
over the course of a day. It was raining again, and the visibility was dull,
restricted to 1.5 miles. Now we see the advantage of AIS and Radar. The notice
of a boat or a ferry, even before they are in sight, was reassuring. Also the
moderate wind and waves where on the nose. No ups and downs. Normally the daily
generator test was performed one hour after departure. Today, none of the crew
thought the test was important which meant waiting for the coffee from the
luxurious Nespresso machine. Finally, after two long hours the test is done and
it soon smells of pleasant coffee brewing. Each helmsman must concentrate and
repeatedly scan the entire field of vision. Despite radar and AIS we saw the
small fishing boats late, most of the wooden boats are not visible on the AIS
or the radar. Finally – the entrance to Bergen harbor came into view. The next
task was, “look out for the gas station”, we suspected it was where many boats
where gathered. We almost missed it, because it is at the beginning of the
channel on the starboard side and in no way resembles a gas station. Rather an
abandoned and long overdue for renovation station with two completely rusted
gas pumps. The hoses are too short to reach both fillers. So we needed to turn
the boat and moor up again. During the entire filling of Rolling Swiss II, the
weather shows its side, a weather that is still possible in Norway. It rained
cats and dogs. The crew who where wet through after the first mooring had to
endure and go through it all again. Filled both tanks , we found that 760
horsepower has swallowed 405 liters of diesel prime , which meant an average of
about 13.15 liters per hour. The skipper took over, to helm the boat for the
last mile, as it should be. We feared having to moor on the third or fourth
row, but we spotted another piece of exposed sea wall in front of the bridge
and right at the water station. The opening was just big enough so that Rolling
Swiss II had a space. Rolf moored it with stoic calm in the gap with a space
front and back of about 2 meters. Lilo and Kathrin set out immediately to
settle the port charges at an ATM at the other end of the port. This should
have been an easy task, as it turned out, the machine required the registration
number and the name, which of course they did not have, and they wanted to rush
back. Luckily a passing port official came to help and said it did not need
this information. Current space allocation, payment, everything worked , but
where was the proof ?The official pressed the “Print Receipt” with the result
we have paid 550 Crowns for nights including shore power. We couldn’t find the
showers or toilets. But this didn’t bother us, as Rolling Swiss is equipped
with everything one could need, so we gave up the search.

Having arrived a day early for our transfer, we had plenty of time to
explore the mountains, and reminisce about our great boat and our magical trip.

It only remains to thank firstly Rolf who skippered with confidence and
calmness at all times and taught us so much with along with Lilo his co
skipper. And to Lilo and Kathryn for the great meals they conjured up on
board.  As author, I look back on a very
successful week and look forward to my next trip on Rolling Swiss II.  Perhaps with the same crew?  I say “any time”…

Markus

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18-05-13 to 01-06-13 Aarlborg to Arendal to Stavanger

Skipper:  Ernst

Crew: Claudia, Rudolf, Sigrid, Werner and Akki

Not for the first time (see last year) Scandinavian Airlines delayed
some of our luggage, but as we had a day in hand, we were complete (with luggage)
to join the boat on the 18th.
We were soon out in the heavily buoyed Limfjord and heading for
Asa.  Everything was just as in the guide
it appeared, but perhaps the two meter channel isn’t quite perfectly dredged
and so on the first day, thankfully at a snail’s pace, the starboard side of
the boat hunkered down as we kissed the bottom.
We were free after a few secondly, and gingerly proceeded into the port.

Talking to people in the port, they reckoned the easterly wind kept the
water half a meter lower than usual, so we followed the fishermen’s advice to
leave two hours earlier than we had planned.
What we did not know was that, on leaving the port, they turn and arc to
next mark, where we turned straight to head to it.  There was a jolt and the starboard engine cut
out and the wind was pushing us onto the sand bank. After quarter of an hour we
were free and Ernst had us back in the port.
After consulting with marc and accepting an offer from the kind harbour
master, we decided to lift the boat.

We found a small dent in the starboard prop, which Rudi repaired right
away with a hammer.  The resistance was
also higher on the starboard shaft when turned by hand, so we dscided to flush
the stern gland of sand.

On the flood tide, we headed to Frederikshavn, had extensive handling
practice and headed on to Skagen.  We
would head for Norway on the Tuesday and with visibility of just 1 mile the
radar would be much in use.

The weather in Norway was beautiful and we were looking forward to
exploring the archipelago and its picturesque coves.  It was not yet hot, and being before the
season kicks off on 1st June, a lot of the facilities were still
closed.

On the way to Stavanger, we saw dolphins, enjoyed a BBq on the
beautiful island of Boroyholman and the high mountains of the Lysefjord.  We also learned that Norwegian boaters don’t
slow down to pass through narrow bridges and enjoyed excellent Grapa on the one
day of rain in Sjokoladeterapie.

Petra, Jurg and Akki

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11-05-13 to 18-05-13 Aarhus to Aalborg

From the Northen Palm beach in Frederikshavn to the Carnival in
Aalborg, 235 miles.

Skipper: Christian

Crew: Francois, Severin, Hanna and Jerzy

Our first voyage will take us 22 miles from Aarhus to Ebeltoft.  After the handover, and shopping and
marvelling at the amazing storage places on the boat, the skipper gives the
order to set off.  We had hoped for
warmer weather, but the three hour voyage is conducted in cloud, rain and
cold.  We carefully keep watch, because
of the many high speed ferries which cross our route.

In the morning, it’s boat handling practice and we didn’t feel the cold
weather, so intently did we concentrate on the situation and manoeuvres.  When Hanna takes the wheel, there is suddenly
a huge bang.  We all look round, but it
is not from the boat, but the midday canon on the nearby frigate Jylland, a
museum ship. In the afternoon (an after visiting the museum ship) we sail to
Grenaa 30 miles away.  It is windy, quite
sunny, but still cold.  The AIS is a
great help in identifying the fast ferries and avoiding collisions.

In the evening, Francois makes spaghetti Bolognese while Jerzy and
Severin passage plan for tomorrow, earning a relaxing Jack Daniels!

The weather in the morning is worse, and the proposed route would have
meant 37 miles straight into the strong wind, so we choose a different route,
going round a huge windfarm.  The weather
deteriorates, and when we turn to the east the following seas lets us surf up
to 14 knots, with just seven knots of boat speed.  It is a relief to get into the calm of the
port, which is almost deserted, certainly no tourists out yet.  The skipper makes a fine shrimp and spaghetti
supper.

The weather is a bit better in the morning, so we decide to make the 56
m hop to the island of Læsø.  It is still
raining, and bitterly cold, but he wind has abetted and the sea is calmer and
we are able to run Rolling Swiss II up to twenty knots.  We moor in sunshine, but it is still cold and
this village too seems uninhabited.

The weather could be deteriorating again the next morning, so we abandon
he planded boat handling practice for a speedy 21 mile run to
Frederikshavn.  A southeaster blowing
ahead of us mean large waves at the narrow harbour entrance which need to be
carefully navigated. We get a little rest, dream of heat and sunnier climes
before renting bikes.  Everything is
closed by five, and this place too makes us ask “where are the Danes?”.

So, finally the rain has stopped, the wind died away and its 14
degrees. We make some anchoring exercises on the 49 mile run to Hals.  The wind picks up again as we enter the
harbour.

Our final day’s voyage takes 20 miles into the Limfjord before a
celebratory supper in the Jensen’s Bøfhus and a visit to the carnival.

Thanks to all for this great and educational week.

Hanna and Jerzy

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04-05-13 to 11-5-13 Kiel to Aarhus

Skipper: Hanspeter, Peter

Crew: Patricia, Werner, Bernhard, Severin

Bulk shopping follows our first breakfast on board, and after the
safety briefing, the skipper takes the wheel and we head off towards the fishing
village of Maasholm.  En route, we
overhear the radio messages of a mayday rescue in progress; a yacht had
capsized, but fortunately everyone was rescued.

On Sunday, Severin acted as skipper, and navigated first to the island
of Nylø where we anchores and enjoyed a lunch of salmon on board.  After Bernhard and Severin made a small
voyage in the dinghy, we lifted the anchor and followed the navigation marks into
Fåborg, a small town of painted houses.
Patricia cooked a wonder spaghetti supper on board.

Bernhard planned the next day, and navigated us to Aeroskoebing for lunch
and onto Svendborg – both towns of similar small painted houses, and very sleepy.  Tonight’s supper – Severin’s lamb curry.

Up by 8am, the harbour is used for practicing berthing manoeuvres, and
we are all getting more adept with the boat.
Werner, today’s skipper, takes us to Nyborg, Kerteminde and Kolbykaas, on
the island of Samsø.  We had decided to
make this long voyage so we would be just 40 miles from Aarhus, our final
destination, due to uncertain weather forecasts.  By six, we were safely moored in Kolbykaas,
where Bernardo serves rigatoni al arrabiata.

With moderate weather the next day, we headed to the other side of the
island and anchored, leaving enough time in the afternoon to perfect coming alongside
at 45 degrees, getting a spring line on and bringing the boat alongside with
the outboard engine in reverse.  Repeated
practice makes perfect!  Skipper’s supper
tonight, fish and potatoes cooked beautifully in the oven.

We halted on our final voyage to Ebeltoft to visit the museum ship and
then onto Aarhus where we moored in the port of Marselisborg.  Dinner? Chicken and asparagus.

We should have been cleaning on this our last full day, but the rain
and wind made it difficult, so we made time for lunch in the port and after all
the chores were done, Hanspeter took us to a trendy steakhouse in Aarhus.

It’s been a super week, and very instructive.  Thanks everyone.

Severin

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27-04-13 to 04-05-13 Hamburg to Kiel

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!

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