Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Kiel Canal Part One

This evening Bonita is floating in the peaceful waters of the Kiel canal.

The passage from Norderney can be difficult as there is the uncertainty about the weather but it is important to get to the entrance to the Elbe at low tide. The tides in the Elbe are quite strong so it matters about getting the timing right. Today we had light winds and motor-sailed much of the way. However the tides worked out quite well. Starting at 5am from Norderney we covered 80 miles in daylight, which is fairly good going.

Steve and Kugelbake
The picture shows Steve, dressed appropriately for the day's weather,  in front of the Kugelbake,
which is an ancient navigational mark at Cuxhaven at the mouth of the Elbe. The Elbe runs up to Hamburg and is very busy with shipping - much busier than the Thames. We have come 40 miles up the Elbe to Brunsbuttel, which is where the river is joined by the Kiel canal.

Asphodel in 1973

This trip has bought back memories of my first trip to the Baltic, made in a 15 foot long grp boat called Asphodel in 1973. This was a Sunspot, designed and built in a shed in Brixton by Arthur Howard. Drawing less than 2 feet she was ideal for sailing over the sands inside the Frisian islands. The challenges of sailing a boat of this type were quite different from those of sailing Bonita. The second photo shows Asphodel in the foreground negotiating one of the huge locks in the Kiel canal; the crew, complete with 70's hair and flared jeans, is the especially long-suffering and tremendously patient Marc Harris.