Kappeln is our final destination for 2015. This is where we keep Tioga over the winter (at Ancker Yachting).

We left Schilksee in the morning (with our special guest, Helmut, a friend from Kiel) and had a nice and windy broad reach down towards Schleimuende, took the sails down, passed the lighthouse and motored against the stiff breeze up the Schlei. Going up the narrow channel of the Schlei is always something special. Lots of thatched roofed houses, a mixture of green forests and yellow farmland, various marinas and lots of shallow water.

Ancker had reserved us a very nice spot and it happened to be next to friends of us that we had met 2 years earlier during a sailing trip. The skipper bought yet another SIM card to keep his internet speed up and the crew (Ellen, Corinna and Thomas) get going packing up the equipment.
As before, it was good to have friends. Urte organized us a Mercedes Sprinter for the next day and Helmut drove it from Kiel to Kappeln and helped us throughout the day to move equipment to winter storage. Thanks a lot!
In the afternoon the mast was pulled and Tioga lifted out of the water. She now sits in the temporary spot where dirty water can be collected after power-washing etc. The engine is winterized and all the remaining equipment is taken off the boat.

We can now focus on fixing the fridge (that had stopped working after the wet sail along the North Sea coast) and more importantly, replacing the mast. This is a big deal and will take us quite a while to sort out. The mast has developed a significant crack and can no longer be used. We were very lucky making it to our winter storage location in one piece. And again, good to have friends. Bob is already connecting us with friends with similar experiences as well as other mast manufacturers in Europe, while Kevin is making sure we are buying the right equipment for the boat.
While this sounds like a very expensive endeavor, we are hopeful to have this sorted out by spring 2016.

Our dinner at the Missunder Faehrhaus was a nice finish to our third leg.

Schlei Kappeln Ancker Yachting

Kiel Schilksee

This is where the 1972 Olympic sailing event took place and Kiel Week every year hosts one of the largest sailing events in the World. The 70’s concrete buildings are not necessarily picturesque, but the facilities are very good. Lot’s and lot’s of boats, dinghies, yacht clubs etc.

This is where skipper Philip learned to sail a while ago and where our German families and friends celebrated our arrival.
Thanks to Andrea’s and Ernst’s preparation we had the basic equipment and drinks to enjoy the evening.

Very nice to see all our friends again…

Fotoshot with Kieler Nachrichten

Kiel Canal

The Kiel Canal is 61nm long and saves about 250nm compared to going around Denmark’s Jutland. It is the busiest canal in the world, based on number of boats going through (the Panama canal handles the most freight in the world, but less ships).

We arrived at the locks, closed the loop with the lock operators and were tied up inside in less than 20min. It was nice to motor in protected waters for a change and we truly enjoyed the scenery. As it is only allowed to use the canal with a sailboat (under engine) during the daytime, we made it as far as possible and then anchored in Flemhuder See, just an hour from Kiel (where the canal ends and the Baltic Sea begins).

On the next day we had a nice reception by Inne, Hans and Kai on the North Shore and Herbert on the South Shore. Of course it rained while we went through the locks in Kiel where we also paid the 35 Euros for the passage.

Kiel Canal - Flemhuder See Kiel Canal

North Sea

The North Sea has quite a reputation. Although it is relatively shallow, it can be a quite rough place to sail.
We were pleasantly surprised that we had calm seas with sufficient wind to sail in the right direction for the two days to reach the Northern Dutch coast. That allowed us to focus on traffic separation schemes, oil platforms and wind farms. Apart from getting too close to one platform and being chased away by the guard boat, we enjoyed the nice sunny weather.
Conditions changed considerably when we turned around the Northwest corner of the Dutch coast, sailing a more easterly course. The initial forecast had changed and we were forced to sail into the stiff easterly breeze against quite choppy waves. With shallow sandy islands to port and the traffic separation zone to starboard we tacked roughly every 60 min and made it upwind for a day and a half, then weaved our way through the heavy traffic into various rivers and were lucky enough to make it up the river Elbe with the incoming tide, where we barely made 1-2kn through the water against the roughly 25kn and interesting seas.

North Sea Oil Platform North Sea Wind Farm

Cliffs of Dover

We left Cowes at 18:00 in the rain and had a pleasant sail down the Solent past old Forts and numerous freighters. The former Volvo Ocean racer, Camper, sailed past us with 12kn speed and quickly disappeared in the distance.
Later the wind calmed down and we ran the engine for a while. By now we have a nice southerly breeze, have the gennaker up and just passes the white cliffs of Dover. The line up of freighters on the horizon is quite impressive and fun to follow. The new crew is having a great time in the sun.



Cowes is an old English word for Castles. There used to be two castles, one in East-Cowes and one on our side West-Cowes, or Cowes  (the one in Cowes now houses the “Squadron” – the Royal Yacht Squadron). In addition to a lot of historically relevant places, this beautiful town is a sailor’s dream come true. Lot’s and lot’s of boats, marina’s, yacht clubs, chandleries, supermarkets, pubs, restaurants etc; and all very close together.

You can tell that the locals are very proud (and knowledgeable) of their history. The girls met Paul, the Counselor of Cowes, and he shared his wisdom with us over a couple of days. Paul also invited us to his club, the Island Sailing Club, after sending us to the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club for their weekly Tuesday dinner the night before. Of course, we exchanged burgees with both clubs. The Island Sailinbg Club is rumored to have the largest burgee collection in the world with about 3500 burgees…. it is also the host of the Around the Island regatta which has thousands of boats on the line every year.

One of the highlights of our stay in Cowes was the visit by Peggy, Sebastian, Lawrence and Simon. They came over by ferry for an afternoon and it was really nice to catch up with them again. They’ll hopefully meet us next year at the Caledonian Canal again.
At the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club we also met Joy and her friends from Birmingham. Amazing to hear all her stories about the history and famous people of Cowes.

One of the highlights that is easily missed is the Sir Max Aitken museum. It is located in a former sail loft and exhibits very interesting artifacts, such as the gaff of Britannia, the crib of Napoleon’s baby, parts of Nelson’s boat etc – one large room; with a huge amount of history.

As with any of the previous places where we rented bikes, it was truly worth the effort as we saw a lot of the Isle of Wight (which is a lot larger and hillier than we expected) and also got a decent exercise.

Now that Bjoern arrived, the fuel is topped up and the food loaded, it is time to say good bye and make our way to Germany.

Simon Thomas Peggy Sebastian Philip Corinna Ellen Island Sailing Club - Cowes Royal Yacht Squadron