Kiel Canal at anchor 54:01.988N 009:17.961E

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Fri 6 Jun 2014 14:43
Friday 6th June. Wind mainly southwesterly force 6, 4 hours of force 7 gusting up to 45 knots (force 8). Showers, rain and heavy downpours.

Departed Terschelling as planned at 0800 Thursday. Mum and Dad Toonen on the breakwater to wave us out. We understand that a Facebook photo was posted within hours of our departure. Mum and Dad then spent most of the day on the beach watching for us. During Thursday we made good progress after waving Mum and Dad good-bye for a second time, this time 4 hours later on the beach near Hoorn on the north of the island. It takes a long time to get out of Terschelling harbour and through the Vlieland channel to the North Sea as the sandbanks extend a long way out.

The forecast said force 6 during the day and night and abating during Friday. Our plan was to enter the Eider river at 3 hours before high water at 1630 on Friday to cross the bar into the narrow approach. The almanac having advised not to enter in strong westerlies the forecast wind should have to be abated by then. 

Sarah went to bed at 1900 ( so she could get up at 2 or so) after a warming M&S tin of chunky chicken and tinned totties. Soon after the wind shifted from south west to west and started picking up to a force 7. I took the mainsail in as we were now downwind and the headsail was being shielded by the main and flapping being useless. Now gusting into high 30ties and occasionally over 40 knots, I took her off autopilot as it couldn't keep Pelagia straight downwind properly as the now building waves would roll the boat from side to side making the headsail incisive as to which side to stay on.  During one of the 40+ gusts and on a big wave Pelagia surfed down it at 12.9 knots! I’m pretty sure that she has never gone faster before. As the wind stayed I reduced the headsail to a mere handkerchief size and we were still doing 7 knots, just as well I had taken the main sail in already.
At 0030 Sarah popped her head up to relieve me but I said it was too wet and I’d carry on, in reality I wasn’t sure how she would react to the high wind and 3-4m waves, as I had promised her a force 6… oops! She did make me a nice strong coffee which was much appreciated. I think standing in the galley was a challenge.
With the sail reduced to next to nothing it was safe to put her on autopilot and as there was no shipping I stayed below for 10 minutes at a time out of the rain and cold.
As the wind was westerly and clearly too strong the Eider entry was not an option, shame as we wanted to do something different from the norm as most boats enter the Kiel canal at Brunsbuttel. Onwards to the Elbe then, the wind back to a F6 and backed back to south west. Sarah managed to get only 2 hours of sleep with all the rolling and she could actually feel her self and the mattress being lifted off the bed at times (salt anyone?). She got up at 0500 just before we entered the Elbe allowing me a few moments of sleep. The Elbe channel is quite narrow and the shipping heavy. 

Entry into the Kiel canal was straightforward with only a half hour wait for the lock to open. The lock however has these narrow floating pontoons all bashed up by the big ships, no bollards to hook your lines on. The only way to moor up is to get off the boat and pass the lines through the rusty rings bolted to the pontoons. The pontoons are so low and rounded off that the fenders keep popping out… anyway we were in the Kiel canal soon enough and motoring to find our first stop. Leisure craft are not allowed to move during darkness so they have to stay in designated overnight areas. The Brunsbuttel pontoons just inside the end of the approach to the big ships lock didn’t look very inviting so despite Sarah moaning about lack of sleep we carried on. The sun was blazing down now and so we were able to dry out all the soaked gear and watch the birdies.  At pole 20.5Km we found a lovely spot with mooring stakes (called dolphins allegedly) but we decided to anchor in just 2.7m of water as we were to big to fit between the stakes (…boast much?). A hearty meal a few beers, a bottle of rose and off to bed at 1700 for a welcome 12 hour sleep. 

Mum & Dad on the breakwater.
Mum, iPad at the ready.
Dad looking windswept.

Mum & Dad 4 hours later on the beach near Hoorn.

Into the busy Kiel Canal: