We have now finally made it to the Baltic. Today’s trip was a relatively short one from Rendsburg to Kiel (24 miles). The final stretches of the canal were broadly similar to yesterday – there isn’t much variation along the Kiel Canal – but it was a little more open and much busier than yesterday. We had lots of ships going east to west, but only one overtook us and we caught him up again at the Holtenau locks. We got into the locks relatively quickly and, because the old locks are being worked on, we went into the new (vast) locks. With a fair size ship and around a dozen yachts we could all choose where we wanted and we could hardly see the ship in the distance in the lock! The works also meant that no canal dues were payable – they apparently didn’t want yachties clambering up slippery ladders in the lock to pay.
Once out, we headed north for a mile to the British Kiel Yacht Club. This little piece of England is due to close in September this year. It is a centre for the forces and runs sailing, diving and other courses. It was originally funded by the sale of the windfall yachts. The windfall yachts were a fleet of over 100 wooden yachts which were taken as war reparations by the English after the Second World War. Many were taken back to the UK following the war, but a fleet of them remained at the British Kiel Yachts Club and were used by the various services to teach sailing. However, when we got there all that was there seemed to be about half a dozen (plastic) boats and little else, so we decided to head south to Durstenbrook marina. The Kieler Forde was busy with weekend sailors, but, despite a lovely sailing breeze, we just motored the couple of miles down to Durstenbrook. The marina is made up of four different sections and we headed into one. You have to look for green tags to see that a berth is free. We saw one and headed round to the berth, but I turned a little late, misjudged the approach and then slipped with the throttle, so the boat on one side helpfully stopped us …. The very nice German owner now has my details, but there was only very minor damage and nothing which a German beer can’t fix!
Below is a video of our passage through the Kiel Canal: