On 18-8-23 at 10.00 am, I light anchor, out of the bay close to the entrance of the Kiel Canal. We now sail to the entrance of the lock. It is a cloudy day wind NNE 2 temperature 18.6 degrees. When I get there, I first survey the situation and listen out on VHF channel 12, call Kiel channel 4.
About four freighters still have to lock up and come out, and I also see that three more freighters are arriving and have to go in, so this will take about an hour. I moor up at the quay waiting for things to happen, gradually more sailing and motor boats come and start turning around in front of the lock, but it will take at least another half hour. I sit first row and the engine is off.
After the last cargo ship has sailed in, the sailboats are allowed to enter to moor alongside that cargo ship, which is moored on the starboard side, on the port side at the front of the lock. The sailboats can then get out first and so are not bothered by propeller water from that freighter.
I’ve probably mentioned it in previous blogs, but mooring is on floating wooden decks, your fenders have to be on the waterline and so easily slip out. I personally use rubber mats that I lower into the water on lines along the hull, works fine.
As we sail out of the lock, I decided to spend another night on the Flemhudersee, located roughly at KM88 on the port side.
It is now Friday the 18th so I can edit and prepare my video 20 at leisure, I’ve earned a bit of rest too.
On Saturday, 10am after launching video 20, I light anchor and sail port side to the Gieselau. Channel at KM40, once there at 14.02 I moor at the alongside jetties, you are allowed to moor there for 1 night, no facilities. At the lock keeper’s office I pay for my entry and the Kiel Canal, note that you can’t yet withdraw money here, I have been paying €8 for the lock and Kiel Canal for years.
On 20-8-23, I untie and sail through the bridge and lock, towards the connection with the Eider River. The Eider River where you can go back to sea. The Eider River is a meandering river and 99KM from Gieselau to the eider Sperrwerke, the first hell of the river is controlled by locks, the second half is the Eider is a tidal river. The first lock from Gieselau, is the Lexfahre lock, in this and none of the further locks or bridges you have to pay anything. Then after Lexfahre you get the Pahlhude bridge, then the Nordfeld lock, the Streets bridge at Friedrichstadt, the Eisenbahn bridge after Friedrichstadt and finally the Streets bridge at Tonning. So the key now is to plan well, after all, you want to be current. Distance Nordfeld – Tonning 11.3 Nm / 21Km.
For sailboats with a keel, it is important to enter Tonning no earlier than 3 hours before or at the latest 3 hours after high water, keep to starboard shore here as the other side is shallow due to current. In Tonning you moor to port with floating jetties, to starboard with long lines due to tides.
Going through the Nordfeld lock at high tide, you will have the current with you and that should be enough to enter Tonning no later than 3 hours after high tide. None of the bridges you pass have VHF radio, only a telephone number. So notify these bridges well in advance that you are coming and want an opening. Especially the Eisenbahn bridge, it is annoying to have to wait on a fast-flowing river. There is an A4 on the internet with all this essential information. (https://www.elwis.de/DE/Seeschifffahrt/Schleuseninformationen/Betriebszeiten-Eider-2022.pdf?
Make sure you have that handy for planning.
It is highly recommended to visit Friedrichstad, this town was built with the help of or by the Dutch and has nice canals and a Dutch architectural style, with gabled houses. Once you have passed the street bridge at Friedrichstadt, you will immediately get the entrance to the Friedrichstadt lock on your starboard side, note that on the starboard side there is a shallow cardinal buoy, so do not go between this buoy and the shore! The harbour will point itself out.
The Eider River is a beautiful river from Gieselau to Tonning 99Km, marked just like the Kiel Canal with KM posts on the walkways 0= Gieselau 99= Tonning.
Along the first and thus controlled part of the river are several harbours, note depth varies per harbour, most are set for small motorboats. But there are options also for sailboats. Make sure that even if you sail on the controlled part of the Eider, keep to the middle or outer bends. sometimes shallows are marked with a barrel. Friedrichstadt as indicated above is also a nice place. You can also anchor easily on this controlled section, just be careful of the depth as it sometimes drops off quickly.
Which brings me back to the tidal part of the river, so from Nordfeld to Tonning you can’t anchor anywhere except Friedrichstadt. The buoy line is marked with tree trunks blunt and sharp, stay well inside them. Have fun boating on this particular river, if you have any questions about this you can do so at the bottom of this post or in my guestbook.
Tonning is an old fishing village and nice historic town with many restaurants along the quay. There is a supermarket within walking distance. Due to the tides, this harbour falls partially dry, actually similar to Schiermonnikoog. The harbour master comes by for harbour money and can provide you with all kinds of information, for example about the inner mudflats to the EiderSperrwerk. At the end of the harbour on the port side is the harbour office, showers and waste. The code for the entrance door is given by the harbour master. From Tonning to sea go via the Eidersperrwerk, which operates 24 hours and where you do not pay lock fees. If you want to make maximum use of the mudflats, leave Tonning 1 hour before high tide Eidersperrwerk and follow the buoy line out of Tonning carefully, directly starboard keep sailing along the starboard shore for a while before crossing to the other side.
Once out again after the Sperrwerk, again follow the buoy line accurately and the current goes brisk. The end of this mudflat is at the approach to ton Eider. From here you can set one waypoint to Helgoland.
If you want to know more about Tonning, you’ll probably find something on google, more info on my website in blog or newsbries type Tonning in the menu on the magnifying glass, the search field of this site, and you’ll get all the articles where this appears.
I sail on Helgoland every year (since 2010) on the outward journey and on the return journey. I call that my technical stop. On the outward journey after winter, I fill up my diesel tank (1100 ltr) for sailing on the Baltic Sea. This is normal diesel and tax-free, it always saves 30 to 40 ct. compared to the Netherlands. On the return trip, I fill up my diesel tank again for the coming winter. (stove consumption) Helgoland is a big rock in the sea, with a side island Dune which was once attached to the main island. But more info on this in my blog The island of Helgoland
Because the sea from Lauwersoog to Helgoland (109Nm) is always rough with West and Northwest winds, waves 1-2 metres, I divide this into two stretches and make a stop in Norderney. I no longer enter the harbour there, simply because I always arrive there late and want to get through again with the outgoing tide. Likewise now. On 24-8-23 I leave Helgoland at 07.50. There is a cloudless sky with >10 km visibility, wind South 2, temperature 22 degrees. I consider sailing straight through to Lauwersoog in one go in view of the calm weather. The wind is initially against so for the first time I now stay high, above the traffic lanes and approaches. This gives me a sailed route, which I put on windvane so that I can continue to sail sharply on my Genoa.
At 14.11, in the middle of the traffic Lane, my plotter suddenly drops out and re-boots. I am now using my Iphone as an alternative. This is because my external GPS is broken and so I am only working on internal GPS, which has inferior reception. I now quickly sail out of Traffic Lane at right angles.
After a while, I have all the GPs back. As a result, I am now sailing towards the coast again, but my course and wind have changed, so I can still keep sailing. At 15.09 I decide not to continue in one go, actually I had already partially passed Norderney, but the weather worsens and the waves get punchier again. I sail just above the lock and decide to enter over that approach between the islands. I carefully watch every ship that enters over the Sluchter and conclude that the buoy line has shifted.
Fortunately, it is high tide, so I don’t have much to worry about. But the adrenaline level does go up again. At 17.00 I anchor between the islands in the tidal current behind the green buoy. Normally I would continue over the tidal flats behind the islands, see the blog From Helgoland and back via the tidal flats, but the tides are not favourable for catching two tides. The first tide is 05.00 and the second around 17.00, in both cases I’m in the dark, so that’s not going to happen.
At 06.15 I raise my anchor to head back out to sea over the Sluchter at high tide. The weather is gloomy and waves higher, wind West 4-5. But the forecast is better, decreasing wind West 2-3. During the morning, the sun breaks through and the sea becomes a lot calmer, so it is still nice to sail. As I sail into the approach to Port Lauwersoog, the current is along as expected and I make good progress. I had been in contact with a boat friend who borrowed a chart and lives on Reitdiep, he would return the chart behind the lock in Lauwersoog.
At about 16.15 I moored in front of the Port Lauwersoog lock, it was busy. I moored in front of the lock in anticipation. Pretty soon we are allowed in, the lock keeper first asking the smaller boats without masts to sail in under the bridge. Read more about the perils of the lock, part 9.
Continued on partl 9