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Old 07-04-2015, 04:25   #46
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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Originally Posted by Normanby View Post
I'm currently in the south west of the UK (near Plymouth) and have been really inspired by this thread.
I have the whole summer at my disposal and I'd like to head for the Baltic. I came here from Australia and have just finished getting my new-to-me Contessa 26 cruise-ready.
The Baltic is a long-ish way from here and I'd be grateful for suggestions as to what route to take to get there. On the chart it looks like the simplest is up channel and through the Keil canal, though that canal looks like a very boring slog with the outboard.
Is going around Denmark a viable option? There's and interesting YouTube clip of a couple taking their trailer-sailer from NW Scotland to the northern tip of Denmark in three days, then cruising down the east coast towards the Baltic.
I'm solo, with only the dog for crew, so would like to make a plan that has the potential for sleep-anchorages along the way.
Any tips from Baltic non-virgins gratefully received.
Matt
You are right that it will be a long slog with an outboard up the North Sea. If I were you, I would take the inland shortcut and use the mast up route through the Dutch canals. This is beautiful and interesting.

Here is some good info: The Inland Route

To go around Denmark is much longer; if I were you, with just the summer, and a long way to get there, I would go straight into the Baltic via the Kiel Canal.

So you would sail along the UK South and East coasts to Harwich or Lowestoft. Then you will cross the North Sea from there to Ijmuden. This is a pretty challenging voyage crossing four TSS lanes and dodging oil platforms and fishing boats -- no sleeping on watch -- but you should be able to do it in a day and a night in that boat if you have a reasonable sailing wind.

After that you're home free and just follow the mast-up canal system. This will get you past the entire West Frisian coast and put you into the Ems River. From there you don't have far along the East Frisian coast to get to the Elbe estuary and the Kiel Canal.

You could probably also sail inside the Frisian Islands, which are barrier islands with water between them and the mainland, depending on your draft. But I would do the Dutch canals for sure -- it's a really relaxing and pleasant way to travel after being at sea in a small boat. I even look forward to the Kiel Canal.

Any other way will add a ton of miles, and once you get into the Baltic you will understand why you don't want to dally too much getting there.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:03   #47
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Thanks Dockhead,
Regarding the shipping lanes, is it any better to sail across to France or Belgium first, then coast hop up to Holland?
Might that mean fewer crossings of shipping lanes, and fewer oil platforms?


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Old 07-04-2015, 05:04   #48
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Thanks Dockhead,
Regarding the shipping lanes, is it any better to sail across to France or Belgium first, then coast hop up to Holland?
Might that mean fewer crossings of shipping lanes, and fewer oil platforms?
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:34   #49
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

I only sailed one time on the Baltic and yes, it is beautiful but regarding the med for me has three disadvantages: The lower water temperature, the much shorter sailing season (at least with nice outdoor temperatures) and most of all the very expensive prices on restaurants and tavernas...and not many of them too (Germany is a bit of an exception, even if more expensive then Spain, Greece or Turkey).

On Greece or Croatia on any small bay you will find almost for sure a a small taverna where you can eat and drink for a modest price. Hardily the case on most Baltic anchorages.

I see a huge number of Swedish, Danish, German, Finn and Norwegian sailboats on the med but I saw very few (if any) French, Italian, Spanish, Greek boat on the Baltic. There should be a good reason for that.

Saying all this I would like to come back to the Baltic one day and explore it properly: it has an incredible landscape and I don't know it as well as I know the med or the Galician Rias.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:42   #50
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Normanby View Post
I'm currently in the south west of the UK (near Plymouth) and have been really inspired by this thread.
I have the whole summer at my disposal and I'd like to head for the Baltic. I came here from Australia and have just finished getting my new-to-me Contessa 26 cruise-ready.
The Baltic is a long-ish way from here and I'd be grateful for suggestions as to what route to take to get there. On the chart it looks like the simplest is up channel and through the Keil canal, though that canal looks like a very boring slog with the outboard.
Is going around Denmark a viable option? There's and interesting YouTube clip of a couple taking their trailer-sailer from NW Scotland to the northern tip of Denmark in three days, then cruising down the east coast towards the Baltic.
I'm solo, with only the dog for crew, so would like to make a plan that has the potential for sleep-anchorages along the way.
Any tips from Baltic non-virgins gratefully received.
Matt


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Hi Matt,

I spent a summer 4-5 years ago (mostly) single handing a similar boat (50 year old Nordic folkboat with a very temperamental outboard) around the western half of the Baltic (Flensburg/Kiel, Denmark and the Swedish west coast).

It's an amazing place, and arguably a better sailing area for the med (especially if you have a small boat and are on a tight budget)

Plenty of anchorages/marines so even in a boat that size I never had to sail after dark
It's a fairly safe sailing area (compared to the passage to get there) and well buoyed but pilotage is a bit trick and you'll need good charts especially for some of the inshore passages on the Swedish west coast.

If you want to avoid the Kiel Canal one option would be to go through the Limfjord (although I haven't personally done it). Apparently the western entrance is dangerous in onshore westerlies (especially on the ebb)

hope this helps
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:19   #51
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Normanby View Post
Thanks Dockhead,
Regarding the shipping lanes, is it any better to sail across to France or Belgium first, then coast hop up to Holland?
Might that mean fewer crossings of shipping lanes, and fewer oil platforms?
Yes, it's easier, of course, to coast-hop up via Dunkirk, Oostende, etc., but make some routes and count the miles and see whether it's worth it. You will need to make a whole lot of miles from Plymouth, and you'll never get there just daysailing, I think. If you're single handed, I would try to pick up some crew on YBW so you can do some longer passages at one go. If you're lucky, the prevailing Westerlies will be working when you leave, and you can just fly down the Channel without stopping. I guess you must be about 300 miles from Dover.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:24   #52
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polux View Post
I only sailed one time on the Baltic and yes, it is beautiful but regarding the med for me has three disadvantages: The lower water temperature, the much shorter sailing season (at least with nice outdoor temperatures) and most of all the very expensive prices on restaurants and tavernas...and not many of them too (Germany is a bit of an exception, even if more expensive then Spain, Greece or Turkey).

On Greece or Croatia on any small bay you will find almost for sure a a small taverna where you can eat and drink for a modest price. Hardily the case on most Baltic anchorages.

I see a huge number of Swedish, Danish, German, Finn and Norwegian sailboats on the med but I saw very few (if any) French, Italian, Spanish, Greek boat on the Baltic. There should be a good reason for that.

Saying all this I would like to come back to the Baltic one day and explore it properly: it has an incredible landscape and I don't know it as well as I know the med or the Galician Rias.
The short season is indeed heartbreaking! You never want it to end. But concerning the water temperature -- it's pleasant for swimming even in Finland by July. Concerning restaurants -- this will be even more true this year for people from Euro currencies. Restaurants, and indeed groceries, are bloody expensive in Sweden. And forget alcohol (need to bring that from Helgoland). But you more than make up for it with the cheap berthing. On a boat his size, I doubt he will pay more than 10 euros anywhere outside of the biggest ports, and there are unlimited possibilities for anchoring.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:47   #53
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

I have never sailed in Baltic (I live in Finland). Been on the ocean many times with cruise ship but if I would be coming here with sailboat, I would go first to Latvia, and more precisely to Jurmala which is like the Riviera of Baltic.

From there I would go to saarenmaa (Estonia), there to Tallinn (this is the place where you want to get all your alcohol

From Tallinn to Helsinki and from Helsinki to Stockholm trough the thousands of island via Hanko - Turku - Maarianhamina

As I said, haven't sailed here but cruised and it's beautiful. July and August are the best bet for warm and sunny weather but it's not odd to get close to 10C and 10 days of rain in those months.

Also the water is quite chilly for swimming, usually the sea doesn't go over 20C in the coast of Finland.


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Old 07-04-2015, 08:40   #54
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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Originally Posted by gixxxer View Post
I have never sailed in Baltic (I live in Finland). Been on the ocean many times with cruise ship but if I would be coming here with sailboat, I would go first to Latvia, and more precisely to Jurmala which is like the Riviera of Baltic.

From there I would go to saarenmaa (Estonia), there to Tallinn (this is the place where you want to get all your alcohol

From Tallinn to Helsinki and from Helsinki to Stockholm trough the thousands of island via Hanko - Turku - Maarianhamina

As I said, haven't sailed here but cruised and it's beautiful. July and August are the best bet for warm and sunny weather but it's not odd to get close to 10C and 10 days of rain in those months.

Also the water is quite chilly for swimming, usually the sea doesn't go over 20C in the coast of Finland.


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You must be Russian if you consider Yurmala to be the Rivera of the Baltic! I would describe it more as the Sochi of the Baltic - very Soviet even today, and where you'll hear more Russian language even than Latvian; forget about English.

But Yurmala is a really lovely place; also Riga is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities around the Baltic, and that's saying a lot!


Sassnitz, the former resort of the East Germany party elite, also has this Soviet, Sochi-esque charm.
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:21   #55
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Matt

You might want to check going through the kiel canal with an outboard. I seem to remember that they say you must be able to cruise at at least 5 knots on your motor.

You are not allowed to use your sails in the canal.


You definitely need to come in through the canal - oing up the west coast of Denmark is a tough ride and there are not that many harbours to duck into. If ou decide to go that way - you can cross Denmark via Limfjorden - a beautiful sail - make sure you have good charts and stay in the marked passages - lots of tricky shoals and sandbars in there
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:44   #56
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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You must be Russian if you consider Yurmala to be the Rivera of the Baltic! I would describe it more as the Sochi of the Baltic - very Soviet even today, and where you'll hear more Russian language even than Latvian; forget about English.

But Yurmala is a really lovely place; also Riga is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities around the Baltic, and that's saying a lot!


Sassnitz, the former resort of the East Germany party elite, also has this Soviet, Sochi-esque charm.
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Most of the houses are owned by Russians and actually about 99% of Latvian people speaks mostly Russian.

But still, if you take the people out of the picture, it's a beautiful place

As is Riga of course, it's like Tallinn with the old town but it's missing all the drunken Finnish people that you can't miss when you are in Tallinn


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Old 07-04-2015, 10:00   #57
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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You are not allowed to use your sails in the canal.
Your outboard or engine must be running all the time (no one can check if the wind is good enough if your engine is only idling ;-)) in Kiel Canal but YOU CAN have your sails up and sail!

Also normally it will be no problem to find a tow for a smaller vessel with an outboard, offered this dozens of times in the past (and was asked for some tows too). Should be no problem ...

Carsten

PS Actually if you go by the words carstenb is right too ;-)

"Sailing is prohibited on the Kiel Canal A power-driven pleasure craft however, may set a steadying sail (stun-sail) additionally. In this case a black conical shape- point downward –is to be shown additionally on the fore ship"

https://www.polizei.schleswig-holste...t-nok-engl.pdf
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:10   #58
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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Most of the houses are owned by Russians and actually about 99% of Latvian people speaks mostly Russian.

But still, if you take the people out of the picture, it's a beautiful place

As is Riga of course, it's like Tallinn with the old town but it's missing all the drunken Finnish people that you can't miss when you are in Tallinn

No need to "take the people out of the picture" -- both Latvians and Russians very interesting people with interesting history and culture. All the former Soviet part of the Baltic is incredibly interesting.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:13   #59
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

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Your outboard or engine must be running all the time (no one can check if the wind is good enough if your engine is only idling ;-)) in Kiel Canal but YOU CAN have your sails up and sail!

Also normally it will be no problem to find a tow for a smaller vessel with an outboard, offered this dozens of times in the past (and was asked for some tows too). Should be no problem ...

Carsten

PS Actually if you go by the words carstenb is right too ;-)

"Sailing is prohibited on the Kiel Canal A power-driven pleasure craft however, may set a steadying sail (stun-sail) additionally. In this case a black conical shape- point downward Ėis to be shown additionally on the fore ship"

https://www.polizei.schleswig-holste...t-nok-engl.pdf
People do sail in the Kiel Canal, but you need your motoring cone and to be using your motor at all times.

But both times I've transited the Canal, it was a dead calm.

The OP would want to get a tow, I think. If he coincides with us (about 5 or 6 May) we will be glad to tow him. Or there are always plenty of pleasure boats who would be glad to help, I would think.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:40   #60
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Re: Impressions of the Baltic

Thanks Everyone for the input from my post. I read them to my wife and son and they are on board for a trip up North in the future.


I'll need to start checking on marinas for hauling out next year so that isn't pressing right now. One factor that was mentioned several times though is the use of the Channel Islands to reset my VAT clock. I had asked GBN Dave about this and he had indicated that since they are in the customs union of the EU that it doesn't reset the clock. Can anyone confirm or clarify this. It is a very long way from Gibraltar/Morocco to Norway and I'd prefer to be able to do it over a split season.
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