View Full Version : Kiel canal advice wanted

13-10-06, 11:01
Looking at the Kiel canal web site (http://www.kiel-canal.org/english.htm) the westward passage looks quite straight forward.

Has anyone done this, if so I'd be interested in names of marinas on the Eastern end especially those with good links to/from UK plus any other relevant info.



13-10-06, 11:06
The Kiel service station is rubbish, much better to carry on to Lancaster .. and I'd get rid of the marina if I were you, better off with a 2CV

13-10-06, 11:20
British Kiel Yacht Club is the usual choice. Very friendly.

What time of year are you doing this? If it is over winter are you doing it in one hit or two? You musn't forget that you are only allowed to travel during daylight hours only, and the Grmans being what they are will fine you if they catch you.

Other than that pretty straight forward - just keep in to the right!

Not sure about rail from there. If you go up the coast there are several marinas within walking distance of a train eg Sonderburg, Fredericia (nice area). Don't know about Germany as having just been fined on the canal I was keen to get out of their waters!

13-10-06, 11:26
Thanks, we're probably going in a couple of weeks time. I'd seen the bit about not travelling at night, it looks like about 50 or so miles and if we do 6+ knots, we should be able to do it in one hit.

13-10-06, 11:27
Just bugger off and go sailing.

13-10-06, 11:55
also be aware that if vis is poor (less than 1000m from memory) they will not let you into the canal. which combined with the daylight rules mean that even if a morning fog clears by say 11am you still can't go as not possible to complete the transit in daylight. so be prepared this time of year for a few days wait. apart from that enjoy!. i did.

13-10-06, 11:56
No problems doing it in one hit. There is a marina just inside the canal at the western end (can not remember the name) or there is Cookshaven (?). BKYC as already suggested is ideal.

Have a good trip, sailing at 6+ knots in the canal was a crazy experience.

13-10-06, 12:59
You are thinking of Brünnsbuttel, which is just inside the locks at the west end. Terribly crowded in summer, but almost empty now.
Cuxhaven is a fair distance downstream the Elbe from the locks and it would be better to start as early as possible from Brünnsbuttel to have a chance to make the trip in one go. Which I doubt can be made at this time of the year. The canal authorities are rather picky about following the rules, like not travelling in dark and bad visibility.
Last year we left Brünnsbuttel (the last days in September) about 11 in morning, had to wait for the lock to open for more than one hour so we managed to get only about 1/3 of the Kiel canal before dark. (cruising at 7 knots) We moored at a rather pleasant spot at the first lock in the narrower canal branch which connects the Kiel Canal with river Eider.
The next day was very foggy, we couldnt leave before almost 12! But arrived in Holtenau late afternoon.

13-10-06, 13:20
There are two or three places you can stop along the canal if you can't make it in one hit 'cos of fog or whatever. One is where the River Eider joins the canal (no facilities, but free of charge (I think) mooring before you go through the lock). The other is at a town closer to the Kiel end whose name I foget. There are one or two others as well that I haven't tried.

13-10-06, 13:54
I did a delivery East to West in July.Ferhman Island to UK.
Rendsberg about halfway along, is very pleasant and well worth a stopover. Turn left off the canal and to the end of the lake. Harbour master was friendly after initial Teutonic formality.
The British Kiel is friendly once you have made contact but we were the only yacht there [in July] and had difficulty finding anyone home.
Look for British flag because the Yacht Club sign is very small. No answer on VHF or phone.
You have to book in for meals in advance in a book on the bar. Breakfast is an absolute bargain but don't be late, the shutters slam down on the dot.
Several other local club type marinas very close by.
Ryanair fly into Lubeck so getting to the area is pretty cheap and easy.

13-10-06, 14:15
Rendsburg, that's the name I was after. For flying in and out, a day further along the coast, Travemunde is a much more convenient place than BKYC. Travemunde is very close to Lubeck airport (Ryanair), whereas getting a train to Kiel from Lubeck takes quite a while. Travemunde is also MUCH prettier, and full of nice yachts and traditional craft.

13-10-06, 14:43
You can stopover either at the Eider (a small river going into the canal, with a lock) or at Brunsbüttel. In addition to the regulations on daylight-only and no-fog travelling, please be aware that there is a speed limit (which is 8.1 knot) that is sometimes enforced with laser guns. Regulations can be found here: http://www.kielcanal.de/bilder/pdf_files/navigation_rules_kiel_canal.PDF

In Brunsbüttel there is mooring just behind the locks, and in Kiel there is plenty of choice. Obviously, for British the BKYC, but also very nice in Laboe which is a little downstream the Trave on the starboard side. Generally Kiel offers good train connections, either to Hamburg or to Lübeck for the Ryanair airport.

Enjoy the trip,


13-10-06, 16:06
When I brought my boat back from the Baltic, I drove out with all the clobber and left my car in the care of the Commandant at the British Kiel Yacht Club. Actually, the car was left in the German Army barracks nearby.

After sailing the boat back to Gosport, I returned via train to collect the car. I'm not very fond of flying. The web sites I used to plan the trip are: Seat 61 (http://www.seat61.com/) and here (http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en?newrequest=yes&protocol=http:&)

The trip was a doddle from central London, apart from Eurostar, which was late and I missed my connection in Brussels. Oh, and the catering on Eurostar is non-existant. I suggest you take a picnic with you. Otherwise, there is an airport at Kiel which is within walking distance of the BKYC.

For anyone going this way, the BKYC is an excellent port of call. Very helpful people, cheap berthing, All you can eat breakfasts for 2 Euro a head in the canteen, and cheap drinks in the bar. Beer at 1 Euro a pint.

13-10-06, 17:49
I did the westward passage through the canal a few days ago. Entered the canal around 1400, easily got to Rensburg about 1700 where we stopped for the night. Being Monday the restaurant at the yacht club (which has good reports) was shut, we went into town and found an excellent Chinese restaurant, very cheap too.
Started off again about 0900, reached Brunnswotsit around 1500. Refuelling is on the N side of the canal just before the locks. Usual small-craft lock is the far left although we did share it with a small ship.
Be aware the hours allowed for passage-making are shorting each day at the moment.

13-10-06, 19:35
Did it east to west in June '04. Flew to Lubeck with Ryanair, taxi to Travemunde. Loaded stores from supermarket, then overnight passage to Kiel. Travemunde seemed quite a nice place, and reasonable distance from airport.

Daylight passage through to Brunbutel and overnight stop there. Nice resturant at the marina for a meal and a few beers.

Next morning, lock out and on past Cuxhaven. Watch the tides, as we were being pushed sideways into main channel.

Next stop Den Helder where we were stormbound for nearly a week. We had quite a nice sail from there to the Hamble.


14-10-06, 08:14
Rendsberg is fine. One of my crew left there and managed a useful train. Be careful if passed by a big ship, the water level alongside suddenly drops and if you are too close to the side you may ground. Keil was fine, but in 10 weeks in the Baltic it was the only place where I was asked for my passport! There is very little in the way of shopping nearby. There is a small marina just at the East end of the canal.
I should say that my experience is about 10 years old.

14-10-06, 10:04
I bought a mobo in Fehmann island, Did'nt fancy boring old
Kiel canal, so motored down to Travemunde, then into Lubeck
liked Lubeck so much stayed 3 months, Then into the Elbe river, lovely trip down to Hamburg, little friendly marinas all
the way to Cuxhaven, then Heligoland filled up with duty free
diesel, on to the Freisan isles, once again totally lovely. Then
the storm to end all storms and we staggered into Den Helder
Then Ijmuiden then Lowestoft. What a wonderful summer its
why we all love boating so much. Tony

14-10-06, 18:44
Is there a story to tell in that "storm to end all storms"??

Maybe an article in PBO -- lessons learned and so on???

14-10-06, 19:47
Did it in 2002 and used Helgoland as a sort of kick off point
10-Sep Helgoland R Elbe lock in at Brunsbuttle 10 hr 52.0 nM
11-Sep Brunsbuttle Kiel 9 hr 30 at 5 knots

14-10-06, 21:04
Westward passage - mostly south in the canal.
BKYC is close to Freidricksort can walk, taxi or take a bus. Theres an excellent deli there and at least two supermarkets.
If you go out the gate of BKYC then turn right along main road there's a reasonable restaurant on LH side of road not far away.
Marina close to Holtenau lock not much in way of shops. In the Lock S side is Kapitan Stegmans chart shop - excellent place.
Rendsberg makes good stop off to shorten journey in either direction.
Brunsbuttel is a good place for provisioning easy trolley push from supermarket.
Suggest stopping at Cuxhaven marina ok and has restaurant.
Stong NW /W winds will make leaving the Elbe unpleasant to lethal cos of wind over tide.
German rules over using the Elbe seem (2003) to have eased. Going down starboard side adds unwelcome miles. We went down port side out of channel but the navigable width there is not very great.
The journey west is a long haul. With an early start in September we made Lauwersoog entrance at midnight ( it has unlit buoys)
The problem is the risk of rough weather with no port of refuge for a very long way. In addition the traffic separation zones hinder getting out to the north.
Alternative you might consider is using Eider and stopping off at Helgoland.

15-10-06, 21:26
.....Just don't run out of diesel! Es ist verboten to stop or swim in the canal. I did both, not more than 10k from Brunsbuttel (going west). /forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif

15-10-06, 21:27
if you have red diesel in the tanks make sure you have the reciept o/b /forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif

15-10-06, 21:35
It's also verboten to sail at least without the motor on. I went down it with 20-something knots wind from behind, left the engine in gear and running but also hoisted the genoa, so technically motor-sailing. I also hoisted a motoring cone. But though I think we were within the letter of the regs (according to Macmillans anyway), it didn't stop some official shouting unintelligible in German at us through a megaphone as we passed. But then again maybe he was just admiring the cut of the genny.

15-10-06, 21:38
Have been watching this thread with interest. Wondered if you were going to 'own up' Crispin!

15-10-06, 21:40
/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

15-10-06, 21:46
'Nuff said Bernie, 'Nuff said!!! /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

16-10-06, 06:27
Thanks all for the advice, I'll report back once we've done the trip.


16-10-06, 08:00
There is a sort of lay-by about 10 miles to the west of Rendsburg, where you can moor to piles for a quiet night. I think there are other similar ones to the east, but more exposed. Rendsburg is a lovely place to stop - 3 changes of trains to get to Lubeck, but an easy enough journey. There are several other Kiel marinas than the British one - the Olympic one is massive and there's another almost next to it. The Brunsbuttel "marina" is noisy and bumpy from the boats passing, but will do at a pinch. It's another 10 or 15 miles down the very crowded Elbe to Cuxhaven for anywhere else to stop.

16-10-06, 08:13
Those pile stopping places looked a bit bleak and uninviting especially as they all appeared to be damaged by ships. Do yachts actually stop at those?
There is an interesting looking lake approx halfway between Rendsberg & Kiel where you can anchor. A nature reserve, but you can anchor within a marked area. It looked interesting, has anybody stopped there?

16-10-06, 08:23
I don't know. We only stopped at the one with a decent bay behind the piles, where there were small yacht-sized piles to moor bow and stern. I can't remember the name of the place, and my charts are at home. There was enough shelter to just get a slight wash from the ships that passed in the night. I don't remember the nature reserve lake.

I enjoyed the Kiel canal. It was a stress-free, quiet interlude when it really didn't matter what the weather was like.

16-10-06, 10:43
I enjoyed the Kiel canal. It was a stress-free, quiet interlude when it really didn't matter what the weather was like.

[/ QUOTE ]
Yes, though the River Eider is MUCH prettier and more interesting - and spits you out not far-ish from Helgoland. It takes an extra day though.

16-10-06, 18:03
Practical tips:
1. Journey from Brunsbuttel to Cuxhavn takes 2 hours with tide. Be sure to go with tide - Elbe is just about the most serious piece of tidal river navigation in Europe!

2. Locks at Brunsbuttel are geared for commercials. You may have to wait outside with no pontoon for an hour or more, then be waved in to moor opposite large vessel. Daunting. At least you will be let out first!

3. Brunsbuttel marina is immediately on left leaving locks - good place to overnight etc

4. Rendsburg is 66 km north of Brunsbuttel at end of long inlet on LH bank - the first practical stop with marina facilities. Good stopover! Train station to Kiel, then Hamburg and Lubeck is just 5 mins easy walk from Rendsburg marina. Easy ride. For Ryanair connection, train to Lubeck, then bus (number 6 every 20 mins) to airport.

5. Holtenau lock at N end of Kiel canal is where you pay - at office high over central reservation between locks. Expect 18 Euros for 11m boat, each way. Bargain! Beyond locks is wide variety of marinas, Laboe is 4 miles and has all facilites, including cheap ferry back to Kiel. Much better choice than isolated British Kiel Yacht Club.

6. Both locks have massive floating wood platforms that you stand on and moor to - be prepared, can be slippery, and sling fenders low to prevent damage to hull.

Kiel Canal is fascinating piece of engineering - look down over fields as you pass along! Also it's the greenest piece of waterway I can think of, and interesting to watch seagoing vessels passing by at almost armslength distance. Baltic waters are mainly undiscovered by Brit sailors - go on get up there, and be wowed!


16-10-06, 19:03
2. Locks at Brunsbuttel are geared for commercials. You may have to wait outside with no pontoon for an hour or more, then be waved in to moor opposite large vessel. Daunting. At least you will be let out first!

[/ QUOTE ]

Both ends have the smaller (but still huge) Old Locks which are mainly used by leisure vessels, and the New Locks which are used by commercial vessels. Occasionally for various reasons you can be directed to the New Locks along with the ships. Here's a piccie of us tucked behind a freighter inside the New Lock at Holtenau - you can see its massive scale! We weren't let out first. I was a little concerned about what would happen when the freighter in front turned on his prop, but a word with the crew and the captain kindly promised to go gently and not to blast us out of the water. In fact, there was no problem: