Karin, Bavaria 46C; Laboe Germany – Southampton UK, September 2023

Sailing a brand new Bavaria C 46 from Laboe to the Southampton boat show.

Laboe Baltic Bay Hafen, Germany

Tuesday, September 6th, I got the delivery trip to sail Karin to the Southampton boat show, in time .. 🙂
Next Thursday I traveled by train via Amsterdam, Hamburg and Kiel to Laboe.
My crew, Bob and Chris flew from London to Hamburg and there we all took the same train to Kiel.

That was really nice  to have some time to get to know each other. Both Bob and Chris are experienced and more importantly, real sailors. That was very fortunate. Since Karin was brand new, she didn’t have an MSSI number yet and therefore no Epirb and no ais. Also she didn’t have a radar, so we’d be pretty much sailing in the ‘dark’ the whole way crossing the North Sea and sailing the Channel.

 Friday, Sept. 8th, setting off

Karin was really new, she even smelled new. A brand new boat obviously has absolutely nothing on board. No pots and pans, no plates, cutlery or whatever. Fortunately the yacht broker was able to help us to get the stuff we needed for the trip.

Then, of course, we had to seriously check everything and go through all the instruments and controls. And last but not least, we had to get some provisioning.

Anyway, at 2 p.m. we left for the lock of the Kiel Canal. Fortunately we did not have to wait long and all went very smooth.

In the lock you tie up to a kind of floating jetty. The advantage is that you can really tie up, the disadvantage is that the platform is so low that the fenders have to float on the water line and that getting off and on the boat without a step fender is quite a challenge.

In the Kiel Canal you’re only allowed to sail in daylight. The canal is about 55Nm long so we would not going to make it today. About 20Nm before Brunsbüttel we were able to tie up at the Gieselau-Schleuse which is no longer in use. It was already dark by then.

Saturday, September 9th

At 06:00 we left again. It was still more than 3 hours to Brunsbüttel.
By now we were in a bit of a hurry. Ben from Clipper Marine wanted to have the boat in Southampton on Wednesday to prepare her for the boat show. We’ll see. Of course we’ll do our best but that probably means we’ll have to motor most of the way because the forecast didn’t show much wind.

The trip through the Kiel Canal was very special. In the first bit there was hardly any traffic however, the next morning the name of one of the busiest canals in the world was more than made up for.

The max speed is 6kts and everyone sticks to that so there is no overtaking. All bridges are 42m high which is quite special.

At 10:00 we went through the lock on the other side. That was really busy. We neatly stayed on the far stb. side of the channel and all went fine.

We had to make a short stop in Cuxhaven to have Chris stamped ‘out’. Bob also has an Irish passport so he was fine.

The rest of the day went very smoothly. Zero to no wind and foggy. Good thing we did have ais rx, otherwise we would have had to end the trip here and wait for the fog to clear.

In the meantime we all get along very well. Since we hardly knew each other there is plenty of things to talk about 🙂

Sunday, September 10th

The first night was more or less a continuation of the afternoon but in the dark. Poor visibility due to fog and no wind. The temperature was not too bad. A lot less chilly than the day before.

Meanwhile, we have passed the Wadden Sea and are sailing south west of the isle Texel.
The wind had picked up a bit and we now even have 14kts apparent. That’s good, then we can slow the engine and still do 6kts SOG.

The original plan was to keep sailing west and cross over to Lowestoft to refuel. However, given the predicted wind, we decided to first sail as far south as possible first and refuel in IJmuiden. The wind now is southeast which helps us nicely on our course to IJmuiden. The wind’s expected to veer and increase later. The plan is to head up with the veering wind and stay on a close hauled course as long as possible.

We’ll just have to wait and see, for now it’s only 40 more miles to IJmuiden.

Monday, Sept. 11th

Refueling in IJmuiden went very smoothly. It obviously makes a difference if you know exactly how and what -:) All in all it took half an hour and at 21:30 we were on our way again.

We decided to sail on passing Rotterdam, cross the shipping lanes at the Noordhinder and then steer south parallel to the southbound shipping lane.

The first part we had zip wind. Then the wind picked up a bit and we could set the sails. Not for very long though. The wind veered some more. With just the main and no genoa we could just about made steer a perpendicular course.

After crossing the shipping lanes we could bare off and set the genoa again. That went so well that we could actually kill the engine.
Not for long, though…. First the wind dropped to zip and  we had to start the engine again. Later when the wind picked up again it had backed so much that we had to first furl the genoa and then also the main.

Meanwhile, it had become cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain. Fortunately that didn’t happen.

Had it not been a delivery and we didn’t necessarily have to arrive on Wednesday, we could have still sailed quite nicely with this wind…. well, you can’t have it all. The weather is still nice and we are enjoying.

Tuesday, September 12th, Southampton

We didn’t really get to sail this trip. When we passed Dover, the wind had veered to the west again. Again almost directly on the nose, even motor sailing was not an option. Oh well, by now we have accepted the fact that this will be an all motoring trip. Fortunately we have enough fuel.

Meanwhile, I’ve been asked if we can take the boat directly to the boat show instead of the marina. That will take some puzzling how and where but it will work out. For the boat show a complete temporary marina has been built however with no facilities so how to clean the boat is still a question.

Well, i guess they must have thought about it. Anyway, they’ll have plenty of time to prep the boat for the show. ETA will be around 9-10pm.

With just the last bit of daylight-ish, I parked the boat in her spot. That was a bit of a challenge. We were the last boat on the pontoon and we had less then half a boat length to manoeuvre. With the help of a bit of tide I managed to park her perfectly and that was the end of our trip.

We tidied up and left the cleaning to the prep guys.
All in all this trip wasn’t much of a sail but I made so new friends and that was very nice.