The dutch channels via Amsterdam to Isle of White

Arrival to Den Helder is very easy in all types of weather. It is a Dutch Navy facility, so the entrance is safe and well-marked in all weather. But, Den Helder town was a stop – only worth a small walk, a long sleep and then off we were. We left with the tide early morning, and started to appreciate the sheltered, no tidal waters of Scandinavia. After a couple of hours, we reached the most western of the locks into IJsselmeer and went through without a beep. Marie has rehearsed the whole procedure down to perfection, learned from a gast, Im, which sailed with us a few years back through the canals.

This is also where we officially entered The Standing mast route and from here our draft of 2.35 and our 22.75 m mast height, never gave us a problem all through Holland, until we exited at Breskens.

We were undecided about were to stop in this very big inland sea, with no tidal streams and no waves, so we went to Medemblick for lunch and a walk. It is a quaint little town, which dates back to the golden age of the Netherlands, with a secure outer harbor and a lock to the inner harbor, which is in the city.From Medemblick towards Horn, we had a great sail through a few locks, watching our draft of 2.35 m, and enjoying the afternoon light wind, arriving with the last light.

We had luck in Horn, because we arrived in the middle of a tall ship festival, which made our two-day stay very authentic. Horn is a wealthy city from the medieval age, housing many of the captains on the ships, who travelled the oceans in search for wealth and spices. It is a bit touristic, but it does not hurt the historic experience, when you walk the streets. Many nice small restaurants and a great secure harbor with a view – so what more can a sailor want? Oh, yes of course – great beer from microbreweries.   

After a very pleasant stay, North Star took us further south towards Amsterdam, where we managed to get stuck for the first and only time in Holland at the Schellingwouder Brug, before you enter the delta and the canals, before Amsterdam. We did wait for nearly two hours before we were told about the closure, so it triggered a few ground rules for sailing the Dutch canals. Everybody we spoke to or met was very friendly and very willing to speak English with no hesitance – but they service the commercial traffic – so you as a leisure sailor, you need to take of yourself.


  1. Bring the booklet – “Nederlandische waterways”.
  2. Always investigate opening and closing times a day in advance, when you plan your departure. (The Dutch Waterways site)
  3. Share information with the boats around you. They often have information you don’t have.
  4. Always make contact on VHF or mobile to the bridge or lock when you arrive and follow up, if they fail to deliver on the first promises. All info are available at ( ). I did print a map of the route from internet, in order not to miss a turn – but as we got into the routine, it was easy to follow the flow.

Amsterdam is a great lively city, with a very diverse population. Here is something for everybody. We camped out in Six Haven, which is a great marina in the middle of the city. In retrospect, our 50 feet length was probably at the limit, for entering this marina and a new marina has been built 300 meters downstream, which we only heard great things about. But Six Haven is the original, so we had to go there. We biked the city, which we highly recommend and of course enjoyed all the touristic and cultural offerings. We also met with old friends and after four days of playing tourist, we were ready to continue our journey.

In order to continue on The Standing Mast Route, you have to participate in an official tour through the bridges and locks of the old Amsterdam, which starts around an hour after midnight and continues for 3-4 hours. In the dark, 20+ boats sail silent through the city canals – you can nearly touch the houses and the flowers in their gardens. Two men are using motorbikes to alternate from bridge to bridge to open for us, so waiting time is kept low and finally you exit the city. This is a great experience, and even though we also did it in 2012 – it is very recommendable. The meeting place is just 15 min. south from Six Haven at no. 6 Red Buoy on port and line up is easy – make sure you don’t miss the morning opening time for the big highway bridge at
Schiphol, when you exit Amsterdam

Following a great night sail, the 11/7 turned into a long day to Willemstad, which is a small town, built as a garrison and was used to defend the entrance to the river Schelde. Today it is nice and cozy, with a friendly harbor master and good restaurants.

Late the following day, we sailed to Brunisse to meet our good friends and to see the largest Hallberg Rassy dealership in Europe. ( ) Of course, we had a few things we would like to get fixed, before we headed south and we always enjoy visiting Nova Yachting. While Nova replaced the skylights, adjusted our mast and a few other items, we visited old friends in Antwerp, where we lived for three years back in the mid-nineties. It was great to come back and get lost in a city, you thought you remembered. But 20 years did change a lot!

After five wonderful days where North Star was pampered and we enjoyed time on land, it was time to leave. On the 16th, we left with the tide through the locks towards Breskens and further to Neuwport in the English Canal. Not much to remember from either the marinas or the sail, except the 4-6 meter tide, which made for very uninviting marinas at low tide.
But on the morning of the 18th of July, we were ready to cross the much talked about, English Canal. At this point we were prepared for everything! It turned out to be a very pleasant crossing in light winds and we only met 10-15 container ships, which very kindly showed up on our AIS and radar. We even had the pleasure that some of them adapted course and speed on our route to Dover. Late afternoon we saw the White Cliffs of Dover in the horizon and this was when we both realized – we are finally in unfamiliar waters and the adventure is well underway.

We called Dover Harbor on VHF channel 12 and were kindly received and directed into the Marina at VHF channel 8, in the eastern part of the harbor. You have a choice, whether you want to stay outside the locks or inside, depending on how early you depart in the mornin

was our first meeting with rural south England A difficult meeting with an area, which is hurt badly by high unemployment and lack of general development. But we spent time seeing some of the remainders of the great fight UK put up during the second world war and enjoyed the historic parts of the town.

On the 18th, we were off again with the early tide to Eastbourne, where we spent a couple of days in a nice vacation city under development. Easy entrance at all tides and the marina is brand new and well protected behind a lock and surrounded with many restaurants.

Finally, early on the 21st, we were on our way to Isle of White and Cowes. A 100 nm day sail with great winds and plenty of navigational challenges along the way. But Cowes have been very high on my wish list for many years. It is a sailing mekka for boats, from all over Europe – there are races every weekend during the season. We arrived early evening and had some difficulties finding a place to moor because of the racing events. But after a little while, we did find a mooring on the outside of the second marina on the Cowes side, with easy access to the town and the plentiful restaurants, pubs and sailing shops – what a great destination.They were looking out for us

We enjoyed bicycling and walking on the island and waited for Sunday the 24th, when Michaela and Kristian arrived. Michaela was to sail with us for 5 weeks and Kristian to sail with us to Coruna, across the feared Bay of Biscay. Unfortunately, he only made it to Brest, but more about that later.

In Cowes we also met with Colin and Belinda – sailing friends from The Baltic Arc in 2014. It was a very very nice day we spent together and here seven months later, we learned the importance of living in the moment, as Colin was buried on the 7th of March,  after a brief three weeks’ illness with a terminal brain tumor – we miss him so very much and his appetite for life, adventure, and sailing.



From Rungsted to Den Helder via the Kieler Channel

24.6 Departure from Rungsted to Amaliehaven, København

A truely wonderful day where Marie and I were running around trying to be ready to leave – for Copenhagen. No not far, but our backup for picking up stuff we had forgotten and our goodby to OUR girls Alexandra and Michaela.

Thanks very much to the many people who came to say goodby although we did have a great farewell parties two weeks before – thanks to you all, it was very nice to be seen off.

1515 we went to the diesel tank and filled our two 450 liter tanks to the top – a good day for the kiosk… Erik gave us last minutes help with an oil basket, and then suddenly of we went – and the girls were kind enough to sail with us into Copenhagen.

The day after we celebrated Alexandras graduation and we were and are very proud. Sunday was more goodbyes and Monday I had a board meeting and then suddenly –  it was time.

27.6 Amaliehaven to Gedser Marina

0700 we departed and Michaela was at the pier to say goodby. It was so sweet and nice, but I will never forget how alone she was looking as she was standing on the pier disappearing in the horisont. It was great to get under way, but somehow kids leave their parents and not the other way around. Fortunately she came to spend a month aboard North Star only six weeks later and we have been returning on a regular basis.

Finally arrival to Gedser after a day with the wind on the nose and a day where the day goal was 120 nautical miles – so
we used the engine a lot. When the last light disappeared we sneaked into the narrow channel and moored outside a german sailor.

28.6 Gedser til Kiel Olympic Hafen

Departure 0600 passing by the ingoing ferrie and a course towards Kiel, with a bit of tacking in the short and step waves you often find in the Baltic. Be careful of the many bouyes which can be confusing and of course the ferries.

It was a rainy and windy day, but a wonderful day for sailing. North Star enjoy finally to use the sails. Marie and I was also fine with the weather, as late June means – soon it will be summer. Unfortunately it did take quit some time this year – but we were on our way south. Late afternoon we arrived through a marvellous view of many sails in the Kieler Bay, into the Kiel Olympic Sports Hafen. It is an easy entry from the east, even though the entry is hard to spot. It is a large  marina where guest boats moor alongside, with all services and a very friendly Harbour master.

30.6 Kiel Olympic SportsHafen til Rendsburg

We are excited,  finally being on our way, but we have seen it all before. Even the Kieler Canal is handled by Marie with elegancy, up the stairs. Until she realises that this time the crossing is free, as an earlier accident have made them decide to forbid pleasure sailors to climb out of the Locks. Beware to lower your fenders into the water, and then the hight will be just right.

We arrived in the inner marina in Rendsburg early afternoon and had a nice dinner in the Marina – good restaurant and helpful marina staff. Even washing of clothes, was taken care of.

Next morning we were early risers, as Marie had promised to be my tour guide for the day. After the initial shopping, we found the tourist information and the blue trail, which took us around in this old Danish Garnisons town. It was very educational to be reminded about the greatness
of our forefathers attempt, building the Danish Kingdom much bigger than today. But also to get a glimpse of the blindfolded nationalism, which led us into the war of 1849 and the devastating blow in 1864, where we lost all dreams of being a greater power in Europe. Herunder also Rendsburg, which now is very much German. We met a guide in the Garnison Church, who gave us a history lesson I will seldom forget. Not only about the Church, but also about Frederik the 7th and the long military tradition in Rendburg. It is a pleasure to be positively surprised every time you meet new people and have the time available to enjoy.

01.7 Rendsburg to Cuxhafen

When we went into Rendsburg, we saw an Amel 54 registered in Guernsey and now on its way to Cuxhaven so we passed them and chatted about future plans. We did have the same route and as often, without a conscious decision you decide to tack along and learn from each other. It turns out that Callisto, skippered by Mike and his wife Ann had been on a tour around the world, which took them seven years. For us ruggies who just started, it was a very deep weld to dig into. So we were very social during our days in Cuxhaven and we hope to meet again, as they are still fulltime cruisers. This time on their way to La Rochelle for a refit.

Cuxhaven is a typical German town at the bank of Elben, just trying to get along. They do maintain and ageing fishing fleet and at the same time they are trying to build up a number of attractions for the tourists. It was nice to be their waiting for the weather, but if you pass it, you do not miss much.

The Marina is spacious and well protected, with a restaurant and a helpfull staff. We did not need any services, but I was told it is easy to get help for the preparation to pass the German Bight.

04.7 Cuxhafen to Den Helder

Finally Marie and I was ready to test ourselves and North Star in the notorious troublesome water called the German Bight, which is attracting all lows moving north. It is also a combination of deeper waters meeting the lows of the Friesland islands, giving a sailor confused waves. The days passed with waiting and the analysis of the weather on Passage weather, Pocket Grib and Predict wind in the four different weather models. The conclusion was clear, if we wanted to go south and not wait for another week, we had to leave with the tide at 0400 and so we did, even though the window was a little short and closing. Afterwards I do think that the route going NW to Helgoland and then south to Den Helder is the better choice at least for the wind angle!

We motored out of Elben and then sailed for a few hours, until the wind completely died, fully in line with our forecast. The swell was around two meters, so even motoring was a little uncomfortable. Later in the afternoon we expected wind from west up to 15 knots and building seas, but nothing we could not handle. Unfortunately together with the darkness the wind start to build and went into the twenties right on the nose and as usual when we turned the corner at Vliesland going south west the wind followed. The Goods were not looking too favorable on us, trying to challenge them. So they rewarded us with a sail through the night with with 3-4 meters of waves, 20 degrees to the wind with stormsail supported with the engine for the rest of the night, until we arrived in Den Helder around mid afternoon, six hours later than planned…..very wet and tired. Afterwards it turns out that we were the lucky ones, because Callisto, motoring slightly slower than North Star never made it around the Vliesland corner, as the surprising storm increased in force. They were forced to go into shelter, behind Vliesland in the dark and at low water – not a pleasant experience. We never met again as we left Den Helder and they took the North Sea route to Guernsey.

The German Bight was a great lesson for Marie and I, building our confidence in North Star and ourselves. We were tired, but never in trouble and North Star took it all in strides, except being submarine for that long exposed every leak in the boat and replacement of all skylights, was put on the to do list.
I have to rapport although, that it is important that skipper sleeps plentiful, because as we entered Den Helder, which is a very important Dutch Marine harbour with lots of warship, skipper was navigating after a very speciel moving buoy, which turned to be the tower of a sub marine – something co-skipper Marie remembered for a long time.

A slowboat around the world

We are creating this site to share information about the rewards and the challenges involved in navigating a sailboat around in the world. We have been sailing the last 30 years, and have sailed further and further ashore. In the beginning it was Øresund in Denmark, then Kattegat and soon we moved on to The Atlantic, while we lived in USA. During the years of preparing ourselves and  S/Y North Star the third, we learned from fellow sailors experiences and it is our hope we can give some of that back to other people which follow their dream.

The beginning of a journey

It all started with a dream and a very young man putting together a list of dreams with things to aspire for. Dreaming about a life with freedom and adventures and fortunately he met a girl who was dreaming even bigger. Sail around the world was one of these dreams and trying to finance the dream, before you reached high age and illness, was another.

This is about the world adventure, which have been prepared for during many years. The weekly readings of cruising magazines, the dinner conversations about the dream, the statement in Sydney of: “next time we arrive here it is by a sailboat”. Probably the first tangible action was the acquisition of a small 7 meters sailboat in 1992, a MAXI 68. Maybe not fancy, but certainly a great boat to learn the tricks of sailing a keelboat with a small family of three. It was my first real sailing experience as captain and Marie was so kind never to say that she was a little uncomfortable with my lack of experience – but together we learned by making mistakes in a small forgiving sailboat. But that is another story.

Later we moved up into a danish build Faurby 36 – a real sailing machine and sailing her in the atlantic waters around Boston, New Hampshire, Cap Cod and Maine moved everything to a very different level. Trillemus was her name, and she had been around the world and was probably ready for another tour, but today she sails out of Horta in the Azores and we bought our first Hallberg Rassy – a 39. She determined in so many ways our sailing destiny. She was very comfortable and the girls suddenly liked being away and onboard for longer periods, she was steady in larger seas and took us further away from home and she was unbreakable. She was followed by a Hallberg Rassy 43, same – same, just bigger and better sailing qualities and finally we arrived in the HR 48 we sail today. Looking back, the journey from simple and small to increasingly complicated to very complicated and technically challenging was the right learning  process – even though it was not planned like this, from the out spring. To sail a modern 50 feet boat, with all technical installations such as navigation tools, hydraulics, freezer, water maker, aircondition, generator and much more, put a great demand on the crew. You need to learn to fix and learn that some functionality is need to have and others are nice to have – and follow your maintenance schedules very closely. This way you can continue to enjoy sailing and not be focused on all the stuff which does not work and keep you in marinas, waiting for spares. Because it is all about being out their, enjoying the freedom!