the start – Sunny but Breezy

Sailing 2020 was kind of different compared to the years before. On the one hand there was the omnipresent pandemic of course and on the other hand it was clear that our crew would change quite often with Rainer and me being the permanent members. Also this year our trip would not end in Braunschweig, because they kicked out all pleasure vessels, so we had to leave the ship at the coast in Kiel. This is more expensive but saves us approximately 10 days of canal tour back and forth under pure motor power.
Our holidays started in Eckernförde with a stable high-pressure system over Northern Europe. Frank and family left Rolling Stone after 3 weeks of  great sailing with a heavy heart. For my part I was curious to find out, if and how the new 130% jib would fit (and perform), so almost immediately after our arrival we hoisted the brand new jib for the first time. To my horror the jib didn’t furl at all, a clear sign that the luff length was too short. So we experimented with different lengths of rope to extend the luff, but still to no avial.
After several attempts we gave up, very frustated of course and decided to have a sailmaker do the job in Großenbrode, our next destination. I have to admit that the jib issue was following us like a dark cloud almost the whole tour.
However the next day we left Eckernförde heading East. Due to the eastern breeze we were sailing close-hauled and mercilessly this revealed all the weaknesses of the old jib. In Großenbrode we got stucked due to very strong Eastern winds with 7-8 Bft, although the sun was shining beautifully. Also Rainer and I had no interest in beating Rolling Stone some 60 miles across the Lübeck Bight tacking against the wind with a shabby jib. So we just stayed in Großenbrode for 2 more days and enjoyed the beach, the landscape and the cool atmosphere of the seaside promenade – and of course our favourite Greek restaurant „ATHEN“ :-). Finally we were able to leave Großenbrode, heading further East to Warnemünde / Hohe Düne to pick up Jens and Finn – yeah!

A weekender with diana and Finn

Another good news was, that Diana also wanted to join us for a weekender  Curtly we decided to sail to the hanseatic city of Rostock the next day to make things easier for her to enter the ship. In Rostock City Habor we were also greeted by Leif, Thore and Juliane and her two children. I have never seen Rolling Stone so crowded, which was quite a sight. After a delicious dinner in one of the many cozy restaurants at the habor promenade we left Rostock the next morning. We were rewarded by pure and great sailiing in front of the coastline of Warnemünde, where we also stayed for the night. For Diana it was the first time of her life sailing and she enjoyed every minute of it. Indeed we had the best conditions one could imagine. In Hohe Düne Finn and Diana left Rolling Stone, but it was already agreed that Diana would come back for the last week, so this weekend was just an appetizer for her. The next day the three of us left Warnemünde heading further East to Barhöft, where Jens also left the ship. Rainer and me were alone again!

On our way back

After Jens left the ship Rainer and me were alone again. The weather was getting more and more thundery so we headed back westerly before it would get worse. The next day we left Barhöft, unfortunately with a very light breeze only. To reach our destination Warnemünde in time and to avoid thunderstorms, which were developing in our back, we used considerable motor power. The next stop was Großenbrode again (we love this place!), where Diana would come back on-board. Also we finally wanted to put the new jib to service. Unfortunately the local sail maker had simply no time before Monday, so we had to stay the whole weekend in Großenbrode. Even day sailing wasn’t a good idea because the old jib was a total write-off with small and bigger tears almost everywhere. Finally on Monday evening we picked up the new jib with an adequate luff extension and after some test at our berth we were confident that it would furl reliably. On Tuesday we left Großenbrode towards Kiel / Marina Wendtorf, our last stop. To make it short: the new jib worked fantastically! Yeah, I was very satisfied with boat speed and sailing properties! It was definitely a good invest. After we reached Marina Wendtorf, a natural habor at the outer Kiel Fjord, the weather was more and more getting worse. A heavy storm front was developing and all sailing activity had to be canceled the next days. It was September and this could happen. However, very frustrating for all of us, because we had planned some short daysailers with Diana. Rainer left Rolling Stone already the same day and Diana and me were the first time alone on-board. The two of us really made the best out of the weather situation and enjoyed board and port life tremendously. I have to admit, that we even fell in love with Marina Wendtorf.  Before we left we had to prepare Rolling Stone for the next 3 weeks, when we intended to come back to haul her out in Kiel-Holtenau.

Hauling Out

After 3 weeks laying deserted in Marina Wendtorf Frank and me returned to Rolling Stone to see that everything was in order – a big relief cause you never know… On the other hand we were a bit tensed, because everything was new. We had to enter the Kiel Canal via the Holtenau Lock and we had to get in there in time. Of course you have to wait until you are allowed to enter the lock and this can take between 4-12 hours. The Kiel Canal connects the Baltic and the North Sea and it is the most frequented artificial waterway in the world (not the Suez or the Panama Canal). So we got up before first light and had a great sunrise – and fantastic weather in general. It was the first time in 5 years that Frank and me were together at sea on-board Rolling Stone and it felt really good. After we passed the lock (in time!), we prepared the mast & rigging at a nearby berth and powered Rolling Stone to the Southern waterside of the Kiel Canal, where she was hauled out without any problems. The next day we built-up our new arrangement of rods and levers. to support the covers for the winter season. Once again the 3d-printer was used intensly to produce all kinds of supports & holders. Previously the mast acted as a ridge, but it was missing now and stored separately, which has some advantages, especially if you intend to work on it. After the first winter season with high amounts of snow and rain together with the typical northern autumn storms I can say, that our roof design worked absolutely reliable. Our first winter season in Sailing City Kiel simply was a success. Great  🙂