SWEDEN 2012 - 2013
I am interested in going to Sweden to explore the Swedish canal system, and the maps show an idea for the route. Of the 9 canals in the main system, 5 are easily navigable by our sized ships. These are Gota, Trolhatte, Hjalmare, Saffle and Sodertalje. More canal details are at the websites below, including pass costs and guest harbours, 5 days at many of them on the Gota canal are included in the pass price. Anchoring in the lakes is not a problem.
My outline plan is to route up inside the Baltic leaving the canal system in North Germany at Lubeck and “coastal hopping” along the Danish and Swedish coasts to Soderkoping and Sodertalje to enter the Swedish canal systems. An outline timescale is as follows:
Early April 2012 Depart Douai
May Transit Lubeck to Sodertalje - 15/16 days at approx 30nm per day
Summer 2012 Sodertalje and Hjalmare canals - Stockholm, Lakes Malaren and Hjalmaren.
Over winter Stockholm/Sodertalje - ice free berth required
May 2013 Sea route south to Soderkoping
Summer 2013 Gota, Saffle and Trolhatte canals - Lakes Vattern, Vanern and Glafsfjorden
Gothenburg to Lubeck via eastern route through Danish archipelago
Copenhagen - 8/9 days at 30nm per day
By Oct 2013 Back in mainland europe canals
Total distance “coastal hopping” is in the order of 1750 km. The canals add another 1000km. The longest single leg across open water whilst “coastal hopping” would be approx 40nm. Do 5 canals in 5 years and one is awarded a “Canal Diploma” - a very distinctive brass plaque – and my aim would be to crack 5 canals in 2 summers. The trip is within the capability of those barges comfortable crossing the Channel and although the eastern open areas of the Baltic are renowned for their poor weather, this trip is by and large in more sheltered waters. I've sailed Kiel to Stockholm in early May and it was very pleasant. Tidal stream is not a consideration as the Baltic has a very small tidal range and the water is less saline than the North Sea.
There are opportunities to leave or lay up craft and the Gota canal has harbours/docks for vessels up to 32m. From the environmental aspects black water tanks are a must and there are pump out stations, some of which are free. I have yet to ascertain the rules on grey water, but bathing is a popular pastime in the lakes.
My insurance company, HKJ, is content and the broker was talking in terms of equivalent sea going ability to RCD Cat C. Insurance cover in the Baltic is to 60N and 20E