More than two thousand years of history, an impressive landscape, secluded bays, and harbours both tranquil or bustling – Croatia has everything that a cruising enthusiast could desire. With our Linssen Grand Sturdy 40.9 Sedan, we could view Croatia from a new perspective! And to say it right away: we have been sailing the Adriatic in a number of different vessels since back in the 1980s, but none was as comfortable and safe as the Hippo – a well-deserved name! Although the Adriatic is often derided as “just a bathtub”, things can get very uncomfortable when the cold “Bora” wind sweeps down from the mountains and churns up the sea. But even in weather conditions that had made our solid old motorsailer creak and groan, and we had felt better off with lifejackets on, the Linssen lived up to its name and lay there unconcerned like a big heavy hippo in the water. But let’s begin at the beginning.
Burgundy is a fantastic region with a fascinating culture, a wonderful gastronomic tradition and superb wines. For those who wish to discoder the less well-known delights in this area on an Linssen motor yacht from the water, The Canal du Nivernais in the French Burgundy is an excellent option.
Bounded by the Baltic in the North, the Oder in the East, the Elbe in the West, the lower Havel in the South West and the Spree-Oder Canal in the South East, this region is probably one of the largest cruising areas in Europe. Well over 2,700 km of interconnected lakes, rivers and canals form an inexhaustible, dense network of navigable waterways of differing sizes. Most of them are located in the Länder of Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, one of the regions of Germany which is most steeped in history, whether it’s the history of the Hanseatic League, the noble Junkers of Western Pomerania, the Prussian kings or the influence of Dutch princesses and craftsmen. Russian and French cultural influences can be observed everywhere – even Vienna has a share in it. The result is a region with unparalleled variety and diversity in terms of art and history.
The Thames is undoubtedly one of the most interesting rivers in Europe. In fact, this 346 km waterway deserves the designation “Royal”. I therefore thought it was a real privilege to be able to cruise the Thames in a Linssen Grand Sturdy 34.9 AC. Peter invited Cornel, Paul and me to start from Hobbs of Henley – the base for Linssen Boating Holidays – and explore the scenery where the “Midsomer Murders” are filmed, setting off in October 2013. But I had some reservations: I still always associate the autumn with bleak, rainy weather, so combining that with England seemed to guarantee that I’d get wet. But things turned out completely different.
I have been a practicing Francophile for over 30 years now. If only to persuade you to read on, let me reassure you that, as a Francophile, I am passionate about France and “things French” - be reassured that I have no abnormal feelings about ex Spanish dictators. I am also a canalaholic. These two admissions explain why my wife, Lesley, and I arrived in Calais on our barge, in October 1988, having left our “comfortable lives” in the City and our mooring on the Grand Union canal at Tring. For at least ten years prior to our arrival in France we had holidayed in France and on the canals.
Lübeck businessman and lighting designer Martin Stratmann is living his dreams, along with his wife Dagmar and many friends and guests. This is also a portrait of a wonderful landscape, a journey along the west coast of the Baltic and the neighbouring inland cruising areas. We had always had the Linssen bug and the urge to get on to the water without getting wet. We already had our first small motor boat before we found our house right on the river Trave at the edge of Lübeck’s old town, which had taken three years to renovate and we finally bought in May 1994. Even before we moved into the house, we had acquired a labour-intensive powered sailplane (oak on oak) as well, as we had had enough of water.
Matti Pitkänen bought his Linssen Grand Sturdy 34.9 AC “TUR 35” via the Linssen dealer Proficon, and decided to collect it from the Dutch yard and sail it home himself. The yacht left Maasbracht on 12 May 2014 and was taken by lorry to Heiligenhafen on the north German coast, where it was launched on 14 May. Next day we stocked up with the necessary stores and the trip could really begin. We left at about noon on 15 May, passing under the Fehmarn Sound Bridge shortly after. There was a gentle north-westerly breeze, which dropped even more, so that the rest of our voyage across the Baltic Sea was under clear blue skies. It was wonderful to watch the porpoises swimming right next to us in the clear water.
Mike and Sukey Perry spent the 2013 season cruising from Maasbracht to Lübeck via Berlin and the Mecklenburg Lakes on their 43.9 Grand Sturdy Salamander II. So here we are alongside, just before the double lock on a brand new Dutch canal – The Veenvaart, connecting Erica with Ter Apel. And here on the warmest June evening so far, it seems the entire population of Erica and Emmen has come out to have a look. They come on bikes, on foot, on roller blades, on motorbikes, on quad bikes and even just now, two swimmers. They stripped off, leapt into the peaty water and swam off into the sunset.
10 May 2017 – we were really excited as we flew to Maasbracht, where a freshly cleaned Linssen 45.9 was awaiting its new owner with a welcome drink. Our ultimate destination, one that Udo had long dreamt of and longed for, was the Swedish archipelago.
Every year, more and more boats with foreign flags are visiting Finland. Many of them are touring the Baltic. Some are just cruising around the Finnish coastline and enjoying the thousands of islands. Finland has a relatively long coastline. It extends from the Swedish border at Tornio at the most northerly point of the Gulf of Bothnia to the Russian border at the eastern point of the Gulf of Finland. The Åland Islands lie fifty miles off the south-west corner of the mainland.
The south-western archipelago and the Åland Islands together form the Archipelago Sea. With over 40,000 islands, it is the largest archipelago in Europe and one of the largest in the world. These sheltered waters are a real cruising paradise.