Home » Our Sailing Holidays » Sail Amsterdam Festival – Kiel To Amsterdam

Sail Amsterdam Festival – Germany to Netherlands

Kiel To Amsterdam

Sailing Type – Coastal Sailing

This voyage involves an overnight passage where you will be part of a watch system.

“Try to imagine nearly sixty tall ships of varying shapes and sizes, four naval ships and hundreds of other vessels of all descriptions descending upon one small area of Amsterdam ..What an incredible experience.”


“We had a wonderful week aboard Trinovante with you and the rest of the crew. We felt very proud to be involved in taking a beautiful schooner to a great sail festival such as Sail Amsterdam. Many of the experiences of that week will always be fondly remembered by the both of us.”

Rowan and Paul

You will be part of a watch system for the overnight passage from the Kiel Canal at Brunsbottle to the Netherlands.  For more information about what to expect read
Offshore Sailing
Standing The Night Watch – an account written by one of the crew.

Beginners are welcome on any voyage. If you have never sailed before more information about what to expect from this sailing holiday is here
Learn To Sail  
About Life Onboard
Sailing Videos

Shipping in the Kiel Canal, taken from the deck of a sailing ship

Transit The Kiel Canal

Straight away we’ll be entering the big locks at Kiel. The canal is an engineering masterpiece built at the end of the 19th centuary and was constructed to enable the German fleet to reach the North Sea more easily.

Most of the canal is tree-lined and rural. Smaller commercial shipping still regularly uses the canal, but many modern ships are now too big. They have to go the long way round, to the top of Denmark through the Skagerak.

The ships compass it up at night on an offshore voyage

The Kiel Canal ends at Brunsbottle on the busy river Elbe. Trinovante will exit the lock and everything changes. From the still, calm waters of the canal, we enter fast flowing tides. Timing our exit to catch the ebb is important.

Trinovante may be doing 12 knots down the Elbe with the tide under her. The Elbe estuary, the German and Dutch Friesland coast, have many sandbanks and a chain of low-lying sandy islands. This is the area made famous by the pre-war novel ‘The Riddle Of The Sands’.

As we head into the night watch the sea will be lit up with lights. Big ships line up in the offshore shipping lanes, inshore boats go fishing, navigation buoys whizz by, lighthouses flash, the now ubiquitous wind farms blink red and the ever-present pilot ships buzz about their job dropping off pilots.  We will need to keep a good lookout.

A ship motors along the sandy Freisland coast

Wide Horizons And Sandy Beaches

Trinovante will be sailing along endless sandy beaches as we head west-south-west and clear the busy shipping area.

Places we might call into on the way to Ijmuiden and Amsterdam are the German Friesland island of Borkum which was two seprate islands until 1863, Terschelling which is the second largest of the West Friesian Islands. It has the oldest lighthouse in the Netherlands dating from 1323, and Texel just outside Den Helder which is known for its pine woods.

All these islands are known their birdlife, sand dunes, panoramic views and nature experience. Think of this time as the calm before the storm!

The Parade Of Sail, at the start of Sail Amsterdam, the largest sail festival in Europe

Parade Of Sail, Amsterdam

As we approach Ijmiuden, the starting port for the parade of sail, the excitement builds. Ships will be arriving from every direction to take part in the biggest sail festival in Europe. The Parade Of Sail up the North Sea Canal will have thousands of boats participating. For miles the banks of the canal will be lined with people watching the spectacle.

Don’t underestimate the size of this festival. In 2015 there were 2.3 million visitors.

Trinovante rarely goes to sail festivals but, a long time ago, some of our Dutch crew recommended Sail Amsterdam so Trinovante went in 2005 and 2010.

It was a revelation. We had never imagined so many boats could be on the water in such a small space.

Sail Amsterdam only happens every five years. We missed 2015 and are very excited to be going back in 2020.

All voyage notes refer only to possible itineraries – where we sail, the type of sailing and passage lengths and the places we call into will be entirely dependent on the wind and weather at the time.

What’s included in the price?

  • All meals onboard
    We provide breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Obviously, if you choose to eat ashore, this is at your own expense. We can cater for most diets, but you must let us know about special diets at the time of booking. We cannot cater for special diets at short notice.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
    Ships rules are no drinking alcohol at sea or if we are about to sail. This does NOT mean Trinovante is a dry boat – it’s fine to have a drink in the evening when we are at anchor or alongside. We don’t sell alcohol on board so bring your own.
  • Use of life-jackets and wet weather gear

What is not included in the price?

Have Some More Questions?

Check our Frequently Asked Questions Page or just get in touch for a chat.
It will be Su or John picking up the phone

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