Originally Posted by 1Aaron
If one makes the effort to sail to Istanbul and then into the Black Sea, do you have to turn around and sail back out of the Black Sea, retracing your route in?
Or, is it possible to take a yacht to the North Sea via the Danube or Volga rivers/canal systems?
Any information would be appreciated.
Possible? Yes. Tristran Jones wrote a book about the trip he made on a cat or maybe it was a tri-maran called Outward Leg.
The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (German - Rhein-Main-Donau-Kanal), connects the Main and the Danube rivers across the European Watershed. It runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim. The canal connects the North Sea to the Black Sea, providing a navigable artery between the Rhine delta (at Rotterdam in the Netherlands) and the Danube Delta in eastern Romania. The canal was completed in 1992 and is 171 km long.
The cross-section of the waterway is mainly trapezoidal, with 31 meters width at the bottom, 55 meters wide at the water surface, 4 meters of water depth, and a side gradient of 1:3. The channel is a European Waterway Class Vb; the largest authorised vessels are 190 m in length and 11.45 m wide. The channel in the Kelheim-bound Bamberg lock has a depth of 2.70 m. In the few sections with a rectangular profile, the width is usually 43 m.
The canal is the easy bit of the trip between the North Sea and the Black Sea. The rivers can both be very fast flowing, particularly the Danube which also forms the border between Serbia and Romania and later Bulgaria and Romania. The Bulgaria-Romania border bit should not be a problem as both are EU countries so the free passage of people, gods, services and money is guaranteed by the treaties of Rome and Maastrecht. The Serbian border, on the other hand, might be a bit of a trouble spot. If doing the trip one must follow the inland waterway rules but I would recommend not berthing on the Serbian side of the river.
Given the strength of the flow of the Danube, I would recommend sailing from west to east and returning via the Med.
The North Sea to the Black Sea would be a tremendous trip. I have always dreamed of doing this, entering the canal system in Northern Germany or Poland and then heading through the country to the Rhine before making the trip to the Black Sea after which I would like to make the return trip via the Volga-Baltic Waterway or, as it used to be called and is probably better known, the Mariinsk Canal System
One other issue, anyone making this trip will be required to hold an International Certificate of Competence with a CEVNI endorsement. At a practical level, you should have someone on board who can speak German.
I hope this answers your question. If you ever need a crew for such a trip just let me know!
Aye // Stephen