During GEKKOs maiden voyage two weeks ago I ended up being moored alongside the quay of Sassnitz harbor. Sassnitz is fairly mid-sized harbor on the eastern flank of the Island of Ruegen, Germany´s biggest Island in the Baltic Sea. It is a bustling harbor with a good sized fleet of fishermen in their boats and trawlers and some pretty big excursion boats leaving regularly to round Ruegen´s cape which exhibits a very impressive, steep chalk-stone cliff.
Sassnitz, unlike other marinas in the Baltic Sea, is therefore a small but very active and vivid commercial harbor which is a rare occasion in this area which is predominantly used for touristic exploits. In this, all the pleasure craft in the harbor are seen as guests: Sassnitz marina is not made for sailors, it´s made and still used by commercial craft predominantly.
How to sail to Sassnitz & Marina layout
Nevertheless, this does not mean that it is ugly. It´s quite the opposite: I loved being there since Sassnitz is boasts a nice mixture of yellow-rubber clothed fishermen cleaning their latest early catch on the quayside selling filets off their cutters and tourists strolling the jetties in their neon-colored shorts and sandals with tennis socks. Ice cream vendors and fish´n´chips-push carts selling snacks whilst XXL-sized seagulls eagerly patrolling in low air for a quick bite.
The Sassnitz marina offers a decent amount of boxes on two swimming jetties. The boxes have different sizes which are displayed on big signs at the head-ends of the jetties. One might always find a free berth here I shall say and as such Sassnitz may be considered as a safe Plan B if your primary destination on Ruegen or in the area around it turns out to be occupied or you are forced to turn in die to emerging bad weather.
In Sassnitz it is also possible to moor alongside on the quay which is built along the big breakwater to seaside vis-à-vis the sailor´s harbor. This is especially interesting for bigger yachts or when you arrive single handed wanting to circumvent a tricky landing manoeuvre in heavy winds. This is exactly what I did when I came there. You will also find fresh water and electricity there which makes it – on the first glance – far more interesting to be alongside in Sassnitz than in a cramped box in front of the loud and tourists-filled harbor-side. That´s what I thought …
Amenities & Demurrage in Sassnitz Harbour
In 2012 the whole arrangement of bathrooms and harbormaster-office has been built completely new. I found the house to be modern, clean and well in order. The harbormaster is very friendly and helpful, no complaints here. The bathroom facilities are clean, well sized and get rinsed regularly. There are also sinks and basins to do your laundry in handwash-mode and coin-stuffed washing machines.
Along the quayside the harbor is bursting with snack bars and restaurants, selling mainly fish dishes. But also the occasional Italian restaurant with tasty Pizza may be found as well as a stock of Cafés with refreshing drinks and ice cream. On a sunny day the harbor is full of families and tourists, strolling around and having a good time. No “bling bling” and no overheated prices here, which is a definitive plus.
Love and hate in Sassnitz Marina …
A definitive and – sad to say – very, very big minus on the other hand is something I had to experience myself when I was there with GEKKO. First of all, during daytime, fishermen and big pleasure boats are coming in and out of the harbor by the minute. It´s hardly a fifteen minutes time gap between any of them passing by the harbor. Since fishing harbor is at the very end, all of these boats have to get past the sailing yachts and power boats mooring at the sailor´s harbor. I am clearly not over exaggerating when I tell you that these boats go at ridiculous speeds! It´s completely outrageous because they are creating a big, big swell which one must be aware of.
The bow waves and big wakes of the boats are tossing around all berthed boats, some of them shaking and rocking very badly in their lines. I learned quickly to jump outside and grab one of my mooring lines to try to soften the effects. It´s crazy: These guys are racing by, not giving a damn s****t about pleasure craft and it seems to be a major problem since many of my sailing mates and friends confirmed this awful behaviour of our professional seaman colleagues there. That is one of the reasons I personally will not go there on purpose anymore unless bad weather or other circumstances force me too.
That is not all. When professional traffic ceases at night, you will notice that a very annoying swell is entering the basin. I don´t know if that changes when wind and seastate-directions change, but the two times I moored there it was not possible at all to find a good night´s sleep due to severe and hard rocking when moored alongside. It may be better in the boxes, but I assure you that I haven´t slept a single minute whilst in Sassnitz that night.
When it´s best to sail to Sassnitz
All this is a very polarizing mixture of information, I know. So on the one hand you´ve got this strategically very well positioned harbor at the North of Germany which is a perfect jumping point to Bornholm or Southern Sweden (or vice versa, a good arrival destination after crossing the Baltic Sea). The City of Sassnitz is nice, loveable and I liked it a lot. Amenities in the marina, bathrooms and services are plenty and very good too. On the other hand, behaviour of the professional seafarers stationed there and the – maybe occasional, but if appearing very severe – swell inside the harbor makes it unbearable.
XXXXXXBILD 07 nacht
I have a mixed feeling about Sassnitz which makes it hard to find a final verdict. Maybe I try to berth my boat next time in a box and avoid going alongside, maybe I was there at an especially busy day for whatever reason. Anyway, it´s a very good and safe destination to choose, a berth is almost always, also in high season, guaranteed and you will like land-life there too. Try it out on your own, maybe.
My overall assessment of Sassnitz harbor is 3 of 10 points
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Sailing to Ruegen, Germany´s biggest Island
A pretty perfect summer sailing trip in the Baltic Sea