Hendrik forgoes easy option on epic kayak journey from Cork to Germany

For a man not renowned as having ‘sea legs’, it would be a lot easier to book a flight to take a trip from Cork to his home town in north Germany.

Hendrik forgoes easy option on epic kayak journey from Cork to Germany

However, a Kinsale-based businessman has chosen a more unusual mode of transport for a 2,500km dream trip to enjoy a Tall Ships festival.

He’s kayaking all the way from the harbour town to his final destination, despite readily admitting to “not being experienced” at such a seaborne pursuit.

Hendrik Lepel, 34, has in recent months studied hard to get to grips with nautical dos and don’ts.

Hendrik Lepel set off from Kinsale on Saturday 20th June, kayaking to Rostock, Germany and hoping to arrive between 6-10th August. Video: Larry Cummins

He is also carrying appropriate and sophisticated safety and communications equipment and is confident he’ll make the journey, which will take around two months.

German-born Hendrik, who has lived in the south-west for the past 10 years, is taking two months off from his pizza-oven manufacturing business to visit the Tall Ships festival in his native Rostock.

Watched by his partner Lisa, six-month-old son Leo, and a gathering of well-wishers, he paddled off from the slipway in Kinsale on his epic journey.

He plans to head straight along the south coast and make a crossing from Rosslare to Pembroke.

He will then hug England’s south coast and head to Calais.

From there, it’s onwards up to the Kiel Canal which connects the North Sea and the Baltic Sea before he sets foot on his homeland.

“I will stop every night when I can and get on to land, where possible. I can also put the kayak under sail if I need to,” he said.

Henrik said he will be carrying a VHF radio and will have mobile phone coverage along the coast, and can send text messages by satellite on the major crossings where he can no longer hug land.

“I will also be in contact with all the coastguard stations letting them know my route, when I’m setting out, and my estimated time of arrival,” Hendrik said.

He readily admitted that Lisa “took a lot of convincing” to let him make the kayak trip.

Lisa is also heading to Rostock with their son to team up with Hendrik there — but is taking the easier option, flying.

Hendrik joked that when he arrives in the north German port he will “be in the smallest of the tall ships”.

Hendrik Lepel set off from Kinsale on Saturday 20th June 2015, kayaking to Rostock, Germany and hoping to arrive between 6-10th August 2015.

Anyone wishing to monitor Hendrik’s progress can log on to www.the-flying-northman.com or get updates at www.facebook.com/theflyingnorthman

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