The wind continues to blow from the West with 20kn to 35kn on the Western Baltic, but the favourable weather window announced for Friday turns out to be realistic. The wind decreases on Friday morning and we profit from it and have a fast sail with North-westerly winds from Bagenkop to Kiel.
Friday evening we even enter the Kiel Canal and drop the anchor in a small lake called Flemhuder See. It is very calm and idyllic here. There are two other sailing boats on anchor.
Both, the entry and the lake are deep enough, only the anchorage space is a bit restricted – not too many boats should have the same idea. This anchorage is perfect to stay over night.
After a very calm night we sail on Saturday in rainy weather through the Kiel Canal and arrive at 16:15h in Brunsbüttel at the locks. We are very lucky since we can enter the locks without any waiting time and 20 minutes later we are on river Elbe. During our canal passage we had light westerly winds, but on the river the wind increases again to 30 kn “on the nose”. We sail under motor and since the current and the wind are both against us, we are slowly progressing. Water comes continuously over deck due to the steep waves and I am permanently getting a salt water shower on the helm.
Originally I thought that we should better wait inside the canal that the tide turns and helps us to go faster to Cuxhaven, but now I am even happy that the current is against us. Since both, wind and tide, come from the same direction, the waves are not too high. But when the current turned against the wind 2 hours later, we increased our speed, but the waves became higher and steeper. The bow too often hit into the waves and plenty of water came over deck. The only good side of that situation was that we finally made 9kn over ground towards Cuxhaven against the wind and the sea.
We finally enter the harbour of Cuxhaven at 19:30h completely tired and wet. We use the pontoon that is normally reserved for boats over 15 meters and moor alongside. None of the others ships on that pontoon are over 15 meters, and therefore I decide that it is ok for us. In fact, we really did not want to run difficult harbour manoeuvres in that wind. We find a very calm place with winds from in front, which is a perfect situation in a harbour. We finally have a quick meal at the harbour restaurant before we fall into our beds being completely tired.
The yacht harbour of Cuxhaven is very protected. One has to take care not to miss the harbour entry due to the very strong currents. Coming from the Kiel Canal or from Hamburg it is wise to change to the side of the traffic lane where the harbour is, well before the harbour entry – like 1 or 2 miles in advance. You need to stay outside the traffic lane of course, since otherwise you would run against the traffic. If you do not cross the traffic lane early enough you risk to be forced to cross very late due to heavy traffic and then to miss the harbour entry. Sometimes you can see boats in that situation who have to turn back, once the harbour entry missed, and then being forced to motor against the current back to the harbour. For that you need a strong motor. So, better cross early enough.
We are happy to have reached our goal to sail to Cuxhaven in that first week despite the unfavourable winds. Siggi and Katrin return home on Sunday and the next day Michael and Robert join me. The weather forecast is again not favourable, but on Wednesday the wind will weaken. As a consequence, the first day to enter into the North Sea will be on Wednesday. We will see…