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August 3, Brunsbüttel – Cuxhafen

10 08 09 - 08:34 In the afternoon we left Brunsbüttel to go through the sluice. Unfortunately there is not a good signalisation system on when the sluice will take yachts. It means that we were turning in circles before the sluice with 30 other boats for half an hour before it opened for us with all kind of undesired meetings with large vessels, dredging boats and ferries. It must be possible to set a signal in the yachts harbour, so everybody can leave at the same time and immediately enter the sluice basin.

We left the Kieler Kanal and entered the mouth of the Elbe River, part of the famous German Bight. The German Bight is famous for its high currents and fierce winds and very often a situation with currents against the wind and thus high (braking waves). We entered the Elbe at high tide and together with the flow of the Elbe River this causes a current of 4 knots maximum. The wind was west 5, so we had to tack against the wind but with the current. The waves were not high. Together with 3 other yachts (the other 20 used their engines) we sailed towards Cuxhafen tacking amongst the sea vessels, interesting experience. Our maximum speed over the ground was 9.8 knots, with 6 through the water. A record! Just in front of Cuxhafen we were forced to take the other side of the River due to two large vessels that crossed our course. This caused us to miss the harbour entrance!! With 4 knots current we were washed towards the sea and that was not what we wanted (yet)! We turned around after the vessels passed and with the wind in the back and against the current we fought our way back inside. The entrance of Cuxhafen is known for its strong side current, so you should enter with your maximum speed not to be thrown on the harbour pier. With full sail and full engine (and full nerves!!) we entered the harbour safely. Tsjew.. we never felt so relieved after entering the harbour safely.

Cuxhafen is a marina, where all yachts gather to wait for a good moment to cross the German Bight and we joined that community. Actually already the next day looked good with a wind starting ‘changing 3-4, shifting to SE. Perfect. We made our calculations for entering Norderney the next day in the afternoon with incoming tide, which meant leaving at 3 am (in full darkness). The times of High and Low Tide were not very fortunate, so we had no other choice than to start in the dark on the Elbe. Hopefully with little wind and than later having a very good wind to do this long distance. We had a good dinner in the local yacht club (always surprising to see the low prices in restaurants in Germany) and went to bed early.
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This the weblog of Margriet Hartman and Marnix van der Vat. Since March 1, 2008, we live in Bangkok. We will try to keep everybody intrested in our whereabouts informed with stories and pictures. We have chosen to write in english, in order for non ducth speakers to be able to follow us as well. We welcome your reactions and comments.

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