Cruising Logs: 2006 - A Scandinavian Cruise
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The North Frieseland Coast


This was now firmly Riddle of the Sands country , so I re-read  my fathers much thumbed copy as we passed the various landmarks . The locks at Holtenau had changed little from Childers description – and were still remarkably cheap for a small boat as they had been in his day. The lady who served us in the Rensburgh supermarket was a Frau Bartels , and it took a superhuman effort not to ask her if her great grandfather had been a skipper of a galliot all those years before. Then to cap it all , as we locked out of Brunsbuttel the following evening a small coaster called the Kormoron called up on the radio. Spooky ! If the Dulcibella had come sailing out of the evening mist I’m sure none of us would have been surprised .

  The canal itself was surprisingly pleasant. We took one hour shifts  on the wheel which left each of us 3 hours off in which to snooze , read , shower cook or work up the navigation for the next leg. Once locked out into the Elbe , the evening sail to Cuxhaven was a gentle beat on the ebb and  we turned in with the expectation of a fast reach to Holland the next day.

  We awoke to a German forecast warning of force 9 winds , and despite Cuxhaven being packed with boats waiting to go west , we were the only ones to leave.  Far from the wind being northerly , it was SW- a dead  beat ! We reckoned the force 9 would come from thunder squalls as , rather as they had been for the last 4 days , the sky was filled with huge cumulus – some of which sported impressive anvils. A beat it may have been , but the wind was only about 10 knots so we motor sailed out of the Elbe going through our plans for meeting the thunder squalls , reckoning that they probably wouldn’t last long enough for a sea to get up , and hoping that we might miss them altogether. In the event , we did miss them , picked up the northerlies somewhere off the Jade estuary and whizzed along the coast on a reach in company with several yachts who had set off from Heligoland. To begin with we were able to hold a kite , but by late afternoon the wind had come forward and increased to 20 knots so we snugged down for the night, arriving off Texel by dawn. It was not a comfortable trip as there was a 2 metre swell from strong winds to the North of us  , but with our small sails and the autopilot in control we all had plenty of sleep. Once into the Marsdiep  ( the sheltered waters off Den Helder ) Lynda cooked a massive breakfast , we scooted across the top of the Ijslemeer under kite and into Enkhuizen , Here we anchored in our usual place opposite the museum  and I prepared to fly home  for a weeks work , leaving the  rest of the family to dribble through Holland.




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