13 May, 2015 | 40.2 nm | position 52° 22.889'N 04° 54.420'E NW 5-8m/s  


Sailing across the Markermeer with traditional Dutch boats.

Leisurely sailing today across Ijsselmeer into Markermeer towards Amsterdam.


Lelystad harbour outside Amsterdam gives an indication on how many boats there are in Holland!

Sixhafen is just across from the railway station in Amsterdam and there are free ferries across the Nordzeekanaal.


Sixhafen is quite tight, both through the entrance and in the harbour itself, but 50 feet boats had no problems.


12 May, 2015 | 54.1 nm | position 52° 53.156'N 04° 21.189'E WNW 5-19m/s  


Traditional boats with front gardens.

Today we wanted to go to the Ijsselmeer and we followed the safest, meaning deepest route according to our "new" maps (paper and navigator). After some time we reached a point where the buoys where not in the place indicated by our maps. Assuming that they were moved for a good reason,  and in no time got stuck! Luckily the high water was coming fast and set us free again a couple of minutes later. Another sailor indicated to us, that our selected route was no good, so we aimed for the run at Harlingen, which, according to our maps was too shallow. However, in the harbour of Harlingen another sailor informed us, that the channel had been dredged to 6m. Nevertheless taking the indicated route our depth meter showed 4.2m at the lowest point at a moment of 2m high water?!


You don't need harbours in Holland, just wait for the tide to go out!

At the end we managed to get through the locks at Kornwerderzand and into the IjsselMeer. Nowhere did we have to pay for this.

Arriving in Stavoren, we were met by the local sailor that advices us to take the Channel by Harlingen. Another local told us that Stavern in Norway got its name from here around year 800.

A Coop supermarket was in walking distance and the price for food where slightly higher than in Germany. Most confusing: a lot of the prices where per 500g and not per kg.


Stavoren is criss-crossed with channels, full of harbours and an endless amount of properties with water views. A small tidy, lovely and idyllic place.

What we also notice here, just like before in Vlieland is, that the harbours a full of large traditional boats, many old, but also newer ones, emphasizing, that the Netherlandss not only was a seafaring nation, but still is. Sailing and boating seems to be a favourite past-time for the whole nation.


The harbour is located at the end of a channel with 1.7m depth, in the harbour it is 2m - at least we didn't touch the ground with our 1.95m!

The harbour fee was 18.25€, including electricity, but no water. Shower 50c. There was free internet in the town.


11 May, 2015 | 92.7 nm | position 53° 17.674'N 07° 05.500'E N-E 5-13m/s  


Fancy new pontoons in the harbour- we specially liked the blue LEDs.

Again early off to catch the outgoing current, and we are getting severely fed up by having a "tide calendar" dictating us when we have to be up and when we can sleep.

The day however made up for this inconvenience: perfect, perfect and more perfect sailing. Welkin was going through the sea like a train, so that we decided to do a long leg, which took us all the way to Vlieland, Netherlandss.

Our landing at the quay there was not particular elegant due to a strong sideway current which moved us away from the quay. The comment of another Norwegian sailor, that there are other free spots in the harbour with easier approach, was not at all appreciated by the captain.

So, the deckhand together with another helpful sailor wheeled Welkin in to the quay.

Afterwards we set off to the little village and had a beer. Lovely island with a large beautiful beach.

Welkin The rookie sailor's corner


That was about time! I have been sliding from side to side in these horrible waves now for quite some time! Why couldn't I get this antiskid mat before?


10 May, 2015 | 54.6nm | position 53° 33.746'N 06° 45.032'E S-E 0-5m/s  


Aiming for the shallow run in the Norderney Gatt!

Off late - waiting for high water to get us out into the open sea. The wind has disappeared, so it was another trip on engine, which was not too pleasant, due to the fact that some old sea still lingered around.

The harbour in Borkum was more a "protection" than a "pleasure" harbour and did not invite to stay any longer than necessary.

Due to the fact that the harbour office was closed when we were there, and there was no other place to pay the harbour fee, we stayed here for free.


Sunset over Ems river against the current

Harbour day in Norderney

9 May, 2015 | 70.3 nm | position 53° 42.138'N 07° 09.869'E W-N 0-42m/s  

With wind up  to 42m/s (strong gale) we had to wait for the waves at the Norderney Gatt ( the run between the islands) to ease off a bit. The run is only 2.5 meter and with 2-3m waves we would face a small problem.


Again we found a friendly harbour master here, who helped the landing boats and gave freely advise on other harbours and routes. He strongly recommended not to listen to and follow some of the dutch boats and venture off using whatever routes through the "Watt" (the area between the islands and the mainland, which nearly falls dry at low water).

A good thing, we did not have to pay for internet, because the connection was absolutely lousy. The harbour fee was well below 20€ and did not include electricity, which was charged again at some horrendous 50€/kW. However, the hot shower came for free and was very much appreciated.

The time was used for shopping, baking, cooking, eating and drinking and walks with the dogs to the fantastic beach and sand dunes on the northern side of the island.


8 May, 2015 | 70.3 nm | position 53° 42.138'N 07° 09.869'E S-E 0-5m/s  


Sunrise at Cuxhafen - time 0530

Early off to catch the outgoing current and with the gale gone we could easily get out into the German Bight, the wind however, was at times weak so we could only sail a bit of the 70nm.


On the way out we spotted something that looked like pieces of ice and since it was really cold this morning we actually believed it. Had to get closer to confirm it, but it was only some gatherings of foam!

We got the timing right at arrived at high water, so we had a couple of meter extra to account for the swelling waves.


There were still some waves from the gale as we entered the Dovetief run to Norderney


The harbour is located at the end of a channel with 1.7m depth, in the harbour it is 2m - at least we didn't touch the ground with our 1.95m!

Harbour days in Cuxhafen

6-7 May, 2015 | 0.0 nm | position 53° 52.071'N 08° 42.990'E SW 4-18m/s  


The harbour of LCF Yacht Club

Waiting for a gale and 3.5 m waves to leave the German Bight, we spent the days shopping and walking with the dogs. When we bought maps and books for more than 160€ we were confronted again with the fact, that credit cards were no accepted!  While in Flensburg all shops accepted credit cards, which obviously had to do with the fact that half of Scandinavia seems to shop there, other parts of Germany do not seem to be very prepared for foreign tourists and sailors. Luckily cash machines are all around, and, as it seems, you really need them here.

We also used the time to have a closer look at maps and harbour guides. To plan your trips here, you should leave the harbour with outgoing tide, and arrive with incoming, then you need to look at the water level and the current, then at the wind, which should not go against the current, then, at least at some harbours, you cannot navigate at night .... All this caused us sever headaches and we began to miss the "care-free" sailing in Norway and the Baltic.

With the westerly winds the harbour was not too comfortable due to both waves and swelling. However, we used the time there to chat with various other sailors, all very helpful and friendly, and the club provided free bikes to get to the city centre. Again, the harbour fee was very low, unfortunately there was no internet, and so we had to discover another big issue in Germany: The costs for mobile internet are horrendous! The first mate bought a smart phone card and had to pay 25€ (15€ for card, 10€ for phone/data), which included the ridiculous amount of 500MB.

In comparison: We phoned a service man to check and exchange our fire extinguisher. The costs for him coming to the harbour and exchanging our old one with a new (but used) one, were only 15€ in total! 15€ for a real "human" service, including a serviced fire extinguisher and 25€ for half a GB, made us wonder, what is going here.


5 May, 2015 | 52.8 nm | position 53° 52.071'N 08° 42.990'E SSE 4-10m/s  

Started the day waiting for the channel to clear for us and in warm sunny weather we continued the last part of the channel. What a pleasant day!


3 red lights means you have to wait!


This is the suspended ferry at Rendsburg. It carries cars and people and hangs under the railroad bridge.


A squall is approaching.

Just before the locks at Brunsbüttel a squall hit us with 18 m/s gusts, heavy rain and even hail the size of big peas made it very hard to spot anything around the boat.

While waiting to enter the locks we were hit again!

Out in the Elbe we could enjoy a current that made us go more than 10kn over ground towards Cuxhafen.

The last squall hit us when entering the LCF Yacht Club in the America harbour. We were warmly welcomed by the president at the LCF Yacht Club and enjoyed getting out of the wet clothes and get some heating going.


The Captain is fighting the squall.


4 May, 2015 | 46.0 nm | position 54° 18.486'N 09° 41.134'E WSW 5-10m/s  


The guest harbour Oberrreider-Yachtservice at sunset - the first day we could sit outside in the evening!

Finally the weather forecast were correct, and we could sail all the way to the Kiel Canal.

Before entering the channel we filled up petrol and had to find out, that credit cards were not accepted. The guy at the "Bunkerstation" (petrol station for boats) was quiet embarrassed, when he sent us on his bike to the cash machine in the city.


We felt quite small once in the locks of the Nord-Ostsee Canal

Once in the canal, we had to use the engine to get us halfway through the canal to Rendsburg.

The harbour fee was quite low, but this time, internet was not included! A concert by birds however was presented at no additional costs and we enjoyed the time in this idyllic place.


The banks of the channel were so green that the eyes were hurting - finally we have come far enough south to experience a proper spring!


3 May, 2015 | 50.0 nm | position 54° 40.924'N 09° 59.535'E Variable 10-15m/s  


The harbour the next day, when the rain and wind had left

Nice sailing out the Flensburg Fjord - once out of it, the wind increased to gale and the short choppy sea we know from previous trips in the Baltic sea, hit us.

Before we got in to Maasholm it started to rain and it continued into late night with wind up to 15m/s in the harbour.

It was nice to put on the heating and go below deck to make some dinner before we fell into bed.

The harbour  fee in Maasholm only costs 15€, internet included and a restaurant was close by.