Ipswich to Rendsburg

Al Shaheen
John & Jenny Franklin
Sun 1 Jun 2014 16:41
Rendsburg. N54:18.3 E009:40.16
After a very hectic commissioning at Fox's yard in Ipswich we were eventually ready to sail by Wednesday 21 May and left with the tide early on Thursday 22nd. We had a great sail out into the North Sea with a WSW wind but it died after about 50 miles and we then found that the alternator was not charging. Also, the VHF did not appear to be transmitting. We turned back, made a night entry into the Orwell and docked on a vacant hammerhead berth at Woolverstone Marina at about 0120. Up again at 0530 we motored back to Fox's on the early morning sunshine.

Fox's sorted out the generator - it turned out to be a fault on the rotor windings, so they fitted a new rotor, and the VHF problem. We left again that evening 23/5 and picked up a mooring at Pin Mill for the night. Off to sea once more at 0640 in pouring rain which fortunately cleared later and another good sail in a W4 breeze which lasted all day. Nightfall found us motoring (and charging!) and we spent the night dodging shipping and gas rigs off the Dutch coast.

Daybreak on Sunday 25/5 found us off Terschelling and sailing again off the Dutch Frisian Islands. As Monday's forecast was for strong easterlies we decided to go into Borkum rather than plug on for the Elbe. In hindsight we should have continued as we could have got into the Kiel Canal before the wind got up, but we went into Borkum and moored alongside a large floating dock with the pilot boats. We were then were locked in there for 4 days with very strong E winds but it allowed us to explore Borkum.

On our way again on Friday 30/5 at 0440 to catch the ebb out of Borkum we left by the Riffgat channel inside a 30 tower wind farm with no wind at all. It got up later from the NW and we arrive at Elbe1 buoy at 1630 - about half ebb which was far too early and we plugged against it at barely 3 knots over the ground until way past dark when we were off Cuxhaven with lots of shipping. We continued with an increasing flood tide just out of the shipping channel leaving the starboard hand buoys to port, on and on until out chart ran out at #47! By the time we got to the Brunsbuttel lock into the Kiel Canal at about 0130 the tide was pushing us along at 3 knots and, because of fear of being swept onto a huge dredger anchored in the river, we turned across to the locks far too late and were swept down river. In clawing our way back and across we came close to crossing ahead of a ship coming down river at 15 knots, who soon let us know we were in his way! We slowly edged our way against the stream and into the old lock with one other British yacht. Being not yet 0200 the lock-master advised us that we had to stop overnight at the Brunsbuttlel small boat harbour but in searching for it in the dark we again were nearly mowed down by a cargo vessel with 5 short and rapid blasts! We finally docked at 0215 and went to bed pretty shaken. Moral of the story: don't go into a complex busy estuary at night for the first time, where you have not been in daylight!

Saturday 31 May
Off again into the Kiel Canal in daylight at 0845 we motored along through farmland and rich country smells 37 miles to Rendsburg where we experienced the first of our "pile" moorings at the Rendsburg Marina. On the way through the canal we had prepared our "rubbing strakes" 2 x 10m lengths of 52mm dia 2x8 ships dockline to hang down each side to fend us off from the dreaded piles. It was a pretty fraught experience docking in a strong cross wind but no damage except that Jenny cracked a rib in the docking process.