Bye bye Cuxhaven! Yeahii! Finally I am sailing again. And for the first time just on my own – single handed. I been nervous and uncertain for a few days to just go by myself! There been still looots of things not finished and getting everything tied up took me too long. I been late for the bridge and hurried after a nother boat when the lift bridge already started to close (ui not proud of that but worked safely) it shows how much I had been in a hurry and or how difficult it’s been to leave. The lift bridge would have only opened 30min later which would have been worse for current, tide and I would have arrived in the dark. My first day the 18.05.2019 single handed sailing from Cuxhaven to Helgoland it’s been 38nm taking me 8 hours. It’s been light winds only little waves and few clouds. I had to motor a little when the wind died down. I did not want to arrive in the dark. I made it for sun set with still little light in the harbour, but Helgoland has no real marina they call it a safety and shelter harbour whit a long pontoon where yachts just dock next to each other. It’s been Saturday and up to 7 yachts where tied together – this been very new for me! But very nice though meeting lots of people. I got trapped in Helgoland by fog for a few days, where I did not want to leave the harbour when having to cross the major German shipping lines. But Helgoland is a very nice Island to visit – nice hikes, beach, tax free shopping and one meets lots of sailors!
It’s been my birthday when leaving Helgoland for Norderney its been a long trip and winds and sea picked up and after having been warned by many people not going around the islands to the marina at lower tides I had been very uncertain if with the “high” waves it would get to shallow. Therefore I just went up and down some hours for the tide to turn and rise. I been happy to have made it well and having had spare energy to mange a reasonable landing.
Just a few boats further there been a another boat – a couple which left the same day from Helgoland they planned a world cycling and been kind of on the same rout (at least for a bit) as me, which I heard in Helgoland. I walked up to them and we seemed to have a good chat. They smiled at the fact that they found someone with less experience then them self who is going on a long trip. We happened to sail together until south of UK most of the time doing the same trips on the same days. It’s been always great and motivating to leave with a another boat (that’s where the photos of me out the sea come from) for the next harbour. Just that it’s been an unfair race there boat been 13m versus my 8m. So they always made it before me. On the other hand they could inform me about the marina and harbour entrance.
Slowly confidence grew while heading for the “Staande Mast Route” which is the inland rout crossing through the Nederland’s. With the westerly winds it’s a great alternative getting around Texel towards the English channel. The standing must rout been a new challenge for me, being on the tiller for up to seven hours without break (I don’t remember how I went to toilet) and all the little and bigger locks. The first few looks I been quite nervous but it became a routine soon. One rope from the middle cleat straight out around a cleat on the wall and back to the winch in the cockpit. With the engine and rudder I could handle distance to the wall and heading of the vessel. But I also need to say that the Dutch looks (at least most) are just great they open automatically now VHF chatting necessary and they will leave the water in with only moderate little current within the lock (much better then UK). Also the lifting bridges been great when crossing through the city centres and villages one had to cross most worked just like automatic doors – while approaching the light would switch to green and when up at the bridge it would open just in time without that one would need to reduce speed. Channels at places could be busy just as car traffic in crowded cities other day one would be lonely crossing with the boat in a channel over a motorway (yes one could look down on the racing cars below the boat in the water). My favourite city been Groningen. All the water channels though the city and the cute old buildings, all the bicycles and the young people around. It also been a great place to fix my engine a bit more – starting to build my second cooling cycle for the engine – there been lots of building markets etc around and marina prices been very fair compared to UK or Spain. But the ocean (if one can call the English channel the ocean) been calling! I desired to sail, turn of the engine and enjoy the view, see a blue horizon.
My best marina so far been Watersportvereniging Lelystad, it’s been very clean, easy, clearly marked guest pontoon and a very fair price for the great facilities. Well the city … oky … but you won’t miss much if you just sail on without a visit to the city or shopping village.
Schevening been another marina I liked (it’s very touristic – be aware) it has a great waterfront for skating and everything one needs is around.
Sailing west Dunkerque been also a nice place, the people with their little English been just super friendly and there are also great places to skate. Here I slowly to realize that I am missing something but it took me until Chichester (south UK) to realize what it is.