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Friday, 22 September 2017

Sonderborg, Denmark - Burgstakken, Germany (15 September 2017)

On a wet and gloomy Wednesday morning we slipped our lines at around 0830 and in company with two German boats started heading SW towards Schleimunde, the entrance to the Schlei fjord. We were able to sail with a moderate S wind and completed the 20nm to the narrow entrance to the fjord in good time. Passing through the entrance into a tight buoyed channel, we were immediately dodging tripper and fishing boats and then we motored some 4nm to the town of Kappeln, mooring at a sailing club about half a kilometre from the town centre.
Kappeln itself is fairly ordinary but there is a busy road crossing in the town, with a bridge refurbished about seven years ago.
The bridge at Kappeln
In the afternoon we looked around what was a mainly modern centre. 
Perhaps not the best name for a driving school?
But there was an impressive Police HQ and a traditional windmill on the fringes.
Smart windmill
The following day we drifted down to the bridge which opens at 15 minutes to the hour and then continued down river.
For the next 20 nm depths outside the channel were typically 3 metres, with perhaps a little more in the channel itself. After waiting for the opening of the bascule bridge at Lindaunis, shared by rail and vehicular traffic, we continued down river through pretty countryside with sometimes wide lakes and then narrow channels between land.
Waterfront location on the Schlei    
Eventually we reached Schleswig, the navigable head of the Schlei. This was an interesting mixture of old and new. On the way into the town centre we visited the Cathedral of St Nikolai, an impressive building with some highly skilled carvings.
Impressive work
We also had the opportunity to climb the high tower which gave good views once breathing had returned to normal!
Looking across one part of the town towards the Yachthafn
Best of all was the traditional fishing village of Holm, well preserved small houses in a very attractive setting.
One side of the square in Holm
The next day we returned up river to Kappeln in continuous driving rain although with some wind behind us we were able to sail. Frustratingly there was some sort of problem with the very rusty bridge at Lindaunis which meant that one opening failed to materialise. As a result two German boats and ourselves had to wait for about an hour and three quarters for the bridge to open, with no explanation as to why! Once through, after about another 6nm, we had to wait for the newer town bridge but this did open punctually. We again moored just N of Kappeln. The town has many restaurants so good quality food is very reasonably priced, especially those with fish!
We were now anxiously watching the weather for a week ahead. Such medium term forecasts can be unreliable, but we had noted that a deepening low with attendant high winds seemed to be a permanent part of the forecast for our last seven days. We had various options on where to go next and if that element of concern hadn't been part of the forecast we would probably have stayed longer in the Schei. But as it did, on Saturday we opted for a 46nm passage to Heiligenhafen. With S and SW winds forecast we were looking forward to our trip SE. After two hours sailing the wind was quickly heading us and became E for the following hours accompanied by heavy rain!
Not the most enjoyable weather .......
We choose to stop at the small sailing club at Heiligenhafen rather than the large marina and found a very welcoming and chatty group of people. We have been to this very busy town before and know that it attracts many visitors. 
The Sailing Club at Heiligenhafen
On Sunday, after some quick shopping we had an enjoyable lunch at a restaurant overlooking the marina. After that we slipped our mooring, picked up fuel and then headed NE, under the bridge linking Fehmarn and the mainland and on to Burgstaaken where we leave the boat for the winter. A pleasant cruise drying out the sails from the previous days rain!
It was the right decision. The winds picked up on Tuesday and by Wednesday evening were a minimum 35kn gusting to over 50kn. Whilst tied to the pontoon it was very uncomfortable. In addition there was a very rare occurrence of a sharp drop in water levels caused by the low pressure and strong winds. The fall from normal levels was nearly a metre, apparently unheard of in Burgstakken. The consequence for us (and others) was that for a while we sunk into the (thankfully) soft mud! We were aground for over 12 hours but no damage was done. Two days later the mast was stepped and Whileaway was lifted out ready for moving into the shed for the winter. 

Part of the quay at Burgstaaken
By Sunday warm and sunny weather had returned and we were able to have our last lunch in Germany in a restaurant on the quay.
So a summer that was constrained by our engine problems but nevertheless we covered some 850nm, visiting 31 ports during the 10 weeks that we were on board. For the most part we had reasonable weather. Now we need to start thinking about next year ..........................



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