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Onora racing Marie Galante.

Locked into the Kiel Canal.

This hanging ferry carries people and cars under the railroad bridge.

North Sea fisherman.

Happy to arrive in Ransgate, England.

Rounding the cliffs of Dover.

Second Summer on the Baltic Sea, Pt. 3: Copenhagen to England's Winter Storage

August 26th, 2011

Mon Island Denmark 55*02N., 12*25E

After ten days with the family in Chicago and Wisconsin, we returned to Copenhagen ladened with spare parts . The fifty pound refrigeration motor in my duffle put a dent in my shoulder but arrived in good shape. Luckily for us, a friend of Ole's had kept an eye on Onora.

There had been a big spring tide. Ole's friend, also Ole, had adjusted our lines. I missed seeing him before leaving. I later sent him an email asking for his address so we could send him a thank you baseball cap. He declined. He explained that he uses his girlfriends address and changes girlfriends every six months. This way he can go sailing without having to take them along. "The world is full of new girlfriends."

My sister Helen made a last minute decision and arrived carrying her sea boots. After I got the refrigeration humming Ole picked up the three of us for a quick city tour before heading out to his cottage to collect our frozen stores. The cottage was now occupied by his former girlfriend and her boyfriend who apologized for having eaten some of our German blue cheese. They thought it was Ole's.

The next morning we left in a drizzle but the sun broke through in an hour. After a 50 mile sail we creeped up to the exposed northern shore of Mon Island. Normally we look for a sheltered bay but in settled weather an offshore breeze and a forest behind the beach provides enough shelter. We just dropped the anchor and had a peaceful night. After the anxiety dealing with the refrigeration, the trip home and the crowds of Copenhagen, a quiet night swinging at anchor felt like stepping through a door. We had re-entered the cruising life.

August 28th, 2011

Kiel Canal Germany 54'20N 9'44E

We spotted the 122 foot luger-rigged Dutch training ship "Marie Galante" as we entered the ten mile long stretch to Kiel's harbor. The sailing conditions were perfect-about18 knots out of the west, blue skies and flat seas. Onora boiled along at ten knots and we caught her just before we peeled off to enter the Kiel Canal.

This waterway through the Jutland Peninsula cuts 200 miles off our trip to England. We had planned to sail north from Copenhagen to check into Norway to restart Onora's two year tax free clock that allows foreign yachts to cruise EU waters. We have now found out that our trip to the Aland Islands counts and a stop at Helgoland, just 30 miles into the North Sea will also do that.

This canal was the brain child of Kaiser Wilhelm. It was built as a challenge to England. It enables the German Navy to reach the North Sea without having to pass the narrow and potentially hostile Kattegat between Denmark and Sweden. This is now the busiest artificial waterway in the world. It has just two locks, one at each end, and is 61 miles long. We have to follow the series of red and green traffic lights control the flow.

August 30, 2011

Cuxhaven Germany 53'52.3N 8'42.2E

Bob, Ann and Al came over for a beer last night to help us consider our options. I am concerned that we might not make it to England. The low pressure systems that swing north to Iceland in the summer roar straight to the North Sea as Fall approaches. Our attempt to sail to Helgoland was aborted when we decided to end the bashing into 30 knot winds which was more punishment than the crew or the boat deserved. Since turning back two days ago we have been sitting here in Cuxhaven waiting for the winds to moderate and swing in our favor.

Our Dutch visitors told us our mast is too high at 75 feet and our keel to deep at 8.6 feet to make it through the Dutch canal system. Our options are simple. If we get a two day break we can go for England. Anything less means dashing out and in along the Dutch coast but only a few harbors are deep enough for us.

The weather against us, currents, shallow water and the volume of shipping makes this the most daunting passage we have faced since the Drake Passage enroute to Antarctica. The solution is simple. Wait.

- Click here for Part 2 -




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