Crossing back home !!!
14 September 2016
Crossing back home !!!!!
We could have stayed on Vlieland for ever but it seemed that the weather could deteriorate by the end of this week and we would miss these gentle conditions for the North Sea crossing.
We started on Monday 6am with outgoing tide making 8knots with the south-easterly breeze and sunshine, till midnight we crossed already all three busy Traffic Separation Schemes off the Netherlands coast. Tuesday was as nice as the day before, we enjoyed being on the sea….it was so peaceful and pleasant that we were not very motivated to make our way in the best possible pace (we would rather stayed on the sea a little longer enjoying this great sailing).
Everything changed as we closed Flamborough Head – the visibility was not great all the time but suddenly it became misty, than we sailed in a very dense fog; the wind changed from gentle south-easterly to a stiff breeze on the nose; strong current went against us; waves were building up; we were making less than 2knots over ground ….And it was COLD, we changed shorts to our heavy weather cloths!!!
For hours and hours we could not see anything, the traffic was quite busy around us, we were staring at the radar screen as our AIS seemed to be temperamental till it went completely blank when we were approaching the Tees Bay. BAD, BAD !!! Waldemar came on the idea to use the app on his iPhone to watch the traffic – there were so many ships behind us heading to Tees and one big ship after another leaving the harbour and going in unpredictable directions. Our last source was to call the ships and make sure we can continue safely. The swell was also getting more unpleasant in the bay. We know this place quite well but we could not recognise anything in this tick fog; we navigated only by our electronics … and after long hours arrived finally in the Hartlepool lock. Hurray!
We got a royal welcome – Marina managers Alan and Shaun waited for us in the lock to take our ropes.
We have done it !!! After 56hrs on the sea and 250nm we were moored in Hartlepool. It was our first solo North Sea crossing – it feels great.
Now is the time to prepare for the next year sailing; our job list is already 3 pages long!!!
09 September 2016
Finally all jobs were done in the Medemblik Yacht Service; we were put back on water and… we sailed away!!!
Initially we went only 15 nm to Enkhuizen; just in case there would be any problems with the Mon Repos. But everything was OK (!!!) so next day we decided to sail north and get a few days of this hot summery weather on our favourite Friesland Island – Vlieland. The way there was more than exciting for us! The Wadden Sea with the strong tidal currents needs a very good timing anyway to get the trip and arrival time right but on the 9th September we were confronted with quite windy conditions on top of it. On our way, there were moments we thought the water around us was boiling , confused by wind and currents, we understood on this day the expression of “standing waves” – areas of steep, short waves in between of relatively calm waters. Most exiting moment was the 15 meters wide entrance to the marina – with current of 2.5knots and 25knots wind both going across!!! Finally (with heart palpitations and high blood pressures) we were inside and the harbour master squeezed us into a quite narrow berth in the already full marina.
Next days were sunny, hot and wind still…. the dream of holiday…
Vlieland is known as a pearl of Friesland Islands for very good reason.
There are beautiful kilometre long beaches, huge dunes with paths for bicycles, real pine forest smelling of resin and almost no traffic (tourists can not come here by cars).
We spend hours walking in the forest, cycling along dunes, picking shells on the beach….relaxing.
04 September 2016
Still in Medemblik !!!
We arrived here on Friday 19th of August! A day before our Weronika joined us in Amsterdam and we sailed together to meet Rich in Medemblik. Rich was part of the crew staying on board of "Miss Milly", a new and impressive Contest 50, which was supposed to be delivered to Malta. Unfortunately there were some technical problems and following so much delay Miss Milly will have to be shipped to the Med; eventually Rich moved to us.
We hopped to sail and maybe do the passage to England together but before that we wanted to take Mon Repos out of water for few days and look into some problems (water leak on rudder shaft, coolant leak in engine ....).
Now we are still on hard as the crane in Medemblik Yacht Service broke and cannot be repaired probably for another 3 days. Three of us live on board, not so easy and pleasant - we cannot use galley and most importantly toilets (we have to climb 4 meters ladder!!!).
Much happened in this (only) 2 weeks. Firstly Rich and Waldemar worked hard cleaning and polishing the hull, MR got a new antifouling, new rudder bearing and bracket, new water pump.... Weronika fulfilled her dream and attended a diving course in Berlin; she become a certified diver! I spent a week in Dortmund with my mum. Two days ago we went to Amsterdam Boat Show, we met Colin and spent a great day there.
Tomorrow we will carry on with jobs and keep monitoring what weather is doing!
Non-stop passage from Cuxhaven to Amsterdam
18 August 2016
The last week was already quite busy but our time scale for this leg was even tighter - we have planned to meet Weronika in Amsterdam on Thursday.
The weather was good and stable ; we made few different plans like stop & rest on Borkum or Vlieland (Frisland islands) or preferably non stop sailing ....
We started on turning tide Monday midday with numerous other boats heading west (last week there were many boats stuck because of the westerly gales on the North Sea and Baltic). We were again impressed by the huge Elbe estuary with strong currents and heavy traffic. It is indeed one of the most busy shipping lines in the world! The swell was still quite unpleasant especially as were running against it with the strong tide. The next 24 hours was like a regatta; there were so many yachts around us that we felt motivated to keep up with their speed. Some sights were spectacular; most of all when the fleet was crossing the Jade anchorage - about 15 boats sailing between 8 huge ships in picturesque sunset. At night we had to stay very vigilant and keep clear of other boats (one boat was sailing in the opposite direction and I spotted in the last moment: it passed us only by some 20 meters...).
We sailed passed Borkum bymidnight. Next morning the wind backed and we decided to set our blister (some other boats sailed under spinnakers, we could not be worse, could we?). But the sea gave us a good lesson - we kept our blister too long and the wind picked up; Waldemar struggled to take it away (only small damage was done...).
Slowly we were getting a sort of routine - few hours rest, few hours watch in turns.
In the evening we were close to Vlieland with the ingoing tide but it felt soooooo good to be on the sea - we decided to carry on non stop to Amsterdam.
This night we were more careful, 2nd reef in the main and only half genua after sunset! And it was more than enough! On times our speed was 8 knots with the wind 15-20kn and strong current in quite busy waters close to Den Helder and Amsterdam. To the
At 4am we passed the entrance of the Seaport Marina in Ijmuiden and moored for 2 hours at the fuel berth as we wanted to go throug the lock to the North Sea Canal by daylight.
At 10am on Thursday we arrived in the Aeolus Marina opposite to the Central Station in Amsterdam. Mooring there was the most demanding manoeuvre to this date!!!!! The only available space was ca 13m (we are 12,5) between other boats rafted up. We really earned our beer
It was our longest "solo" passage, we enjoyed it and we want more!
Kiel Canal and Cuxhaven
15 August 2016
It took us two days to motor through the Kiel Canal, we stayed over night at the Giselau Lock which is a very nice and peaceful place. On Sunday morning we refuelled in Brunsbuettel (no diesel in the bilge this time!!!!). We went through the lock by 2PM and we motored on the Elbe with the outgoing current of 3kn (and against 20kn westerly wind with big steep waves....) to Cuxhaven where we rafted up as a 5th boat in YC Marina. Quick shopping in Lidle this morning and we are getting ready to leave on slack water heading west!
Next heavy passage
11 August 2016
Today again we decided to push! In the evening the wind was supposed to back to SW and we could do our way westwards (80nm to Kiel).
Leaving Warnemuende was quite a spectacle - there were so many tall ships arriving on this day for the start of "Hanse Days" celebration . Some of them huge and beautiful - as the white Polish "Dar Mlodziezy", the Russian "Sedov" and the famous "Kruzenstern".
It was quickly becoming dark; the sky was covered with low black rain clouds and the wind was again stronger than forecasted. In the Bay of Mecklenburg the waves were building higher and higher and the visibility was becoming worse and worse. By now it was the darkest possibly night with horizontal rain and we were approaching shipping lanes.
On top of it, of all days, today I decided not to take my anti sea sickness medication and guess.... I become really sea sick, sweaty, vomiting and not much help!
In this condition at about 1am we were supposed to pass under the Fehmarn Bridge; quite demanding navigation.
Once again Waldemar did the only sensible decision - we sailed south into the bay to get some better condition close to the lee shore and waited till daylight.
Resting (2hrs sleep for each of us) did the trick! Like by miracle the weather condition improved in the morning as well and we sailed under full sails up to Kieler Foerde.
We stayed over night at the waiting pontoon before the lock in Holtenau. It is a nice, small and peaceful place.