Just like we thought on Thursday evening the night became a little restless. Every few hours ships passed the Kiel canal locks and their huge propellers were not exactly quiet. However, the marina is well protected and there is no swell from the ships. Only the propeller blades woke us up every now and then.
On Friday morning we were going to leave Brunsbüttel towards Hamburg at low tide and thus we were ready in front of the lock gates about an hour before the low water. However finally we had to wait an hour outside the lock and another hour inside the lock gates. Maybe there were some technical problems with the gates. We were sharing the lock together with a Dutch sailboat and a dredger.
The distance to Hamburg on the Elbe river is about 40 nautical miles. We had a flood tide all the way up to Hamburg and that saved 9 miles as our log showed only 31 miles. Most of the time there was a current of 3 knots.
It is interesting that the harbour located inland and 140 km from the North Sea has grown into the second biggest port in Europe. Only while travelling by ourselves on the Elbe river we understood its greatness. On the map the 2 kilometre wide river feels so different compared to sailing on it. And it was not about being alone, the continuous stream of vessels from big container ships to small pleasure boats were going both the up- and the downstream.
While passing the pier of Wedel on the way to Hamburg centre on Friday we must say that either our Suwena is too small ship or they did not have a Finnish anthem prepared. We later visited with Manfred the pier of Wedel or Welcome Point as they call it. Every ship coming to Hamburg is given a vocal welcome together with the national anthem of the vessel’s flag state. Andrus proposed that we should tweak our AIS settings and maybe we will get a goodbye song then 🙂
When we were approaching the City Sporthafen a huge container ship in front of us turned towards the container port. First a pilot boarded and then two tugs arrived to help turning the ship in a river current towards the container port; one of the tugs was acting as a brake and another steered the bow – impressive to see this action at close range!
We however entered the City Sporthafen marina and moored her alongside. The marina is just at the heart of Hamburg and all the sights are easily accessible. The marina itself looks very small, there are only 80 berths for boats. On that time there were only a few visiting boats from Switzerland and Holland in addition to us. Of course there were some German visitors as well. The downside of the marina is the swell from passing ships. Tourist sightseeing tour ships leave from the marina or pass close by and the waves together with a two knot current create standing waves. The waves reflect from vertical flood barriers and make being a little uncomfortable.
We liked Hamburg a lot. It feels like a very relaxed metropolis with vast amount of parks and Hamburger people seemed to be very laid-back and friendly. Visiting Hamburg by own boat was definitely worth it even thou we had to make an additional detour to traditional sailing route from Brunsbüttel to Cuxhaven. Our days there were so busy there that we’ll make a separate blog entry about Hamburg.