Flensburg 30.8. - 2.9.
To finalize this great sailing season we went for one more long weekend on the water. The departure on Thursday was rather late and we decided to go forward until the sun sets and look for an anchorage for dropping the hook for one more time during this season. On Friday then we can continue onwards to Flensburg. In Finland the weather was already starting to get chilly and therefore we enjoyed every minute of being on the sea at more than 20 degrees centigrade.
The bay of Høruphav is located on Danish side and seemed well protected. We arrived just at the dawn and were greeted by a swarm of anchor lights swinging in the darkness. It looked like others have thought about this place as well. To our surprise some boats didn’t have anchor lights turned on at all but Andrus could see them well on the radar screen. We thought it is better to drive a little further into the bay. At the bottom of the bay there were a plenty of space for us. After couple of busy days it was wonderful to relax and enjoy being in peaceful nature aboard.
On Friday the journey continued towards Flensburg. The sailing conditions were perfect and the sea was full of boats with crew enjoying the last hot days of the season.
The route to Flensburg passes along the narrow twisty strait. On the north shore is Denmark and Germany is located on the southern side. The skipper tried hard to propose to the ship's cat that after every tack the courtesy flag should be changed because we were changing country between Germany and Denmark on each tack. Maybe I was enjoying too much the sound of water playing on the bow but anyhow I neglected my duties ruthlessly.
While entering the marina of Flensburg the boat in front of us took the last free berth. We stopped circling for a while thinking about where to go as also the places outside pontoons were full. At the same time Andrus noticed that the former boat had stuck between the piles.
The boxes made of piles are approximately four metres wide. Nowadays however boats are getting wider and seeing a yacht with the beam over four metres is the norm. Usually the piles are made of wood and sea bottom is soft, thus it is a common practice for boats to give a little kiss to the piles on both sides while entering the box. A small nudge with the throttle is all that is needed. This wasn’t however what happened to this yacht. She got stuck. They pushed and pulled, throttled both forward and backwards but nothing helped. The piles in Flensburg were made of plastic pipes and filled with concrete. Pushing through them did not work at all.
The harbourmaster shouted to us that we could wait and enter the berth after the other boat manages to release itself. We waited for some time because their efforts to release the boat were not successful. Just as we were approaching them to offer a tow out from the box they got free and relieved skipper backed his boat out from the tight space.
When it was our turn to enter between the same piles I had to tease Andrus: what Suwena's skipper is thinking, will we fit into the box? It would be really embarrassing if a second boat in a row would get stuck between the same piles. Of course we knew we would fit because Suwena's beam is 3.7 metres. As a precautionary measure we raised fenders to the deck, this way they don't get stuck between the boat and the pile. Suwena slid nicely into the box and we had arrived again in a new harbour.
A late arrival and a long wait to get the other boat released took some time and it was already past 7pm when she was made fast. That meant the harbour office was already closed for a day. A keycard is needed to enter the pontoon. I stayed at the gate and Andrus went to see if there is any possibility to get the card even if the office is already closed. It would be boring to stay only on the pontoon for a Friday evening. Fortunately there was a note at the harbour office that keycards are available at the restaurant next door and soon Andrus arrived with the card. Unfortunately the card did not work. After getting back to the restaurant he found out the card works only until 7pm on the last day of the month which happened to be just now. We did get lucky thou. The harbourmaster was having a pint to celebrate the Friday at the same restaurant and he was kind enough to fetch us a working card. Now we were free to move around.
On Saturday we explored Flensburg. We were sitting at cosy coffee shops and enjoyed excellent German pastries. The long walking street was full of shops, restaurants and many people bustling around. Flensburg is an exciting mix of German and Danish cultures. While Heiligenhafen and Kappeln feel distinctively German cities, in Flensburg the Danish influence is clearly seen. After all Flensburg was part of Denmark for 600 years and at a time it was the second biggest port of Denmark after Copenhagen. There are still a considerable Danish minority in the city.
We left to the return trip towards Kappeln on Sunday. Again there were a lot of boat traffic and steering the boat takes a constant lookout. Already before departure we decided to sail as much as possible. No matter if the wind is with us or against we will try to maximize the sailing experience on the last sail of the year. The wind was really pampering us because our route turned 180 degrees and at the same time the wind together with us from Flensburg towards Schlei. We were amazed because we sailed the whole 36 nautical miles on a starboard tack until the entrance of Schlei. It was just beautiful to surf forward with the speed of 7.5 knots. Then it was time to moor Suwena at Ancker Yachting marina waiting for the maintenance work and winter preparations starting on Monday.