Wednesday 13 July 2016
Our intended departure time wobbled between 07:00 - 08:00, either one or the other and not somewhere in between. We chose the earlier option and the forecast looked promising for the day, but that was all, and taking this meant, if progress was as hoped, we might be too early for Nordeney but would be not too late for Borkum.
We motored down the dull grey estuary for over three hours in some light rain and a slight swell, the weather gradually improved and sunshine was spotted. We were in company with 8 or 10 boats and gradually settled with a sailing boat called Hippocampus (Seahorse) who was on our course at the same speed; for the whole day we were less than a mile apart.
At 13:00 we calculated that Nordeney was going to be arrived at too soon, the tide would not be high enough to give us a safe margin to enter - we found 2.5m in the entrance channel in May - and with the 1.5m swell we were encountering and our 2m draft we needed an arrival time close to high water to be safe.
We had added an extra 30nm to our passage, but we were going well, while we had initially motored out of the Elbe then sailed until the wind eased, the engine was started to maintain boat speed.
Entering Borkum is relatively easy, like most of these Friesian Island entrances (they are referred to as gats) you sail past and then turn back into them, we had plenty of water but a strong ebbing tide, but hey-ho that's sailing. At 20:30 we tied up on the ghastly U-Boat pontoon in Borkum after 102nm and 13.5 hours at sea, Jasper was very keen to get ashore!
The weather forecasts for the next few days drained all hope of further progress westwards and a lovely period of settled warm weather with light winds which had been showing on a couple of forecast charts for the end of the weekend into next week had evaporated, moderate to strong southwesterlies and unsettled weather had replaced them….but?