Cuxhaven is only 16M downriver from the western entrance to the Kiel Canal – our way through to the Baltic. The tides are strong in the river and we’re on springs at the moment so it only took us 3 hours to sail upriver to Brunsbuttel and the locks.
There are 4 sets of locks – two for big container ships etc, and two for smaller cargo vessels and yachts. Commercial traffic obviously has priority and we were slightly worried about having to wait for the lock out in the river, stemming the tide for potentially hours. We had chosen to sail up river, all the other yachts we saw were motoring and soon overtook us, but they didn’t gain much as when we approached Brunsbuttel we saw them all waiting outside in the river. When we were still a mile away the lock signals changed to allow the yachts into the waiting area so we put the engine on and went for full speed ahead in the hope that they’d hold the lock for us – they kindly did, but only just, almost as soon as we’d cleared the lock gate it started to close behind us.
We rafted against a beautiful german built modern wooden racing yacht, and 10 minutes later were motoring into the flat waters of the Kiel Canal. We moored up in Brunsbuttel for the night and treated ourselves to takeaway pizza whilst we watched the big ships lock through.