Because of the surrounding sandbanks, it is necessary to go out almost to the Elbe light vessel (actually to Scharnhörnriff-W
buoy) and then follow the relatively narrow, but extremely well buoyed channel all the way in to Cuxhaven, a distance of about 17
miles. From the light float to Cuxhaven the channel is divided into four lanes. The inner two are for major ships and are marked
with normal buoys. The outer two are bounded by very large beacons (posts), painted respectively green or red. You can travel in
either direction in these outer lanes, but they are relatively narrow - only a few hundred yards at some points, and the channel
shallows rapidly beyond the posts, particularly on the south side..
major issue is that the tide, particularly across Sharnhörn Riff, runs at up to 4 knots on the ebb, and with prevailing winds
being south-westerly, anything much above a F4 tends to whip up sizeable seas. We've been out there in an F6 and, although I didn't
consider it dangerous, I wouldn't want to be there in a smaller boat.
Tidal planning generally means leaving Norderney about two hours after low water. You do have to cross the entrance to the Jade
and Wesser, which can be busy, but not a patch on the Elbe, where large ships overtake other large ships. There is an anchorage
at the Jade entrance and this can add to the confusion.
Beyond Cuxhaven, the estuary is (slightly) more sheltered, and you must make the sixteen miles or so up river to the canal at
Bunsbüttel. The main hazard here is getting across the lanes, as the canal entrance is on the north bank. Sometimes it can
feel very much like trying to run across the M25!