Rudkøbing Løb (Rudkøbing Channel)

North of the Bredningen sea is Rudkøbing Løb (Rudkøbing Channel). A channel is a natural or dug-out fairway leading through a shallow section of the sea. Originally, Rudkøbing Løb was the outflow from Bredningen, which after the Ice Age was a lake. The place where the channel got closest to the coast was a good location for a port, and around this, the market town of Rudkøbing emerged. The town originally only had a pier, and it was not until 1826 that a proper harbour was established. Larger ships could not put into the pier, and coupled with a small gun battery, these conditions twice prevented the Swedish forces from landing in Rudkøbing during the Dano-Swedish War in October 1658. Unfortunately for the local population, the Swedes later managed to land on Northern Langeland and then proceeded to conquer the entire island, which was thoroughly pillaged.

Shipping traffic increased in the 19th century, and when steam navigation really got going, the need for good and safe buoyage emerged. A pilot station was established in Rudkøbing to fulfil this need. The channel’s natural course was a bit tortuous, and thus it was straightened and deepened in order to help the shipping industry. Today, the channel is three metres deep and is lit by three leading lights.

From Rudkøbing Harbour, the channel continues northwards through the 80 metre wide passage under the bridge connecting Langeland and the island of Siø. The bridge was built in 1962 and has a headroom of 26 metres. The channel continues due north, before ending at the northern sea buoy off Pæregård on Langeland and Vemmenæs Skov (Vemmenæs Forest) on Tåsinge. On the Langeland side of the channel is a few shoals; closest to the bridge is Bagergrunden (Baker’s Shoal), then comes Rifbjerg Grund (Rifbjerg Shoal), and finally, furthest to the north, Middelgrund (Middle Shoal).

The current in Rudkøbing Channel is either northerly or southerly – and changes every six hours. For a short period of time, there is slack current. You have to beware of the current, as it can sometimes run 4-5 knots.

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