Sunday, 12 July 2015

Shakedown cruise

First trip of the year, with work travel causing a late start to the season. With Mike and Sarah we set off from Hull on the ebb, heading to Grimsby.

Reflecting on Hull Marina there are some good things. Kilsdale Marine, the Chandlers, are well stocked, very helpful, and ultra convenient. Richard the boss is especially helpful and is the Cruising Association honorary local representative and a mine of information.  The people who operate the lock and hoist are all experienced and helpful too. The main draw back is that it is run by British Waterways, who run mainly inland waterways and seem rather clueless. I have never met a boatyard that does not operate the hoist at   weekend for example. It is also fairly expensive both in the marina and the yard, and a long way to the sea!

Off then to Grimsby which is closer to the sea and the marina, rather more like a Danish one, is run by a sailing club, the Humber Cruising Association.

Leaving on the ebb the plan was to not fight the tide, go past Grimsby and anchor then come back in n the rising tide. It is in principle possible to do the trip in one tide, but the stream runs at about 4 knots at springs so initial progress would be slow. Grimsby opens the lock for free flow 2 hours either side of HW, but penning in other times depends on the amount of commercial traffic as they have priority.

The Humber is a busy port and one requests permission to enter the estuary from Humber VTS, a bit like air traffic control. Near  Immingham  they asked us to tack out of the channel as a large ship was leaving that port. Our AIS transponder meant they called us by name (not they don't bother with AIS - basically too fiddly!) which is very handy. The boat behind us a nice Elizabethan ketch of about 32 feet didn't have an AIS transponder and I don't think had announced their departure from Hull. I think they got the hint when they saw us tack and perhaps heard VTS talking about them to the ship.

We anchored near Spurn Point which was pleasant and sheltered. Actually this is where VTS is based, as well as the lifeboat. We had a early dinner and saw a seal. The forecast was for brief torrential rain, which lasted half an hour and the visibility closed in. Then it cleared nicely for us to head back over to Grimsby on the flood.