Thursday, 24 March 2016

First outing of the season, Hartelpool to Grimsby

We were offered a long term visitors berth at Humber Cruising Association last November, but there followed a series of named storms so we didn't venture out. Its all very well insisting there is no off-season for sailing but the reality is we only got moderate northerly winds with a ridge of high pressure and that means it is cold.

By March we had high pressure and winds W or NW 3 or 4 forecast and reasonable temperatures (up to 10 deg C).  We had clear skies, no swell except a horrible one the first day. We saw porpoises, seals and no other yachts.

It was sad to leave Hartlepool. One of the friendliest and most economical commercial marinas we have encountered. While the town is not so interesting near the marina are big supermarkets, a cinema and a fun maritime museum. The cruising ground is superb with plenty of short hop ports to visit and lots of marine life to see.  It also has the advantage that you can often get out the lock 3 or 4 hours either side of HW.

We spent two nights at Whitby and one at Scarborough.  Whitby is our favourite NE port to visit with a picturesque and vibrant town, shops (including a chandlers) excellent showers. The down side is the swing bridge opens every 30 mins only two hours either side of HW. Like most harbours along the NE coast the port authority staff will often "talk you in" over VHF as they watch you on cameras.  Whitby and Scarborough both said they did not really have visitors berths as they had moved residents on to them for maintenance, but they seem to have a tradition of finding a place for you somewhere. We filled up with diesel from the fuelling point at the fish dock. Commercial quantities means minimum 250L or 55 g. That was what we needed to fill up so fine with advance notice.

It was a shame that we had to motor, as the wind was no more than F3 and we had a schedule driven by tides. But is was sunny, clear and calm, so we couldn't have everything. We saw porpoises on every leg or the trip. They don't seem to stay with us when we are under engine, which was a shame. The seals however pop up to take a good look at us (and maybe to see if we have any fish).

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