Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Wells town quay

Wells visitors pontoon. We stay afloat even at low water here. The quay is lined with  children catching crabs. At the end of the day they put them back.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Wells again

We had a nice force 4 following wind from  Grimsby which faded away later with a bit of swell starting. Wells harbour is full due to carnal so they put us in the outer harbour with the wind farm cats. Advantage is it is close to the beach...and the very pleasant beach cafe . Camp site shop handy and a miniature railway in to town . Amazing how close the channel is to the beach

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Grimsby to Wells Next the Sea

As we left Grimsby Sarah's Choir
St George's Singers were live
on Radio 4 LW . Our boat has a
car style radio that actually has LW
(which is rare and useful out of FM
range). Sarah sang along.


We had a spot of reasonable weather and a chance to get away so we went to the boat on Sunday. The Gribs said the wind would be easterly and later in the week come round to the north.  I was thinking to go north of the Humber again, but also wasn't feeling too good so thought we might have a day of light boat maintenance and victualling  and set off the next day.   The thing about going south is the obvious port is Wells Next the Sea. Its a tide away and best to go in HW-2 to HW.  And HW Monday was 2130. Sarah got up early and got to doing some passage planning with other club members in the ladies shower. She came back and got me out of bed saying we were putting to sea. She told me the passage plan and she started stowing things while I did the engine checks and got out the charts. It was a high Spring tide, so the Fish Dock lock was closed until about  HW+1 as otherwise the the level would be too high for our pontoons. So we left at 0920, but as we had not done the planned shopping our neighbour threw across half a loaf of bread to make sandwiches.

It was a great day for a sail and while close hauled we could make it on one tack from the Humber

We took the recommended route south of the Rosse Reach separation channel, but we would have to tack to miss Donna Nook Bombing Range. The presence of (Typhoon?) planes doing low level attack runs, probably getting a radar lock on us, suggested the range was in use. Humber CG informed us we should call the range on Ch 16. We called but did not get a reply until quite close and they requested we pass North of the range, so we put in a tack.

We made excellent time and had to hand around for half an hour waiting to make our approach just before HW-2. We couldn't raise Wells harbour on the
Our track in to Wells Next Sea on Google Maps.
VHF from the leading buoy but one of the wind farm vessels relayed the message.  The Channel is narrow and very winding, but well marked by port and starboard buoys. The sandbanks visible and with breakers on the approach made it rather worrying. When we reached the life boat station we were in radio contact and the harbour master could see us on CCTV.  A launch came out to meet us to guide us in through the tricky bit. We spun around and came along side the visitor pontoon stopping easily and ferry gliding in facing the flood tide.

The visitor's pontoon in Wells in the evening.
Our track back from MarineTraffic. You can see
where we hove to
We spent a pleasant but rainy day in Wells which has a good chandlers and lots of quirky food shops and cafes. On Wednesday the wind was still easterly and we left so as to be going down wind on the way back.  Going out we passed the colourful beach huts on the long sandy shore. A seal bobbed up and was watching the beach too then turned around when he heard us. A glorious day of sun shine and following wind. Tui loves to reach and we were making 6.5 knots through the water. Before reaching the traffic separation zones  we hove to for 40 mins (Tui heaves to perfectly at zero knots and rock steady - its a ketch thing!) . We cooked some new potatoes in the pressure cooker and Sarah read her kindle in the sun.  This meant we arrived with perfect timing back at Grimsby Fishdock in time for its lock to be open "free flow".

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Second hand metal sextant

I learnt celestial navigation on an RYA Yachmaster Ocean course in the 1980s, from a woman who lived in rural Oxfordshire and whose name I am sorry I cannot recall. She had many ocean crossings under her belt and had a wonderfully un-mathematical way of understanding the mathematics and an incredible ability to recognise navigational stars as they peeped out from between clouds perhaps by knowing where they should be and their colour and magnitude but with out the need for constellations as a guide.

Davis Mark 3
My first sextant was a Davis Mk 3, a very cheap plastic vernier sextant while much better than it looks (it looks like a toy) it is not very accurate. A few years ago I bought a Davis Mk 25 and could find my position on dry land to within about a nautical mile by sun sights. Better than that if I averaged five sights and used liner regression. My problem with the Mk 25 is that it seems to need alignment every time I use it. I like the "beam converger" which means you can see the sun and the horizon superimposed across the full width of view.

Mark 25
Eventually I decided to buy a "proper" metal sextant. I bought a Tamaya MS-2L for £275 on ebay. It was made in 1984 and as far as I can tell has sat on a merchant ship unused all its life until the ship was broken up in India and it fell in to the hands of a dealer. Its certificate says it has a fixed error of 0''.  It has a 7x35 monocular scope and I added a zero magification sight tube from Celestaire.   . It comes in a very practical protective plastic case. I am still getting used to using it. For example it is much heavier and taking a series of sights in rapid succession and you feel the weight. Also it takes some getting used to using the monocular as it is harder to find a star. As expected though it stays in adjustment unlike the Davis.

I understand that modern new Chinese Astra sextants are excellent value and in particular lighter, but a good Tamaya is probably the best value to be found second hand. 

I look forward to trying my new one at sea!

Leaving Hartlepool

A couple of photos by Matt Colquhoun of Tui leaving Hartlepool Marina bound for Grimsby.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Photos from first trip of 2016

Scarborough,   Flamborough Head

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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