Saturday, 9 September 2017

Whitby - there be Whales!

When we were in Hull for repairs Specksioneer, a large motor sailor ketch was waiting to be hauled out. We met her skipper Brian who runs Whitby Whale  Watching. He explained first week of September is the peak in the season for seeing minke whales off Whitby...and so we hatched a plan. It had been a busy summer with Sarah's choir tour in Cost  Rica, and conferences in San Diego and Copenhagen. None of which we sailed to. So it was nice to get a bit of time on Tui as well.

We had an 8 hour run to Scarborough. Literally a  run with the Genoa poled out. We were pleasantly surprised that with care we can get in to Scarborough at low water neaps. I thought it was much less accessible.

Whitby was only three hours further up the coast and as usual the bridge keeper, the harbour master and the marina all work together to make sure you know where you are going.

We noticed that the river Esk above the viaduct looks suddenly very rural so we took the dinghy up stream and were rewarded with the sight of fiver herons, and egret and a king fisher catching a fish.

We could see from Maine Traffic that Specksioneer tended to go about 7.5 nm off shore for both morning and evening tours. We decided to do the same and as we passed Specksioneer in the harbour Brian said to call on VHF ch 8 when we were both out there. We learnt that the herring spawn at this time of year and everyone is out to eat them! We saw minke whales surface  a few times as well as seals and lots of sea birds. It was a great day for wild life watching - and a bad day to be a herring!
The poster for Whitby Whale watching

When the wind turned we headed back, stopping again at Scarborough where we saw a harbour porpoise.

With a beam or close reach, and the tide against us more than with us it took 9 hours back to Grimsby timed nicely with the lock on free flow. Unfortunately one mile of the Fish Dock our engine suddenly stopped. We had 40 gallons of fuel so I knew it wasn't that.  Cranking the engine to try to restart melted the cable terminal on the starer motor solenoid. We called the CG to tell them of the situation before it developed in to anything dangerous, put up the mizzen and unfurled some genoa so we could heave to. A friendly wind cat Eden Rose kept station with us and could not tow us to Fish Dock as they were too wide, but offered to tow us to Victoria Dock. We could have sailed to anchorage like spurn point. But no guarantee I could fix the engine at anchor.  The CG called Clethorpes Inshore life boat who came very quickly. We sailed closer to the lock then they towed us in to moor on the fuelling jetty at HCA. A nice piece of towing with a small inflatable and a 40hp outboard. Once there the problem was found to be a fuel blockage in the primary filter (as well as the burnt out cable on the starter)
The crew of the Cleethorpes RNLI D-class lifeboat James Burgess II

Saturday, 1 July 2017


Our Simpson Lawrence  Horizon 1500 anchor windlass has been a pain since I got Tui. It has an annoying habit of letting the anchor go when its part way up. I had it serviced before leaving Conwy but that seemed to make it worse.  Richard at Kildale Marine in Hull was tremendously helpful. I thought I would need a new one. "No" he said "Built like s brick shit house. You should just fix it". He and Chris looked up an original manual and explained the exploded diagram. First they explained some twit had greased the conical clutch...and how to degrease it. I tested it with a bucket of water on the anchor chain as a load as Chris suggested. It slipped still so they explained how to get the ratchet palls. These were stuck I just needed to free them and oil them lightly. Works fine now.