Posted by: Ray | August 5, 2008

Whitby to Royal Quays Marina, River Tyne

During my last evening at Whitby I completed planning for the passage to Hartlepool; entered waypoints into my GPS and onto the chart and checked the weather forecast that was for winds SW-W, F3/4 with gusts of up to F6 at first.  Sea slight or moderate, with good visibility …. all looked good.  During the day, Steve a local fisherman who’s boat was moored nearby, gave me a freshly caught codling that I cooked in the oven and enjoyed with salad for my evening meal.  🙂

Tony arrived early in the morning on Friday and we slipped our lines to pass through the last bridge opening of the morning at 0600. Once through, we moored briefly on the small waiting pontoon near the lifeboat for a coffee, before setting off on our 25M passage to Hartlepool. The wind was a brisk F5 from the South when we left Whitby and once clear of the harbour I decided to sail on a small headsail to give Tony a chance to get familiar with Christine Marie until conditions were clearer, we were soon sailing at a comfortable 5kn towards our destination.

As we approached to clear the headland off Sandsend the wind veered WSW and we were not sailing well, so Christine Marie was headed into the wind and the main raised with 2 reefs. By now the wind instrument was indicating gusts of  F6 and I had difficulty raising the main, having to winch the last couple of feet.  I put it down to the strong changing wind gusts at the time.

Passing Staithes Harbour

Passing Staithes Harbour

 

We were soon back on course and enjoying a really brisk sail, making 8-9Kn helped by just over 1Kn of fair tide. We soon passed Runswick Bay and Staithes, with its narrow harbour entrance clear in the sun.

  

 

It was then that I noticed the reason for my difficulty in raising the main, a long loop of cable was hanging out from the sail groove at the top of my mast. It was soon identified as the cable from my wind instrument at the top of the mast, by now the wind display on my cockpit panel was going berserk!

How did the cable, that should feed down a separate channel in the mast get into the sail groove??  This was a puzzle that I later resolved by talking to my rigger and electrical specialists back in Lymington; apparently with my mast type it has been known for cables to work through a small gap down the mast!!  At the time, my concern was if the main sail would come down without problem when we reached Hartlepool!!

Tony lives with his wife Anne in Whitby where Anne runs the local Fishing Industry School that trains fishermen and apprentices joining the fishing industry in various skills. These iclude RYA Day Skipper, Safety, VHF Radio, and an NVQ2 qualification in  deck work for apprentices who are assessed working at sea by the fishing vessel skippers. The organisation is non-profit making and is well-supported by the fishing industry up the E Coast who benefit from it.  When not cruising in his motor-sailer, Tony works as a tutor delivering some of the courses at the school.  A link to their web site is on the left of this page. Tony helped make our two days of sailing together really interesting by pointing out local landmarks along the coast and their significance / history.

The passage to Hartlepool is fairly straight forward, with few significant dangers keeping half to 1 mile off-shore except to stay seaward of the reefs at Salt Scar and Long Scar, both marked by cardinal bouys and to be alert for shipping when crossing the busy Tees Channel that extends some 2M out to sea. 

Hartlepool Marina

Hartlepool Marina

 Just  3.5 hours after leaving Whitby we were approaching Hartlepool Marina Lock. I had calculated the time we could pass safely over the drying 0.8m lock sill and we had an hour to wait due to our fast passage: we dropped the mainsail (thankfully without problem) and anchored just outside the main Hartlepool channel for lunch. After lunch we hauled up the anchor, then called the lock keeper on VHF who opened the lock for us to enter through the wide lock into the marina.

  

New wind instrument and cut cable found in mast sail track.

New wind instrument and cut cable found in mast sail track.

 

 Closer inspection after mooring showed that the wind instrument cable had been cut in two places when raising the sail, with a 9 inch length jammed between the sail slides.  The loop coming from the sail groove at the top of the mast was still visible and would need to be removed before the full main sail could be raised again.

 

  

Greenham Electronics and Nassa had offered to send me a FOC replacement wind unit, so Tony and I decided we would head for Royal Quays Marina off the River Tyne at N Shields where I was likely to find riggers who would climb the mast and help me install the new unit so that the cable problem did not reoccur. I would delay departure to Blythe and Amble to the following weekend when crew join me to sail for a long weekend.

Tony and I decided to freshen up with a shower and to eat out, we would continue our passage to Royal Quays leaving the following afternoon when the water depth out of the lock was sufficient to clear my 1.5m draft.  Tony returned from the shower complaining about the poor state of cleanliness and lack of hot water.  He had visited Hartlepool Marina many times in the past and thought the standards had been allowed to deteriorate, possibly due to a lack of money in the area. 

My experience was no better, the state of the showers could only be described as filthy, with dirty shower curtains and ‘grubby’ floors to walk on. There was no excuse, it was not that the facilities were ageing, but that management attitude was clearly lacking to make sure the facilities were properly cleaned for their customers.  A pity, because the marina is the first impressions visiting yachtmen have of Hartlepool, many of them visiting the UK from overseas. Our visit to a Chinese restaurant adjoining the Marina was a far more positive experience, with friendly staff, live music and a very enjoyable meal.

I was not in the most positive mood when I awoke next morning so I decided to go for an early morning walk and explore the marina and harbour more fully. Hartlepool is like many English ports, steeped in history, with the decline of Navy and Fishing at the port attracting investment to regenerate the area with dockside apartments, marina and shops/restaurants. I have visited many such marinas on my travels, but somehow Hartlepool’s Marina has not yet achieved the vibrancy and buzz like the others around Southampton, Port Solent, Brighton or the excellent Sovereign Marina at Eastbourne. Perhaps more investment will come and this will attract money to the area; the marina is promoting the visit of the Tall Ships in 2010, so this might help.

The lovely historic quayside, Hartlepool

The lovely historic quayside, Hartlepool

 

 

As I continued my walk I started to warm to Hartlepool.  I passed from the Marina to the adjoining Historic Quay where the cobbled streets, old businesses and adjoining shops have been restored to take you back in time. 

   

 

HMS Trincomaleen at Hartlepool's Historic Quayside

HMS Trincomaleen at Hartlepool's Historic Quayside

 

 Here you can visit and see what life on board Europe’s oldest warship afloat, HMS Trincomalee, was like. The Historic Quay is also home to PSS Wingfield Castle, a restored 1934 paddle steamer.  The quay is surrounded by modern,clean  restaurants and facilities. It’s a fantastic place to visit and much thought has gone into making it an experience not to be missed.

 
  
1934 Paddle Steamer, PSS Wingfieldcastle

1934 Paddle Steamer, PSS Wingfieldcastle

 

 During our morning at Hartlepool the wind had been good for a lively sail to the river Tyne, but when we cleared the lock and set sails there was insuffient wind to make way. Christine Marie sails well in light winds, but we were limited to small mainsail by the cable still at the top of the mast groove.  The engine was started and we motor-sailed, passing Seaham and Sunderland on passage to our approach to the Tyne River.

   

Looking back at 'leading line' white towers, Fish Dock North Shields.

Looking back at 'leading line' white towers, Fish Dock North Shields.

 

 

The approach to enter the Tyne is straight forward and well bouyed; as we approached from our waypoint 1M out from the harbour walls we could clearly see and follow the leading line  made by the two very large white towers that are near the Fish Docks at N Shields.

  

  

Tony at the helm, River Tyne

Tony at the helm, River Tyne

 

 

 

Once into the river I made passage to starboard just outside of the main channel, passing the Fish Docks with the two white towers, to the lock for entry to Royal Quay Marina.  The lock usually opens every half hour, but if not busy will open, as they did for us, on request by VHF radio on Ch 80.

 

 

  

Royal Quays Marina, River Tyne

Royal Quays Marina, River Tyne

 

Royal Quay Marina is another regeneration project, that has been a success. It is clean and tidy and has a major factory retail park nearby where you can buy the latest designer clothes, shoes, accessories, etc and enjoy a coffee or snack. There is also a large swimming and leisure centre there. There is no general store or food retailer however and I had to walk the 30 mins each way to the two small grocer stores near the Metro Station that provides transport to Newcastle. Still, the walk did me good!!  🙂

  

My thanks to Tony for his help and company on this passage. Tony returned home on Monday and I set about organising the replacement of the wind instrument.  The new unit arrived today as I was writing this entry, so I have now to confirm that the local specialist can fit in the work this week before my crew arrive on Saturday and we set sail to Blyth.  In the meantime, I will explore the area and try and make a journey into Newcastle.

Stop Press 7 Aug:  The damaged wind instrument has been removed from the top of the mast and the cable jammed in the sail groove taken out. Whilst removing the wind instrument cable, another cable was found in the groove with it and had to be cut to free it.  This was my VHF aerial used to contact the Coast Guard, etc.!!  My thanks to Storrar Marine, who in a very busy period, freed the cables from the sail groove ready for the new units to be fitted.  At least I can raise and drop the sails safely now.

The new wind instrument and VHF aerial are to be fitted when I reach Amble next week. I have a portable VHF, but this is limited in power and is not connected to my GPS to allow DSC emergency calls to be made. I set about making an emergency antenna from my amateur radio 2m aerial on the stern of the yacht.  It works a treat, I was given a good signal report from the Grimsby Coastguard and also made contact on 2m with Ian, G7MFN, in Sunderland. It is a simple adjustment to switch between 2m amateur use and the emergency ship VHF ….. so a good days work!

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

Miles completed:   583          Total Hours:  138         Engine hours:   40

Ave speed: 4.2Kn          M ax speed: 12.4Kn (helped by tide, wind and waves!!)

Ports visited:    18                     Nights at anchor/mooring bouy 4

              Rethink                  Marie Curie                      RNLI

http://www.justgiving.com/roundukcruise-rethink       http://www.justgiving.com/roundukcruisemariecurie         
Please support me and visit my charity donation sites by clicking on the link of your choice above. If you are unhappy about using your credit card on-line, donations can be made at any Halifax or Bank of Scotland Branch by the usual methods.
Donations made this way will be split equally between the three charities.  Please make cheques or payments to:  
 
R Oliver (Round UK Cruise)      sort code 11-05-47,  A/c No 00725187
 

A link with further information is on the left of this page.  Thank you  Ray  

 

 

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