Monday 2nd August
We left Hartlepool Marina at 2pm heading towards Grimsby, with 23 or 24 hours to get the 100 miles to Meridian Quay Marina in the Fish Docks up the Humber Estuary. We needed to arrive 2 hours either side of high water when the lock is open on free flow. The wind was blowing at the top of F4 on the nose and kicking up a steep chop at 120 degrees to the 2 meter swell. Progress was slow at the boat was often stopped dead by the waves and we were against the tide for the first 6 hours. After the tide turned we made a little better progress.
Tuesday 3rd August
As the wind came round we were able to sail. We passed by several wind farms over night and I don't like to think how many lobster pots we passed but couldn't see in the dark. While Chris was on watch a warning light came on on the engine consol. We had changed the engine oil recently but not the filter (as per engine manual). At 6am, with daylight and sailing slowly as the wind dropped, Chris changed the oil filter at sea - fortunately this does not require draining the oil first. That worked and the warning light went out. We continued to sail slowly for another few hours to ensure we arrived at Grimsby Docks at the right time. The Humber and Grimsby is a really busy shipping area and we called Humber VTS on the VHF for clearance to cross the precautionary area between two traffic separation schemes.
We crossed over to the south side of the Humber at 11.30am to follow the small boat route in to Grimsby. High water is at 14.34 so we knew we could ask to enter the lock from 12.34. There were a couple of fishing boats ahead of us waiting for the lock to open. We got through the lock at 12.45 and moored on a visitors pontoon with only a few inches of clearance between us and the adjacent boat. There is another yacht here on the visitors pontoon doing the same trip as us only going anticlockwise. They are from North Shields and nearly home now although they have been stuck in Grimsby for a week with engine trouble. We may well be stuck in Grimsby for a week due to weather. Could be worse places to be holed up for a while as I discovered when I went up to the office to check in. I popped in to the Humber Cruising Association club house and bar and got chatting for half an hour to some of the members. They open the bar every afternoon at 4pm so we'll be there tomorrow once we have recovered from our night sail.