Thursday, 4 August 2016

Orwell River to the Humber Estuary

Hi everyone,
Early yesterday morning we departed Pin Mill on the Orwell.  Our goal was to sail to Hull Marina which is about 20nm up the Humber.  In the event we anchored close offshore at the mouth of the Humber since we missed the tide.  Tides on the Humber are fierce with up to 7m of range and flows of up to 4 knots!

Here are the passage plots...

Zen Again track
Zen Again speed
And here are the vital statistics...
  • Distances/Speeds
    • Route Distance = 150nm
    • Logged Distance = 175nm
    • GPS Distance = 153nm
    • Duration = 30 hours
    • Average boat speed = 5.8kt
    • Average ground speed = 5.1kt
  • Weather
    • Minimum wind speed = 10 kt
    • Average wind speed = 25 kt
    • Maximum wind speed = 30 kt
    • Apparent wind angle range = 0 to 180
    • Seas up to 1.5m
    • Overcast initially but cleared up gradually
  • Engine
    • Total = 4.3 hours
    • Driving = 4.3 hours
    • Charging = 0 hours
The passage was hard work.  For those in WA it was not unlike a Geraldton to Fremantle passage - lots of upwind work - but with strong tidal currents thrown in.  The speed plot shows the strength of the tidal currents but not the effect they have on wave shape!

From the Orwell to off Great Yarmouth we were broad reaching and that was pleasant.  Once we turned the corner we were close reaching into 25-30 knots of wind with very ugly seas.  We were down to staysail and double-reefed main for most of the night.  There was heavy traffic, with a ship passing every 15 minutes or so on average.  We weaved our way between the sand/mud banks which litter this part of the English coast.  All in all a very challenging navigational exercise, especially in the strong wind.

Overnight we passed several wind farms and could see many offshore oil installations out to sea.  We were overflown by several helicopters going to and fro from them.  Some of the wind farms cover a very large area and contain scores of wind generators.

As we approached the Humber the wind was down to about 20 knots but was blowing straight out of the mouth of the river.  And the tide was ebbing fast.  We gave it a good hard go but it just wasn't going to happen so we crossed the mouth of the river and anchored on the seaward side of Spurn Point, feeling a little spurned!  We are comfortably anchored at 53 36.9N 000 09.2E in 7m (at low tide) over shingle (we think).

The weather outlook is for winds to decrease overnight and tomorrow.  We plan to stay here overnight and head up the river to Hull Marina on the afternoon flood tide.  Wish us luck!

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