May 22nd Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club (RN&SYC) to HCA Grimsby

I was given a couple of contact numbers for fixers of boat navigation systems, one of them also featured in the RN&SYC leaflet, KM Electronics Ltd. It was 8.30am and I wondered if they would be open? I rang the number, the phone was answered by a human being called Kevin Smith which I assume is the K bit of KM? 

I told him my problem, he said he would download the latest operating software for my Garmin and then come down to the marina, install it and then set up the autopilot again. 

He said it would take a while but he would be there. At 9.30am we could see a man with a bag heading towards the visitors pontoon at RN&SYC, it was him!!!!

He came on board and we waited for the software upgrade to load up (30 minutes). he asked where the compass was to make sure there was no other possible interference with the autopilot. I phone the supplier he suggested a couple of places and we looked but couldn’t find it…………….

No problem we’ll carry on any way, the dockside wizard was applied and then we went out of the harbour to do the other routines for the (hidden) compass to find north, which it successfully did.

We headed back to the visitors berth. I was intensely grateful, how much? £48 inc VAT said Kevin, I wanted to kiss him, fantastic service and amazing value for money.  

And so we went on our way around the Norfolk coast across the outer Wash past more wind farms until Spurn Head came into view and we picked up a target buoy to head up into the Humber Estuary. The Humber Cruising Association Marina is south west of the fish dock through a very old lock that opens three hours either side of high water (HW) and has a free flow two hours either side. We were three hours before and were told that we were on a list for entry but commercial traffic had priority. We could only see one fishing boat so thought we’d follow it up to the lock to see if they would let us in anyway. They didn’t so we trod water. Then after 10 minutes or so the lock manager manager invited us into the lock, it was one boat at a time and no need to tie up, there wasn’t going to be a big surge of water and we should be able to control the boat, EEK! It was told to move forward a bit in the lock so the back gates could be shut (maximum boat length 9 meters) I did , I held Start Me Up in position and then almost immediately the lock gate opened into the fish dock. We were told to find ourselves an appropriate berth on the visitors pontoon. Which we did.

Leaving Lowestoft
Entering HCA Grimsby
Grimsby Dock Tower

We hosed the boat down and went to look for somebody. We found a couple who said that the staff had gone home. We went into the open and completely empty sailing club where the bar was closed but Nigel was able to play the piano without annoying anybody.

Nigel doing his best Elton impression
The Humber Cruising Association Club

The same very lovely couple were able to open the bar and get us a drink, give us (£10 deposit) a gate card, but were unable to recommend any restaurants in Grimsby , we would have to go to Cleethorpes, an £8 taxi ride away. Grimsby and Cleethorpes are really one town, a bit like Brighton and Hove, you really can’t see the join.

The taxi driver was unable to recommend his favourite Chinese but felt sure we would find somewhere that didn’t close before 8.30pm in Cleethorpes. We found a Thai restaurant which was still open and did a delicious Massaman curry , job done. Back to the HCA Marina to plan for our passage to Sunderland.

Cleethorpes had a lovely sea front and was indeed the very genteel end of Grimsby. Cleethorpes was very much like Hove is to the brassier Brighton.