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TOPIC: Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland

Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 28 May 2020 12:59 #116288

  • Balliol Fowden
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A steadying sail might be an advantage in beam winds and seas, but not head to wind & seas, or running before them. Or if there is no wind, but you probably won't need it then. But on a long run in a beam wind I suspect that a reasonable steadying sail would usefully attenuate the otherwise very sharp roll of a barge.

My idea (never tested) was to use our car crane as the mast, the cargo rope as the "forestay) and hank on an old staysail off a small sailing yacht that I had. So negligible cost to test it out and nothing lost if it didn't help!

You will need a mast, suitably stayed, which might also come in useful as a lifting derrick (for dinghy, motorbike, MOB etc.) but there will be a cost there. If I were thinking of it from scratch I would keep the mast as short as possible and rig with say a boomless spritsail.

I would be talking to some East Coast barge riggers. Charlie Mclaren would be the man to point you in the right direction.

Balliol.
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 27 May 2020 17:51 #116270

  • Justyn Lane
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Thank you again, I had seen mention of this in a couple fo threads I have since searched.
There is made mention of Metacentric heights by your good self and various other comments, but having done a search across the tinternet there is lots of information floating around on "Riding" sails (for stability at anchor) but not a whole lot of how one would size or place a steadying sail on a 65' barge at 35 tonnes (or much else), obviously as large as it can be, but are they effective with little or no wind (or cruising into a wind but with the swell from the beam) and the larger the sail the larger the forces it and the mast and stays will exert.
Any clues as to how this might be calculated or worked out approximately would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 27 May 2020 00:03 #116255

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Charlie reminds me of another point, mentioning as he does sailing barges. I did decide long ago that if I ever took my own ship to see again for any distance then I would rig a steadying sail. Sails do modify the motion significantly, and even a small steadying sail can have a disproportionately worthwhile effect (look at small fishing boats).

Balliol.
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 21:13 #116250

  • Justyn Lane
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Oops, I just realised that whilst I quoted Balliol, I didn't change the font on my replies so they appear to just be part of the original post! Novice mistake!!! And I reckon I have a chance of navigating up the East Coast!! :ohmy:

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 18:57 #116248

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Balliol Fowden wrote: It’s a nice idea, and a trip that we thought about once to get to the Caledonian, but there are potential difficulties with a boat of any size that may not be fully suitable (or insurable!) for exposed passages in all weathers, and you cannot always rely on the British weather however accurate the forecasting!

Thanks for the extensive reply Balliol! Much appreciated, you raise togged points for further research, investigation and planning.

Most certainly this sort of trip has been done by barges but, in most of the cases I know of, professional crews were involved for a professional direct passage, weather permitting, not a pleasure cruise with multiple stopovers. At least some of the barges that you may have seen in Scotland got there via Lands End and up the St. Georges Channel, which is a debatably a much better route.

I have never sailed the UK east coast north of the Humber but have done a number of trips south of there. My comments are general, not at all based on local knowledge by sea.

Some of the possible pitfalls:

1. Suitability and access to ports. It is too easy to look at a map and think that there are lots of ports of refuge, or just nice ports, on the way. The difficulty may be that these are only safely accessible at certain states of the tide and in certain weather conditions, particularly in the absence of local knowledge on board. For a cruise where time is not of the essence it should be possible to plan, but it will need careful research and a lot of patience to cope with potential changes in the weather.

Looking at the map just gave me a list of places to research, most of the havens and harbours would be either to small or drying (which wouldn't be to much of an issue if the weather was OK, but not at all suitable in any sort of Easterly) but some are an absolute no-no as "safe havens" to the weather. It certainly will need a full passage plan with patience and prudence in abundance.

2. Ports often appear from the land to have lots of space, inviting wharves etc. but are these available for a pleasure boat, how long for and at what cost? A 65’ barge is a big boat for many marinas and an enforced stay whilst waiting for the weather could become very expensive. The saving grace might be that with a strong flat bottom you may be able to take the bottom in an out of the way corner or beach more easily than some, but again subject to local advice.

See above, There aren't many places that can cope with a 65' barge, Hull, Grimsby (outside the lock, possibly inside depending on how busy they are) Scarborough, Whitby, Hartlepool, Newcastle I've managed to confirm on the list so far as having good (if not necessarily cheap) options..

3. Distances and Ports. I am thinking that there are some big distances involved between principal ports. There quite a few smaller nice ports on the route around the Northumberland coast (for example, and as viewed from the road!) but quite what these are like for access from the sea (particularly in a developing easterly) might be another matter. I suggest that you study a pilotage guide for the N.E coast, then plot all the ports, distances between, tidal access limitations etc., or study Macmillans.

Admiralty charts and almanac work are next stages, fortunately we have time before our anticipated departure and it's definitely going to be planned as carefully as possible! I have found someone, my neighbour at our moorings, currently stranded in Spain, but by email he has cruised as far north as Newcastle a few years back, he has been into Whitby a couple of times, so I will have some approximate distances and timings for those legs once he makes it back on board and has access to his log.

4. Have you checked whether you can get through the Forth & Clyde Canal. At 65’ you might be a little bit marginal on length.

The Forth and Clyde does have a max stated of 63ft length and beam 19'6" and "shape dependent slightly longer boats will fit" our beam is 12'6" so the shape will be very dependent!! It is something we will scope out physically by road as soon as this strange old situation we are currently in has "improved"

5. The Caledonian into or out of the Inverness end is a long way further up a rather inhospitable coast. The Caledonian is I think best explored from the western end, approached from Glasgow / Firth of Clyde and the Crinan Canal, all reasonably within some shelter from the Western Isles.

100% with you there, whilst the plan was to poke her prow out in to the Moray Firth, we weren't planning on more than that!

6. I wonder whether you have taken your barge to sea as yet? “Sea state slight” can still be too much for a barge. It doesn’t matter how strong the barge is, or how good the engine, or what RCD category the boat has been built for. It is more a matter of how long you can physically hold on for? The motion in terms of roll can be very brisk, stiff and physically arduous, and if coast hopping you have less of an opportunity to steer a more comfortable course.

Indeed all to be tried and tested! We planned and did have her fitted out to mean it was as easy as possible to secure everything for a seaway, and tried to think of what would make her as easy to handle and be as comfortable as we could if (well when!) it gets a little bumpy... but we will only really know when we try for the first time this summer (well if we are actually allowed out!) The results may scupper everything but you never know until you try!!

That's the pessimistic bit! Given the chance I perosnally would rather like to give the trip a go, but it would needs lots of time, patience and prudence, and deep pockets for some of the moorings. After a few scares a camper van on the cliff top or the quay might begin to seem attractive!

Oddly enough it was the Camper Van on the cliff that cemented the idea of trying to cruise her North!! We had originally decided we would head South along the Fossdyke and Witham, explore the way down to the Thames, the length of the Thames and maybe the K&A (which I have done a fair bit of by Narrowboat) before heading to Europe... then we got a little lost wandering round bits of Scotland last year and decided that we should see how feasible it would be to make that trip our first big cruise once we are able to untie the lines and head off with no pressure to be back... So who knows!!

Balliol.

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 18:20 #116247

  • Justyn Lane
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Thanks for the tip, I had found "visitmyharbour" and it looks worth the membership fee for bouncing along any coast!

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 16:43 #116243

  • Charles Mclaren
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Hi I have taken my Thames Barge THISTLE up to Edinburgh and to Aberdeen before racing her in the tall ships race to Bremerhaven. My friend Geoff Mellor Took ellen Marianne a 17 meter sailing talk all around the United Kingdom including the east coast. He had no major problems and as it was him and his wife he port hopped all the way. There are enough small harbours all the way to make it a most enjoyable trip. just have no timetable and wait for the weather, but prevailing winds are west or sw. you will get a real welcome all the way. C
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 15:19 #116241

  • Balliol Fowden
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It’s a nice idea, and a trip that we thought about once to get to the Caledonian, but there are potential difficulties with a boat of any size that may not be fully suitable (or insurable!) for exposed passages in all weathers, and you cannot always rely on the British weather however accurate the forecasting!

Most certainly this sort of trip has been done by barges but, in most of the cases I know of, professional crews were involved for a professional direct passage, weather permitting, not a pleasure cruise with multiple stopovers. At least some of the barges that you may have seen in Scotland got there via Lands End and up the St. Georges Channel, which is a debatably a much better route.

I have never sailed the UK east coast north of the Humber but have done a number of trips south of there. My comments are general, not at all based on local knowledge by sea.

Some of the possible pitfalls:

1. Suitability and access to ports. It is too easy to look at a map and think that there are lots of ports of refuge, or just nice ports, on the way. The difficulty may be that these are only safely accessible at certain states of the tide and in certain weather conditions, particularly in the absence of local knowledge on board. For a cruise where time is not of the essence it should be possible to plan, but it will need careful research and a lot of patience to cope with potential changes in the weather.

2. Ports often appear from the land to have lots of space, inviting wharves etc. but are these available for a pleasure boat, how long for and at what cost? A 65’ barge is a big boat for many marinas and an enforced stay whilst waiting for the weather could become very expensive. The saving grace might be that with a strong flat bottom you may be able to take the bottom in an out of the way corner or beach more easily than some, but again subject to local advice.

3. Distances and Ports. I am thinking that there are some big distances involved between principal ports. There quite a few smaller nice ports on the route around the Northumberland coast (for example, and as viewed from the road!) but quite what these are like for access from the sea (particularly in a developing easterly) might be another matter. I suggest that you study a pilotage guide for the N.E coast, then plot all the ports, distances between, tidal access limitations etc., or study Macmillans.

4. Have you checked whether you can get through the Forth & Clyde Canal. At 65’ you might be a little bit marginal on length.

5. The Caledonian into or out of the Inverness end is a long way further up a rather inhospitable coast. The Caledonian is I think best explored from the western end, approached from Glasgow / Firth of Clyde and the Crinan Canal, all reasonably within some shelter from the Western Isles.

6. I wonder whether you have taken your barge to sea as yet? “Sea state slight” can still be too much for a barge. It doesn’t matter how strong the barge is, or how good the engine, or what RCD category the boat has been built for. It is more a matter of how long you can physically hold on for? The motion in terms of roll can be very brisk, stiff and physically arduous, and if coast hopping you have less of an opportunity to steer a more comfortable course.

That's the pessimistic bit! Given the chance I perosnally would rather like to give the trip a go, but it would needs lots of time, patience and prudence, and deep pockets for some of the moorings. After a few scares a camper van on the cliff top or the quay might begin to seem attractive!

Balliol.
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 14:35 #116239

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"Visit my harbour" will give you lots details and charts for a one of subscription.

I've done Liverpool to Oban through the middle of the Irish Sea. Just keep an eye on the weather and don't have a timetable.

Derek
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 14:12 #116238

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Hi Paul,
Thank you for the reply! It’s all good info and helpful. We are only aiming to get as far north as Inverness (Via the Union, Crinan and Caledonian Canals) and we are thinking that heading out of there to Aberdeen and that way down might be a somewhat lot less pleasant than backing through the Caledonian canal and exploring the West coast to head south again. (Plus gives us another possible sighting of Nessie! 😁)
Plotting possible courses and planning are already underway. I figure I can update dates/tides as needs be once the “plan” is done and the dates are closer/known. Like you say, the information on harbours and havens etc on the East Coast is pretty hard to find, I have done a Google maps “flight” up the entire coast from the Humber to the Forth Bridge and noted everywhere I have seen a boat moored, then have started working my way through finding any info I can.

You are of course right about the weather and we will have to decide on a day by day basis and will have a better understanding once we “been to sea” a few times in her... hopefully time will not be the thing that we are short of when we come to do it!!
Many thanks

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 13:59 #116236

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HI Chris,
Thank you for the response, and the bit of info on Woodbridge, may well be very useful for the trip back down/round depending on how we end up getting towards the Thames!!
We only found the exploits of Timothy Spall about a week ago, things seem not as easy to find on the internet as one is oft fooled into thinking one can!! Sadly though we could only find 3 episodes from the BBC4 (I think) and then a few snippets of odd YouTube videos, his website has gone and I haven’t even managed to find out if they made it all the way round!! Was it ever featured in BF?
One of the things we have a plan for is to keep a blog/vlog/whatever it’s called these days and as part of that BF would seem a very good place to share this... have never written anything for publication, but guess, like barging, you’ve got to start somewhere!!!
👍

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 13:27 #116234

Hello Justin

Welcome to the forum.

Some 15 years or so ago I investigated in reasonable details the reverse trip, from The Weaver, Manchester Ship Canal, Mersey, North, across Scotland via Lock Ness, keeping an eye out for Nessey😁, down the east coast and ending on The Soar.

From memory, and that's all I have left of the plan, as we came to France instead due to changing circumstances. It was "doable", a number of pilot notes for harbours and rivers are available on the web, published by Harbor Authorities, they take some finding though.

I used Admiralty charts, for the main sea passages.

I worked to go with the tide as much as possible, using it to help the diesel go a bit further.

As far as weather is concerned, it will be what it will be, and waiting for "windows" the trip could take up to a couple of years to complete.

Can't help anymore than that I'm afraid.

Paul Hayes
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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 26 May 2020 12:12 #116232

Hello Justyn, what a great plan and good for you, a different angle on barging.

My only experience of the East coast is a stay at Woodbridge on the river Deben for a couple of years before we took our barge to the continent. Woodbridge is a good haven and doable from the Thames estuary in a day. Other DBA members will have advice on coastal hopping I'm sure.

Always thinking ahead with my Blue Flag editor hat, we would love to follow your travels in BF one day so please remember us when you get to do it. We get very little in the way of stories from northern UK. If Timothy Spall managed it, I'm sure you can.

Justyn Lane wrote: Good evening all from a newish DBA member,,

Oddly enough, even though our barge has been used for advertising in the Blue Flag (I think for a while!!) we only found out about the DBA in March 2020 by random coincidence, but found it hugely worthwhile and very helpful to date!!! Well worth the membership and we will be continuing!
I’ve had a hunt around the forums and knowledge base but wasn’t able to find anything (mind you that might be as my search “Key word” abilities are lacking!) on our planned future aims, to cruise from the River Trent (currently moored), out the Humber and up the East Coast in stages (and only in likely the best weather we can find!!) stopping in at as many of the ports and harbours as possible on the way up, including hopefully the River Tees and anything else enjoyably navigable on the way. The aim being to cruise the Scottish waterways and then see if where from there, although the plan has always been Europe including the Baltic
I fully understand this is no small undertaking, but Hello World is well built (launched 2018, so not a classic, but we think she is gorgeous) and strong, reasonably powered (will happily do 7-8 knots and at a push will get to double digits on flat waters (no current), I’m a Agri mechanic by trade (so have the mechanical/electrical and hydraulic bases as covered as one could have) and have a fair amount of experience in both wind and power driven boats....
Has anyone done the trip, any particular pointers/hints, tips, places to see/stop or avoid.....even if you think we’re a bit bonkers... at 65’ we haven’t got another way to get to “the other side” (Irish side of the UK) without coming down, round the bump (Norfolk) and into the Thames then down the K&A... but that misses the beautiful North, which we have explored by road and reckon by boat would be a treasure, especially in our own home!
It’s unlikely to be before the Spring/Summer of 2022, but I always feel there is no harm in planning ahead!

I cant seem to find much information at all on navigating the Tees or any of the other Northern rivers (The Tyne and the Wear, if navigable?) so any pointers on publications etc would be welcome!

I have a question about insurance too... but will add that into the a thread under Insurance!
Many thanks in advance!

Justyn
DB Hello World

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Taking a Barge up the East Coast...the Humber Estuary to Scotland 25 May 2020 19:19 #116220

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Good evening all from a newish DBA member,,

Oddly enough, even though our barge has been used for advertising in the Blue Flag (I think for a while!!) we only found out about the DBA in March 2020 by random coincidence, but found it hugely worthwhile and very helpful to date!!! Well worth the membership and we will be continuing!
I’ve had a hunt around the forums and knowledge base but wasn’t able to find anything (mind you that might be as my search “Key word” abilities are lacking!) on our planned future aims, to cruise from the River Trent (currently moored), out the Humber and up the East Coast in stages (and only in likely the best weather we can find!!) stopping in at as many of the ports and harbours as possible on the way up, including hopefully the River Tees and anything else enjoyably navigable on the way. The aim being to cruise the Scottish waterways and then see if where from there, although the plan has always been Europe including the Baltic
I fully understand this is no small undertaking, but Hello World is well built (launched 2018, so not a classic, but we think she is gorgeous) and strong, reasonably powered (will happily do 7-8 knots and at a push will get to double digits on flat waters (no current), I’m a Agri mechanic by trade (so have the mechanical/electrical and hydraulic bases as covered as one could have) and have a fair amount of experience in both wind and power driven boats....
Has anyone done the trip, any particular pointers/hints, tips, places to see/stop or avoid.....even if you think we’re a bit bonkers... at 65’ we haven’t got another way to get to “the other side” (Irish side of the UK) without coming down, round the bump (Norfolk) and into the Thames then down the K&A... but that misses the beautiful North, which we have explored by road and reckon by boat would be a treasure, especially in our own home!
It’s unlikely to be before the Spring/Summer of 2022, but I always feel there is no harm in planning ahead!

I cant seem to find much information at all on navigating the Tees or any of the other Northern rivers (The Tyne and the Wear, if navigable?) so any pointers on publications etc would be welcome!

I have a question about insurance too... but will add that into the a thread under Insurance!
Many thanks in advance!

Justyn
DB Hello World

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