Louth Navigation Articles pages 1,2

A Sailing Trip to Tetney Lock

Saturday 12th April and after a long winter without any sailing I’ve been keen to get back out on the water. Due to the weather and strong winds of forces 5-7 forecast, we found we were the only willing part takers for a weekends sailing.

With my friend and willing crew Pete we set off from Gibraltar Point near Skegness in the morning on my boat Floozy and decided it was an ideal opportunity to explore the Louth Canal on the seaward side of Tetney Lock.

Pete had never been to Tetney, so he was keen to try somewhere new. After 5 hours sailing along the coast in brisk winds we finally made it to the River Humber. We turned into the Humber heading for Haile Sand Fort, which is a good waypoint about a mile east of the channel entrance to Tetney Haven.

Sailing towards the Humber

Once we had arrived we soon picked up the entrance to the channel, which takes you towards the beach at Humberston then through the moorings of the Humbermouth Yacht Club and towards the marshes and canal entrance.

The channel is quite poorly marked with plastic drums as buoys, but is still fairly simple to navigate with only a few shallow spots on the way. We arrived at the canal entrance just under 2 hours before high water, so lined the boat up with the training walls and headed in.

Once inside the canal the depth drops at least a metre compared to the channel across the sand in Tetney Haven. We had a constant depth of between 2.0 to 3.0 metres all the way along. The canal up to the Oil pipe, which is the limit of navigation is straight forward to follow with only 2 tight bends on the way.

These were no problems at all, as we kept to the outside of the bends and had plenty of water under the keels. On one bend the depth finder read 3.6 metres of water!

Motoring along the canal

The wind had strengthened considerably, so we decided to try and find somewhere sheltered to anchor for the night, within the canal. I remembered the mud bank where we are looking at putting a mooring pontoon on the west bank.

Our requirements were to find somewhere flat for the night, so the boat would dry out straight and also somewhere we could climb off the boat and walk to the pub! This we achieved, as we nudged the boat on to the mud near the oil pipe where it’s flat making sure the keels were far enough on, so that the boat wouldn't drop back into the channel and there would be enough water to float off again on Sunday morning.

There is very little tidal flow this far up the canal, as it’s nearly up to the Sea Lock. Once the tide has filled the main channel and start’s covering the mudflats the flow actually starts running back out very slowly and the water just rises in the canal. This lack of flow makes mooring much easier.

Floozy dries out on the mud bank near the oil pipe

So after a good days sailing and a bit of an adventure up the canal we managed to step off the bow using my folding boarding ladder and enjoyed our walk to the Crown and Anchor at Tetney Lock for fish and chips, washed down with a few pints of well-deserved beer. This was followed by a peaceful night’s sleep in this lovely quiet spot.

So what have we learnt from the trip to Louth Canal?

We proved how easy it is to navigate the canal and with a few more marker buoys and beacons marking the banks and channel approaching the canal it would be very easy for boats to use.

On large spring tides the banks completely flood increasing the importance of marking the channel. Except on the smallest of neap tides the tidal range makes it possible to use the canal on most tides, which I estimate at around a 5.8 metre tide minimum.

Also the large amount of space along the bank would make to possible for 40 to 50 boats to moor to the bank. The best way to moor boats on this part of canal is bows towards the bank. The possibilities of a mooring pontoon or using other bows
to mooring techniques are all possible. With access to the bank via a simple mooring pontoon it is really possible to open this part of the canal up to visitors and with publicity increase visitor numbers.

The whole experience of visiting the canal by boat was amazing thinking we were following the same channel as hundreds of vessels full of cargo on their way to Louth many years ago and once again thought to my-self with a few like-minded people and a bit of support it is really possible for our canal to be open again.

Canal Entrance with Port-hand beacon and Haile Sand Fort in the background

A view of the oil pipe with the Sea Lock in the distance

Jonathan Baines
April 2014

An Interesting article about the Navigation in the March 2015 edition of 'Waterways World' submitted by Andrew Stratford

As you can probably tell, it was a bitterly cold day last month when, at his request, Roger and I took Andrew Denny to see the Phillips66 pipeline for himself, followed by a guided tour of the canal.  We regretted not taking our hats and gloves…

Click here to read the pdf file