We have had several requests for pictures of us ……… one or two of you seem to think we are doing a ‘Donald Crowhurst’ and posting a fictious account of our voyage! ……. so to begin with here are two of us being tourists in Whitby.

Captain Cook’s statue with Captain Hayward

 

The Whale Bone Gate with First Mate

The Whale Bone Gate with First Mate

We left Whitby at 0800 with some trepidation as force 5 to 7 winds were forecast, but the weather is set to deteriorate Monday and Tuesday, so this was our weather window. The harbour entrance was a cynch after the hairy pass into Whitby, but the lobster pots, that are laid to all around the Fairway bouy, have to be carefully negotiated.

out through the Swing Bridge

Out through the Swing Bridge

Out of the harbour ..... the flag shows at least a 5!

Out of the harbour ….. the flag shows at least a 5!

As we headed out the wind freshened and the boat handled beautifully with ‘2 reefs’ in the main and just the stay sail we were shooting along at over 8 knots for most of the way.

We were sailing in the top end of force 7 most of the day with lengthy gusts of force 8 ……. green water over the decks and spray flying into the cockpit and making its way through the zips on the spray hood. Great fun!

The wind was freshening

The wind was freshening

We spotted two boats travelling very slowly past an oil rig and then as we got closer we realised they were towing the rig into the Tyne!

Towing the rig into the Tyne.

Towing the rig into the Tyne.

You can see the strength of the wind from the white caps and spindrift.

At about the mid day we had our second visitor onboard ….. a racing pigeon! Neither of us saw him arrive, but Marcus just turned around and there he was.

There he is!

There he is!

He tucked himself up under the sprayhood on my iPad …………. my theory is that he just wanted to check his course on the Navionics App!

Just checking his way points!

Just checking his way points!

Dastardly and Muttley saved the pigeon!

He was exhausted and hungry, so we let him rest with us until we arrived in Blyth. We fed him bread crumbs and rice and gave him some water and in return he pooped on my iPad! I think we saved his life …..battling against the gale, if we hadn’t been out there going in his way, he would have drownded!!

The sailing was great and we were greeted by a member of the Royal Northumberland YC who took our lines. After tidying ourselves and the boat, we headed for the Yacht Club, which is in an old Light Ship.     It was built in 1890 and served as the light vessel at Calshot Spit until the club bought her for £600 in 1952 ……… it feels like we’ve gone full circle.

The club members were very friendly and suggested various stop off points between here and Edinburgh …… we think anchoring in The Kettle in the Farn Islands looks favourite at the moment, so long as the winds aren’t from the west.

To finish as I started …….. a couple of photo of us!

At the helm

Muttley at the helm!

At the helm too!

Dastardly at the helm too!

What a great place Whitby is!

It’s an unspoilt, picturesque, working sea side town with all its old buildings, a ruin on the hill, a working quay, a very friendly Yacht Club …….. oh and a couple of thousand Goths!!

What more could you ask for?

What more could you ask for?

The Abbey with our mast just right of centre

The Abbey with our mast just right of centre

We stumbled on Whitby two years ago  when we were camping and they put on their Folk Fortnight for us ….. this time they gave us Whitby Goths Weekend. At first we thought that all the strangely attired people were locals and the Dracula thing attracted them to settle here,…………….

Fangtastic!

Fangtastic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A normal Friday in Whitby?

A normal Friday in Whitby?

…………..but by Friday lunchtime we had serious doubts. We found ourselves surrounded by more and more Goths ……. perhaps because we were drinking in The Elsinore, which bills itself as ‘The Home of Goths in Whitby’.

Marcus was perplexed and did a lot of gongoozeling (staring) …….. finally we picked up a flyer advertising the Goth Gigs over the coming weekend and all became clear!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the old town where the early arrivals were promenading. Some of their costumes cost thousands of pounds and the variety of styles are amazing.

Promenading

Promenading

Promenading

Promenading

Cyber Goth tottering!

Cyber Goth tottering!

We decided to spend Saturday out and about with the camera and trying to find out more about the whole Goth scene that has totally passed us by ………I think Marcus quite fancies the idea of the boots ……

Not really Deck Shoes

Not really Deck Shoes

!!!!!!

!!!!!!

……….he does love to dress up!

.
On Friday evening we strolled along to the yacht club and relaxed in more familiar surroundings.The club is well worth a visit. We had a very warm welcome and were invited back on Saturday for the Open Evening with a Buffet. After another day of Gothic edification, we were ready to step back into the ‘comfort zone’.

The WYC

The WYC

Saturday, camera in hand we took to the streets …….. far from finding the camera intrusive, the ‘Goths’ welcomed being photographed. We managed to get some inside info on the different types of costume from a couple of ‘Steam Punks’ …….. they devise costumes that take modern technology and create possible H G Wells-like steam / clockwork powered alternatives.

Stem Punks

Steam Punks

Clockwork Goggles

Clockwork Goggles

Everyone was happy to talk to us………. one guy explained at length, that his character was a Canadian mercinary with specialism in Marconi and Tessler communications………and his day job? ……..

Marcus and Friend

Marcus and Friend

……………a.quality controller for WD40 and 3-in-1 oil!

A wonderful experience. We learnt a lot and once again met some great warmhearted enthusiasts ………. both ‘Gothies’ and ‘Yachties’!!

A pause for thought

A pause for thought

Goodnight Whitby

Goodnight Whitby

We had a great day’s sailing …… 20 hours from Wells to Whitby with only about 5 hours with the motor running.

The sea was slight and the winds variable, but for a time we had force 5s on the beam and were shooting along at 9.5 knots with only a knot of tide under us!

We spent the day listening to CDs we haven’t heard for years, reading, snoozing and enjoying the sunny spells.
Just off the Humber we had a visitor …….a little bird that either came for a rest, or was just inquisitive and wanted to check us out.   We were amused by him for over half an hour before he flew off in the direction of one of the tankers anchored in the Humber ‘holding area’ …… hopefully he made it!

Our Little Visitor

Our Little Visitor

Do you know what make of bird this is, Martin?

We had our first real night sail ……..the bow nav. light is working perfectly thanks Steve!
All of the gizmos are doing their jobs too…..
the AIS clearly picks up other vessels and gives us a clear overall picture of large ships in the vacinity,
the radar shows us any little boats and yachts,
the iPad displays our position speed and distance to target,
the Raymarine and Auto Pilot take charge of our course to steer,
the Captain presses the buttons and the First Mate does as she’s told!
……… so all in all we feel confident about finding our way safely in the thickest of fogs, should we ever find ourselves caught out.

We had to motor round Flamborough Head as the wind backed through 90 degrees and dropped away completely. The sea was like glass as we came across Scarborough Bay and the lights of passing shipping stretched down across the water towards us.

Entering Whitby harbour is not for the faint hearted!!!……………. The entrance is barely 100ft wide and jinks to port as you enter. The tide sets across the entrance, W to E, at a good 2 knots and the eddies, created by the outer breakwater wall, buffet and nudge the boat frighteningly close to the stone piers. We now know why we saw boats entering and leaving at such speeds when we were camping here last year!

Once in the harbour we were let through the swing bridge at 0230 into the upper harbour. By 0300 we were moored up in the Marina and tucked up in bed.

View from the front of the boat

View from the front of the boat

The Abbey on the hill

The Abbey on the hill

The Swing Bridge from the back of the boat

Two early starts!! 0600hrs  both yesterday (Tuesday 23rd) and today (Wednesday 24th).

Lowestoft

We spent two nights in Lowestoft. It’s a much bigger town than either of us imagined it to be.
It has everything …….. a fantastic sandy beach ………

Wind swept sandy beach

Wind swept sandy beach

…………….beach huts ………..

Regimented Beach Huts

Regimented Beach Huts

and promenade …….. the only draw back is that it’s on the chilly n-n-north s-sea c-c-coast, although we did see one of the hardy / foolhardy locals swimming!

Spot the massochist

Spot the massochist

Our ‘passage planning’ altered after we met three intrepid sailing barge bargees in the yacht club. They had come from their home port, Blakeney, where the skipper had built his Thames Barge inspired boat, Juno, in his own shipyard. Juno and crew are making their way down to Falmouth for the summer and were relieved to arrive in Lowestoft after their maiden leg which proved to be a very bumpy ride along the coast.

When we told them we were making for Grimsby, they suggested we make for Wells-next-the-sea instead, and then push on from there. Always open to suggestions we did just that and what a great decision!! ……………it turns out that Juno’s skipper, Charlie Ward, is one of the Harbour Comissioners at Wells.

We left Lowestoft at 0600 in order to make it to Wells for the crucial 1700 deadline …….. with our draft we only had one hour safely either side of HW to get in through the channel.

0600 Tuesday. Leaving Lowestoft .... Yacht Club in centre.

0600 Tuesday. Leaving Lowestoft …. Yacht Club in centre.

We had a glorious day motor sailing as the wind, needless to say was not strong enough without a little help from the engine.

Wells-next-the-Sea

          We made it to Wells bang on time and after negotiating the very twisting, turning and shallow channel, we were directed to the outer harbour, which all the almanacs tell you are just for the wind farm vessels ……. don’t believe them! We were made very welcome, so if you’re ever thinking of an ‘out of the ordinary’ destination …… look no further!

Passing so close to the beach is a little unnerving,

Close in to shore

Close in to shore

but it was a delight to see all the beach houses that haven’t been homogenised by some interfering town council.

Wells Beach Huts

Wells Beach Huts

We were moored against an old lifeboat and welcomed by two friendly harbour masters, who took our lines and took us in their car along to the town. What a pleasant change to meet officials who thanked us when we said what a lovely place Wells is and talked  with obvious pride about their town and harbour!

Wells town quay.

Wells town quay.

After a good meal in The Edinburgh, we walked the mile and half back to the boat along the river bank and turned in for an early night. This sailing malarkey certainly makes you feel pleasantly tired!
We set off at high tide this morning (Wednesday) just as the sun was rising ……there’s warmth in the sun as I’m writing this at 7.15! …….. hoping for a lovely day and warm night as we head north for Whitby ….. we’ll see how it goes.

Sunrise from our berth ........ Living The Dream!

Sunrise from our berth …….. Living The Dream!

Yesterday, Saturday, we took a stroll along the harbour wall for brunch at the Royal Harbour Brasserie that sits overlooking the entrance …….. what a fantastic place … quite quirky with great food, great ambience and friendly staff. Definitely a place to visit if you’re ever in town.

R oyal Harbour Brasserie ... they weren't open for breakfast when we passed!

Royal Harbour Brasserie … they weren’t open for breakfast when we passed!

Passage planning in the afternoon ……. The ”Boatie” app that you showed us Ian, makes tidal flow predictions a breeze! All we have to do is miss the ‘Dancing Dollies’, any stray lobster pots and negotiate the shallows in the estuary…….. No problem!?

Sunday Morning:
What a beautiful morning! We left Ramsgate at 0700hrs and are making our way to Harwich. If we make good time we may continue to Lowestoft.

Leaivng the harbour

Leaivng the harbour

I hadn’t realised just how many turbines there are out in the estuary ……… it took us hours to pass the Thanet and Thames Arrays. They do have a certain beauty and yet a hint of the War of the Worlds about them ……. an amazing feat of modern human enterprise and endeavour.

Dancing Dollies

Dancing Dollies

Formation dancing

Formation dancing!

Sunday Evening:
We made it to the turn for Harwich at midday, so decided to push on to Lowestoft. The weather was fantastic …… sunny and warm (apart from the first and last couple of hours), shame we had to have the motor on all the time as the wind was on the nose or too light to fully fill the sails.

Other than a couple of fishing boats that came near, we had the sea to ourselves….

Our only close encounter!

Our only close encounter!

…….. no other people are daft enough to be out at this time of year, but we did see our first seals and dolphins on our way up the coast …… too far away to snap, but still a noteworthy first!

We arrived at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club at 1900hrs swaying a bit after 12 hours at sea. We’re planning to stay here until we get a better weather window for the 20+ hour passage up to Grimsby.

Thanks to Dan and Steve nudging me, I have now managed to work out how to add photos to the blog and have been through and added some to earlier blog entries, so scroll down and take a look.

Our mooring.

The Harbour entrance and our mooring.

Because we are a biggish boat, we are moored just about as far from the amenities as possible. Yesterday was really windy and being close to the harbour entrance, although relatively sheltered, we certainly felt the effects ……. I felt like I was ‘running the gauntlet’ making my way along the pontoon to the laundry.
We have been quite busy today …… Marcus mended and refitted both outboard engine brackets, which took 3 hours out in the bitter northerly wind,……………………..

Newly mended and fitted brackets proudly sporting their outboards.

Newly mended and fitted brackets proudly sporting/supporting their outboards.

…………………whilst I was in the warm getting my hair cut!!……. I also slaved over a hot sewing machine down below, making some securing ties for the bimini so we can sail with it stored up and away from the jib furling winch………. a fair division of labour I’d say!

The Arches. The flags show the wind strength!

The Arches. The flags show the wind strength!

Ramsgate really is a good old style town with ‘proper’ shops …… butchers, greengrocers and a fantastic old style haberdashery, the like of which I haven’t seen since my childhood! The Marlec chandlery too is a ‘proper’ chandlery, squeezed into one of the arches overlooking the harbour. It is a true Alladin’s cave which has everything any boat could ever need, if you take the time to rummage and aren’t distracted by all the shiney things. How is it you always come out with so many vital things you didn’t know you needed when you walked in?
We are now debating whether to leave Saturday or Sunday ………. motoring into north easterlies all day tomorrow or motoring in calm winds all day Sunday ………….whichever it’s going to be a sixteen hour day  with little or no help from the sails.

We had a good sail around from Dover after waiting for the lock gates to open at 12.30ish and arrived just before 17.00. We had warm sunshine most of the way and calm seas.

Approaching Ramsgate

Approaching Ramsgate

None of the strong winds that all the forecasts predicted ……. scaremongers the lot of them!
Took a stroll along the front, looked out at the ‘array’ of wind turbines in the channel, sampled the whitebait at the local chippy and then made our way to the Royal Temple Yacht Club …… It sounds posh, but it’s not at all. The last time we were here was when we brought Chandie around from Titchmarsh Marina to the Solent and we met Jenni and The Byrons at the club. Happy memories!

The Royal Temple Yacht Club

The Royal Temple Yacht Club

The weather looks bad for tomorrow ……. even the Navy boats have come in for shelter. I think we’ll leave the sea to settle down for a day or two before we venture across the estuary.

Fog and strong wind warnings kept us here in Dover so we made use of the 2 for 1 voucher we picked up at the Boat Show. Just shows it pays not to throw things away!

Tucked up safae and sound in Granville Dock.

Tucked up safe and sound in Granville Dock.

We spent the morning visiting the chandlery, wandering the town centre and visiting the very welcoming Yacht Club. The rest of the day was spent getting the dinghy inflated and two outboards fired up and stowed on the pushpit.
Marcus had to use one of his new toys The Angle Grinder to cut through the ‘waterproof, all weather’ padlock locking the big outboard onto the dinghy. Certainly a tool worth it’s storage space!

Derrick and The Beast.

Derrick and The Beast.

After releasing The Beast from its shackles, we used Harvey’s derrick to hoist it up and over the rails onto the new outboard bracket. Fantastic job Harvey ……. it does flex a bit with the load, but we used a halyard to take some of the strain. I can see it being a godsend when we need to load water, fuel or the odd stem of bananas from the dinghy in the Caribbean!

What a lovely day! We had fair winds and warm sunshine all the way round here to Dover.
We left Eastbourne with the 11.30 lock out and were lead out through the silted up channel by a very friendly local in an Oyster 56′. We knew that if he made it, then we certainly could!

The wind for once was from the right direction, and we could have made steady progress, but decided to give the sails a helping hand with a few revs from the engine …… couldn’t risk not making Dover in daylight!

Approaching Dover

Approaching Dover

Just outside Dover harbour we had an unscheduled test of the rope cutter attached to the prop shaft. We ran over a fishing bouy that was lurking just under the surface waiting to snare us. After a heart stopping THUNK! Marcus revved up the engine and bits of rope, polystyrene, and a chewed up float spewed out behind us. We chugged on into the harbour and managed to cut through the remaining line by putting the engine into reverse.

Panic over, safely moored and another bit of kit tested!

A lazy start to the day tomorrow before we pootle round to Ramsgate.

Well the best laid plans of mice and men have brought us to Eastbourne! We left Brighton at 1030 and made our way out into a very lumpy, bumpy sea. It was great to see all the crew waving us off from the deck of the ‘Spoons and yes we could hear you Alan! To the accompaniment of various books, charts, boxes and the hoover crashing about in the cabin, we watched Dawn, Ian, Steve and Helen fade from view on the sea wall, as we punched our way out with the wind on the nose!

The Crew

The CrewFarewell The Fabulous Four

Farewell ……… The Fabulous Four!

What a wonderful time we had in Brighton and we have met with such kindness and generosity. We have made friends that will live in our hearts for ever and who we hope to meet again somewhere en route. By 1600 we made a prudent decision to cut our losses and spend the night in Eastbourne . As we were approaching the chanel, we tried to phone Sarah and Martin, who have a flat in the Marina, but got no answer. As we were tying up in the lock, who should be standing watching us, but the two of them! Needless to say we wasted no time at all getting them onboard and after a drink and a visit to the flat we spent a great evening with old friends catching up on all the news.

Who needs mobiles when we,ve got telepathy!

Who needs mobiles when we,ve got telepathy!

Have now completed passage planning for tomorrow…. Only problem now is the channel is due to be dredged and we can’t actually leave here until 1130 without the risk of grounding …… seems to be a strange Premier Marina interpretation of ’24hr access’ ! ……. still we should be able to make it to Dover before dark.

Hugs to all of you we’ve left behind and happy thoughts go with us. X