DAY 28 – Tuesday 17 May 2022 – Wells-Next-The-Sea – Spurn Head

Miles logged: 46
Total miles logged: 842
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 28
Days at sea: 18

It was a wrench to leave Wells-Next-The-Sea. It was cold and wet when we arrived on Sunday evening but Monday was a glorious sunny day and we felt that we could be with our yachts in no lovelier place. I had a run to the beach (despite the town’s name it is about a mile-and-a-half from the sea) and Mike and I explored the town a little, fiddled with our boats and soaked up the charming atmosphere. A visit to the harbour’s laundry was occasioned by an accident involving a jerry-can of fuel; attempting to top up Bubble’s tank I moved the jerry a little too enthusiastically on deck and covered myself and my clothes with foul-smelling red diesel.

This morning we woke to perfect weather, though with little wind, and set out from Wells at 07:30 along with several other yachts which were also heading to the Humber. Two were aiming for Grimsby Marina but Mike and I, along with a beautiful 45-foot Southerly called Christine, thought it might be an interesting idea to anchor in the lee of Spurn Point. More of that later.

It was easy navigating out of the Wells channel. This time, unlike our drizzly entrance, we saw the sands with the colourful beach-huts at their best in the golden morning glow. A man was drying himself having been for an early-morning dip; his dog looked on.

We motored out to the deeper water and set a course for Spurn Head. We motor-sailed for a while but that soon became hopeless so this was yet another leg entirely under engine. Further out, with distant views of the Lincolnshire coast – Skegness, Mablethorpe and other delights – often through a mass of wind turbines, the sea was mill-pond flat and the sun burning hot.

Pagets Lady on the mill-pond waters of the North Sea on the hottest day of the year to date

As we approached the Humber the wind increased a little and I raised my genoa, gleaning a small increase in ground speed. With a few miles to go we had a breeze of 14 kts or so and could have sailed, but by that time we just wanted to get to the anchorage. In any event it would have been an uncomfortable dead run. Christine, a larger and faster yacht than both of ours, reached the anchorage behind Spurn half-an-hour before us. We watched on AIS as she picked her way in and noted that her route was the one between several channel buoys that we had chosen. Yachts are supposed to use a specified route into the Humber which is marked on the chart; we followed that but had cross the shipping channel to get to the Spurn anchorage. That was achieved with no ships in sight. We caught a glimpse of the two Humber forts, great stone structures rather like those we observed in the Solent.

At the anchorage Christine offered reassurance that the 20 kt wind, as it was now, would not last and that the uncomfortable chop was really not too bad. So we anchored and I made supper whilst being thrown around the galley. Mike called me to say that he was not comfortable and we thought very carefully about heading to Grimsby as there was still time to enter the marina there and so enjoy total calm for the night. I was keen to stay at Spurn; I wanted to spend the night in this remote spot and because we plan to make for Scarborough tomorrow, a start from Spurn will save six miles – about an hour – compared with a departure from Grimsby.

In the anchorage behind Spurn Head. It was very uncomfortable until the early hours

I made coffee and went out to the cockpit to enjoy it in the wind and the evening sun. I was just in time to see Christine heading off in the direction of Grimsby. It was difficult not to imagine her crew anticipating a night on a snug marina berth and I began to think that Mike had been right when I sensed in the conversation we had soon after arrival that he would really rather not have stayed here. But later on, when checking that Bubble was showing on, I was astonished to see that Christine had returned and was anchored next to us. I managed to raise her skipper on VHF and he reported that they had motored to a little harbour they knew in order to get a takeaway. They had returned empty-handed because the harbour had closed its storm gates just before they arrived. Storm gates … I fear that this will be a long night.

The conditions really were most uncomfortable but, in the event, I slept soundly until 0400 – doubtless assisted by alcohol – by which time the conditions were more settled. In retrospect we should have spent the night at Grimsby Marina but, as I write this, sailing in gentle conditions northwards towards Scarborough, I am glad to have ‘done’ Spurn Head and am certainly pleased that we have an hour less to sail to Scarborough as a result.

Some video footage of the approach to the Humber and Spurn Head here.

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