DAY 29 – Wednesday 18 May 2022 – Spurn Head to Scarborough

Miles logged: 53
Total miles logged: 895
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 29
Days at sea: 19

We were glad to leave the anchorage at Spurn Head. The narrow spit of land was expected to give some shelter but we had a miserable night behind it, and things were only a little calmer in the morning. As we sailed away and around the Head we felt that, if anything, the sea was quieter to seaward of the spit. 

We were able to sail north past the two wind-farms a little way off the coast but it was not to last. By mid-morning we down to under 4 kts over the ground so had no choice but to motor if we were to reach Scarborough at a time when there would be adequate water to enter. But the wind came up again later and we enjoyed four hours under sail, on a comfortable reach, making good way with a lift from the tide.

The land between Spurn Head and Flamborough Head is a great and impressive curve; the land at the Spurn end, once the spit itself has been passed, is of reddish cliffs but these give way to white chalk as one moves north. Our course was more-or-less directly towards Flamborough Head so we saw little detail of the coast but we could see the white line of the cliffs through the haze. Again we enjoyed the warm sunny weather. 

Flamborough Head is a most impressive landmark with, of course, the usual tidal challenges. In the light winds we were unconcerned by these but as we reached the Head we found ourselves in quite a blow and, due to having tried to sail earlier a little beyond the point at which it would have been best to fire up our engines, the tide had turned against us. So whilst nowhere near dangerous, the waters around the Head reminded us firmly of their power and of the need to be careful when reckoning that settled conditions at a given point will persist until a potentially dangerous headland is reached.

Flamborough Head. Note the sea state
Lively conditions around Flamborough Head. The boom preventer can be seen

As the tide had turned, the final fifteen miles into Scarborough were a bit of a grind. With a couple of knots of tide against us and with the wind directly behind us our speed over the ground fell below 5 knots then below four. The sea was lively in the wind-over-tide conditions. Though there was wind, we had to use our engines for the last two hours until we were safely berthed.

The approach to Scarborough is a particularly pleasant one. The weather for our passage in did not allow us to enjoy the view at its best but even so it was a fine sight. The town is nestled in the cusp of a headland, on which the impressive Scarborough Castle stands, visible for miles. The town’s buildings climb the steep hillside for quite a way and some, such as a very grand Victorian hotel and a fine church, are prominent. 

Approaching Scarborough. The entrance to the harbour is by the lighthouse
The entrance opens up
The visitors’ pontoon is to starboard, opposite the larger vessels which lie to the wall

We enjoyed a pleasant rest day here. Both of us had jobs to do on our yachts and we each enjoyed having friends and family to visit

Two points of passing interest on this leg were the crossing for the last time of the Prime Meridian and the attainment of the same latitude as Fleetwood, our port of departure. So from now on our position will always be west of Greenwich and, until we return to Fleetwood, we will always be to the north of our home port.

Plenty of water at high water …
… but very little at low water. It would be impossible for another yacht to raft to Bubble here

Video footage of the later stages of the passage to Scarborough here.

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