Passage 06, Bridlington to Whitby

I was excited about this sail. First because I should get good favourable winds and second because I was really looking forward to Whitby. I left at 10am and shot out of the bay up to Flamborough head with the wind directly behind me. This was more like it. I turned the corner and, with the wind on my side, was belting along. Belting a bit too much actually so I reefed right down.

The wind was Westerly by this time and getting stronger and the seas bigger so the sail started to take on more of a challenging nature. I then saw a weather front coming up and though uh-ho, that looks nasty. I knew the winds were going to go Northerly by the end of the day and I guessed this may be the dreaded change happening 4 hours too early. I took the main sail down and had a well furled foresail and waited for the mayhem. It came, and I ended up doing 6 knots going East with a few square meters of foresail out and the wind screaming. Once the front had passed, it was obvious that the Northerly wind was now here to stay. Strong and persistent.

So I started big tacks to claw my way up the coast against the wind, again - dammit. My precious Southerlies lasted no more than 2 hours!

It got considerably colder. It started to rain. The sea was heaving. No longer fun. In fact, totally devoid of any fun. Now, I could have wimped out and gone into Scarborough but I didn't for a few reasons. First I really wanted to get to Whitby. Second I knew conditions were not going to get any worse. Third the tide was with me and I knew I'd still make Whitby before night fall. So I hunkered down and grinned and beared it (can you use that expression in the past tense?). It was pretty awful. I took some MTFU pills.

My tiller pilot actually worked pretty well and I was able to spend some time cowering half way into the cabin dreaming of Whitby. I still got soaked, of course.

I did a final tack to head North-West direct for Whitby and guess what happens? The wind turns North-West and reduces. What is it with these winds? They are tormenting me. I was 7 miles away so on went the motor. I got there in the end. It's SUCH a relief to get into port after a nasty passage. The fact that you're cold, wet and miserable does little to offset that.

Lobster pot minefields
There are quite a few lobster pots around near Whitby which work as excellent propellor fouling devices and it was very difficult to spot them in the heaving sea. Coming closer, I decided to drop the mainsail which requires a trip to the mast (clipped on). I then saw the boat was about 5 meters away from a pot dead ahead. Worse, it was heading exactly between the pot marker buoy (plastic container) and the pickup buoy positioned some several meters away. A rope links the two. I did two things simultaneously. One was to utter a loud expletive and the other was to dive back to the cockpit and put the engine in neutral. The boat made a perfect transit between the two buoys and I waited for the worst. Yes, I got caught but, joy of joys, only by that link rope hooking on my rudder. I pulled the rudder up a bit and I was free  (I have two liftable rudders). Yippee! That was a major disaster luckily escaped. Right, from now on focus on those lobster pot buoys.

A few minutes later and the boat appeared to slow. I looked back and I had ANOTHER rope slung round my rudder. What!!!! I jiggled that off too. How did I miss that? Once is forgivable, twice is stupid. The weird thing was that the pot buoy I dragged was quite far behind and I could not see it's partner pick up buoy. I think it must have been semi submerged and on a long line and so when I passed the main buoy I thought I was at a safe distance. Right, I'm not getting within 50 meters of any one of these, I thought. Trouble is, I now found myself in a veritable mine field of lobster pot buoys. They were everywhere. With great care I continued until I finally reached the entrance to Whitby and in I went. I feel very lucky to have escaped the mine field unhurt.

Whitby
OMG. One could drizzle Whitby with every superlative one could muster and not a single one would bounce back. I had a full day in Whitby and it was sunny. Brilliant. I hung all my wet stuff out and everything dried out during the day as I went exploring. Well, actually, most of the morning was spent chatting with the very nice harbour master guy, with the Whitby Yacht Cub Commodore and friends followed by a most agreeable  coffee on board Havsula with Ben and Jenny. Lovely boat. They all get my card!

My persistence in reaching Whitby from yesterday's awful sail paid off. Whitby was heaving with ... Goths! It was like the whole world of Gothdom had descended on Whitby. Whitby being the inspiration for Dracula. The costumes were quite spectacular. Until you went a little further and saw even more spectacular costumes. This was serious dressing up in a major way. One guy was so decked out with wierdness that he could not actually move his arms and he had a "helper", for example to give him a cigarette. I dread to think what else he had to help with! Anyway, point is, it made Whitby look like the centre of this world and it made it all the more splendid.

I biked up to the ruins of Whitby Abbey - spectacular. I drank in the views from there - spectacular. I cycled back to the West side along the cliffs above the beach - more spectacular views. I took a walk round the town. It's simply gorgeous. I was overcome by the beauty and majesty of it all.

I remarked to the harbour master how fantastic it was that it could play host to such huge numbers of people  circulating round the town (they were all going nowhere, simple strutting their stuff and being photographed) and he said this was nothing. Because it was so cold it was a "poor turn out" ?!? And besides, this is just the side show, you should come here for the real thing on Halloween. Flippin' 'eck!

Anyway, a fantastic place and a fantastic day. It's still bitterly code, the harbour master thought he had problems because he was having to scrape the frost off his windscreen in the morning. Tell me about it!

Summary
10 miles of exciting sailing followed by 40 miles of misery - cold, wet, rainy, heavy seas and winds against. Glad it's over. Whitby, well, a jewel.

Lessons learned
  • Watch out for lobster pots you idiot!