Day 133 and Day 134…6th/7th October 2018.

Lets start with Saturday …what a horrible, horrible day weather wise!! As bad as anything that Scotland or North East England chucked at us. There we were, leaving Wells …thinking …moving on, moving south …all that good weather to come…feels warmer already.

So we arrive at Lowestoft…and we get a Force 8 gale and torrential rain all Saturday.

We spent the day between the Royal Norfolk and Royal Suffolk Sailing Club ( that’s where we were in Lowestoft ) …a really nice side on berth and good facilities …and sitting inside a rocking Poli Poli.

Saturday was a complete wash out…except…. wait for it Mr. Garrett….Grimsby won again! That was the best thing which happened on Saturday!

Day 134, Sunday 7th October 2018. Lowestoft to Shotley Marina ( near Ipswich in Suffolk ).


Went to bed on Saturday night after a meal in the Harbour Inn. The strength of the gale outside on the pontoons nearly blew you over…and of course it was still raining…horizontal wetness!

The boat was rocking and being pushed on and off the pontoon…making all sorts of weird and wonderful squeaking noises…and even though we were sheltered by two stone harbour walls , the gale force wind went on screaming for most of the night.

Woke up at about 6am…and a surreal silence everywhere… the rain had stopped and the  wind had eased to less than a puff.

This could only be in Britain… a horrible weather day followed by a day of sunshine, blue skies…and guess what ….no wind. Surreal it was.

We departed the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk at 9.15am after taking on diesel at the fuel berth. Sunshine yes, blue skies yes…but the previous days howling winds had built up a considerable swell in the North Sea…and this is what we met as we made our exit from Lowestoft Harbour through their entrance into a very uncomfortable swell. However, after negotiating the inner Holm sandbank…and three miles out to sea, conditions eased.

Turning south, it became quite pleasant ….passing Southwold ( a beach hut here goes for between £50,000 and £80,000 whilst in Wells it is cheaper…Mike looked it up on his phone as we went passed Southwold…another Chelsea/ Kensington type place I believe). Then passing the new and old Sizewell Nuclear Power Station …not so pleasant!

After a hot lunch of tomato soup, bread, followed by pieces of hot garlic bread and finished off with a hot steak slice and baked beans…the tide started to turn against us…so slow progress then onwards.

Once level with Orford Ness lighthouse at about 2pm…we started to work out a plan for the passage through the Felixstowe and Harwich shipping lanes. We spied the huge container cranes in Felixstowe from about 15 miles away..,, and a car park type arrangement for huge ships waiting to go into the two big ports.

It took for ages to navigate the shipping lanes accordance with the harbour authorities strict instructions… now nearly 4pm and approaching low tide.

We finally reached the marina at Shotley which is located at the junction of two rivers … the River Orwell and Stour. The depth at the marina cill was 1.7m . No problem …keel up and we berthed in a nice, easy alongside pontoon by 5.45pm.

Mileage for the day : 48.4 n. Miles.

Mileage from Eastbourne : 2,517.7 n. miles.



Day 132, Friday 5th October 2018, Goodbye to lovely Wells, hello in the dark to Lowestoft.


On the Thursday morning before our departure from Wells the next day, Mike and I went to the Harbour Master’s office for a ‘briefing’ .

He was very good and as we listened carefully, he drew a rough sketch map of the entrance showing where the channel was and the relevant buoys to look out for.


As I said in a previous blog, the Wells channel is difficult at the best of times…. reminds me of the 48 buoys you have to locate over in France when you go into the estuary of the River Somme from the English Channel up to the little town of Saint Valerie Sur Somme. Both can be considered a ‘yachtsman’s’ challenge

We discussed the best time to leave… and it seemed to be one hour before high water… so we agreed 2.30pm on Friday.

The real difficulty is finding which publication has the most up to date positions of the red, green ( and one yellow) bouys. All the established nautical almanacs differ…. and so do the pilot books …the latter are also a long way out of date.


So we made do with two maps…. one dated May 2017 from the Wells Harbour booklet and the hand drawn one from the Harbour Master.  In some publications there are even written instructions….  ‘keep to the reds in the section between 22 and 28’….. and so on…but for me, these are far too complex. You just don’t have that sort of time to read from a script and helm  the boat at the same time.

So I just made do with the HM’s one piece of paper and the general gist of what I read and listened to in my head! Local knowledge is always best.

Just before departing we phoned ‘Coastwatch’…. a voluntary organisation which has established look out posts all around the UK…. following the cuts to HM Coastguard. We noticed the Wells look out post as we came in on the Wednesday afternoon. I asked what the conditions were like at the Wells Bar just before leaving. He informed me that we would not have a problem.

We departed at exactly 2.30pm…. and we didn’t have a problem. There was no wind, no surf to speak of, no breaking waves…. just a matter of getting the buoys in the right order and always finding the deepest part of the channel. So using the HM’s master plan for the very last bit…. crossing the bar… we did so and in 30 minutes had reached the outer cardinal buoy…. and then turned east onto our planned route for Lowestoft. Sighs of relief and a big thank you to the Wells Harbour Master Robert Smith MBE.

The photo  below has been taken from an RNLI advert about life jackets in a publication titled “Port of Wells” . This shows the Wells Bar on a bad day. Mike will back me up on this….look at the fishing boat…beam on to the rollers…well that is how we entered on the Wednesday afternoon. You can see one of the red buoys on the left.


A flat sea met us, three or four lobster pots to avoid, a course away from the coast and very little wind. We had about three hours of daylight left and the tide was well and truly pushing us eastwards…. so we made good progress towards our destination… passing Blakeney, passing  Sheringham and then passing Cromer, before edging southwards towards Great Yarmouth. We occasionally touched 9 knots of boat speed and for the most part it was 8 knots with a good tide running behind us.

Just before sunset, we decided, as the sea was so flat and calm…. to get ready for berthing before it got dark at 6.30pm. So we put out the six mooring lines ( making sure they were secure to the guard rails ), put out all fourteen fenders… but laid them on the deck so that we just had to push them over when we entered Lowestoft harbour later on. Much safer that trying to get ready in the dark and under time pressure.


To the north east of Great Yarmouth, now pitch black in the dark….the tide finally turned against us and we slowed down. Not to worry, we knew this would happen… we just chugged on…. sighting the flashing lights of our cardinal buoy about 9pm…. signalling the final approach into Lowestoft Harbour. Having identified a gate made up of a red on the left and a south cardinal on the right…. we turned south west for the final 4 or so miles and headed towards land.

A massive sand bank known as Holm Sand lies across the entrance to Lowestoft Harbour…. with a miniscule gap through it. The sector light was not easy to locate…. but no matter, the red and the cardinal were enough to guide us in, making a quick course change through the sand bank gap…. then up to the maze of lights at the harbour entrance. Three greens in line plus the red and green either side of the ‘gate posts’…. and after a quick call on the VHF radio for permission to enter…. granted…and in we went.

Through the outer harbour, up the main channel, a hard left then right…. met with a sight to put a smile on any sailors face…. a long side on pontoon….empty!!! We moored up at 10pm. Tired yes, hungry yes…. and relieved. The Wells exit and a night sail into a strange harbour… done.

Our home for the night was the Royal Norfolk and Royal Suffolk Yacht Club, Lowestoft.

Total mileage for the day: 61.5 n.miles.

Mileage from Eastbourne: 2,469.3 n. miles.

Tomorrow, Saturday…. we plan to move even further south…. making the journey from Lowestoft to Shotley Marina, between Harwich and Felixstowe. However, we had already started to monitor the weather for Saturday…. and all agencies including the MET office were talking about Gale 8 from lunchtime onwards. Not good.


Day 131…Thursday 4th October,Wells… rest day…. old friends re-united!

What a nice day…. weather wise and friends wise. A day set aside to meet good friends from many years back….so Toby met up with Marilyn, Roli, Anne and Ian ( from Surrey days in the 1970’s and early 80’s ) and Mike met up with Keith from Rutland … again a friend for many years.

Toby’s friends adjourned to the Victoria pub next to Holkham Hall after a walk down to the West Sands in Holkham Bay. Mike and Keith adjourned to the The Hoste in Burnham Market and afterwards they also took a walk to the West Sands as well. Best told in pictures.

Marilyn and Anne sitting in the saloon of Poli Poli.



Poli Poli on the long side on pontoon berth in Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk.

A somewhat dark photo of the “gang” at lunch in the Victoria, Holkham.


Right… Marilyn, Ian, Roli, left…T and Anne. T taught with Ian and Marilyn at Rydens in Walton on Thames in the 1970’s.


Poli Poli again…on the pontoon at Wells…a beautiful little sea side town …on the east coast.


Sunrise at Wells, Thursday …from above Poli Poli.


Tomorrow….Friday 5th October we plan to sail to Lowestoft…about 50 n. miles from Wells. The issue will be “what time can we leave?” We will need to go at about an hour before High Water. We will see.

Day 130,Grimsby to Wells….Wednesday 3rd of October 2018.

The earliest we could arrange to get out of Grimsby Docks was 5.45am…about an hour before low water outside in the Humber. So we were up very early to get the boat ready. Somebody answered our prayer and stopped the horrible north westerly blowing around midnight. So a very dark morning but no wind thank goodness.

We left our berth in the marina part of No 2 Fish Docks and motored with great care in the darkness to the lock gates. Once again Mike stood up on the bow and with his powerful head torch indicated to me where the “edges” of the walls were as we passed through the entrances. We announced our presence to Martin, the lock keeper on duty, via the VHF radio, and entered the out lock at exactly 5.45am. Two ropes were lowered bow and stern and in 10 minutes we chugged very gently out into the River Humber in darkness.

At 3 miles distance we found our red buoy that marked the start of the south Channel all the way round to the Tetney mono buoy…a great big yellow floating raft of all sorts of monitoring equipment including a long black rubber pipe ( unmarked and unlit ) that snaked away to the south east.

We expereienced a spectacular sunrise over the Humber Eastuary…all pinks, yellows and every shade of red as the sun came up over the Spurn Head lighthouse. It was brrrrr cold too!

Unlike  the time when we entered the estuary on the Monday evening, it now resembled a car park …or one should say boat park. Ships of all types and sizes at anchor waiting for the tide…but all, thank goodness, beyond the south lane where we were. As the ebb tide was stronger than the wind ( there was hardly a breath ) the dozens of ships all pointed exactly the same way.


The map above gives a general idea of our journey across the top of the Wash…it also shows all the wind farms!!!

Poli Poli headed south east across the top end of The Wash to the north coast of Norfolk. So passing Tetney Haven, Marshchapel, North Coates, Donna Nook bombing range, and down past Mablethorpe towards Skeggie ( Skegness ) . But not in a straight line! Firstly there are wind farms to avoid, and secondly the waters of the Wash are notoriously shallow in places so you have to plot routes through deeper channels.

We had to meet a tidal gate time in order to get in at the port of Wells Next The Sea…which was 1pm ( their high water ) …that was why we left Grimsby so early. Speed was of the essence, and as there was only 5 knots of wind, we motored. We punched tide for a lot of the time but 2 hours out from Wells the tide turned in our favour and swept us in towards the Norfolk coast.


The map above shows the entry channel into Wells Next The Sea in north Norfolk. We are berthed at the bottom where there is a purple V for visitors symbol.

At 12.30pm we spied the West Cardinal buoy through the binoculars and were on course to be at the entrance at 1pm. Now Wells is not an easy entry…some 4 n.miles of narrow shallow channel marked by red and green buoys. The sands move constantly and the buoys have to changed from time to time…so no chart is up to date. But the biggest threat to navigation is the Wells sand bar …right at the entrance where in certain conditions, crossing it can be very very risky!

Just off the West Cardinal buoy I spotted a fishing boat also making for the entrance. Hmmmm I thought …be sensible to get in behind him and follow his boat in. I could see surf breaking and hear the roar as waves tumbled over on reaching the sand bar.

As is the case with all ports you have to radio in to the Port Control officer who is usually the harbour master… and give details of who and what you are. This we did and on hearing that we had variable draft..permission was granted for entry.

We used VHF radio channel 12 and the fishing boat ahead was also tuned in on this working he listened to our details, came on the radio and offered to guide us in. Andy was the we accepted his offer and got in line behind him. The first part was ok … the outer buoys …but when we crossed the bar it got really hairy. There was a swell and waves were breaking on the channel across the sand bar. Both Andy’s boat and ours were beam ( sideways ) on to the we ( and the fishing boat ) were rolled over from side to side in the surf. Poli Poli was her magnificent self and always came back up level. So for about ten minutes it was definitely Roli Poli!

Once across the bar…. in a surreal sort of way…it all calmed down and within about 40 minutes of zigzagging around green and red buoys , we were safely moored up on a long side on empty pontoon…helped by Fred whose welcoming words were “ she’s a big bugger” ! Just before 2pm we switched our engine off and heaved a sigh of relief. Welcome to Wells Next The Sea.




Total mileage for the day : 52.6 n. Miles.

Total mileage from Eastbourne: 2,407.8 n. miles.

We plan to have a rest day tomorrow..Thursday 4th October, then set off again on Friday for Lowestoft. Tomorrow we have two sets of friends arriving to see us…Keith from Rutland Water for Mike, and Marilyn and Roli ( who live 30 mins away from Wells ) and Ian and Anne from Shere near Guildford in Surrey… for T.


Day 129…. Rest Day in Grimsby …Tuesday 2nd October 2018.

After our long 70 n.mile sail down to Grimsby from Scarborough, there was not only a Force 7 red line weather warning out on Tuesday morning when we got up…but also there was no way we could sail the 50 or so n. miles to Wells in Norfolk. We had missed the early morning lock departure from Grimsby and the 1pm high tide arrival for Wells.

Not really a “rest day” …more …no way could we make our next planned destination in Norfolk. So an enforced stay in Grimsby.

So the morning was taken up going to the local “transport cafe” for a full English ..which was actually ok…located nearby in Fish Dock No 3…I think it was called the Jubilee Cafe. Then jobs….tidy up the boat, plan the passage to Wells, do laundry tasks and then do diesel refuelling in the afternoon without moving the boat .

A nice photo ….Poli Poli in front of the iconic ( we’ll to some people ) Dock Tower …resplendent lording it over the three once thriving fish docks in Grimsby. We used it as a very useful aid to navigation as it shows distinct lights at night…guiding us in to the big entry lock …as it has done for thousands of trawlers in many years gone by.


Poli Poli is to the right hand side of Dock Tower.

All night and all day the horrible screaming nor east wind had continued to blow and there was no way we were going to be able to move Poli Poli from her berth to the fuel station and back again afterwards…so we did it by pouring all our reserve fuel into the boats tank and then walking the cans back and forth to the fuel station.

After the diesel tank on the boat had been topped up, we walked into the Grimsby Town Centre by way of the new east west docks road, Riby  Square, all the way up to Hainton Square via the long Freeman Street to Victoria Strreet and then to the top of the town at the Bull Ring.

We passed Riverhead and the River Freshney…where eels used to be caught on a Saturday morning. Walking up to St. James Church, we paused at the big sculpture of a trawler man hauling in the nets out at sea…a memorial to all the Grimsby fishermen who lost their lives a long way from home …as well as reading the quite moving and poignant poem inscribed at the base of the statute.

We had our meal for the day … well we did have a cooked breakfast…in the Pizza Hut opposite the House of Fraser store which, surprisingly is not closing like the one we saw in Edinburgh.

Walking back the same route we came upon a certain pub in Freeman Street . The Mariners were playing that night…away from home at Carlisle …where they won 1-0. T was so pleased that he found his football scarf and wore it about the boat.

Look closely at the Wellington Arms pub…read what says above the left hand illuminated window.


3FB3E164-B40B-45D1-A103-56DE3A3AF020A close up of a very important event in the history of both man and woman kind!


A windy day…but not a bad day in No. 2 Fish Dock. Just hoping the wind eases for tomorrow as we have booked the 5.45am lock out for our trip to Wells on the Norfolk coast.

Days 128 and 129 Monday 1st October and Tuesday 2nd October 2018, Rough and complicated night sail and The Wellington Arms in Freeman Street.

Monday morning came…and with it some 48 hours of strong north westerly winds. A real screamer! Time to depart Scarborough. The only window was exactly High Water at 8.50am… the depths in the inner harbour were unreliable and varied all over the place.

So Poli Poli made her exit at exactly 8.50am and once into the Bay met the toughest conditions so far. The swell coming in, pushed towards the coast  by a 48 hour nor westerly made for large waves rolling in from the North Sea.

Where the swell met the shallow waters of the Bay, well the waves increased in height and speed. It was a battle to get out…but even with waves bigger than the boat ….Poli Poli did it.

It was a tough order, but we had to get Poli Poli into deeper water where the swell was less prominent. So a lot of “roli Poli”…surfing over the tops, up one side and down the other into a deep blue trough. Poli Poli was magnificent, answering every call on the helm. So not pleasant for the first hour or so…distinctly roller coaster type ride.

Once five miles or so off the coast, we turned south. The waves were still quite big but the enormous swell had modified. We took a lot of stinging, cold salt spray over the bow… but hey ho we hid beneath the spray hood.

By 11am we had rounded the famous headland at Flamborough..with its two lighthouses. Would have been quite risky had we been closer…but at a distance looked remarkably serene in a watery kind of sunlight. The big white breaking waves along the cliff line was a warning sign… come no closer!


We spied the little port of Bridlington and because the entire two harbours dry out to mud and shingle, we are pleased to have made the decision not to go there.

By 3pm we were approaching our first gigantic wind farm..and even though the wind was blowing 20 knots NW .. only one turbine was turning! Strange.

We had a “tidal gate” to contend with which was simply… we must not arrive in the Humber estuary with its shipping lanes before 5pm.  If we did we would be swept out into the North Sea by the fast ebb tide coming down from Grimsby and Hull. Well we didn’t want that as we had had quite enough of the North Sea thank you!

On the map below it shows our planned approach route to the Humber shipping lanes. We changed our minds and did not do the thick north to south yellow track to the Spurn Racon buoy but came in at the top of the map…top right to the Humber Racon Green buoy. This was because we decided to pass the Humber Gateway Wind farm on the east side. As it was low water, passing the wind farm on the west side nearest Spurn Head presented quite a few hazards.



So we deliberately slowed the boat down. On motor, simply reduce speed. The main coastal tide was against us so we negotiated the wind farm at a snail’s pace.



We finally arrived at the very first buoy marking the start of the traffic lanes for the River Humber…the Humber Green Racon …the latter means it sort of is mounted on a little boat and is not only coloured and lit at night, but emits electronic signals.


Make no mistake…the approaches to the River Humber are as complicated and crowded as any I have seen…three major shipping lanes coming together just south east of the Spurn Head lighthouse…so literally nearly a hundred buoys…two old forts in the estuary …all serving major port destinations…Hull, Grimsby, Immingham and the oil installations at places like Killinghome… well as Goole further up the Humber.

At 5pm when we had reached the Racon Green..we had worked it out that we were never going to make the Grimsby Fish Docks Lock by 7pm. We had booked this earlier with the Lock Keeper.

It would take at least 3 hours to navigate our way through the maze of marked channels into the south lane and then up to Grimsby. Sunset was about 6.20pm.

So a night entry lay before us. Whilst that introduces a higher level of anxiety into the proceedings …you just remember the golden rules for sailing in the dark….water under the keel, identify each buoy and navigate buoy to buoy …and above all identify by light pattern, both moving and stationary vessels.

Our route into Grimsby would take us past 24 different buoys …all lit with flashing lights …different colours and different sequences would identify what lights they were…eg flashing red a red buoy, green similar ..white flashes more difficult eg a West Cardinal buoy would be 9 quick flashes. Sounds hard…it is!

We navigated down the NE shipping channel …on the right hand side of the inbound type of dual carriage way to a huge triangular area known as The Precautionary Zone where three dual carriage ways meet!!

Keeping on the outside west route, we skirted this …and then checking carefully, and hoping no traffic fore or aft..and none coming from the side…we quickly crossed the inbound dual carriage way to exit the main lanes at the Tetney Mono Buoy. Relief…big sigh…

Then, now very dark, just a matter of following 11 reds up to the lock gates at Grimsby. The eleven include reds not on the main chart…that guide you into the lock. Sounds straight forward… not so as there were big ships at anchor to go round and some obscuring the flashing red lights. But we did it..slowly.

By 8pm we reached the big lock into Grimsby Fish Dock Numbers 1 and 3. The lock keeper, Leah ..a most pleasant and helpful young lady guided us into the dark lock and dropped long fore and aft ropes to us below. The sea gate clanked shut, and Poli Poli ascended until we were at the same level as the dock on the inside. The big gates landside opened…and we chugged into Fish Dock Number One. Nearly pitch black..and as the horrible NW had eased, was able to hold station whilst Mike put out the fenders and lines both sides of the boat.

Mike stood at the pulpit (bow ) wearing a snazzy, powerful head torch which made just enough light for the helmsman ( me ) to see our way into the marina in No 2 Fish Dock. We had to locate berth B9 which had been reserved in the visitors section for us. It was the only spare one they had. At a snails pace, after a bit of tooing and froing we reversed backwards, in the dark, into B9.

To put it bluntly, we were knackered. A kind Club guy called Steve came down just as we tied up and offered to open the bar for us!!! We we too tired even for that…so after a quick hot Cornish pasty and beans we went to bed. No rest for the wicked.. as by about 11pm the horrible north westerly was screaming through the rigging. Welcome to a night of screaming banshees!

Total Mileage for the day: 70.30 n. miles.

Total Mileage from Eastbourne : 2,355.2 n. miles.

Grimsby berth B9 reserved for Poli Poli. Most marinas will not reserve berths for visitors. Usually a first come first served basis. Grimsby kindly did this for us. We found the sign the next morning.


Days 126 and 127, the weekend of 29th and 30th September 2018. Sailing ( sails up ) from Whitby to Scarborough and then a rest day in ‘kiss me quick’ land.

The team…. Mike, Toby and Robert ( who joined Poli Poli on Thursday evening ) after the sumptuous fish feast in the Magpie Restaurant, Whitby. Well the team… now of three… set off from Whitby Marina at exactly 8.20am…. to pass through the 8.30am Saturday morning swing bridge. Out to sea by 8.40am , and sails up and roaring along on a beam reach, southwards.


Mike on the bow, approaching Whitby swing bridge…. the red thing! Sunny, blue skies….a nice morning. They only opened half the bridge for us!!


The engine was turned off beyond the Whitby harbour entrance, the sails went up and that magic sound…. the rustle and ripple of our bow wave as 15 tons of boat and machinery begin to move through the water. Mother Nature takes over and wind powers us on our way. We did not have to hurry as there was a tidal constraint in getting into Bridlington. …. so we carved out a track in the cold North Sea and made 5 to 6 knots of speed.

The sun in the east made it extremely difficult  to spot the many different coloured lobster pots that came our way. All three of us resorted  to sun glasses. Plan A was to try and get to Bridlington and a pontoon berth. If that did not happen, then Plan B was to divert to Scarborough if there was no berth available.


Apart from lobster pots, not a lot happened for the first few hours….. we sailed south with a somewhat fickle wind and T made mugs of hot tea for the team. Robert demonstrated his wide knowledge of the bird life that flew all around the boat, pointing out the many varied species.


Well he might be looking out to sea for lobster pots…. must have been taken before putting sun glasses on.

Mike made a phone call to Bridlington when we were about 6 miles out to sea from Scarborough… to check with Bridlington that there was a pontoon berth available for Poli Poli.

The marina offer was a) there is no space on a full pontoon for you, we can let you have half a pontoon and you will sit on the mud at low tide….and b) otherwise you can moor up against the harbour wall but you will be very uncomfortable from the swell.

So a quick conflab….. all agreed, contact Scarborough marina and see what they have. This we did…. they could offer a proper side on ‘alongside’ pontoon berth in their marina and there would be no sitting on the mud! Problem was it was an hour to low tide… and would we be able to get into Scarborough harbour?

I explained about our lifting keel and that we would have a 0.8m draft with keel up. So the Harbour Master agreed to let us in, raft up against a catamaran and wait a couple of hours as the tide came in…. then move to the long side on berth with shore power and water. We then understand, that he … the harbour master, went off duty.

It was pretty essential to get into Scarborough harbour…. we did not want to have to stay out at sea and do ‘circles” holding station until the tide filled up the harbour. There was concern re a rising wind speed.

It took us an hour to take the sails down, start the engine and motor swiftly towards Scarborough… about 6 n.miles. We arrived at the harbour entrance and reporting in to HM on the VHF radio at Port Control… were informed…. ‘Who are you? I know nothing about you…. I have just come on duty… are you the blue sailing boat in the entrance? He should not have agreed to let you in at low water’….and so on.

We explained as best we could. The NW wind had now got up and was blowing at 20 knots…and we were sitting there with a meter of water underneath…. and getting less and less by the minute! Finally HM agreed to let us enter…. and raft up against the catamaran. Gingerly, slowly slowly we approached said vessel… but at the last moment I decided to pull out as it was totally unsuitable proposition ( for at least 3 different reasons ).

The HM, now being extremely helpful…. suggested that we might like to raft up against a blue trawler with the registration GY7447 on its bow. We accepted his generous gesture as the said vessel sat in 3 meters of water…. and motored over to GY7447 …. where we rafted up with our mooring lines. GY7447 was already rafted up against a bigger trawler on the inside. Both boats were extremely smelly. GY …. is Grimsby…. and Margaret later informed me that they had lost…. again!


Photo above…. Poli Poli in a raft of three in Scarborough fish docks…. two on the inside are trawlers…. GY7447 is next to Poli Poli. The marina is over to the left in much shallower water.

Clambering over both trawlers and then up a 40 foot vertical ladder ( it was now low tide )…. was our next adventure…. in order to get a hot drink and something to eat. This we did…. and to cut a long story short…. we finally moored up to a decent side on berth over in the marina area… after two failed attempts ( not enough depth ) by 5pm! Later that evening Robert’s wife Judy and daughter Harriet joined us for yet another sumptuous meal in a lovely restaurant along the waterfront that same evening. All’s well that ends well as they say.


Photo below evening meal in Scarborough restaurant…. right to left… Robert, Harriet, Mike, Judy and Toby.



Mike with his steak plus favourite dish….. battered onion rings.

Total distance sailed for the day : 21.0 n.miles.

Total distance since leaving Eastbourne: 2,284.9 n. miles.

Day 127, Sunday 30th September 2018….. Rest Day in Scarborough… the “kiss me quick” hats end.

Scarborough Marina  is located in an old fish dock below the main street that runs along the waterfront. Scarborough is a big town… and like all towns has its “nice” part as well as a “grotty” area. The Marina is below the main waterfront which is full of fast food restaurants, not nice cafes, and amusement arcades, a big wheel and fairground plus a glitzy casino. The day we arrived…. Saturday…. and it was heaving with Yorkshire folk out for a day at the seaside…. so very, very busy. Sunday…. not so sunny, so a bit quieter. So less “kiss me quick” hats.

In the morning the boat was washed and cleansed of all the salt she had taken aboard on our trip down from Whitby. We were expecting my brother Giles and his wife Pam for a short visit and they duly arrived after midday. They came bearing gifts of food… fresh hens eggs from their own chickens and a delightful pear tart. We sat in the saloon and chatted, refreshed with tea made by Mike.

Giles, Pam and Toby…in the cockpit of Poli Poli, Scarborough Marina.


In the afternoon, T walked into the nicer part of Scarborough…  to South Bay…. very posh indeed, then the town centre and finally to a big Tesco store…. unusually not an out of town location. Back down through a park and well tended boating lake to the marina. Then a blog which did not work and a passage plan for the next day…. our trip to Grimsby. This involved some detailed planning as a consequence of the traffic ( ships ) separation scheme in the River Humber.


Mike and Pam on the pontoon…Sunday, 30th. September.



Day 125 Whitby Rest Day….Friday, 28th. September 2018.

What a lovely day Friday was in Whitby! Sunshine all day, blue skies and the mystery of the horrible south westerly wind which has vanished. So in photos..

D515A24E-C4A3-42EA-ADC8-DD1601E34E50On Thursday evening we were joined in Whitby by friends Judy and Robert. We dined on fine fish and chips in the Magpie Cafe …once written up by AA Gill in the Sunday Times as the “finest fish and chips.”

After breakfast at the “Singing Kettle” ( Trip Advisor “best breakfast in Whitby” …Mike did not agree …neither did T ) A second helping was had at Bothams Bakery …much better.

Mike and Robert went sight seeing round the streets of Whitby…whilst T had a long conversation with a very helpful Harbour Master about the pros and cons of either Scarborough or Bridlington. The latter marina was chosen as our next port of call.

Mike went off on an open top bus tour and got off at the Abbey and walked downhill through the town ….spying at least three goths!

T and Robert visited the Captain James Cook Memorial Museum…that took two hours…a real pleasure. The museum is based in the house ( Grape Lane ) where the young James Cook served his seaman’s apprenticeship…a very striking 17th century house.


The House in Grape Lane…where Cook served his naval apprenticeship. T took a photo of Poli Poli from the attic window.

430D678B-8931-4EE8-9B9E-8E464E6A8082.jpegPhoto looking towards the north and the sea…Whitby…Poli Poli on the right then above is Whitby Abbey. Note…we have not seen sky that colour for a long, long time!


Poli Poli in the morning sun, Whitby Marina. Friday 28th September.



Photo above …Poli Poli in the afternoon sun…taken from the attic window. Whitby has always been a famous boat building town…the two big white buildings are the current boat builders.

Mike took the photo below from the graveyard in the Abbey…Poli Poli is there somewhere!


The photo below 43938D1F-B0BF-4AD0-88D3-5AD029C84288of the harbour entrance at Whitby taken by Mike….so calm. Very different from our entry the evening before.


Whitby Abbey from the open top bus tour.

Friday was a good day all round!!

Day 124, Amble to Whitby….Thursday 27th September… a long day but worth it.

We had hoped that the fierce South Westerly winds would die down overnight. This was not to be…. dawn brought 20-25 knot screaming banshees. We got up at 6am to get ready and prep the boat for departure. The plan was to move Poli Poli to the fuel berth first, fill up and then depart 3 hours after High Water… the absolute limit for getting out of the Coquet River. This we did although the strong winds and ebb tide made things difficult, we finally departed Amble at 8.45am

Our exit route took us out of the harbour…. effectively the estuary of the Coquet River south eastwards into the Coquet Channel and then seawards south down the north east coast of Northumberland. We avoided the Pan Bush rocks, Polder Ware Spit and the rocks fringing Coquet Island itself. A shallow choppy sea and a seriously brisk sou westerly wind met us head on. Trying to maintain depth and avoid the many lobster pots, we made haste for deeper water. A hairy start, but once on course Poli Poli settled and we pushed on a parallel course which took us past Blyth, Tynemouth, Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Middlesborough and finally the coast of the North Yorkshire moors.

We acknowledged the great rivers of the north east… the Tyne, Wear and Tees…. all signposts on our journey southwards. We were even able to pick out Roker Park ( as it was once known ) in Sunderland with the aid of our binoculars.

if you look closely at the photo below…this is Sunderland from four miles off. To the left of the tower block flats is Roker Park or the Stadium of Light as it is now known. For Peter at No. 9 “Away the lads…”




Sunshine virtually all the way…. at first making it extremely difficult to locate the lobster pots in the glare, then towards the afternoon and evening, quite pleasant. The winds screamed and howled for the most part, reaching 37 knots at one point… but abated as we completed the final few hours of our journey. And our concern that the winds would back from SW to west, then to north west and finally north… did actually happen as per the forecasts. We had a worry that entry into Whitby would not be possible with a northerly wind blowing. Had it been a gale force 8 northerly then this would have been the case.

By early afternoon, our head tide ( ever since departure ) faded and the tide turned finally in our favour… so we enjoyed final speeds of up to 9 knots. We had been warned by the Whitby Harbour Master that in a flood tide there would be a west to east strong “tidal set” across the harbour entrance. He was right…. in our approach we tried to stick closely to the recommended track known as the leading line…. no lobster pots this time… but you could feel the cross tide trying to push you off course…. so we aimed Poli Poli to counter the tide. We entered Whitby harbour almost surfing between the huge stone walls… and then in the shelter, the boat slows and peace and quiet all around. Whitby Harbour on the River Esk on the evening of our arrival. .

EB218294-6BE1-4C7F-9D47-6CBA810EECE3.jpegWe arrived in Whitby at about 5.30pm but then had to moor up on the waiting pontoon for the swing bridge to open for us. A very pleasant, helpful welcome from the harbour staff at Whitby…. once again a feeling that they were there to help make our stay in their town as comfortable as possible. Well done and thank you Whitby.

Total mileage for the day : 65.00 n.miles.

Distance from Eastbourne: 2,284.9 n. miles.


Day 123, Bad weather day in Amble on the River Coquet in Northumberland.

After Victoria and Alec plus their two boys left yesterday evening after a lovely meal in Amble, the south westerly wind screamed,  screeched and whistled through the masts and rigging…all night long.

Wednesday morning arrived and after a disrupted night’s sleep ..the wind continued as it had done all night long. All the weather forecasts bore a similar story of SW Force 6 and above winds…so today’s planned sail was reluctantly called off. As a consequence of tide times, we would not have been able to depart until after 2 pm this afternoon.

Amble marina on the right, from up river near Warkworth. Looking out east to the North Sea.


We spent the afternoon walking up river to the very scenic and quite charming little town of Warkworth  on the Coquet River.  A late lunch was taken in a most pleasant hostelry.

My late lunch today ….good old fashioned bangers and mash plus a big bowl of anti scurvy medication. The onion rings have nothing to do with my diet!!! They seem to appear every mealtime!


A photo of Warkworth Castle ..note blue skies and sunshine…but a wicked south westerly wind blowing.

704EBD4D-0345-4E7B-8743-8B3900C34D98.jpegAfter visiting the village stores for tomorrow’s snack lunch whilst sailing, we walked back to Amble along the river bank…by now high tide. Wildlife a plenty…swans, cormorants, herons etc plus the start of the blackberry harvest season… starling pink poo in our cockpit for the first time …lovely!

Our afternoon walk along the Coquet River…the town/village and castle in the background.


Tomorrow we plan to depart at 8am and complete a 10 hour journey south to Whitby in North Yorkshire. Just hope this south westerly eases up !!

As a consequence of today’s bad weather day…the schedule has to change yet again. The revised version is set out below: