Log Entry 16th August 2021

Departed Eyemouth Harbour around 06.00 Monday 9th August with mixed feelings – we hope to remember the fishing vessel that gave way when we entered Eyemouth Harbour and the HM who instructed the returning fishing vessels to wait before we cleared the Harbour when leaving. Prayers were answered for some south in the wind when we left the mooring which pulled the bow round to turn through 180 degrees – the commercial cats had moored up against our bow and stern as their final gesture. It was notable that one of the cats had only used two lines to secure their vessel.

We had light variable winds forecast which gave some concern has to how long the passage across the Firth of Forth would be. Infact we made reasonable progress with sail and engine, there was an unmarked wind farm development on the Navionics chart – but was shown on the Visit My Harbour charts and Live Charts. There were some curious maneuvers made be a vessel constrained by their draft around the wind farm which placed us inside the development but no one appeared overly concerned. The Isle of May was sighted in the distance, and then the mark for the Bell rock and the mast further East.

There was a minor panic at one point as the bilge alarm for the heads sounded, there was no obvious site ingress of water, and when pumped out with our battery portable pump there were clear signs of soap bubbles. We were unable to work out how two buckets of water had go into the bilge – but it was fresh water – don’t ask how we discovered that.

Lunon Bay was to be our anchorage for the night and we had the anchor set by 20.00 BST, followed by tea and bunks. The anchorage was a little uncomfortable but provided a welcome rest. The anchorage bay was departed on the 10th August 2021 around 06.30 BST with Dolphins spotted playing. There was little or no wind and we drifted along the coast with the engine on tick over. We just managed to make the anchorage at Stonehaven before the south going tide was in full flow. We had the anchor set for around 13.00 BST, which gave the opportunity to take lunch and have a rest before taking the next tide.

The anchor was weighed around 16.30 BST even though there was still some south in the tide it meant we would get the full north going tide. There was a friendly wave from an inbound yacht to Stonehaven. The winds were light and variable but we did get some westerly wind to get us across Aberdeen bay. The forecasts were changing every time they came through, but no stronger winds were forecast until the following afternoon – and it was clear we were not going to make Peterhead before the tide turned. We decided to anchor at Cruden Bay, there was little or no wind as we set the anchor around 01.00 BST. The next weather forecast suggested the wind could get up before the previous forecast – we decided to take some rest before proceeding to Peterhead. It was just that some rest not sleep as we both constantly were assessing if the wind was getting up. The alarm must have woken us from a doze around 05.00 BST and thankfully we were lying in a very light SE wind – we should really have taken our opportunity and set off, but the call of a warm bunk tempted us to take another hour. Once again when the alarm sounded we felt comfortable even though the wind was picking up – the crew offered sausages for breakfast – an the next hint we should have moved was the crew felt a little sick – the sausages were still calling so the skipper stepped in, but as the cooker burner was being pricked it started to feel a little bumpy. Breakfast was postponed and attention focused to departing the anchorage. When the snubbing line was removed from the anchor chain, the real state of the sea was felt, the bow was burring itself in waves – thank goodness for the life jackets which require full immersion before inflating. Our hand signals worked perfectly as did the windlass, now named Georgia. As the bow dipped Georgia pull the slack chain in, and once free we headed out of the anchorage full steam ahead. Even though the wind was only F4 we made slow progress, and the rocks either side of us ceased to become protection but a possible threat – luck was on our side and we gained some sea room. It was raining and we were wet and cold, but safe and only had a few miles to make Peterhead. We should have left at fist light, but were able to demonstrate we can leave an anchorage quickly when required. Once a couple of miles from Peterhead we called up as required and gave our intentions to enter the marina. The wind was actually the top end of a 4 and touched 5 on occasions but we were safely tied up by 10.30 BST on the 11th August 2021. The sausages which still lay in the pan were cooked and eaten for lunch.

Eyemouth harbour showing the etnrance

Log Entry 7th August 2021

Later on the 5th August 2021 we had another visit from the Skipper of Sagittarius inquiring what was going on, when I told him that the Harbour Master knew nothing of the request to move up from our current berth and further more was told to stay where we were, he turned round and said well I am going to moor alongside your boat. He simply walked off and refused to discuss the matter. The HM was phoned and he declined to come down to the pontoons and said he would phone the skipper. We heard nothing more and no movements took place. This morning however, we found that our electric had been unplugged – hey ho what friendly people.

We have a new neighbour alongside ‘Bruce’, who was kind enough to hand write some passage notes for cruising around sky – what a difference between people.

We are looking to move on as soon as the weather allows, tomorrow looks a possibility but Monday may be kinder. The sea state is currently moderate, and with light winds that may be a bit uncomfortable, we plan to review the weather in the morning.

Log Entry 5th August 2021

Departed Holy Island 3rd August around 11.00, slightly later than planned as the bilge alarm had sounded. On the Sunday night the water intake filter had blocked which caused the engine to alarm for overheating. The filter was cleared and that appeared to sort the problem. The overheating had in some way made the exhaust hose a slack fit on the silencer, once the jubilee clip was nipped up the leak appeared to be sorted. Relieved to have sorted the problem the transits were followed out of Holy, there was an impressive tall ship anchored right on the transit line and just outside the main channel which was a bit of a pain. Once we rounded the tall ship the sails were hoisted and with a force 2 – 3 NE wind we were comfortably making 3 knots against the tide.

The Harbour Master at Eyemouth indicated we could probably get in on any state of the neap tide which was reassuring as by 16.30 we were on the leading line for Eyemouth. We had plenty of water and a trawler even waited for us to clear the entrance. The Harbour Master greeted us and directed us to a berth alongside and yellow catamaran, “Sagittarius” , with the instruction to move across to the other side of the harbour in the morning when another visiting yacht left. Not what we wanted to hear, but the following morning we were up for 07.00 waiting for the boat to leave, and when they did we moved across to lay alongside an older blue hull wooden boat. After returning from the laundry the owner of the blue boat arrived and was not pleased to have a visitor lying next to him, he calmed down a little when we advised the berth was allocated by the Harbour Master. In fact he was very chatty and filled us in on some of the local history and politics. When we were back on board we heard the owner complaining to the Harbour Master who came down and very politely asked us to move back on the berth Sagittarius had been on. The wind had us pressed against the blue hull boat but we managed to spring off and get across to the allocated berth with the help of the crew from an orange inflatable work boat. No sooner had we tied up when the skipper of the orange work boat approached us to indicate we would have to move in between two other visitors, a white catamaran and Gordon’s blue boat. He cited the reason being that Sagittarius and another work boat would need the berth. I politely responded by saying I would happily move when the Harbour Master asked me to. I invited the skipper to call the Harbour Master which he mumbled that he would probably be at lunch. The conversation ended by me thanking him for the help from his crew in getting me moored up. We sat a little anxious as to what would happen when the work boats returned, when they did it was uneventful. However, once tied up the Skipper from Sagittarius approached saying we would have to move at 9.00am as he had disabled passengers. Again I politely pointed out we had been allocated the berth by the HM, and I would move when he directed us to do so, the Skipper mumbled he would go and see what his boss had to say, but he did not return.

So this morning we woke a little anxious, but 9.00am passed without event, in fact Sagittarius did not move from where she lay alongside another work boat. However, when having coffee, we think it was the Skipper from a vessel called ‘Oceanic’ asked us to move back towards the other visitors in the berth the orange inflatable work boat had left. On two occasions he confirmed these were the instructions of the HM. The HM was contacted by phone and knew nothing of the instructions so we stayed put and await the next development.

The photograph below shows Eyemouth bay and in the background you can see the significant development work taking place related to servicing a wind farm near by.

Log Entry 1st August 2021

We departed Grimsby 21st July 2021 5.00am BST ultimately bound for Inverness. Before departing we had to replace both the AIS and outboard – quite a dint to the wallet. On the promise of light easterly winds we hoped to be sailing once crossing the traffic separation scheme. Sadly there was some north in the wind which meant we couldn’t make the desire course. The wind then dropped and we had the engine on tick over carried mainly by the tide. Later in the after noon there was some easterly wind which helped get closer to Flamborough Head. The wind died as we approached Flamborough Head and the sea was lumpy and confused even though we had an offing of 1 nm, carried mainly by the tide we anchored in Filey Bay at around 21.00.

The following morning, 22nd July 2021 at approximately 06.00 BST we departed Filey Bay with only light airs and basically drifted up to Robin Hoods Bay with the engine on tick over, where we anchored at approximately 13.00 BST. Ah yes, we had fitted an electric windlass and it worked superbly – worth drilling those extra holes in the deck. It was a bit lumpy at anchor with the variable winds but safe.

We departed Robin Hoods Bay on the 23rd July 2021 at approximately 07.00 BST, again little or no wind and we drifted up on the tide with the engine on tick-over, anchoring in Runswick Bay at about 10.30 BST. It provided a little more shelter than Robin Hoods Bay, but was still a little lumpy with the light SE winds. We had hopped for the night at anchor, however the wind increased to SE force 3 – 4 and was forecast to back to E NE, so we decided to depart at around 20.30 BST after tea and head either for Hartlepool or Blyth. We were pleased with our decision as the winds increased to a steady force 4 E then NE. This gave us the opportunity to sail across the Tees bay towards Blyth – it was hard to stay awake and the Crew provided a welcome watch so some rest could be taken as it got light.

We were all tied up in Blyth for 09.00 BST along with a safe arrival drink before some proper sleep. Blyth has been a favourite for a number of years, but the lack of showers and toilet facilities makes it less favourable this year. There is still a warm welcome although some members felt a little distant.

We studied the weather daily and it looked like there might be an opportunity to depart Tuesday or Wednesday. On Tuesday morning we discovered we had no electric and the house batteries were nearly dead. Reviewing the logging software we saw that the batteries had only provided 40 amps before being nearly fully discharged. We decided to take advantage of being able to have a delivery to the marina so ordered two more 100 amp batteries, ouch. These did not arrive until the following after-noon so we decided to depart on Thursday bound for Holy Island. We had discovered Eyemouth was closed to visiting Yachts until either the 2nd or 3rd August.

We departed Blyth 29th July 2021 at about 07.00 BST, we had the promise of SW or W winds which should have given us a nice sail, however the winds soon shifted for W to NW. We weren’t sure we would make Holy Island as the tide would turn and then we would struggle to make progress. As we approached the Farn Islands we decided to use the wind to give as much Northly ground as we could as we could then come back on ourselves with the tide and wind. It did work as the strong tide did take us North however it was very lumpy, even though we gave Longstone a good 1.5 nm offing. As we came closer inshore there was still some tide taking us North and no wind so with the engine on tick over we made steady progress and anchored safely in Holy Island at around 16.30 BST. It was beautiful and calm – and gave an excellent nights sleep.

On Friday 30th July 2021, we noticed that we were lying very close to the anchor buoy and that didn’t change when the tide changed. We discovered the chain was fouled, thankfully with the tripping line we were able to get the anchor back onboard and with some maneuvering under engine we were able to free the chain – thank goodness, well the language was more colourful at the time.

On Saturday 31st July 2021 we saw both the other boats anchored in Holy Island had pumped their dinghy’s up and were going ashore. Gordon off one of the boats offered to take us ashore but we declined as this was time to try the new outboard and derrick.

The derrick and outboard worked a treat and we made it ashore by the slipway, a little worried as Gordon had chained his outboard to a cleat on the slipway. We covered ours with the dinghy and kept our fingers crossed whilst ashore.

We enjoyed a rather expensive couple of pints in a pub near the slipway.

The dinghy and engine were still there on our return and we were able to make it safely back ashore.

The new outboard and derrick

Holy Island Harbour with upturned boats in background, used as sheds.

Log Entry 4th September 2018

Automatic logging on the computer makes it very easy to become lapse in writing up a log as this late entry demonstrates. We departed Hartlepool on the 23rd August at around 11.00am, we locked out with Tees Soundsman a motor cruiser from our home port. We had left our pontoon quite nicely springing off the finger – it almost made it look like we knew what we were doing. We had the promise of a W or SW wind force 4 – 5 occasionally 6. The forecast held true and we had a cracking sail past Whitby at which point it was clear we would make Filey bay before dark which meant anchoring for some sleep was possible – though pressing on would mean we would get to the Humber early morning and could anchor for some sleep before free flow into Grimsby. Our decision was made when the next forecast arrived – the wind was now forecast to be W or SW 5 – 6 occasionally 7. This would probably mean we would arrive at the Humber in the dark with a strong wind or near gale. Decision made Filey anchorage for some sleep and depart at first light to take on the challenge. The crew took the helm to bring us into Filey bay and we tucked ourselves in a little closer than before because if we chose to say longer than the night some NW wind was forecast for the following 24 hours. In fact the wind dropped over night, and when the alarm went off at 3.30 the last thing we felt like doing was getting up to sail in the strong winds. So what was the motivation to press on, well after the NW winds there was some strong Southerly winds forecast which would have meant heading back towards Scarborough – and it was bank holiday weekend – which might have meant no spare berths. So motivation was found and we departed around 5.00am. The winds were light, we had two reefs in the main and together with the large Yankee there was enough tide to takes round Flamborough head. The wind started to pick up, but the wind speed instrument started to play up only working intermittently – instinct soon dictated that the big Yankee needed to come down leaving the Staysail and main driving us along at 5 knots plus. We soon picked up Spurn Pilots on the radio which made it feel like we were nearly home – with that we also heard the wind reports at Spurn Head were 6 / 7 West, something to look forward to. As we got closer to Spurn there were a number of squalls with winds of 34 knots – the boat seemed happy and the sail plan coped well leaving us nicely balanced. As we approached the squalls became more frequent, with the traffic separation scheme we would have to motor part of the recommended track. This was easier said than done, so first the mainsail came down and then the Staysail with the Crew doing excellent work on the helm. The decision to avoid the outer binks had already been made, but it was very slow progress head to wind, as we rounded the point the tide started to help us on our way – but at the same time there was another heavy squall of 38 knots of wind with hail stones the size of peas bringing with it zero visibility. With the crews help the chart plotter was given shelter and we continued to make our way to Grimsby. We may not have been fast but I have no complaints about our Yanmar 3GMF as it did well to give us steerage and make way in the winds we had. A more seaman like approach might have been to sail across to Hail Sand using the outer most precautionary area – we would have missed the tide but could have anchored off Hail Sand – that said there were those NW winds forecast which would have made that anchorage unsafe. Perhaps we should have stayed in Hartlepool longer or explored some other anchorages = lets leave that for next season when hopefully we will have an electric windlass. In any event we made it safely to Grimsby for free flow and now have the season next year to look forward to.

Log Entry 20th August 2018

Departed Blyth 14th August 2018 at around 10.00 am bound for Hartlepool.  A reef in the main with just the staysail in anticipation of the F5  W, SW which was forecast.  A couple of small fishing boats called up to give directions to avoid their drift nets  We watched on as a Dutch boat seemed to ignore the frantic gestures of the men in the fishing boat signalling with an oar. The fishing boat put their engine on in full astern, at which the Dutch boat twigged and altered coarse at the last minute – incident avoided.     In addition to the radio call, local advice had been given in the Royal Northumberland Yacht club to steer at a salmon fishing vessel as they will then use an  oar to indicate which side to pass on.   Apparently drift net salmon will be a thing of the past, as allegedly the Government have bought up all the licenses so the salmon get into the rivers – true or not there are certainly fewer vessels fishing for salmon with drift nets.

The wind died, and the next forecast  gave a  F4 S  or SW wind – fortunately it came through as the SW.  We had the large Yankee up for a while before the wind picked up to a 5, and then dropped back to only having the staysail.  In the end we had a good sail, and arrived at Hartlepool just before high water.   The wind gave us a few challenges in the lock, and despite asking for a suitable berth for a long keel yacht with no bow thruster we were given a berth that required a turn against the prop – we  managed to tie up safely ready for safe arrival drink.

Yesterday we visited the Hartlepool Amateur Radio club at the Hartlepool light house,  as there is a lighthouse event  each year on the third weekend in August.  We were given a warm welcome and asked to join their 2M net in the evening which we did to pass on our thanks.

Just looking for a suitable weather window to take us on the next leg home, via a couple of anchorages – most likely avoiding Whitby and Scarborough.

 

 

Log Entry 9th August 2018

Departed Holy Island at around 14.30, bound for Beadnell Bay, slight hick up on the tidal calculations which left us pushing tide with the wind on the nose. Not good, and we made slow progress under engine. Hugging the coast again we managed to skip the tide and take a look at Beadnell bay, the wind was variable forecast to be SW or W – which would be fine, however the actual wind was South and there was a little swell. After taking a look we headed for the contingency of Embleton bay, which gave us more space and some latitude for wind direction – of course the wind then came from the WSW, hey ho. There is something quite grand though being at anchor under a castle – Dunstanburgh Castle.

As to the matter of the anchor dragging last night, that may not have been the case, because the following morning we had exactly the same track as the day before when the tide changed. On passage today a light came on, the GPS antenna is at the stern, the anchor is tethered to the bow, which gives another 22 odd meters when the boat swings through 180 degrees – something to take into consideration next time.

Our anchorage tonight is shown below.

Log Entry 8th August 2018

Departed Eyemouth around 09.00, bound for Holy Island, a  pleasant and non eventful sail with winds up to force 5. Arrived Holy Island just before high water. Enjoyed the afternoon sat in the sun watching the world go by.   The forecast was for the wind to drop, however, it increased to force 6 at times.

Its just before midnight now and on anchor watch as the anchor dragged slightly and the tide will turn again in about an hour – the joys of sailing.

Log Entry 7th August 2018

A great time was had at Peterhead with visits to Aberdeen, Boddam and Fraserbrough.  It appears you either love or hate Peterhead, well we fell into the former category – perhaps influenced by the fact there is easy berthing on arrival, cheap rates the longer you stop, and friendly people.

On one of our walks we had the good fortune to meet Peter who was fishing on the river Ugie, he kindly shared some local knowledge, and next time Peterhead is visited a day permit will be purchased for some fly fishing.

Time passed, and although there were winds to take us to the Orkney Isles, there seemed to be a lack of wind that might take us South.  Day after day of South West wind, with some South gales thrown in.  Finally a weather window appeared on the 3rd August and we took our chance, and left around 17.00.  The winds were light NW and progress was slow. The wind died, so there was slow motoring at our usually speed of around 3 knots.  Then the forecast changed to W or SW !!  Fortunately we caught the West and were making for Holy Island.  The night past, the Day came and finally were were across the Firth of Fourth.  The crew kindly took a watch and some sleep was had.  The wind died again and instead of Holy Island we made for Eyemouth and were tied up around 18.00 – Much needed sleep was welcomed.

We aim to depart Eyemouth tomorrow, 8th August, bound for Holy Island again.

Memories from Peterhead:

Boddam

 

Fraserbrough

Log Entry 22nd July 2018

A little sad to leave Eyemouth, which was affordable and a very friendly Harbour.

We departed Eyemouth Tuesday 17th May at around 7.00am bound for Arbroath knowing we may have to find somewhere to anchor on passage to align with the lock times.

The forecast was for  variable winds mainly SW, in fact it was more W, which made it a little tight for Arbroath so we made for Peterhead.  In doing so the wind of course then dropped, and we were fortunate enough to find a peaceful anchorage at the North end of Montrose bay:

We departed the following morning just before 9.00, bound for Peterhead.  We were treated to a pod of dolphins escorting us from the Bay which was amazing.   Although there was not much wind the tide was carrying us well,  and the views of the cliffs, and birds and seals was absolutely incredible.

We past Stonehaven, and saw where we might anchor.  We should perhaps of taken the opportunity anchor and spend the night off Stonehaven as the tide turned and we had a hard time making anyway – but managed to avoid more of the tide by getting close in shore.  This allowed us to evaluate some of the smaller anchorages in the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club pilot. As it turned out these were a little small and or I did not have the skill to take advantage of them as the charts did not show depths and your reliant on the pilot notes.

There was supposed to be an anchorage in Nigg bay just before Aberdeen, but alas this was being developed to expand Aberdeen port – and no room for yachts.   A wind farm has also appeared in Aberdeen bay – along with a guard vessel which called us up to give more clearance – so much for being able to sail through Wind farms.

We also had an interesting experience with a commercial vessel whose course over ground appeared to be at right angles to his fore and aft line – anyway we managed to avoid the ship without incident.

It was getting dark and one of our options was Bay of Cruden which were pleased to find just after midnight. The anchor narrowly avoided taking fingers with it – a reminder of the care which should be taken.

It was peaceful and there is surely not much better experience than to arrive in darkness and then wake safely in a beautiful anchorage:

 

After a leisurely breakfast we departed Bay of Cruden around 11.00am and made our way round to Peterhead.  We tried several times to call but there was not response, but as we approached we were called and asked when we intended to call. After an explanation we had tried to call without success we were given a warm welcome and tied up around 13.30 in Peterhead Bay Marina.