0041 - Brightlingsea to Scarborough

The next day, after procuring a small amount of fuel, and completing a series of domestic tasks we were about ready to be getting out of here. We have to leave quickly as this marina is shutting down during the lockdown, so we need to be gone, pronto.


I wanted to leave around midday but didn't get out of Brightlingsea till about 2pm, and that was fine, I would have preferred to leave on time, but since we still don't have a destination, I suppose it doesn't really matter when we leave...but if we leave now, we can catch the currents going North for the next six hours...

I figured I'd just work out where we were going once we were out there, I kinda had a rough idea of where we were initially going to go up until about Great Yarmouth, but after that, I wasn't sure and the weather, now that we are fully away from the South Coast, is actually quite mild - so once we're out there we're not going to have too much to worry about for a few days...

'Day 1' - We passed those beach huts again, a bit brighter this time around...there sure is a lot of them, didn't see a single one being used, but - maybe things are just quiet at this time of year.

We did see three little boats out on the water, but although the sun is shining - it is getting quite cold now that we're back in the North Sea - you can see your breath for most of the day. Gotta be passionate to be out in those little open-top boats. Brrrrr.

I've never really been into dingy sailing, I mean that I like having central heating and a fresh, hot cup of coffee whenever I want it. Despite Sailing North in the winter - I am not a fan of the cold weather, and if not for heating and specialized wet weather gear - I wouldn't be out here...I don't think I could be out in one of those little boats...


A dude in one of the small boats just had a sweater on, no life jacket, just an absolute madlad...

I don't feel comfortable sailing in these waters and not because I grounded out on the way here, but simply because of how muddy the water is. It's constantly brown with silt - you can't see through any of it, I can't help but feel it's hiding something.

Once into deeper water, the sails were hauled up and out and we began to catch the currents as we were passing yet another wind farm...

I swung in for a closer look at this wind farm, they are fascinating things to sail past...


Row, upon row of perfectly aligned turbines, at night each one is marked by a flashing red light, but the cool thing is they all flash at the same time, synchronized - you just see a hundred(s) flashing light(s) taking up half of the horizon.

By the time we got past the farm, the sun was already starting to set and we still didn't have a destination and somewhere along the line I just abandoned the idea. In a few hours, Lockdown goes into force and, well, where are we gonna go? We're not gonna get out of England in time - and no one seems to know what going to happen here...

Before I left, I checked with both the Coast Guard and the Port Authority and to see what the recommendations were, and the answer was the same from both, they had not received any official guidance from the Gov and were not able to tell me anything...and as to some marinas shutting down, they seemed to think that was a precaution in lieu of proper advice coming from the gov.


The deal was, that provided I was at sea when the Lockdown goes into force I wouldn't be locked out, but after I docked I could then be locked in...BUT...if I was docked when it was enforced I could be forced to stay, but with no clear advice - they didn't know.

I didn't really fancy being in Lockdown, so I wasn't in a hurry to do that, so I just opted to keep going, listen to the VHF, and just see what happens...

As we passed the windfarm it started to get pretty cold, at this time of year as soon as that sun starts to fade it's time to put some more layers on...

I went down below to put the heating on for the crew and got their supper put out, and began to prep for the night ahead...


Going...going...gone...

It's only just dark and I'm already feeling tired, I was kinda wishing I hadn't gotten up quite so early this morning, but, we are on our way, moving... somehow that seems better than just staying still.


As the night rolled on, there wasn't too much to report, a few fishing boats, the odd tanker and while the rest of the country is about to go into Lockdown we're out here, destination unknown...kinda strange actually.

I listened to the VHF for weather updates and possibly an update of some sort as to any new protocols, but I heard nothing and just kept moving.


After making our best speed with the continuous trimming of the sails we passed Great Yarmouth through the night but by morning the wind was beginning to drop considerably but we were treated to a totally awesome sunrise, the colours were just fabulous.


The metamorphosis from night to day was really stunning.

And within five minutes the sky was entirely transformed into a completely different spectacle.

When you watch it, you don't notice the colour changes, as such - it's not until you look back over the photos that you realize how striking the changes were.

I try not to live through the lens of the camera, it has to be experienced, not just photographed...to feel that building warmth of the sun on your face that's still cold from the night air is pure pleasure.


And so begins 'Day 2' - I don't really remember too much about this day - I was soo tired, I would try to sleep for about twenty minutes at a time when the scope was clear.

Sleeping is a troublesome issue when you are on your own...and you mustn't get too tired or you will sleep right through the 20min alarm, or/and AIS/Radar Alarms...and you could get yourself into some real trouble...for me, its a balancing act. As long as I get about two and a half hours of combined sleep I'm good to go for the day.


The day brightened up, but I didn't - Nothing but sea all day...

I listened to the VHF for updates but didn't hear anything relating to Lockdown, we're going to operate on the basis that no news is good news.

The day seemed to pass quite quickly and we saw no other ships or vessels apart from one container ship just chugging along.

By now I was on energy drinks to stay awake and as we got a little closer to the land we managed to get a little cell phone reception and I managed to check the news and checked the RYA (Royal Yachting Association )site for maritime updates - nothing.


The night was a little busier with more ships and blips on the scope so there would be no resting tonight. There really was a lot of activity out here.

We weren't going very fast either, which was a little annoying - I had only grabbed a little bit of fuel before we left Brightlingsea, and as much as I would like to put the engine on to pick up the speed - I can't - we don't have enough fuel to motor for very long, plus we don't know how far we're going...


Sailing at 3 knots is very slow, but the wind is free and it's just gonna have to do until tomorrow, I hadn't planned on doing much motoring, and with the wind having been as strong as it's been, I hadn't considered there being so little wind - at 3 knots, it was a long night.


'Day 3' saw us sailing in view of the land with plenty of cell phone reception.

I called a few different ports to see what the deal was - and two days since lockdown went into force and there's still no guidance from the Gov.


I called Scarborough Harbour and as far as they were concerned - it was business as usual. And being a commercial port it was unlikely to close, and me, being as tired as I was I opted to pull in and get some sleep.

We should get to Scarborough for late afternoon, and that should end this leg of this trip that will end up being over 200nm making this the longest voyage on this trip, and boy does it feel like the longest...

As we got within a few miles the sails came down and Greta was pressed into service to push us the rest of the way as the wind had just about all but gone...


The harbour was super easy to get into, and Scarborough looked like an interesting place, Ferris Wheel on the beach, and Castle on the hill - hmmmmmmm.

It's a shame we won't be able to do anything as our movements are restricted to the harbour and essential journeys only. I would say that checking out a castle is an essential journey but I feel the authorities might not feel the same...


I got tied to the pontoon, and the dude even came down from the Control Tower to take my lines - I like this place already. I got checked in and paid our dues and on the way, I spotted a fuel truck.

Some quick inquiries with the fuel truck revealed a source for cheap diesel, why pay £1.25 per litre at the gas station when I can just pay £0.50 ($0.66) at the truck. All I wanted to do was sleep, but I wasn't going to miss this opportunity.


I managed to get all my cans filled and made my way back to the yacht to get some sleep. Diesel is such a pain in the ass, we probably use more diesel in our central heating system than we do in our engine but - it's always a hassle finding the stuff at a decent price. £0.50 ($0.66) per litre is about as cheap as it gets in here in the UK, and whenever we find these prices we fill up.


On the South Coast, not shaming any marina here, but one place wanted £1.79 ($2.37) a litre - I'm telling you - those South Coasters must have some cash to burn - I probably don't need to say it, but I didn't buy that diesel at that price - TBH, we can't afford to pay those prices, it's just too much, for us...our shoe-string funds don't extend enough for us to be robbed at the pump...

We were planning on leaving the next day and in checking with Port Control we learned that there was still no official guidance and the harbour would not stop us from leaving, however, if that situation was to change they would radio me to let me know.

I felt that I'd done all I could to follow the rules and decided it was just time for sleep, and see what tomorrow brings, but with any luck, we will be on our way onto the final leg of the UK Circumnavigation - only about 150 miles to go!


I am definitely going to take a week off after this trip is over to recover, my whole body is just sore, but a week should do it - then we will have to decide what to do next, do we keep going or do we sit tight for the Winter...?

Since I started living on this yacht, I have rarely been able to see beyond a week into the future - but 'the way' always appears, it seems to know where we're going even if I don't.


I think we're either going to Eyemouth or Berwick - provided there are no other complications - But, we'll just have to see what happens at the Border. I suspect nothing, but we'll soon find out...

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