Sunday, 30 June 2013

Soaked on the way to Scarborough (Fair?)

 You will recall that, although at the time of writing this blog your scribe is in Whitby, you are still at least two episodes behind and I had left you (as it were) in Bridlington. Do keep up.
Despite the LNER* posters encouraging 1930’s holiday makers to holiday in Bridlington I had found the seaside town a bit depressing. The artists’ impressions on the posters showed fresh faced young children and bonny young girls enjoying the seaside. Sadly there weren’t many of either in evidence in 2013. The holiday clientele were of an age, older than your scribe, with set and sad expressions. Vagabond couldn’t wait to leave.
I consulted the weather forecast – NE (again) in the morning but shifting to the West, with some rain. I looked at the tide times and discovered that I had better get a move on otherwise I’d be locked in Bridlington for another day (Rule 2 is never sail at night).  With some initial reluctance, Freddie eventually started. He clearly does not like the “service” that he had been given (by an expert) in the winter. The Insurance Agent (retired) will no doubt be pleased to know that I have decided to regularly service Freddie, unlike my lawn mower which still contains a full sump of oil, vintage 1990. 
Last look at Bridlington from the shore
I took a last look around the harbour.
Then, with the centreboard lowered (I am getting good at remembering to do that before casting off), Freddie pulled us backwards into the harbour pool, where we turned round and then we were off out of the harbour. I reckoned we had about an hour of adverse tide whilst we ran East along the coast to Flamborough Head so we should reach it at slack water when, I hoped, the overfalls would be less dramatic.
We passed a nursury for young sea birds.
The swell was still running strongly and, as we approached the headland under sail, all I could see was a long line of breaking swell stretching as far as I could see to the South East.

The line of rollers
There appeared to be a break in this line of breaking water close into the headland.
I clipped in, started Freddie (no reluctance now, thank goodness) and headed for the gap. There were no breakers but a lot of totally confused waves through which we bounced for about 10 minutes. Then we were through into calmer waters for even the swell had reduced.  Now we could turn North, if the wind allowed us. The nearest we could get to the wind was just W of North and this would run us into the land within a couple of miles.
So we zig zagged in a general northerly direction. The sun vanished behind a thin layer of cloud. The cloud thickened. The wind shifted towards the south and died away. The World at One ruminated over the budget saving and spending statements. The wind came back, this time from the West. The clouds lowered over the inland hills. I got out my waterproofs and put them on.
The Play for the Day started, so it was at about quarter past two when the wind freshened and I put a reef into the main sail. The lump of rock that overlooks Scarborough came into view some way down the coast.
The rain announced it’s presence with a strong, long squall. The rain was thrown down “like stair rods” ** as a Yorkshire clleague  of mine used to say.
It went on and on and on. The misery of it was somewhat reduced by us suddenly finding ourselves in the middle of a race of 707’s. I thought we’d better get out of the way but the race kept following us.
We were now in the offing of Scarborough and had arrived at almost low water, so the harbour master told us to wait for an hour or so, until there was enough water to let us in. So we hung about, getting bounced about by the wind and getting wetter and wetter......After about an hour and half,  we were allowed in.
In the offing of Scarborough
I found the wind was too strong for me to roll up the jib effectively, so I had to go and seek shelter behind Scarborough rock before I could complete it. It reminded me of the time in the middle of the Irish Sea.....
We finally tied up to the visitors pontoon in Scarborough at about 17:30, when the rain stopped. I was wet through everything!
At the yacht club that night, I discovered that the race had been part of the 707 national championship. It’s a good job we had kept out of the way!

By the way, if you have not already noticed, I have updated the map, so you can see where we've been this year, as well as last! 

Expressions, translation etc
* LNER London and North Eastern Railway one of the “big four” railway companies of the 1920’s to ’40s’s prior to Nationalisation to become BR
** stair rods were thin poles, usually of brass about 2 ft 6*** inches long and 3/8 inches**** diameter that were used to hold the inside fold of stair carpets in place before fully fitted staircarpets became the rage (for all I know they are back in fashion).
*** thirty inches or about 750 millimetres
**** 1 inches = 25.4 millimetres so work it out for yourself

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