Where the devil’s Fosdyke? Answer: it’s near Boston. The river Witham runs up to Boston and the Welland to Fosdyke. Both rivers meet at Tab’s Head and drain into the western corner of The Wash. Why did we go there? Carole has family connections at Boston; Fosdyke is the nearest deep water berth available. Boston itself is entirely commercial but there is the Fosdyke Yacht Haven, an unlikely but fully equipped facility, providing pontoon berths along the river banks and all marina services, about eight miles up the Welland at Fosdyke bridge which is the limit of navigation for vessels with masts.
We sailed from Whitby at 14.00 hours on the 21st August amid great ballyhoo arising from a local waterside event, regatta or something of that kind. Harbour based events generating noisy participation from a large shoreside crowd seem to be a frequent feature of local life; there was an earlier one, a gig race, the day we arrived.
The wind off the land was fresh and we made good progress, up to 8 knots at times under sail. Flamborough Head was abeam by 20.00. There was a spell of busy watchkeeping overnight as we crossed the approach channels to the Humber Estuary, for a while under power during a lull in the wind. Ships under way were not easy to detect against the background of brightly lit anchored vessels awaiting pilots and offshore gas installations. By dawn a cold wind had returned as we closed in towards the Lincolnshire coast, once again making fast progress under sail. We passed inshore of a large array of wind turbines off Skegness, into the Wash, and thence via the well buoyed Boston Channel to anchorage at 13.30 in the Clay Hole, just below Tab’s Head, where it is necessary to wait for sufficient rise of tide before proceeding up river.
22. Whitby to Fosdyke, 21st/22nd August
Shipping forecast, 21st August 12.01: Tyne, Humber: W or SW 4 or 5 increasing 6 at times, decreasing 3 to 4 later; occasional rain; moderate or good, occasionally poor.
The tide runs very hard in the river and it was recommended that we time our arrival at Fosdyke on the last of the flood in order to avoid the danger of being swept into the bridge as we made the turn to berth up.
The progress of the year was starting to catch up with us by this stage as we had various commitments elsewhere from the beginning of September. Fosdyke Yacht Haven has a 50 ton hoist and offers very reasonable terms for winter berthing ashore so, although we have not yet fully completed the circumnavigation, here for the time we expect to stay.
The marina at Fosdyke Bridge lies some seven or eight miles up river from the entrance below Tab’s Head but the Welland Cut is straight and deep (at HW) and well marked with port and starboard stakes.