Boats get ready for North Sea challenge

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The flags will be fluttering from the Vincent Pier when Scarborough Yacht Club’s annual 210-mile North Sea Yacht Race starts tomorrow.

The race, from Scarborough to Ijmuiden in Holland, is again sponsored by Boyes Stores, and will be starting at 6pm tomorrow.

It’s a spectacular sight in the bay with all the boats ready for the start and the lifeboat launched to see them off safely.

The harbour wall is a good vantage point to see the action and take in the atmosphere.

The club are really pleased by the number of visiting boats ranging from Tees and Hartlepool in the North to Humber Yawl from the South, which gives added competition to our own local boats.

The boats set off with the tide and try to make Flamborough Head before it turns.

This was made extremely difficult last year as thick fog descended just as the boats had started and with very little wind there was no option but to anchor – some for as long as four hours just along the coast.

But with the tide with them and a decent breeze they can round Flamborough before it turns and set their course for Holland. Of course it still takes navigational skills crossing the gas fields and keeping a good distance from the platforms, which is essential.

The next hazards are the traffic separation zones which have ships of all shapes and sizes passing up and down the Dutch coast and finally as the competitors approach the Dutch coast there are an array of wind farms to negotiate before entering the port of Ijmuiden.

After registering their finish times the boats head up the North Sea Canal for a well earned night out in Amsterdam.

The culmination is a presentation dinner in the old seaport of Hoorn, about 30 miles from Amsterdam, in the Markenmeer after which the boats make their way home.

Next on the calendar is the club’s annual regatta, with once again visitors taking part from clubs up and down the coast.

This begins over the Bank Holiday weekend on Saturday August 24, with the first race taking place in the morning from the South Bay.

There will be three days of keen racing with the final day having a pursuit race where every boat sets off at their own handicapped time and hopefully all finishing together.

This again makes a good spectator sport as the lead boats try to keep their position with others chasing from a later start.

The final event of the day is the Sail Past, where all the boats are dressed overall with flags etc and pass in front of the Commodore, Nick Taylor, who will be on a boat anchored in the bay.