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Ornamenting the Ship: August 5th-6th, 1811

August 5, 2011

By now, there was much anticipation of home on board the Resolution, not least because a high spring tide was expected at Whitby on Wednesday morning, and with such a large cargo the ship would need plenty of water to be able to cross the bar. Scoresby’s thoughts were of making the most of the wind, and his comments show the extent to which captains of sailing ships had to anticipate changes in the weather. He is keen to record where his decisions differed from those of other captains, especially when he got it right:

All the Ships in sight lay starboard tacked we lay larboard tacked W, WbN, or WNW conceiving that there was a probability of the wind westering after a hot Day so it proved for at 8AM we tacked and lay SSW made all sail to the S1/2W. At 9 saw the Fern [FArne Islands] lights which we passed about 11PM.

Scoresby devised activities for the crew to keep them occupied, including making a figurehead. Ships in sight included theVolunteer, Lively, and Leviathan, which was heading for Hull. In the early hours of Tuesday, they were frustrated by the failure of the wind off Coquet Island, on the Northumberland coast:

At noon charming fine weather. Thermometer 73 [deg] Coquet Island 20 miles distant …

Yet, as the morning went on the wind strengthened from the South and South West, and they made slow progress tacking as far as Hartlepool on the Tees by evening. The Aimwell and the Lively were to the North, Scoresby says, and the Volunteer to the South. As the light faded Hunt Cliff came into view “10 or 15 miles distant” which meant they were almost home.

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