The first Royal Forth 3 Island Rib Rally took place on Sunday 23rd August. The forecast of rain all day and wind strengths reaching force 7 made a few boats have second thoughts. However three Ribs were there on the pontoon ready to go and take up the challenge. Unfortunately due to an unhealthy mix of lack of dredging and the lowest tide of the year (0.1metre) one of the Ribs never made it from the pontoon. She sat there on her own private mud bank looking splendid surveying the mudflats and the clubhouse in the distance. The other two Ribs left the harbour at 10.00 hrs and headed out into the drizzle only for the club Rib to stage its own go slow. The engine lost all top end power and simply refused to propel the Rib onto a plane. Fuel tanks were changed, oil inspected, engine cover removed but the lack of power persisted. So it was deemed prudent to return to Granton, all of half a mile away, and restart the Rally with the one remaining Rib!
So at 10.45hrs we set of once more laden with two adults and five cadets. We had flat seas and the rain had stopped by now as we headed to Inchkeith for our morning snack. As the tide was so low we diverted south to inspect the wreck that lies on the rocks just off Inchkeith. There was still enough water to get to within a boat length from the wreck. The wreck sat there with her bow pointing North West covered in barnacles and seaweed. Seals popped up to see who was visiting and with a loud puff submerged to get on with their own business.
We headed North and circumnavigated Inchkeith before finally arriving in the harbour. We just had enough water to reach the furthest out ladder and then a long climb to reach the top of the harbour wall. After being briefed about the many dangers that a deserted island can hold, we walked to visit the lighthouse and inspect the many outbuildings. The views of the mainland coastline were spectacular whichever way we looked. The island was bigger than most had expected and we didn’t have time to see the garrison buildings that were built in both the wars.
The sea was beginning to get more choppy which resulted in the Rib occasionally bouncing the occupants around, and throwing the odd bucketload of briny over us. We took it in turns to drive the Rib which gave superb experience to all the youngsters aboard. With Inchcolm just a little distance ahead and the deep channel a few hundred metres to the North, the Rib informed us that it had emptied its first tank of fuel by gently stopping. We went through a lot more fuel than normal as we had so many people aboard but changed tanks and headed for the West Bay of Inchcolm. The wind by now had increased and swung to the West which was a pity as we would have landed in the West bay. However we motored in and viewed the small stone jetty that in Easterlies is a nice place to be. Turning around we headed back into the white horses and carefully picked our way around the significant overfalls and headed North round to the calm of the South bay. We tied up and paid our landing dues before sitting on a bench and having our lunch.
We were presented with the unusual sight on Inchcolm of ladies braving the wind and rain wearing long formal summer dresses and holding umbrellas. Meanwhile we were sitting with full oilskin protection, munching sandwiches listening to the coastguard on channel 16 going to a boat displaying orange smoke and clearly in distress. Turns out the smartly dressed ladies were at a double christening on the island! We explored the Abbey and the wartime fortifications before heading across the Forth to Cramond Island and through the hole in the anti submarine blocks. The seas were pretty choppy which resulted the odd wave finding its way inside our oilskins and certainly over our faces. We headed out to Inch Mickery at a perfect angle to see how the island fortifications were designed to look like a WW1 destroyer to confuse enemy aircraft. Then we headed for Granton, arriving at 1800hrs making one boat completing the first RFYC Rib Rally but with most of the crews on her!
We finally headed to the clubhouse to have post rally drinks and Eva’s chips. The weather all in all was very kind to us, as the expected winds never materialized and the rain only giving us a cursory look. The post rally comments were favourable with everyone keen to do it again next year, particularly as we know there were various other boats that wanted to make it this time round. This years Rally was made up of instructors and cadets from the Tuesday evening sail training team. It’s nice to see we not only have some good sailors coming through the club but they are adventurous as well!!