Report by Patrick Angier. Photos by Fiona Angier & Adrian Shield
Saturday morning, 13 September, thought about the cruise up to Bridges – looked as if we would drift / motor up. The plan was to anchor to the West of the Rail Bridge have a party and watch the fireworks. And then sleep aboard or get back to Granton. With thoughts about the pending referendum in everybodys mind, there was a very strange atmosphere at club early afternoon when we all met, made more so by then fogginess and the hot sun trying to break through. You could sense that there is an inevitable question on everybody’s mind – soon cleared up when we worked we all preferred being together. After the usual banter we all set off – half a dozen boats all sailing along together with the oldest boat in the fleet, Border Maid, kidnapping some poor unsuspecting sole who had just moved into the flats above the yard and was wondering if the could join the club.
There was a bit more than a zephyr of East but not much more so. Errant – a truly beautiful wooden 40 odd foot Alfred Milne that has just been brought to Granton by her owner soon disappeared off into the fog – you could make out Inch Mickery from the harbour entrance, but couldn’t quite see Fife. As in all these things, whilst its strictly not racing, Border Maid, and it must be said towing the fleets dinghy Zara, a rather large and rather classic Zodiac inflatable, was soon raising her spinnaker. Even though it was really only a beam reach it would soon become a run when you got past the Drum Sands.
Border Maid was gaining nicely on Embleton at all of 3.5 Knots when Zara made a bid for freedom and was left bobbing in the middle of the Forth. Not be able to fathom why Zara looked so small in her view finder, the question of “Why is the dinghy so small and far away” from one of Border Maid’s crew led to the inevitable dropping of the spinnaker and getting it fankled procedure. Zara was by now bobbing rudderless and directionless (I am sure there is a metaphor in here about separation and going off alone somewhere in all of this) at the mercy of the wind and tide and the elements. Hoodlum was her normal good mile back in the fleet was cunningly in place to do a magnificent rescue of Zara by the time Border Made had completed the spinnaker washing and getting into bag procedure and got the engine started and motored back up wind. Thanks Kenny.
Hawes pier was a really good anchorage – lots of music coming from the Hawes Inn and a real party atmosphere
getting underway. The Forth Road Bridge is 50 years old and this was the end of a week of celebrations. A wee dram and a good mince and tatties was enjoyed on Border Maid as it got dark and festivities started. The rail bridge looked as spectacular as ever:
We were 500 metres back from the Bridge so too far away to see the Vikings and there was a river of torches going across the bridge :
It got dark and the fog lifted. Other boats from elsewhere also joined our little fleet including March Whisker from our good neighbours the Forth Corinthians. She rafted alongside Border Maid. At 10.06 – (the bridge is 1006 metres long)the fireworks went off.
They were truly spectacular with a display right across the
Forth. Edinburgh does good pretty fireworks at New Year and the Festival, but the Bridge Fireworks made those look like a bag of garden bonfire fireworks.
As quickly as the fireworks started they were over and the fleet broke up – some to Port Edgar and the rest back to Granton. It was by now a good ten to fifteen knots on the nose with quite a steep chop – usual in Easterlies , but all the boats were safely tucked up on the Pontoon by about 1 am.