East Coast Sailing Festival Muster

You don’t often have a balmy southerly wind blowing at the, “well it might be worth putting a reef in, but probably doesn’t really need it as it would be more fun, but if I put in we can always shake it out” sort of strength. But the Friday evening was just that, Sunny and warm enough for just a sweat shirt and five boats from Granton congregated just outside the harbour. It should have been six, but the smallest member of the fleet had been damaged during the week through some careless handling. Most had a reef in, all flying ensigns as it was not going to be a race up to Port Edgar for the East Coast Sailing festival muster. At 17.15 Pemva was still under engine, at 17.16 she was under full sail – joys of in-mast furling. At the Helm of Border Maid was a former Commodore of the Corinthians waxing lyrical about the last time he had sailed a Folkboat many years ago. It very quickly became apparent that those who didn’t have reefs were going faster and its more fun washing your side decks and old boats are designed to sail leaning over, so reefs were quickly shaken out. Totally flat sea, rising tide and wind just forward of the beam, all the boats picked up their skirts and ran. Superb sailing and just wish it would never end. Very tempted to turn and run out down to the Isle of May – it was that sort of evening.

Part of HMS Prince of Wales - photo by Patrick Angier

Part of HMS Prince of Wales – photo by Patrick Angier

By the bridge it got a little bit interesting. A large piece of the 2nd Aircraft carrier, The Prince of Wales, was waiting to go up through the bridge. We spoke with one the Tugs –  “please go round her stern as she is about to start moving under the bridge, but please be aware we may have to reverse rapidly if it doesn’t go under”. You could see hard hats and yellow jackets on the topsides getting ready to duck. But must admit a superb kit of manoeuvring, but slightly begs the question how they will get the completed aircraft carrier out – or will it for ever patrol the upper Forth? [Editor’s note – it is designed to go under the bridge when complete – just – with the highest masts folded down!]

Photo by Patrick Angier

Photo by Patrick Angier

We all rafted up at Port Edgar. Met up with many of the racing folk who were just about to set off on Maid of the Forth for an evening cruise / dinner around the Islands. We were all invited, but told the bar was still open onshore. Most elected to stay ashore go the bar and then head into South Queensferry for curry. I haven’t had reports from the evening and besides, what happens at sea stays at sea.

Saturday dawned – hot, sultry and not a lot of wind. I got back down to the boat to find various states of play. Now accompanied by the ship’s dog along with some other friends and about twenty odd boats, set off for Burntisland harbour and not quite sure what we were expecting. There was some wind but the tide had more effect on our overall speed. A huge cruise liner was moored off Hound Point – so huge it even had a huge open air TV screen playing adverts showing lots of play trees and happy families sliding down water shoots etc. – bizarre.

At about 11.30 we were below Inchcolm Island and the wind dropped completely, so we awoke Mr Katonka – if you have a single diesel Yanmar that name will make sense – and pottered into Burntisland harbour. We were met by a welcome committee in a RIB and a Piper in full dress piped us into the Harbour. Went through into the inner harbour and there were lots of boats all rafted up and fully dressed.

Photo by Patrick Angier

Photo by Patrick Angier

What a welcome the Burntisland sailing club had put on for us. Barbecue, lots to eat and drink and really pleasant and friendly company. We did all pause for a moment to think about all those poor folk drifting the marks and very frustrated in the nil wind conditions, but it was only for a brief moment as more important eating and drinking was to be done.

Some boats left Burntisland and headed straight back to Granton, whilst most drifted / motored back to Port Edgar to join in with the evenings festivities. We elected the latter, started out under sail / spinnaker / and any other sails / dirty washing we could hoist to try and catch whatever breeze was there. Even encouraged the ship’s puppy to wag her tail to make us go faster. An hour later we were nearly at Inchcolm – so Mr Katonka took over.

Enjoyable evening’s festivities but kept half an eye on the weather – Forecast for Saturday night was for thunder and heavy rain, Sunday morning 30 plus knots on the nose. You can sleep on a Folkboat, but the lure of a comfy bed and avoiding a very bash into wind meant that we left a bit early and headed home under engine as the sea was still glassy.

The cruise liner was being turned by its tugs and we roared past, just inside the North channel marks. Lots of black smoke, fanfare of horns and big froth at its stern and it sat there for five minutes until it slowly gained momentum and left us bobbing in its wake with the big TV screen still playing adverts. The sky got darker to the east lit up every now and then with lightning, or perhaps by the TV screen – we debated long and hard. Just past Inchmickery wind filled in, up went the sails and good sail home onto the pontoon. Just got into the car and the heavens opened.

Sunday lunchtime, went down to Granton to move Border Maid back onto her mooring. Pemva and Hoodlum came into the harbour – “interesting” and “ even my ………. are soaking wet” were comments I heard. Bright sun but boiling sea and strong wind.

Reflections – a very good first East Coast Sailing Festival for cruising boats. Roll on the next one.

And by the way visited the Colombian Navy’s Flagship – the Gloria in Leith Docks yesterday. 250ft long tall ship and spectacular – attention to detail was what struck me, and slightly sad when the Britannia is now tied up permanently as a tourist attraction. Gloria, is not that much younger and is still in commission travelling the world and training cadets for the Colombian Navy.

Photo by Patrick Angier

Photo by Patrick Angier

Patrick Angier

Cruising Secretary, RFYC

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