Conditions were absolutely perfect for the members who gathered at the club at mid-day on Sunday 18 June 2017 for the second of our ‘Cruise in Company’ events. Bright sunshine and a forecast predicting force 3 or 4 winds from the south west bode well for the day.

This cruise was over a split tide so the fleet was going to be out for a few hours. We were therefore looking for a destination a bit more distant and Port Laing seemed the obvious choice.

Port Laing is a beautiful anchorage on the Fife shore (p67 in the FYCA Pilot Handbook) in St. David’s Bay (Inverkeithing) just to the east of the Forth Rail Bridge. An old wooden pier is evident here, just round the headland from the rail bridge, and this was one of the landing stages used during the construction of the bridge in the 19th century.

To the north of the old pier a sandy beach is evident and this is the best place to anchor, with protection from the west and easy anchoring in shallow water.

The fleet consisted of Cory Louise (Commodore), Amare, Aziana, Myrine, Solveig and Whizz Too. We set off around noon beneath blue skies and beat up the Forth into a gentle breeze. Against a falling tide getting through between Oxcars and the Cow & Calves was challenging, but the wind held constant and aided our passage.

The Drum sands is a place to be avoided on a falling tide and the fleet had been warned to give it a wide berth. Having said that Aziana bravely (or stupidly) tacked inshore, keeping a close watch on the depth reading, which held constant at 4m. It was only when we tacked again to go offshore that we nervously watched the depth fall until we had just 0.8m beneath the keel. A bit close for comfort, although the skipper said it was perfectly judged!

Aziana arrived at the anchorage and nosed carefully into 3m of water before dropping the hook. Solveig arrived soon after and came alongside to raft up. This is a practice by Solveig which has been observed on many occasions and they are getting a reputation for ‘hanging back’ so that some other unsuspecting craft, suitable for ‘latching on to’, is allowed to anchor first. This saves them getting their anchor and chain dirty! In fact, we are beginning to wonder if they carry an anchor at all as no-one seems to have seen it! They are very sneaky boys. The rest of the fleet followed soon after, with Myrine and Cory Louise with the Commodore bringing up the rear.

Safely at anchor we all relaxed, basking in glorious sunshine and enjoying what was turning out to be probably the best sailing day of the year so far.

Around about 16:30 hrs the fleet started to head back east, assisted now by the westerly breeze which held constant. With time to spare, Solveig and Aziana returned to Granton via Inchcolm, arriving back in port just in time for the boatman, who came back on duty at 18:30hrs.

A happy end to a perfect day cruising on the Firth of Forth.