Royal Forth Yacht Club
Watersports at Granton

Cruise in Company – Sunday 20th August 2017

Following a stormy 30 knot plus day on Saturday 19th , during which I only saw a single sail out on the River Forth during the whole day (unfortunately it was mine!) Sunday dawned much more peacefully as members gathered for the penultimate RFYC ‘Cruise in Company’ event. A respectable gathering of members and guests gathered at the club at 10:00hrs to discuss the options for the day.

A gentle breeze from the west was forecast along with grey skies but (or so we hoped) little or no rain. With HW due at 14:32 there was plenty water in the Forth for this cruise so it gave us the opportunity to perhaps explore areas which we had not before considered.

An excellent turnout with 9 boats making the cruise saw in excess of 20 or so members and guests teaming up on various yachts. Kenny MacKenzie however decided to sail alone on Hoodlum and the rumour was that he had salmon sandwiches in his bag and he didn’t want to have to share them with anyone.

Anyway, with the day set fair the ‘fleet commander’ suggested setting sail for a new destination which, very surprisingly, no-one had ever been to before; and this was Barnhill Bay.

Approaching Barnhill Bay

Barnhill Bay is a recognised anchorage on the Fife shore and it appears in the Forth Pilot Handbook. It can be found approximately 1000m SW of Aberdour Harbour and just to the north of the Mosmorran Gas terminal. Aberdour Golf Course hugs the shore of the bay and offers fine views. The bay dries at LW so care has to be taken with tides but, on this particular day, the tides were perfect for our visit.

The yachts represented on the day were (alphabetical): Aziana; Defiant, Georgia Moon, Hoodlum, Idothia, Orithia, Polka, Silkie and Solveig. Tom Wilson had been due to sail on Aziana but he shrugged this invitation when he discovered that Christine (Polka) had been home baking and had with her a bucket full of fresh scones.

The course was set for the fleet to sail west up the ‘Forth and to enter Mortimer’s Deep round the west side of Inchcolm. Not all boats followed the course however and one in particular (no names), lured perhaps by the promise of a home baking frenzy, cut the corner, made a bee line for Barnhill and quickly dropped anchor

Tucking into scones

The rest of the fleet arrived soon after and, in good shelter from SW to N winds, anchored in the stillness of the bay in about 3m of water.

Barnhill Bay is easily accessed from the deep water channel in Mortimer’s Deep. There were no ships at the gas terminal during our visit so I am not sure if a ship at the terminal, perhaps during the loading of gas, would render Barnhill Bay less attractive. It is certainly worth a visit however.

After a couple of peaceful hours (apart from the thundering of the theme tune from the film ‘Where Eagles Dare’, emerging from within the bowels of ‘Defiant’) the fleet weighed anchor and made its way back homeward in a steady westerly breeze, giving us all a lovely sail.

B Robertson

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