Friday 28 September

Quite busy down at the harbour today.  The Bosun, together with four stalwart volunteers was laying a replacement mooring trot.  Not an easy task laying a long length of heavy chain with a number of risers spread along it.  It required the moorings launch, one of the regular launches and the chain laying raft.  Plus a lot of effort and energy.  Essential work though as the previous chain had been badly corroded.

Also some of the racing fraternity were sorting out issues with their boats prior to the Royal Eastern Regatta tomorrow afternoon.  The forecast though looks to be cool, cloudy and rather windy.

Thursday 27 September

The storm last week was rated as a Violent Storm, Beaufort force 11.  Not one to go out in.  A couple of the other Club boats suffered in the storm.  One lost its jib and another some of its fittings.

Users of the pontoons will be pleased to know that another two of the pontoons are being replaced.  Edinburgh Maria have been able to refurbish two of the old pontoons including new floats.  Regular users will have noted that the new pontoons to date have all had larger floats which have resulted in varying heights from the water.  There is no doubt that these bigger floats are much better for the larger boats and over time the whole pontoon will be at the same height.  As well are replacing these two pontoons, a number of the mooring chains are having worn links replaced in time for the winter berthing.  The two clubs are also investigating the options for dredging as the silting over the past four years since the last major dredge have been significant.

Wednesday 26 September

Regular visitors to this page will probably have worked out that I was away somewhere.  That somewhere was sunny Italy, where I was enjoying sunshine and temperatures of 30 degrees, though unfortunately not sailing or close to the coast.

Meanwhile Edinburgh was being hit by extreme weather from Storm Ali on Wednesday 19th September, with winds gusting over 70 knots at Inchcolm around midday. Unfortunately one of our members’ yachts capsized on its mooring in the bad weather. The conditions are reflected in the web site visits where the daily total was up to 150 as opposed to the average of about 85 over the month.  No doubt it was skippers checking the web cam to see what the wind was doing in the harbour.

However, the tail end of the season produced a good final Cruise in Company of the season only 4 days later.  Five club boats turned out in sunshine and a westerly breeze and sailed round the westerly end of Inchcolm and into Aberdour harbour.  After a leisurely lunch they had a cracking sail back to Granton.

Brian, our Cruising Secretary has produced a report of the day which should have appeared on the page “Cruising in Company – 2018”.  But it appears that this page doesn’t exist at present.  I am, however, sure that this will be rectified.  Our small volunteer web team, with lots of other pressures on them, have been rather diverted by a move of our site to  a new host and all of the problems associated with it, not to mention web cam problems which included people switching the web cam off.  That is simple to fix but does require investigation and a site visit every time.

Potential members should be assured that our Cruising in Company events have been active and successful throughout the year.

Saturday 15 September

Regular sailors on the Forth will have been aware of the large number of cruise ships visiting the City this year.  The liners can be found at Leith Docks, off Newhaven, off South Queensferry and at Rosyth, depending on their size.  One estimate was that we had been visited by 87 ships between 10 April and 7 October depositing 150,000 visitors into the City.  The sad thing is that although they clog up the shops and pavements, these visitors don’t add much to the local economy, mainly because they can get all of their meals on the ships.

The latest on line communication from the RYA has a useful reference to Buying a second hand boat.  We often get asked by potential members about what sort of boat to buy for sailing on the Forth and the associated costs.  The RYA do a very useful Boat Buyer’s Handbook which answers most of the questions about buying and keeping a boat.  There are some particular additional tips on buying for use locally which we are looking to provide on a reference page on the Club site.  The key one is to consider that most of the harbours on the Forth are drying, including at Granton, so a bilge keel or lifting keel has a lot to recommend it.

For both members and potential members the next (and last for this year) Cruise in Company is on Sunday 23 September.  It is a good tide and is scheduled to start at 11:00.  If you are looking for a place as crew it is a good idea to email the office in advance.

One indication to the approaching end of season is that the Winter Talks are already being put in the diary.  However, it does give us something to look forward to after lift out other than just boat maintenance.

Thursday 13 September

There is no doubt that autumn is drawing in and this is having an effect on the sailing.  Weekday evening sailing has finished as the evenings are drawing in and there is not enough light for racing or the normal Open Cruising.  There is an opportunity for some night sailing but nothing official is being organised.  This Saturday sees the penultimate Late Saturday series races with the final event of the series being the Royal Eastern Regatta on September 29.  Readers who are aware of the Clubs history will be aware that the Royal Eastern Yacht Club was formed in 1835, and became “Royal” in 1836.  (See history.).  It ran an annual regatta which was it’s only real sailing activity and it was incorporated into the Royal Forth Yacht Club in 1969.  Our Royal Eastern Regatta is in recognition of that history.

Anybody who has got out sailing or who has wandered round the harbour will have been surprised and perhaps upset to see the West Harbour empty of boats and moorings.  The two clubs have had to move all their boats and moorings so that the development of the proposed marina can commence.  However, there is no sign of any work starting any time soon.

Monday 10 September

I have had an update on the Crew Race from the Race Officer:

It was windy but we set a start. Varrich completed the first leg and subsequently retired. There were no other entries. We therefore noted Varrich as 1st.
Sunday 9 September

Five boats turned out for the single handed race, all of them part of the usual racing fleet.  A pity as it would have been an opportunity for some of the cruisers to take part.  However, as the winds were light they may have struggled.  For the boats taking part it was a good race  with some interesting fluctuations in the wind to provide challenges getting over the line.

Today was very different with strong winds and a very troubled water.  I haven’t had a report, but I suspect that the Crew Race scheduled for today didn’t happen.  The Crew race is one where a regular crew member who does not normally helm becomes the skipper for the day.  It’s a good twist but today’s conditions were probably not particularly suited to an inexperienced skipper.

Friday 7 September

Tomorrow afternoon is the single handed race, when the yachts are sailed with just the skipper and no crew.  It is a very different situation when you are on your own.  You have to think things through a  bit in advance.  Many of the cruising skippers sail single handed but when you are racing the pressures are just a lot greater.

It was pleasing to see that in the latest edition of the RYA Member’s Magazine our 150th anniversary celebrations gets a mention in the Regional cruising news.  There is also another piece about the replacement of the CG66 scheme for monitoring the safety of cruising boats on passages by the RYA SafeTrx application.  For more details see or a brief video SafeTrx.  Also our own post.

Tuesday 4 September

It was a glorious day for sailing today.  Sunshine, slight sea, and a gentle breeze.  No good for the big heavy boats today but my little boat was doing 2 to 2½ knots in 5 knots of wind.  I didn’t get far, but it was just great to be out on the water in the sunshine.

In the harbour, our silt agitation/water injection dredger was getting run up in preparation for some dredging in the near future.  It is needed as the silting up of the harbour seems to have built up considerably lately.  It is quite difficult to remember that Granton was once a working harbour being used by large vessels.

Sunday 2 September

Two Club boats spent the night in Aberdour and met 5 boats (with 3 guest crew) from Granton in mid Forth, over Middle Bank in almost windless conditions.  With little wind, despite the forecast, it was decided to use the tide down to Portobello sands and then the tide back if the wind was still absent.

So the 7 boats set off under motor or motor sailing until the wind started to fill in as we passed the Leith Approach buoy.  After that a it was (almost) plain sailing,  to use a phrase.  A good stiff force 4 pushed the fleet along nicely and it was very much a Cruise in Company as the boats were mostly within a short distance of each other.  We had a wonderful view of the City from the water, a view that most citizens don’t see and forget that we are a city on the water.

As we plunged further towards the Musselburgh Road the wind started gusting and we raced along, fighting the sails at times as a gust tried to broach us.  Three of the boats anchored just off the sands at Joppa in less than 5m of water and we were joined by one of the Club Dragons which was good to see.  The two big boats didn’t like the shallow conditions and turned back and two others had turned back when it had got gusty.  It was very pleasant just off the sands drinking coffee and eating malt loaf and putting the world to rights.

The passage back was again brisk with a broad reach up to Leith before coming hard on the wind for Granton.  The wind had veered during the course of the day.  I must admit that I motored for the last three quarter miles with the wind on the nosed tied up on a crowded pontoon for the night, as the boatman wasn’t on for another hour.  It was a great and successful outing.  For those who missed it, there is a final Cruise in Company on Sunday 23 September so you get another chance.

In the meantime in the Club House there was a post-christening party which appeared to be going very well.  I believe that it was a past-commodore’s grandchild so perhaps a future generation of Club members has started.

Saturday 1 September

It is a bit of a shock to see that it is September already and there are only a few weeks left of the season.

The weather is going off as well and it becomes more challenging getting out on the water.  I got out three times this week but in all three cases the outing was cut short due to overly gusty wind conditions. On one occasion I got out of the harbour and didn’t even get the sails up.  My little boat can cope very well with  a steady force 4, even a low force 5, but becomes very uncomfortable when it is gusting from force 3 to force 5 and back.  Add in a choppy sea and it is very difficult to make progress.  It becomes a constant battle.  Even a very sunny day like Friday loses much of its attraction when being battered by wind and waves.

On a couple of the days bigger heavier boats with long keels were out and relishing the conditions, powering through the waves at a rate of knots.  It’s all down to what boat you have and what you want from your sailing.  In a force 2 when my little boat bowls along happily these bigger heavy boats struggle to make any headway.

Tomorrow’s Cruise in Company looks like force 4 gusting 5 with light cloud, though one forecast suggests sunny periods.  We shall see.

Back at the Club the winch on the mooring launch has been fixed and we are again lifting the moorings in the West Harbour as demanded by our landlords, to make way for dredging for the proposed (but uncertain) marina.  Some of the moorings are taking a lot of effort as they have heavy sinkers for the larger boats and these are well settled in the mud.

In the bar we have a new bar person, Kathleen, starting today.   I am sure that all members will make her welcome.

Thursday 30 August

This weekend, on Sunday we have the last Cruise in Company of the season.  It will be over a tide so meeting at the Club house just before 10:00 and back after 4:00 in the afternoon.  The forecast is light cloud with a moderate breeze and a temperature of 20°.  We are not sure yet where we will be going or how many boats and crew we will have but as always we travel in hope.

A couple of weeks ago the weather was very variable changing from sun to showers and back again.  This threw up a lot of rainbows and I have had a good one passed to me which I append below.  Thanks John.

Tuesday 28 August

Having been away I am not quite up to date on the happenings at the Club over the past 10 days or so.

Reports from our recent major events are as follows:

FESTIVAL SERIES 14th–16th August

Ten boats competed over three contrasting evenings (two of very strong winds and one of calm one when the race had to be shortened). The final evening was enlivened by the loss of Humdinger’s mast. The unharmed crew retrieved the sails and rigging in good order and were towed back to harbour by a competitor. All racing crews are reminded of Racing Rule of Sailing (RRS) 1.1: “A boat or competitor shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger.”

ONE DESIGN REGATTA 19th & 20th August

The weather was against us on the Sunday with insufficient wind for racing but three fleets enjoyed racing in brisk and gusty winds on Saturday. We were particularly pleased to welcome the 707 Autism on the Water (AotW), skippered by Murray MacDonald, a campaign being run to raise awareness of autism; with only three on board AotW put in a very credible performance on a day of strong winds. Murray has joined the club and we hope AotW will be competing in the remaining races. A very big thank you to all who helped make the One Design weekend a success.

Our members have also been having significant success in racing competitions at a national level.  The Commodore has reported:

Congratulations to members Stewart & Sarah who, having warmed up by winning the RS400 Scottish Championship 2018, have made a clean sweep of that class’s trophies at the recent RS Games in Weymouth. Not only are they now RS 400 European and UK Champions but also return with the Master, Grandmaster, First Lady Crew and Loving Cup (first couple) trophies.

It should also be recorded that our younger sailors have been busy too. At the RYA UK National Youth Championships in March our members who have had previous success as juniors have been doing very well.  Jamie  was 2nd and Lewis  5th in the Laser class; more recently Lewis was 4th overall at the UK Laser National Championships. Both Jamie and Lewis competed in a strong international Laser fleet at Kiel Week, achieving mid fleet positions.

Thursday 16 August

It’s the third night of the Festival Series today together with the regular Open Cruising.

The forecast is for winds Force 4 and gusting 5 but the wind currently at Inchcolm is force 6 gusting towards force 7.  However it is due to fade somewhat for this evening.  The weather suggests sunshine and showers – how’s that for keeping the options open?  So as usual it is a matter of waiting to see what it is like on the night.

Last night the wind faded away which left the boats with a struggle against a strong tide. Seven boats raced from H to E and back down to S where the Race Officer stopped the race. A good decision, as it’s getting dusky by 2030 and the fleet only struggled back into port by about then.

On the maintenance front our own Edinburgh Marina are investigating options for dredging at the pontoons.  Anybody who has been down and seen the very low tides (down to 0.3 m above chart datum) will see how they have silted up.  Anybody trying to use them at low water will also have discovered that they have rather silted up. Dredging options are regrettably rather expensive but we are checking them out and the Clubs are committed to dredging in the spring if a suitable contractor can be sourced.

If you haven’t eve seen the film “The Riddle of the Sands” or even if you have, there is a chance to see it on the Talking Pictures channel next week (Freeview + other channels).  It is on at various times during the week. It is a classic sailing/adventure yarn and although a bit dated is worth a view.  If you don’t catch it and would like the DVD together with the book by Erskine Childers it might be for sale on the Club notice board later this month.

Tuesday 14 August

Starting today is our Festival Series, a series of races open to non members which runs for three evenings.  The event also counts towards the Late Series of Club races.  The bar will be open and there will be nibbles available.

Hot on the heels of the Festival Series is the One Design Regatta this weekend, which is also an open event.  Normally the open events are spaced out a little more but we are constrained by finding suitable tides.  One Design racing is particularly exciting as it pits boats of the same design directly against each other without taking account of handicaps.  As a result the first boat in each class across the line is the winner.  For handicap races it is uncertain who the winner is until the race committee have completed a series of calculations using each boat’s handicap to adjust their race elapsed time.  All part of the joy of the sport of sailing.  The only constraint for One Design racing is that there have to be at least three boats of the same class competing in the racing.  The boats in the Club which fall into this category are the Dragons, the H-boats, the 707’s and perhaps the Squibs.

Sunday 12 August

It’s a horrible day today and I suspect there will be little appetite for the Cruise in Company this afternoon.

Saturday’s racing was good though, with a number of H Boats and a couple of Dragons competing.  First of all, though, we had to find a race officer.  Fortunately an unsuspecting member who was an experienced race officer came into the bar and was immediately dragooned into committing his afternoon to supporting the racing.  Next, with the Bosun away, the Committee Boat was empty of diesel so the first task was putting a jerry can of  fuel into the boat.  At the time there was very little wind and some of the boats without engines had to be towed into position for the start, which was quickly changed when the almost non existing wind changed direction and piped up a bit.  By the second race it had filled in a bit more and a decent couple of races resulted.

Then it was back to the club house where a party had been laid on for one of the skippers with prosecco and birthday cake.  It was a big one (the birthday not the cake).

Wednesday 8 August

You will see that I have renamed the page (again).  I didn’t like the concept of the Blog – it seems a bit out of date.  But the idea of the Crow’s Nest seems to have some value.  Accepting that there are a significant number of people who like this page, the number of visits has dropped dramatically recently.  Has it outlived its usefulness I wonder?  I would also like to hand the publication of the page on to another person, but it needs to be someone who is in touch with the happenings down at the Club and in the harbour.  (Applications on a postcard.)

Whilst the Corinthians have lifted their moorings from the West Harbour, (as required by the new landlord for their own development) we are held back because of problems with the winch on the moorings boat.  We have been waiting for repairs from the supplier for a number of weeks.  It is also holding up the lifting of worn ground chain from the next trot to have its ground chain replaced.  That holds up the filling of the skip with scrap metal which is scheduled to go to the scrap merchant.  Nothing is easy.

In the meantime the sailing is good,  and this weekend we have the Mid Saturday series racing and on Sunday the monthly Cruise in Company, meeting at 13:00.  At the moment the forecast is not great but on past form that will change – probably two or three times before then.

Wednesday 1 August

The year seems to be rolling away fast and we seem to be back to more normal northern weather.  When you get up in the morning, see the sun shining and go to check the tide, boatman and wind forecast.  Yesterday the tide was good with a boatman from early afternoon but – the wind was forecast to be force 5 gusting 6.  Now in my book of Intrepid Voyagers that I am reading at the moment covering journeys around the world or across the Atlantic that may be not so bad.  Not when they have had force 8 or 9 to contend with and huge waves.  However, for us more modest sailors we look for force 3 to 4.  A forecast of force 5 is not encouraging for the casual sailor though it does not deter the racing folk much. SO with 5 gusting 6 it was back to domestic chores.  Today is not quite so windy but rain forecast – not very enticing.

Tonight sees the start of the Evening Points Late series with the second race tomorrow evening.  The weather tonight is forecast for force 3 to 4 gusting 6  Not very enticing.

Tomorrow (Thursday) evening we have our next Open Cruising departing the Club house at 6 p.m.  At the moment the forecast is cloudy with a modest wind and just the chance of a shower.

Saturday 28 July

One of the great things about sailing is the very varied conditions that are encountered every time you go out on the water.  Despite the (unusual) long period of fine weather, at least up to today, the wind has been very varied.

I have managed to get out twice this week.  On the first occasion the wind was fluctuating between a force 2 and a force 3 which made for fairly steady sailing though perhaps not fast. The next day it was fluctuating from a low force 2 to a high force 4 which meant that one moment I was bowling along at almost 5 knots with the toe rail heading for the water and the next I was barely making way at 1 knot.  Both outings were enjoyable in their way but both highlighted the varying nature of the sport.

Meanwhile, back in the harbour, our neighbours the Corinthians were busy lifting their moorings from the West Harbour as we have been kicked out by the developers so that they can start dredging for their proposed marina development.  However, nobody is sure when approval will be given for the dredging.  Nonetheless, the result is that some of the larger boats which were on West Harbour moorings are leaving the harbour and may never return.

Racing today was the Crombie Cup, whilst tomorrow is the next Joint Passage Race with the Corinthians – the FCYC Marsh & Surrey Cup.  The forecast for tomorrow is not looking too good.

Monday 23 July

Our racing fleets last week had the usual very varied conditions.  On Wednesday it was almost flat calm, on Thursday it was very strong winds whilst on Saturday the winds were good but only a small handful of boats turned out.  Perhaps everybody is on holiday now that the schools are out.

A number of our members are signed up to the Coastguard safety scheme – CG66. It registers with the Coastguard the details of the boat, name, type, size colour etc. as well as next of kin contacts.  Then if the boat gets into any difficulties on a passage or is reported missing the Coastguard has all the relevant information to manage the incident.  Recently the RYA produced an app, which is free to download, which not only provides similar information, it can also track the boat as the voyage plans can be loaded and the mobile phone system can track the boats progress.  This is also of benefit to family and friends who wish to keep an eye on their loved ones.  This app is to replace the CG66 Scheme over the next couple of years.

For more details see the post CG66 to RYA Safe Trx, or RYA Safe Trx app.

Wednesday 18 July

I got out on the water yesterday morning and was coming back from Silver Sands just at low water.  As it was close to spring tides I was able to see the exposed reefs extending beyond some of our regular sightings.  It is to be recommended as it makes one aware of just how extensive these underwater hazards are.  The rocks to the west of Carr Craig were very obvious stretching towards the Medulse Rocks.  (For a warning against getting it wrong in this area see our tidal warnings.  The reefs to the south of Oxcars Light House and to the south of Inchkeith were also very visible.  Of particular interest was Cow and Calves between these two.  At ow tide it just looked like a submarine with a conning tower with two small objects on its casing.  All very illuminating.

Tonight was Wednesday racing and it looked as if the racing would be very slow with little wind.

Tuesday 17 July

I wasn’t able to make the Cruise in Company on Sunday and I haven’t had a report back yet.  The weather was not too exciting and it clashed with the finals of the tennis and the World Cup so turnout may have been reduced.  The plan was to go across to Aberdour or Inchcolm.

This coming Thursday is the next of our Open Cruising and weather and wind look to be very favourable.  As usual we have no notion as to how many boats and how many crew will turn up but new potential members who want to try sailing can let the office know in advance and then turn up on the day by 6 p.m. Despite the warm weather you will need a windproof and soft soled shoes.

Regular checkers of the web cam will see that we have  got it going again.  We had to splice a new connector onto the cable and that sorted out the image feed.  More difficult at present is getting the feed to the internet to work properly.  We can get the image to your desktop but have an ongoing problem with clearing the previous image(s) out so that the new one is the only one which shows.  (Aka clearing the cache.). The results are also variable depending on which system you are using.  For those who do not know about these things, we have to ensure that it works on Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Apple Mac, Microsoft machines, iPhone and Android.  It is a real challenge and very time consuming for our web people.

If you haven’t had a look at the updated page on our Anniversary Cruise in Company I can recommend it.  The boats that took part are now in different places.  Some came back, but at least one went off down the Caledonian Canal to go sailing on the West Coast and one headed north to Orkney and Shetland.

Tuesday 10 July

Saturday was another great sailing day and I was out on the water making the most of it.  Whilst out there (just to Burntisland and back) I heard on the radio a “Mayday Relay”.  It was interesting to listen to and as far as I could tell somebody had set of a locator beacon but not followed it up with a Mayday call.  I suspect it had been triggered off in error as they kept repeating the message over a period of time.  Apparently it was in the Tayport area.  An interesting experience.

On Saturday afternoon the racing fraternity set off on one of the Passage Races – the JPR West and Wilson Cup.  The wind was light and the course had to be adjusted but it was a long circuit of the Forth.  No reports back as to the results though.

It’s early tides this week so no racing.  The next event is the monthly Cruise in Company on Sunday.  Starting at 1400 with the boatman on till 20:30 so we have a whole afternoon with an incoming tide.

I occasionally pick up on items in the RNLI magazines and have previously reported on the effects of Cold Water Shock – a real problem if we go into the water in our Northern climes.  This month they have a piece on Float to Live.  The principal is that if you fall into the water:

  1. Don’t panic or thrash about.
  2. Lean back and with gentle movements just float.
  3. Float until you can control your breathing.  Do this for a couple of minutes until you feel calm.
  4. Only then think about the next steps – swim to safety or wave and call for help.

The full guidance is in the new Offshore magazine, a copy of which will be in the bar area by the end of the week.

It has been pointed out to me by a regular reader that I have for some time been misspelling Cramond, putting two m’s in it.  Mea Culpa.

Thursday 5 July

It was a good sailing afternoon again yesterday though the sun went off later in the afternoon.

This evening the winds were much stronger than forecast with force 3 to 4 actually being 4 to 5.  the Barefoot site was measuring gusts of up to 30 knots at Inchcolm.  Despite that the racing crews went out this evening and one boat, Idothea, for the Open Sailing, who took the two visitors out with them.

Tuesday 3 July

My update from the Cruise in Company today was that they had spent yesterday in Arbroath and the boat that had gone into Anstruther for sail repairs had caught them up arriving at about 5pm after a brisk and sometimes bumpy sail from Anstruther.

At 0700 this morning they were getting ready to set off for Peterhead. Looking like it may be a long motor in the sunshine.

However, I will now pass the reporting over to the page which is being maintained for the event.  See Anniversary CinC.

On the home front we have the normal bi-weekly Open Cruising on Thursday, though there may be a limited number of boats as some of the usual suspects are away to Inverness on the Anniversary Cruise.  We have, however, put out a call so it is worth coming down to see what is happening for anybody who is thinking of joining the Club and wants to give it a try first.

Also on the home front we have moved these web pages to a new platform so there may be a few glitches before it settles down.  One of these is the Webcam which needs to be reconfigured and we are still working out how to do it.  Bear with us.

Sunday 1 July

The latest from our Anniversary Cruise in Company is that they encountered heavy fog in the lower reaches of the Forth and the forecast south easterly was actually a north easterly so not a lot of good to the fleet.  so much of the day was motoring and at 16:35 they were still motoring towards Arbroath.  All except one boat which had a Genoa ripped and they went int Anstruther to fit their spare and they will overnight there before trying to catch the fleet tomorrow.

After the very heavy fog this morning it did brighten up this afternoon and there were a few boats out on the water.