In a change to the normal format of the ‘Cruise in Company’ events, the third ‘C in C’ of the 2019 season was to be a 3 day event. This event had been publicised well in advance and notes of interest had been received from several skippers. Six boats ultimately participated in the weekend:- Tidecatcher(Brian Robertson, Danny Coupar & David Scott), Solveig(Neil Moffat, Stuart Fowler & Louise Harney), Mirene(Stephen Pavis & Trevor Wilson), Idothea (Mike Griffiths & Graham Wade), Jeannie (Gordon Robb) and Sonsie (Alastair Black & Peter Black).

Idothea and Jeannie were unable to join the event until the Friday evening so, on Friday morning at 09:30 hrs, the crews gathered in the clubhouse to discuss the proposals for the day.With HW at 11:32 a short trip was proposed to allow the fleet to get back to Granton (and onto the pontoons for the night) by mid-afternoon. As several of those present had never been into Burntisland harbour before a trip across the ‘Forth was agreed and thus Tidecatcher (including Ally Black), Solveigand Mirene headed out of the harbour and across the estuary. A brisk 20kt north easterly was blowing and this gave the group a lovely sail, close hauled and under a lovely blue sky, straight across to Burntisland.

Burntisland Sailing Club has recently installed pontoons in the inner harbour and it was there, on the ‘visitors’ pontoon berth, where the 3 boats rafted up for lunch. The visitor’s pontoon berth can be booked in advance for overnight stays.  Boats can also lie up against the inner harbour wall (on the east side of the entrance) for a short stay, but there is a ledge there which can come into play close to low water. Following a pleasant stop the group headed back south and, once again, the brisk easterly gave us a cracking sail back to Granton.

Back at the Granton pontoons boats were already gathering for the Edinburgh Regatta and spaces on the pontoons were at a premium. Luckily, the clubhouse and bar was open for the regatta on the Friday evening so most of the ‘C in C’ participants were able to enjoy that facility on the Friday night.

Saturday dawned quite a different day from the previous day and on a flat calm sea with no wind the flotilla, now consisting of all 6 boats, left Granton on an incoming tide to head west to the Forth Bridges and Port Edgar. With the tide turning at 12:35 we wanted to get west of the bridges before then, and that was easily achieved. A ‘new’ potential anchorage had been identified on the Fife shore, just immediately to the west of the new road bridge, and so it was that Tidecatcher nosed carefully in towards the shore (still at this time on a rising tide) checking the depth. The anchorage proved very comfortable and the anchor was dropped in 5m of water. The fleet followed in with some anchoring and others rafting up. At this point a breeze picked up (initially from the north) and in the early afternoon, whilst some headed for our overnight stay at Port Edgar, Solveig and Tidecatcher motored and (then in a strengthening westerly breeze) sailed west as far as Blackness Castle. With the skies darkening the boats then turned east towards Port Edgar but soon the rain came, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and the last mile or so of the journey was rather uncomfortable. On the pontoon, we on Tidecatcher erected the cockpit canopy and waited for the torrential rain to pass.

Safely in Port Edgar, some of the crews headed into South Queensferry for a meal whilst others remained on board. Later in the evening everyone came aboard Tidecatcher for a ‘social’. We think there were 13 on board at the last count! With the party in full swing we were even serenaded by Ally ‘the mooth’ Black on his mouth organ. Trevor Wilson was the last to leave at 1am (actually, the crew had to eject him) but not before he made sure the wine cabinet on Tidecatcher was empty!

The following morning the westerly wind was brisk and gusting up to 30kts in the marina. It had been our intention to head to Limekilns, to meet with members of the Forth Cruising Club. But, with the prevailing conditions, we decided just to head east back to Granton where we safely arrived mid-afternoon.

All in all (and although the weather was not particularly cooperative) everyone seemed to enjoy the weekend. Although the distances travelled were not vast, the ‘social’ aspect of the weekend was appreciated by all and surely that is what ‘Cruising in Company’ is all about!    

Watch out for further ‘Cruise in Company’ events throughout the season, and do come and join in!

Brian Robertson