Cruising in Company – 2017

 Cruising in Company  is a wonderful opportunity for crews and skippers to meet up and mix up.  Every club member is welcome.  Just turn up and we will find you a space with a boat.

=================   2017 ======================

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.

The next and final ‘C in C’ for the season is on Sunday 17 Sept.; we hope to see you there. Watch out for updates by e-mail and on the club website.

B Robertson

Cruise in Company – Sunday 30th July 2017

This event was planned over a falling tide so the group had a few hours to fill on this cruise in company; the 4th in the series.

Club members and guests gathered at the club at 11am to discuss and agree the destination for the day. The forecast was for south westerly winds, force 3 or 4, with occasional showers. None of us were convinced however and as events unfolded during the day it was just another example of how the forecasters should perhaps be looking for another vocation.

A good turnout of skippers were in attendance and the 7 boats which ultimately attended the cruise were (in alphabetical order): Aziana, Idothea, Gonzo, Orithia, Sorley, Stargazer and Varrich.

 

The destination was chosen as Inchcolm (north side) but as we had time to spare we decided on a leisurely beat upstream, to around Hound Point. From there we would make our way round to the far side of Inchcolm to drop anchor and have lunch. The weather up to this point had been reasonable with the odd spot of rain but, in the main, a bright and promising day.

There were already one or two boats in the bay when the fleet arrived at around 2pm but there was sufficient room for us all and we all enjoyed some relaxation in the peace and calm of Inchcolm Bay.

The highlight of the day however was when Peter Hall (Varrich) produced his bagpipes and treated all within earshot to a medley of wonderful piping tunes, all of which was enthusiastically acknowledged by all around.

With the breeze having apparently diminished during the afternoon the fleet set sail for home mostly under full sail only to be struck by gale force south westerly winds (which came out of nowhere) when we ventured out round the east side of Inchcolm. Chaos ensued as crews hurriedly reduced sail to regain some form of control. With disaster averted we ‘reached’ back to port at a cracking pace.

All in all, another good day but with more lessons learned. These being; always prepare for the unexpected and never trust a weather forecaster.

The next C in C is planned for Sunday August 20th.

B Robertson

 

Sunday 9 July

Grey skies and an uncertain forecast were not sufficient to dampen the spirits of those members who gathered at the club at lunchtime on Sunday 9th July for the third of our six event ‘Cruise in Company’ series this year. Force 4/5 winds were predicted from the south west and, although dry to start, light rain commenced as the fleet left the harbour after noon.  One of the boats had two sea dogs.

With winds predicted from the south west, and HW due at 15:50, conditions were just right for an afternoon sail to one of my favourite destinations on the Forth; Aberdour Harbour.

Aberdour village is one of Fife’s many treasures and the harbour, which gives good shelter from both the east and west, is a beautiful and peaceful haven and a lovely place to spend a few hours. It is very tide dependent however and visiting yachts should always take care to ensure that sufficient water is available. The Forth pilot book gives valuable guidance on this but, in general terms, yachts are usually able to access the harbour safely 2 or 3 hours either side of HW.

The Aberdour Boat Club Muster had been held the previous day, thankfully accompanied by light breezes and blue skies, but today the harbour was quiet. In the fleet today were Orithya (plus two dogs), Hanna, Solveig and Aziana. Aziana arrived first and, nudging carefully into the harbour whilst keeping a close watch on the depth below the keel, tied up at the wall about half way into the harbour. The rest of the fleet followed and tied up safely.

With our arrival the rain stopped, the breeze dropped, and all was peace and tranquillity as we enjoyed this social occasion. Worthy of note perhaps is the fact that all four of the club’s ‘active’ Seamaster 925 yachts were represented at the gathering. Solveig and Aziana were in the fleet and the skippers of Smithereen (Tom Wilson) and Samba (Lorne Byatt) both of whose boats are currently on the west coast, were attending the event on Aziana and Hanna respectively. There is a belief that there is in fact a fifth Seamaster 925 in the club, but we are not sure where it is (it certainly isn’t at Granton Harbour).

The Seamasters

Hannah – Refreshments are served

The group enjoyed a couple of hours in the harbour before heading back at about 3:30pm. The breeze filled in again from the south west and we enjoyed a cracking sail in dry conditions straight back to Granton on the one tack. Bliss !!!

Sailing Home

All in all we had a great day and, although uncertain at the beginning, the weather was much kinder to us than we had first thought it was going to be.

The next ‘C in C’ is on Sunday 30 July; we hope to see you there. Watch out for updates by e-mail and on the club website.

B Robertson

Sunday 18 June 2017

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.

Next C in C date is 9th July. We hope to see you there !!

 

 

 

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