The Commodore’s Blog will be refreshed at least weekly. (Usually)
Sunday 26 March
I’m just back from a few days away to my favourite city, Venice, where everything is done by boat. If you want to see amazing boat handling under power there is no better place. Never mind the gondoliers and water taxis what the Venetians do with their delivery and service boats is nothing short of stunning to watch. Without really slowing down till the last minute they put their boats into the smallest space against the quay and then tie up alongside with a single small piece of rope midships.
Then there is my old favourite the “midship spring”. Banned in this country by the MCA as being unsafe for commercial use, hundreds of thousands of times it is used every year by the Vaporettos in Venice. For readers who haven’t been to Venice, large water buses loaded with Venetians and tourists come alongside the pontoon “bus” stops, flick a large piece of rough rope over the bollard, a couple of turns and a locking hitch and the driver puts power on. The Vaporetto is then secure enough for scores of people to get on and off in about a minute before a touch of reverse, flick off the line and on to the next stop. It is a joy to watch. Here are a couple of examples. (The second also gives a bit of travelogue but a good example of the technique part way through.)
Meanwhile this weekend looks good for boat preparation with the sun out and temperatures good enough for epoxy and antifouling. I hope members are taking advantage of it.
One final thing. If you haven’t been to Venice because you have heard it is smelly – it isn’t. That is a myth. Also that it is too crowded. Sure there are a lot of tourists, but there are a lot of quiet areas where you can get away from it all.
Friday 17 March
Last night’s Winter Talk – “from purgatory to paradise” – was very entertaining and the members who came along were treated to an enviable summer cruise of Peak Flow. It’s three owners took sections of it alone and together travelling via Inverness and the Caledonian Canal, among the Western Isles and as far north as Westray at the north end of Orkney before returning via the East Coast.
There are still two more talks on the next two Thursdays (see Events). I am particularly looking forward to the one on moorings on 30 March. We boat owners put our trust in our moorings but how much do we know about them and what goes into making sure that they are secure? This is the chance to find out.
We have long had the offering of hot coffee in the Club room and when some people complained that it was a bit ordinary a few years ago we changed the blend to something a bit stronger. We have now gone a step further in response to comments to our strategic review and introduced Premium Coffee. The previous filter coffee is still available, but there is also, at a slightly higher cost, a Nespresso machine, so that members can choose the strength of coffee that they like and have it as an expresso, Americano a latte or a cappucino. Nobody can say that we don’t listen.
Monday 13 March
It is just 6 weeks to Lift In, so time to get going on all the tasks needed before putting the boat in the water. Fortunately I don’t have much to do having downsized to a smaller boat with a copper coated hull. So I don’t need to worry about antifouling. Nonetheless the covers come off today and the list of jobs will be put together.
The Vice Commodore and I had a meeting with the University Sailing Club during the week to try to entice them back to Granton. Their sailing club operates during the winter so they are hardy types and we will be pleased to see them back in the yard and on the water.
The Winter Talk this Thursday is about Peak Flow’s sailing adventures last year, entitled “from purgatory to paradise”. It should be very interesting and non members are welcomed to come along. Just introduce yourself to a member and get signed in. Buzz at the gate for admission.
Saturday 4 March
I don’t know where the time has gone. There are still lots of things happening at the Club.
We had a visit from the Committee of the Edinburgh branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A). They have about 1,800 members in Edinburgh and the expectation is that some of them might be tempted into sailing.
This week the Thursday talk was a film about the adventures of two of the Club boats in convoy on the West Coast.
Work continues on the Club boats and there have been repairs carried out on the moorings for the South end of the EML pontoons. Working parties have been de-rusting and painting the race marks with another team taking advantage of the dry weather tomorrow (Sunday) morning to continue the work.
Also tomorrow is the monthly afternoon music session. All are welcome and the bar is open.
Tuesday is the next Winter Talk, which is about “Sailing Fast”. This is not just for the racing fraternity as there are always times when even cruising boats want to sail a bit faster, particularly when on passage and needing to make a tide gate or get over a marina sill or just to get back into Granton in time for the launch service.
The following week the talk is back to Thursday (March 16) for an insight into Peak Flow’s adventures last year. Peak Flow is a Contessa 32 for those who don’t know her.
Friday 17 February.
The blog has been rather quiet for a couple of weeks as I have been very ill (now recovering). That doesn’t mean that the Club is quiet though.
There was a modest turn-out for the Volunteers day but it was an enjoyable event for those who did come along. The Winter talks continue and the screenings of the Six Nations Rugby continue to draw members. Last Saturday was the joint Quiz night with the Corinthians and a team from RFYC was victorious. As far as I can make out the prizes were Corinthians’ Beanie hats which got a mixed reception.
Meanwhile the Harbour team were doing the finishing touches to the moorings launch repairs with the winch and hydraulics now working. We can now get on with the moorings servicing before lift in. We also have to fit in installing the first of the replacement ground chains.
Sunday 5 February
It has been a busy week at the club with some essential tasks going on in the background. The kitchen had its annual deep clean at the start of the week and the club room carpets are to be cleaned tomorrow. All fitted in to what has been a busy week on the social front. Not only did we have the first of the Winter Talks on Thursday, but yesterday saw the first of the Six Nations matches shown on the big screen in the club room. It was a bonus that Scotland won convincingly. Today is the gathering to thank the volunteers who do so much for the club and make it the busy vibrant place that it is. It coincides with the monthly music session so it should be an enjoyable day. Unfortunately I can’t be there due to illness which has laid me low all week.
Also this week our Harbour Committee have been trying to source chain for laying new ground chain for our moorings. After years buried in the mud, the old chain has deteriorated in parts and we have instigated a programme of replacing it. Unfortunately even second hand replacement chain is expensive as well as being cumbersome to manage and store. But it is an essential task and one of the many things that go on in the background.
Wednesday 1 February
I should have mentioned yesterday that our Winter Talks start this Thursday – that’s tomorrow. We have a packed programme this year with something for everybody. Non-members who are thinking they might join us are more than welcome. Just come along to the Club and get one of our friendly members to sign you in. It is a good way to find out about the Club and what it offers.
Tuesday 31 January
It’s not often that we get a film about sailing and tomorrow (Wednesday evening on Film 4 at 21:00) we get a good one: “All is lost” about one man (Robert Redford) whose yacht is seriously damaged at sea and how he survives (or does he?).
Of course one of the classic films for yachtsmen is the “Riddle of the Sands”. I have just finished watching the DVD again and I am now re-reading the book. I shall be selling them as a pair at the next Boat Jumble at Port Edgar unless somebody makes a bid for them from the Club before then.
The Boat Jumble is usually the middle of March (I am waiting for notification of the exact date) and I usually take a table on behalf of Club members who can either turn up or give me their items to sell beforehand. I have already had a couple of lifejackets donated to the club that I will be selling on behalf of the Anniversary Appeal.
Wednesday 25 January
It was a glorious morning down at the harbour today and a good day for working on boats, almost warm. If you haven’t already booked for our Burns’ Night ‘Hoolie by the Water’ Saturday 28th January 7 for 7.30pm £20pp, there are still some tickets available – contact the Office.
Don’t forget the first of our Winter Talks start next week and we are showing all of the matches in the Six Nations competition.
Also on Saturday 11 February there is the annual Quiz competition with the Corinthians. This year they are hosting it at Trinity Bowling Club. In the past RFYC have made a good showing and been the top team. I can’t make it this year but I hope that we get a few teams from our side. You don’t have to field a whole team, you can just go along and make up a team on the night.
Saturday 21 January
I mentioned recently our planned Open Day, Push the Boat Out, which is run within the umbrella of the RYA’s national event of that name. We have slipped the date by a day to Sunday 14 May, from 12:30 to 17:00. Last year we had some 83 participants who got out on one or more of the boats and experienced boating on the Forth. That was despite conditions which were dull, showery and rather windy. This year we will be praying for better weather and will start earlier with the promotional effort. A page will also be added to this web site covering what is happening and the timetable as it develops.
Feedback from last year’s event was very positive with visitors surprised at how much was available from the sport of sailing and boating on their own doorstep. They also commented on how welcoming and friendly the members were. This is a message I will continue to promote. We must also remember Ratty in Wind in the Willows (by Kenneth Grahame) who said: “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” It can be pretty good fun and great sport to be sailing seriously as well.
Talking of serious sailing, congratulations to Britain’s Alex Thomson who completed the 2016-17 Vendee Globe round the world race in second place on Friday morning. However his 60 foot long yacht, averaging 15 knots round the world is rather more sophisticated than the boats we sail. Nonetheless the joys of sailing are open to us all.
Tuesday 10 January
I was asked today how my plans were going with developing a posh yacht club. I was at GREAT pains to point out that my aim was to further develop a busy, flourishing, friendly and successful sailing and boating club where everybody was welcome and the participants enjoyed a great sport for a reasonable cost. I might not have been quite as detailed as that but that is the aim. That is not to say that we are not proud of the Royal prefix which is part of what defines us and which was bestowed on the Club by Queen Victoria in 1883. The Club is not posh, but does have a great history to live up to and the ambition of the current Council and Flag Officers is to make it even more successful in the difficult waters of the 21st Century as we approach our 150th anniversary.
Monday 9 January
PEYC still have an annual newsletter, the Beamer. This is something we gave up on a few years back when we decided to make our web site more dynamic with regular updates of information such as this blog. This latest edition of the Beamer includes a report of their visit to Granton on 2 January. See the Beamer here.
Things are still fairly quiet at the Club. The Bosun is back so the club house is open during the week, and the office is open again from tomorrow. The Bosun is busy splicing pennants for the moorings, the servicing of which is the next big task. Dredging is also planned to recommence shortly.
Although most members don’t wander down to the south end of the yard, anybody who has will see new gates in the south fence. The old ones were in a poor state and had to be replaced. The fence has also been tidied up and repaired and clad with green mesh, thanks to the Harbour Committee and volunteers.
Tuesday 2 January 2017
Today was the annual visit from Port Edgar Yacht Club and the fine weather, despite being rather cold, brought out some 12 boats of varying sizes including our own RFYC Rush Hour. As well as providing hot food and refreshments from the bar, this year we also had a musical accompaniment from our resident members’ group. For a fuller report and photos as soon as they become available, see the post PEYC Visit
May I also take the opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy New Year and the hope for a good sailing season in the year ahead.
Thursday 29 December
With Christmas over and out of the way, we can start thinking about next season’s sailing. Perhaps you had some new “stuff” for the boat from Santa and you are keen to put it into action. At the Club we are already considering the best dates for Lift In (and Lift Out to gauge the length of the season) and to plan holidays round about it. When doing such holiday planning, don’t forget that this year’s Push the Boat Out is Saturday 13 May. Also that the East Coast Sailing Festival, where we are joint hosts with the Corinthians, is 2nd to 4th September, when we will need all hands to the pumps (though hopefully not literally).
Of course, Lift In plans depend on progress with the servicing of the moorings, and that depends on the weather as well as the tides. A start has been made but is in abeyance over the holiday period, particularly with the storms over Christmas. There is the odd bit of work going on now with the present calm weather, such as checking the launches, but we are very much in tickover.
Next Monday of course we have our visit from Port Edgar and the forecast is looking good: sunny but cold with moderate north easterlies. Don’t forget to come and join in the atmosphere.
Sunday 18 December
The Christmas Lunch on Friday was the usual successful occasion. Though to use the adjective usual is not to lessen it in any way. It is a great opportunity for members and guests to come together for a festive meal in our most delightful surroundings. The weather was bright and calm so the view across the harbour and the Forth was at its best. Some of the guests were unaware of the beauty of the setting and said so.
The bar was busy and the food was good and well and very attentively served by Ross Haddow and his team. After the Loyal Toast tickets were distributed for the Prize Draw along with the mince pies and coffee. The draw was enjoyed with the prizes spreading across most of the tables, though one table seemed to have more than their fair share of winning tickets. I rush to assert that this was purely due to chance. The tickets were well mixed up and each winner drawn by different people.
Unfortunately somebody at the end of the proceedings switched off the web camera. So if anybody gets down to the Club before I do, please switch it on again. (Switch is under the coffee table. It obviously needs to be boxed over to prevent it being switched off with the coffee machine.)
Saturday 10 December
At Council this week we looked at an enhanced coffee offering for the club room, based on a Nespresso machine. It is still under consideration but there seems to be a strong demand for this. If adopted it would be an addition to the current offering rather than a replacement. We also considered the work schedule for the yard and harbour over the winter which is very challenging, but our new harbour team are addressing it with gusto. House are also working hard at the upcoming events and the winter talks whilst the Sailing Committee have their own challenges next year, not least with Helgoland and the East Coast Sailing Festival.
This is a smart little racing machine with a moderate draft (just under 1 metre) and at under 20 ft may qualify for the small boat area. Alternatively it can be dry sailed which is the approach being considered by one of the prospective owners. It would be good to have another class boat in the Club, though I understand that there have been Squibs in the past. The good thing about them is that they can be purchased for as little as £1,500 with 5 of them for sale on the National Squib site for under £5,000.
If you want something bigger with a cabin why not look for an H Boat, which is another Class boat for our Club. It costs a little more and there are not so many about for sale but if this attracts you, persevere. If you want to try sailing in one just ask at the Club.
Monday 5 December
Yesterday I took my own advice and headed out to the Bosun’s Locker to see their new premises. It was a glorious day to drive down to South Queensferry. The sun shimmered on the water and the breeze was pleasant. There were a few boats out on the water making the most of it as it was a perfect sailing day – if a bit cold.
The Bosun’s Locker is now in a fine big open area with much more stock and space to check it out. The prices look reasonable too, though not everything is yet priced. There is a new section of country clothing, though that will not be a prime concern for us I suspect. There is even a comfy sofa looking out the window over the marina and the bridges for any non-sailing spouses to rest up whilst you browse.
Coming back to the city I diverted round by the shore to the club house to see how the musicians were getting on. We too have comfy seats looking out over the harbour but the half dozen musicians were concentrating on their music. I must say that they are quite a talented bunch and they and the few members propping up the bar (which was open) were enjoying the occasion. Note that this is now a regular event on the first Sunday of each month (though January is the second Sunday due to New Year’s Day).
Sunday 4 December
I should have mentioned yesterday the music session at the club this afternoon at 2 p.m. It is not just for players but an audience is welcome.
If you don’t fancy that and you are not doing anything else, it is the grand re-opening at the Bosun’s Locker, your LOCAL chandlery. They have mince pies and fizzz today from 10 till 5 and special offers.
They have moved further along the building to a new larger space where they can display more kit and equipment. They have the benefit of being able to see and try things before you buy, which you can’t do online. You also don’t have to pay delivery costs or be at home to receive parcels. There is of course the added bonus of the drive down into South Queensferry with the Forth opening up before you to be followed up as you drive into Port Edgar with the views of the new bridge (sorry, crossing).
The Bosun’s Locker gave generous support this year to our Cadet of the Year award.
Saturday 3 December
Visitors to the site will have seen on the scrolling posts bar that our Christmas Lunch is now fully booked. We have room for just 70 people in our beautiful waterside bar and club room and on Friday 16 December it will be buzzing with good food, good drink and plenty of cheer. If you were quick enough to get a ticket I hope to see you there. If not, there is always the Burns Supper on January 28 (or next Christmas – though that is a whole sailing season away).
We hope that it is better sailing weather than this:–>
Sunday 27 November
Our AGM was very well attended with clear decisions regarding the proposed motions giving the Council a clear direction for the next year.
There was one slight mismatch between the Commodore’s verbal report and the racing figures showing on the accompanying slides. The verbal report was correct and the figures are re-presented on the post: Racing Results for the year. Our Sailing Secretary also presented details of the races over the year including weather conditions and key episodes at the Prize Giving the previous Saturday and these will be added to the post when they become available.
The next event is the Christmas Lunch on Friday 16 December and tickets for this are selling fast. There may be a few left if you contact the Office.
Sunday 20 November
The Prize Giving was as usual one of the highlights of the social calendar. A good turnout of members and friends came to see the trophies handed out to the worthy winners. It was a little more evenly spread this year but again the Dragons dominated the results. A couple of our Dragon skippers must have very large mantlepieces, unless they have special display shelves built in. However, most skippers managed to get something, if only an engraved glass or two. We also presented Cadet of the Year to one of our younger cadets and , as well as a trophy, were able to give her vouchers generously donated by the Bousn’s Locker. Also presented was the Young Yachtsperson of the Year on behalf of the FYCA which went to one of our very successful young sailors who has been performing so well on the National, European and World stage of Laser sailing.
The photo competition had a huge number of entries this year making a choice of winners very difficult for our Rear Commodore. In the event nobody could complain at the winning entries, which will be featured on the web, in our Christmas Card and in the next Yearbook. Also finding a place in the next Yearbook will be the two excellent entries to the Log Competition.
Finally another plug for the AGM on Thursday of this week. It is your prime opportunity to have a say in the Club’s management.
Wednesday 16 November
It wasn’t intentional to leave the blog unattended for two weeks and it’s not as if there isn’t anything happening.
Work at the harbour has included checking the winter moorings for the small number boats staying in the water over the winter, and also getting in the racing marks. Fortunately for the harbour team we did have a couple of weeks of settled weather to get all the marks in. Though the start was delayed until a local fisherman was able to move his pots from near the harbour mouth. Unfortunately on a previous occasion we managed to drag one of the marks right across his pot lines.
We are also getting ready for the prize giving this Saturday. This has required getting back all the trophies and getting them cleaned and engraved ready for the event. Our Cup Bearer George has done a stirling (no pun intended) job as usual. Even if you are not in the running for a prize do come along. It is a good social occasion with the bar open and a free buffet. Also there is still time to put yourself up for a prize with the photo competition as entries are submitted on the evening.
The other important event coming up is our Annual General Meeting the following Thursday. This is a most important evening for members (only) as it is their opportunity to direct the governance of the Club. Again the bar will be open both before and after the meeting.
Sunday 30 October
It has been brought to our attention that members at DBSC have been informed that Bishop Skinner (Bluefin) is to decline insurance applications for yachts and other vessels on unprotected swinging moorings on the River Forth, including future renewals for existing policies. Moorings within harbours do not appear to be directly affected by this underwriting decision, but restrictions may apply.
So it looks as if we are OK, at least for the moment. This raises at least two issues. The first, for boat owners, is to ensure that your own insurers are clear that your boat is on a swinging mooring but in a sheltered harbour. The second, for all of us, is that there is an opportunity for us to attract boats to Granton who cannot be insured elsewhere on the Forth.
Meanwhile the sailing season draws to a close with the last of the Autumn Series yesterday, though today and the next couple of days look to be as good sailing weather as we have had for a long time.
But the club doesn’t go into hibernation, oh no. Coming up is the Annual Prize Giving and the AGM, a winter talk for schools to be given by our young champion sailors and much, much more, including the Christmas Lunch. So anybody putting off joining the Club at this time of the year should rethink. Particularly as a membership now will last right through to the end of next year.
Friday 21 October
Saturday looks to be not a bad sailing day and, though it is not shown in the published calendar in the Yearbook, we have laid on a boatman for tomorrow morning from 09:3o to 11:30. Thanks, John. Sorry, no boatman for Sunday.
Wednesday 19 October
How quickly a week flies. Thoughts for this report started at the weekend but have only just now made it onto the screen.
Regular visitors to the site will have seen the post about the RNLI Fish Supper evening which was a great success. Some 40 members and guests participated and we managed to get a generous donation to the RNLI. The evening finished with live music from our more talented members. It was such a successful evening that we are thinking of having another, but to raise money for our own 150th Anniversary Development Appeal. Only this time we shall avoid a Friday as that is the busy evening for Franco’s, which is why some people had to wait a while for the second fish and chip delivery. Ian is also trying to organise regular jam sessions for the musicians, which could also be attended by members.
Saturday, the Lift Out, had been in some uncertainty regarding the weather for a few days, but with little suitable alternative dates we decided that the forecast as at Thursday looked OK, though wet in the morning. And boy, was it wet in the morning. The members turned up as directed at 08:00 to clear the yard and it was well clear before the arrival of the crane at 10:00. By then the very wet members were in the Club House tucking into bacon rolls (having left their wet gear below). Unfortunately we hadn’t been able to get any boats on the slip the day before so lifting couldn’t start till we had enough water at 11:30. By then we had discovered that the Bosun, who controls the lift with the crane banksman, was still off ill, so Brian and Stuart stepped into the breach. And a very good job they made of it too. If it hadn’t been for the usual couple of members who hadn’t properly sorted their cradle (and thereby taking three times the average lift) and one or two other little hiccups we would have finished in good time. As it was, in order to avoid a second, expensive day, we had to think laterally and put a couple of bilge keelers onto the railway slip to be lifted after the tide had gone. Going into overtime for the crane and into the dark we managed to lift the two big boats on the last of the tide and then lift the two bilge keelers off the slip.
We were fortunate that enough members stayed on into the evening to help finish the lift off and restore the moveable boats and trailers back into the yard.
There was one late addition to the lift that had to be put off till Sunday, when a few of the regular volunteers turned up to help lift a 3.5 tonne boat onto its trailer. This should have been straightforward on our 5 tonne crane, but with a deep rudder and deep bilge keels it was quite a challenge to get it high enough to clear the jetty and the trailer. It took three attempts but we did it. Meanwhile Sunday was a busy day with members cleaning down their boats and starting to remove gear for the winter.
Into this week and the tidy up continues whilst there was even some decent sailing weather. Its a pity that most of the boats are now out of the water.
Tuesday 11 October
At least the weekend looked kindly on us and the Club was very busy.
Members were down lifting masts and setting up cradles for the lift out this coming Saturday. Saturday morning was gloriously sunny and warm but without wind, but fortunately it filled in by late morning and allowed the Autumn Series racing to take place. The crews coming off the water appeared to have had a good race.
Those of us not needing to prepare for lift out even managed to get out for a sail. I got to Aberdour and back with the new boat performing well.
On Monday our volunteers were surveying inside the pontoon and the length of the harbour in preparation for dredging which should start soon.
This Friday sees the RNLI Fish Supper event. Details have been sent to members and are on a post here. If you are planning to attend and want a fish supper please try to let the office know in advance so that we can warn Franco’s how many we will need. (As well as agreeing to supply our meals, Franco’s of Raeburn Place have agreed to contribute to our RNLI collection for each supper supplied.) It should be a good evening and a fine precursor to the lift-out on Saturday.
Tuesday 4 October
Last week we had visitors from Australia who were visiting Edinburgh and were keen to visit the Club and exchange Burgees. Ian and Lesley are from Hillarys Yacht Club in Perth, Western Australia where they are long time active members. Ian has a 46 foot racing yacht but he still manages to take part in their JAM races. That’s Jib And Main, which is to us White Sail racing. They say that by cutting out the spinnakers for some races it allows husband and wife crews to manage without a larger crew and encourages some of the purely cruising boats to participate. It could be an approach that we could use. I also noted on their web site that one of their regular calendar features is a Come and Try Month, held in October. This is open to newcomers not just for sailing and racing but also the social side – they do have very good restaurant facilities. Part of the reason for that is that they have over 1,000 ordinary members, which becomes more like 2,000 when family members are counted.
Anyway, Ian and Lesley enjoyed their visit to our more modest Club though the racing, the last of the Saturday Series, was cancelled on the Saturday when they came down. They did meet and chat to some of the members and then came back on the Monday to exchange burgees with the Commodore.
Back to our events and the Autumn Series has started with Saturday being a decent day on the water. Unfortunately as it is now October members are starting to lift masts and crane boats out of the water, always a sad time of year. Just two weeks before lift out, though the few boats not part of the big crane lift may get a week or two more.
For previous Blogs click June to September 2016, Jan to June 2016 or on Sept to Dec 2015 or for earlier including the Helgoland visit see post.
Other Items of Reference
Granton now features in the “visitmyharbour” website