AKA: What’s Happening at the Club (plus one or two other bits of relevant interest)
Note: all the relevant information and posts on this site can be seen by scrolling down the side-bar on the right hand side of the page.
Sunday 14 January
Things are starting to move again at the Club after the relative inactivity of the festive season. Yesterday members joined with a visit to the Queensferry Lifeboat station and in a couple of weeks it is the Burns Supper. Meanwhile in the yard preparations are being made for the replacement of the first of the ground chains to be renewed. For any reader unfamiliar with our moorings, large heavy chains are laid across the harbour, weighted at each end. Smaller chains, risers, are connected at one end to the heavy chain with buoys on the other end so that they are presented to the surface for boats to moor onto. It works very well but over a period of many years the chain rusts and needs to be replaced. That is now the case with a number of our ground chains.
On a different theme, I have just had the latest copy of the RNLI and Offshore magazines and as usual it gave me food for thought. I was aware that the very large racing boats were starting to use foils to get greater speed but hadn’t, until now, realised to what extent smaller sailing boats were using them.
It sort of defies logic, rather like those acts on the high street where individuals in costume appear to be suspended above the pavement, looking to get some coins in their collection box.
I personally think it looks rather precarious and I am prepared to sacrifice speed and keep my hull in the water.
Thursday 11 January
I am still digging into the state of local environment for our earliest members in 1868.
There were no cars, bicycles, radios or toilets. Any buses were horse drawn so our first members were probably mostly local within walking distance – bearing in mind that people tended to walk longer distances then. Perhaps some of them came to the Club on horseback – an interesting concept.
Lifejackets were made of cork and only used by the lifeboat service which was still using oar powered rescue boats. Signalling when in distress at sea could only be done by flags or early flares or the long standing signal for distress of burning tar in a barrel, which is still valid today thought oil might be used instead of tar. Small boats were made of wood, though larger commercial ships were starting to be made of iron.
For more details see 1868 What was happening
Coming back to the present it is interesting to see that the semi-derelict building on Middle Pier, know locally as the powderstore, is undergoing repairs to the roof. The building was a warehouse and derives its name because it is thought to have been a gunpowder store due to its substantial wall thickness, although no written evidence of this appears to exist.
Sunday 7 January
I have been digging further into the events of 1868, because it gives an insight into how long ago it was and how the world was at that time. I have put them into a separate post as a page attached to the 150th Anniversary tab.
See Page here
Wednesday 3 January
The annual visit of the Port Edgar Yacht Club was, as usual, a great success, enjoyed by visitors and members alike.Despite the cold wet weather and the variable winds a number of boats, seemingly laden with visitors, managed to get down river to join us in the club house. Greeted with mulled wine they were then able to warm up on hot soup and bacon rolls, and refresh themselves at the bar before sailing back up river. The day did brighten up briefly during the lunch but had started to rain again by the time they headed off.
One highlight of the day for me was one of our members telling me how much she missed my Blog, with it having become less frequent of late. So I foolishly promised to try to return to updating it more frequently – subject to having relevant material of course.
Among the many other discussions which flowed round the club room was consideration of PEYC feeding into some of the celebrations this year of our 150th (sesquicentennial) anniversary, our club having been established in 1868.
Interestingly that date has been popping up in a number of places recently. The first was in relation to the new TV series of Little Women as the original book was published in 1868.
Then in December 1868: the first traffic light in the UK was installed outside the Houses of Parliament in London to allow the MPs to cross the road to get to work. Traffic jams were not unusual in London’s bustling city streets with horse-drawn carts and drays, hansom cabs, omnibuses, and pedestrians clogging the city streets. A journey through London was also complicated by the many road-works for a new sewer system and the overground and underground railways.
The single traffic light used gas lamps, not electric lights and was manually operated, not automatic. It was rather like railway signals — with semaphore arms during the day and with gas lamps at night. A police constable used a lever at the base of the light pole to switch the red and green lamps. There is a link with the sea in that the red and green lights were taken in part from the railways but also from the Admiralty.
Although successful at controlling traffic, its life was brief. It exploded on January 2, 1869 due to a gas leak injuring the constable who was operating the light. Traffic lights did not return until electric lights became available in the 1920s.
More anniversary facts may follow.
Sunday 31 December
It’s the last day of what was not a great year. We trust that 2018 is better for all of us, not least the Club.
You will no doubt be aware that 2018 is the year of our Sesquicentennial, i.e the 150th anniversary of our coming into being. It has the potential of being a great year for us and there are lots of events planned. A page for the celebrations will appear on this site shortly.
In the meantime, have a great New Year and we hope to see members down at the Club on Tuesday for the annual visit from Port Edgar Yacht Club.
Monday 18 December
Our Christmas lunch was a great success with some 75 members enjoying a festive lunch and Alastair doing sterling volunteer duty assisting behind the bar. We were fortunate in that the sun was shining and the view from the club house was at its magnificent best though as the afternoon progressed, and with the light fading, nobody was looking out of the window and were fully occupied with the wine and good company inside.
Our next event is on the second of January when we have our annual visit from the Port Edgar Yacht Club. Although it is weather dependent there are usually enough hardy souls to man 7 to 10 boats and sail down to join us for hot soup and rolls and other refreshments before making the journey back up river. Although it is a relatively small number of boats they are usually packed with PEYC members so the club house, with our own members joining in, is buzzing. Our members are encouraged to join in for what is a lively event.
Our readers will no doubt have heard of the smashing of the non-stop round the world sailing record by François Gabart. What is amazing is that his trimaran was traveling at speeds of up to 35 knots. And at that speed he was sailing alone in a 30m (98ft) boat. Awsome. Looking back at the first non-stop round the world race in 1969, the Golden Globe won by Robin Knox-Johnston, you will recall the tragedy of Donald Crowhurst. For all us sailors who rarely get a sailing film there is one coming in February telling the tale of Crowhurst, with Colin Firth playing the doomed sailor. This is apparently a better film than the recent “All at Sea” with Robert Redford as the lone sailor. That being said, “All at Sea” is an excellent film though perhaps only of interest to us sailors. “The Mercy”, which is this new film, might even interest non-sailing partners.
I will finish this report with an invitation to any member who would like to take on the challenge of maintaining this page. It needs someone who is in touch with what is going on at the Club rather than just listing the events, which is done very well by the Events pages. It is not technically challenging. It can be very satisfying with between 300 and 400 hits per month during the season though if the reporting becomes less frequent during the winter it drops to 200 hits or less. If any member is interested contact me or the Commodore via the Office.
Finally, have a very Happy Christmas and a good (sailing) New Year.
P.S. You may have seen the report in this week’s Times about the developers’ plans for a commercial Marina at Granton. They are predicting that they will be able to take 30m yachts in the new marina. As you will have noted in the report above 30m is 98ft. It will be interesting to see a few of those in the West Harbour.
Sunday 3 December
Oh dear. Doesn’t time fly. It may look as if nothing is happening at the Club now that the boats are mostly out of the water but that is far from the case.
Unlike many clubs we don’t have a Winter Series, or Frostbite Series as it is sometimes known, but our Autumn Series ran on till the end of October. At which point most of the remaining boats came out of the water though there are some wintering on the pontoon or on winter moorings.
Some of these will be hoping to get out for the odd sail over the winter, taking advantage of the occasional crisp dry sunny day, of which we have had two this week.
Meanwhile, boats in the yard have been cleaned down and some of them wrapped up against the worst of the winter which is yet to come.
Activities at the Club, however, continue. We had our usual prizegiving in the middle of November when the successful racers collected their trophies for a hard fought racing season. Also the annual sailing log and photo competitions were adjudged and some of these will be featured in next year’s Yearbook. Plus one or two special trophies were awarded. A buffet followed the prizegiving and the bar was busy.
The Club’s AGM followed shortly afterwards and this was attended by a good proportion of the members. At the end of the meeting I handed over the reins to the new Commodore, Charles, though he is not proposing to take over this page on the web.
Coming up we have the Christmas Lunch, which sold out very quickly and is currently oversubscribed, the annual visit from Port Edgar on 2 January and the Burns supper in February by which point the Winter Talks will have kicked in.
It all goes to show that the Club is not just a seasonal operation.
Saturday 21 October
Lift out went well. The wind had largely gone though it was easterly so rather cold with some drizzle mixed in at times. However all the boats lifted smoothly and most were cleared onto the hard in 6 to 10 minutes, with two minutes between each lift. Only 21 boats to lift this time which is lower than usual but did mean that we weren’t chasing the tide and the final lift was just before 4:00 p.m.
Now it is down to the last few lifts on the Club crane between now and the end of the month and preparing the boats for their winter ashore.
Sunday 15 October
Good news for the lift-out. It looks as if the remains of Ophelia will work itself out over Monday and early Tuesday. The forecast for Wednesday is now looking to be OK.
Saturday 14 October
The second pair of races of the Autumn Series was today. Slightly flukey winds but a good turn out.
Talking of winds, a member has pointed out a few weather sites that we hadn’t come across before, shown here;
I appreciate that there are a large number of weather websites out there, some better than others, but one I stumbled across last night might be of use – see https://www.ventusky.com/. The weather process is animated and displays the projected path of a weather system – all very clever and fancy but I wonder if anyone has explained this to Mother Nature?
Another site I often use, in conjunction with mmweather.net is BIGSALTY.co.uk – it sounds like a new brand a mega sized potato crisps or pretzels but is in fact a global site dedicated to windsurfers and kite surfers. The ‘local’ weather station is Dalgety Bay (Select UK then select Central Scotland) – using the small tabs in the top right hand screen you can then ‘drill down’ to Silverknowes.
The BBC’s forecast next week projects ex-hurricane Ophelia will pass up the west coast with strong easterlies in this area. It currently looks as if the worst of the winds will be on Tuesday (when we have a yellow warning) but it then dies down for Wednesday – fortunately in time for lift out.
For those who haven’t experienced one before, lift out is an exciting event and a very busy day. All members are invited to come along and enjoy the day, starting at 08:00 to clear the yard with bacon rolls on sale at 10:15.
Thursday 12 October
Regular visitors will have noticed that this is no longer the Commodore’s Blog. That is because this Commodore is coming to the end of his term of Office. Next month a new Commodore is elected at the AGM. The objective of this page, which started off as the Pilot, is to keep the site very dynamic and more than just a repository for fixed information and racing results. There are posts of other activities but this page is to highlight some of those and also throw some light on the day to day functioning of the Club.
It may well continue under the new management team but not necessarily updated by the Commodore. Keep watching.
Meanwhile preparations are under way for our lift out next week (though we are closely watching the weather as strong winds are forecast). The dredging of the EML pontoons has completed till next spring as the winter berthing boats are about to move onto the pontoons. The Harbour team continue with their work in the yard with clearing out the old scrap metal by the main gate, clearing the whole area and repositioning the wast oil tank. A number of the safety stanchions have been replaced and stanchions and safety lines put all along the wall by the South slip.
Regular visitors will also have noted that the web cam is not functioning. This appears to be part of an ongoing problem with our web site, so it may be rebuilt over the winter season.
For previous Blogs click July to September 2017, Feb to June 2017, Oct 2016 to Jan 2017, 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