Super-moon shakedown sail

May 7, 2012

Dhu Craig bouy baby seal

We headed out for a quick shakedown sail on Saturday, with the main aim of checking that everything was working properly on our 32ft Macwester Malin. Out on the River Forth we spotted a fluffy new baby seal basking on the Dhu Craig buoy (see above). Neither of us felt compelled to club it to death, so we kept on sailing.

Forth Replacement Crossing foundation works

This was the first trip that we have made since the 185 year-old Beamer Rock lighthouse was demolished to make way for the new Forth Road Bridge. It was strange not having the lighthouse as a visual reference point coming into Port Edgar. Above is a video-grab of the foundation works in progress for the new bridge, currently known as the “Forth Replacement Crossing”.

Forth Replacement Crossing Artist's Impression [aerial]

Not wholly sure how the bridge is going to avoid coming ashore right on top of Port Edgar, but I’d imagine that it must be veering to the West. Ah-ha! I’ve just found the above artist’s impression provided by Transport Scotland. If you look closely, you can spot Port Edgar in between the two road bridges.

Macwester Malin in Port Edgar May 2012

As for our Macwester’s shake-down; no real problems to report other than the depth log played-up once or twice. I’ll have to keep my eye on that and take remedial action if required. On top of the depth log, there’s still a modest drip from the Allpa stern gland. This is much reduced following the replacement of the stern gland seals prior to crane-in, but now I don’t think that anything other than remedial work on the 30mm shaft will completely resolve the problem.

Port Edgar pontoon failure

We ended-up staying overnight at Port Edgar. The weather was much better than expected, and we couldn’t resist the idea of an overnight. This despite our lack of trust in the pontoons at Port Edgar following one of them collapsing beneath a crew member while we were berthing last season. As you can see from the photo above (taken on Sunday the 6th of May, just twenty feet away from our berth), things haven’t improved much over the winter. That said, at least this time the area was cordoned off.

Lite dinner on Macwester Malin cockpit table

After a leisurely afternoon walk through South Queensferry, we conjured up a lite fishcake dinner, and enjoyed the evening sunshine onboard our Malin. We took the opportunity to dry out some of our ropes on the deck. I know it’s wrong, but enjoying sunshine while the rest of the UK was being rained upon somehow made it just a little sweeter.

Port Edgar evening sunshine from onboard Macwester Malin 32ft ketch

The ‘super-moon’ meant that there was a really low tide. We stayed afloat, but just the other side of the pontoon (maybe six to eight feet in front of our Macwester Malin’s bow) was completely dried-out.

Leaving Port Edgar

It was cold, but calm overnight. By Sunday morning the rain affecting the rest of the UK had arrived. With little wind available we motored back to our mooring just after lunch. It was on the return leg that I checked the stern gland, and could see the occasional droplet of water being tossed around.

Fortunately we dodged the rain on the way back, and we were lucky enough to get a fair bit of warm sunshine throughout the afternoon as we bobbed around on our mooring.

All in all, it was great to get back out on the water, even if it was just a short trip to the ever-crumbling Port Edgar.



  1. Hi again, Still reading some of your back archives. Bought my Wight Mk 2 in Aug 2011 and did little with it through this year due to crap weather and other commitments.Always watched the weather forecast but nothing good for months. Your many articles just keeps on reminding me about my task list. Actually thinking I’ll have it transported home for the winter to do them all here but quite expensive. Your article on tensioning shrouds etc reminded me of yet another task on the very long list.
    How do you know what to tension to and what tool?


    • Hi Peter,

      So you’re in the same sort of boat as me (so to speak), as we took delivery in spring 2011. I was told what tension to aim for by a friend at our club; but with hindsight I think that the tensions he suggested were more suitable for racing. I’m currently a bit unhappy with the tension set-up and plan to revisit this before crane-in, or early in the new season at the latest.

      The tool was supplied by http://www.loosco.com. You can just make the logo out in the photograph here: https://macwester.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/forth-boyard/

      Hope this helps.


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