End of season sail

October 9, 2012

It’s hard to believe that our second sailing season has drawn to a close. We took advantage of good weather over the weekend to get our Macwester Malin alongside and ready for crane-out the following weekend. I say we, but for the first time ever I was the only one on-board as I slipped our mooring at dusk on the Friday, while ‘the crew’ drove along to the club pier at Capernaum to catch our motorsailer’s ropes in the fading light.

Macwester Malin dusk

It was pitch black by the time our 32ft Macwester Malin ketch’s bilge keels took the ground and I had a couple of near misses as I tended the lines ashore. Although we knew it was going to be a cold October night, we eventually settled down for the evening and slept well.

Macwester Malin bilge keels

The next morning brought glorious weather. I was up early, waiting for the tide to come back in under our twin keels, as I wanted to turn our yacht around to face the prevailing wind and tide. As there was little to no wind, this manoeuvre proved to be a relaxed process without any need for either the engine or bow thruster.

After taking the main sail and mizzen off, next on my busy agenda was to bring the dinghy over from our mooring. I had to time this to ensure that the tide had dropped far enough to allow me to walk out to the dinghy in my wellies, but obviously there still had to be enough water to allow the dinghy to float. I consulted my tide chart app, did my calculations, and managed to time my arrival to perfection. I popped my wellies on, got my oars and other bits and bobs together and then set-off for the dinghy with a carefree (dare I say smug) smile on my face. Then, just as I was approaching the dinghy, without a pause I continued with all of my bits and bobs directly back to the car and drove all the way back to the club pier, and our Macwester to pick up …the rollocks.

[As a small point of interest, ‘rollocks’ rhymes with the very word that was rattling around inside my head at the time].

Now ten minutes behind schedule, I was no longer wearing a smug smile. The tide had left the dinghy high and dry, and I had to enthusiastically embark on an ugly-muddy-pushing frenzy in order to get back afloat.

Dinghy beach

Once afloat I relaxed again and headed out on to the River Forth avoiding the now exposed rocks to the East of our mooring. I stopped off at a sand bank about 75m out into the river to enjoy the scenery and wash the mud off my wellies. I enjoyed completing the journey in the sunshine, but with the tide galloping out, I had to tie the dinghy up near the far end of the club pier …eventually moving our wee dinghy to her final destination on the later tide.

Following some lunch, I got strapped into my waders and got down into the mud at our mooring once again, this time to remove our front strop and Hippo mooring buoy. I had planned to get the rear strops out too, but the shackles wouldn’t budge and although I persevered for a couple of hours, I was eventually beaten by the tide coming back in.

Not to worry, we were still well ahead of the game.



  1. Hi Loved the post. Its sad to take them out! My Wight is coming out tomorrow. I did a little video of my last trip:

    You should think about switching on comments on word press, it would be nice to comment against your posts.

    And just to say, really enjoying the blog ;0)

    Regards Philip


    • Hello Philip, Thanks for your kind words.

      I think that comments are switched ‘on’. For example I have a list of recent comments showing on the right-hand-side of each page. I assumed that these were visible to all. Please let me know if you can’t see these and what computer/tablet/mobile + browser that you use, and I will do my best to investigate.

      Good luck with crane-out. We’re already out of the water (six days ago), blog post covering that shortly.


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