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Dodging the gathering clouds

September 12, 2013

Macwester Malin off Charlestown

Our weekend’s sailing was slow to start as there was a lively weather front clearing through on Saturday. However I didn’t manage to avoid getting soaked, as I was drafted in as a last-minute crew member for the local dragon race. The forecast was better for Sunday and we arrived at our Macwester Malin before she was afloat, so that we could slip our mooring at the earliest possible opportunity. We had no plan other than to avoid the rain clouds, enjoy some carefree sailing, followed by a night at Capernaum Pier.

Macwester Malin 32 cockpit view

We tacked back and forth off Rosyth, Blackness Castle, Limekilns, and Charlestown in a gentle easterly. The very first shot above shows us on our 32ft centre-cockpit ketch with Charlestown in the background. Just above this block of text, is an on-board shot heading towards Limekilns, and below is a shot of us onboard our Malin with Grangemouth in the background. Thanks to John for photographs 1 & 3 from his yacht.

Macwester Malin 32 off Grangemouth

I’m not sure that I can explain just how good it felt to be sailing again, as this feeling was augmented with relief. 2013 has been a fantastic sailing season, yet we were hundreds of miles away for ten weeks missing most of it. Then when we eventually managed to get home and go for a mini cruise, the elements conspired against us and we spent most of the time stuck in the fog. We were beginning to feel that we weren’t going to get our sails up again before crane-out, so set against the backdrop of our predominantly yacht-less season, we had a totally fantastic day.

Macwester Malin 32 pontoon

We arrived on the pontoon at Capernaum Pier just as a race was finishing. We met up with friends, and eventually made our way to the local pub to catch up on news, and hear about the race.

Capernaum Pier Piper

We woke up to a bright morning, so we quickly scoffed breakfast and got ready to go back out on to the river again. Just as we were setting off, we heard some stirring bagpipes and we both felt compelled to explore. If you like that sort of thing, it was great …and we happen to like that sort of thing.

Eventually our thoughts drifted back to sailing. The piper stopped playing and came down from the pier to see us cast off. It’s quite a tight spot to turn a 32 footer (see shot above the piper), so I used our bow thruster to swing our bow round about 120 degrees. As I was doing this, I couldn’t help but hear the owner of the Westerly Centaur moored just ahead of us say “I want one of those“, and then the piper shouted back over to her “Oh you need to get a bow thruster, they’re all the rage!

Gathering clouds

By the time we left Capernaum Pier behind us, the weather was closing in. There was a filthy, black rain cloud consuming all in its path to the west over Grangemouth, and a similar black cloud to the east over the Forth Bridge. Where the sun broke though we were bathed in colourful light, and we reckoned that we must have been at the end of somebody’s rainbow.

Mooring after rain

Although we escaped the worst of the rain while we were out on the water, we were a bit damp around the edges. However we did make it back on to our mooring before a heavy downpour inevitably caught up with us.

Cockpit sunset

Before too long, the rain cleared and we were left with a beautiful evening. The shot above is an attempt to capture the view we enjoyed over dinner in our cockpit. In case you’re wondering, the dark area occupying the top third of the photograph is the roof of our cockpit tent.

Sunset row

As the sun and tide dropped, we got our stuff together, locked up the boat and jumped into our dinghy. We weren’t quite ready to leave yet, so we went for a row out into the River Forth. It was a stunning end to a great couple of days.

Macwester 32 mooring

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