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Summer cruise 2014 [part 1] – East Neuk

August 11, 2014

Macwester Malin 32 ketch

The first stop on our summer cruise this year was Port Edgar marina. We spent three days there including celebrating our recent marriage with champagne and canapés for 15 on-board our Macwester Malin. It was tight for space, but the sun was out and everyone had a great time. Tying the knot with the crew was something that started back in 2011 when I got down on one knee in the middle of the North Sea, and led to us re-naming our yacht Indefatigable Banks; which is a region roughly 100 miles off Grimsby. Click here for more.

Next stop was Elie (see above) where the good weather continued. We had hoped to spend several days in Elie, but on arrival we discovered that the local sailing club was holding a 50th anniversary celebration that weekend, and given that at 32 feet our Macwester Malin was taking up more than one of only two visitor berths, we decided we would move on to Anstruther the following day.

By the morning, the east coast haar had descended upon Elie, however it wasn’t dense enough to prevent us from setting sail. The crew kept a look-out for lobster pots, as we tried to keep the coast in sight. This cautious approach proved to be wise, as we waved to the crew of a passing motor boat (called Mary Doll), which the Anstruther lifeboat would subsequently be launched to free from the minefield of lobster pots that we managed to navigate through.

As expected, the carnival was in town.

Anstruther Marina

Nonetheless, we settled into our new surroundings and began to unwind. Later in the day I was out on deck relaxing with a cold beer, chatting to a Westerly Konsort owner when all hell broke loose on the other side of the pontoon. A heavy (well over ten tonnes) blue boat coming into berth ploughed straight into a motor boat in the adjacent berth. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I watched it happen. The blue boat didn’t slow down or take avoiding action …it just smacked straight into the motor boat, which shot backward into the pontoon and then started to crumple and rise out of the water at the same time. I leapt over on to the motor boat that had been hit, and took a line from the skipper of the heavy blue boat. He later claimed that he had lost power when trying to put his boat in reverse, nonetheless I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t at least taken evasive action. Perhaps he froze when Plan A didn’t go to plan.

Later, when the tide receded, we were able to see why the skipper was unable to reverse …that’s when we spotted his propeller several feet away in the mud (see above).

Pittenweem harbour

The following day we met up with friends who came to visit us on-board our Macwester Malin, and we subsequently visited them on-board their Moody Eclipse. As usual, we went for coastal walks to Crail and Pittenweem (shown above). To be frank, we had always viewed Pittenweem as a bit one-dimensional; you know the kind of place …a drinking town with a fishing problem. However on this occasion we really explored the village and were surprised to discover that it is much more. In fact, I’d go so far to say that if we were to live anywhere in the East Neuk, it would be Pittenweem ahead of Crail, Elie or any of the other picturesque towns along the coast.

Elie Harbour sunset

Despite this revelation about Pittenweem, with the weekend behind us, we headed back to the visitors berth we had vacated at Elie. The shot above shows Elie harbour at dusk. The visitors berths are in the corner, adjacent to the prominent Granary building. If you look closely, you can just make out our Macwester Malin ketch.

Elie visitors berth

The weather in Elie was changeable, and there were a couple of really blustery days which made us question why we left the much better shelter available at Anstruther. We kept our eye on a Seadog ketch from our club which was berthed alongside the west harbour wall (see above; right of picture), it had been left there when the owner had taken ill during the 50th anniversary celebrations. We speculated that the illness might have been caused by a dodgy burger from the BBQ, and if so then it’s just as well we left when we did.

Kirkcaldy Bay & Inchkeith

By the end of that week, we set sail west across Kirkcaldy Bay. Towards the far end of the bay, it got a bit lumpy and the crew got soaked by a particularly large bow wave which gate-crashed our centre cockpit.

Puffin off Kinghornness

Once passed Kinghornness, things calmed down a little and we sailed through a flock of puffins. I’ve been trying to capture these shy birds on camera every season, but they’re forever scampering beneath the waves before I can deploy my camera phone. The above shot is the best I’ve managed to date. I’ll probably need to invest in a half-decent camera if I want better results.

Next stop Aberdour!

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