Summer cruise 2016 – Part 1

August 30, 2016


Around the middle of August the weather looked promising, so we decided to set off on an extended cruise to the East Neuk. First stop was the fuel berth at Port Edgar, before heading over to Aberdour. We were longer than planned at the marina having met a chum from our club, and with the tide falling quickly, we only just scraped into Aberdour at the very end of the pier. We took an early night as we had an early start in the morning.


The next morning [Sunday], the journey across Kirkcaldy Bay against the tide to Elie, took us just north of 3.5 hours using the engine. Sailing simply wouldn’t have delivered the pace that we required to make it into Elie before the tide receded once again. Above; Transocean Prospect one of three rigs we passed.


We spent three nights at Elie. We had mainly cloud-free skies for the duration, although the edge was taken off the hot summer sun by a cool easterly. The shot above was taken from on-board our Macwester Malin looking east to the cricket match on the beach, just in front of the Ship Inn.


The visitors berth was sheltered in the easterlies, but the Granary, a large building just a couple of metres to the south of the berth, cast a shadow over our yacht from about 11am for three or four hours. You can just about make out the shadow of the building’s roof in the water to the left of our yacht in the image above, and you can see the offending building itself below, with our Macwester Malin just visible in its shadow.


Shadow aside, we took advantage of the good weather every day, strolling barefooted along the beach in the sunshine, meandering in and out of the water. The distant bell that rang out on the hour every hour was a welcome companion through the night, but was never intrusive enough to actually waken us. The same can’t be said for the freezing cold showers at the yacht club which showed no mercy to sleepy sailors in the mornings.

Most of the time we dined on board with supplies from the Elie Deli. On the only occasion that we ate out, we ventured a few hundred metres along to the Ship Inn, against local insider advice and opinion. The best bit about the meal [apart from the company of course] was the view over to the harbour, and a dove nestled in a rustic iron gutter just a couple of feet away outside the window we were seated at.


The food was a disappointment… … …however, here’s a photograph of ‘Plop‘.

Not sure if I’m including ‘Plop‘ here with reference to the disappointing food, or just to move the narrative along and make me smile.

Anyhoo, we took the opportunity to walk to St Monans which is about 2.5 miles east of Elie, as we had plans to make the village our next destination. I was keen to take the crew to the ‘East Pier Smokehouse’ for a fishy meal to make amends for the below-deck experience that was the Ship Inn.


By the Wednesday, four days of hyper-excited, screaming tweens jumping in and out of the water, a few metres from our Macwester Malin proved to be enough. At times it was a bit like holidaying on the edge of a busy urban swimming pool. Besides; the weather was due to go downhill for a few days, and we decided that we had better head to St Monans while we could.

As it turns out, the sea state was much lumpier than we expected and we reasoned that it was unwise to make an approach through the narrow harbour mouth at St Monans, so unfortunately that destination fell off the chart table. Above: leaving Elie, before it got lumpy.


We carried on directly to Anstruther. It was bright, but breezy and we were heading into an easterly. We spent a lot of time dodging our way through chaotic fields of lobster pots. One small fishing boat ahead of us was dropping lobster pots directly into our path, but this wasn’t too challenging for a skipper of my abilities …as I mastered Mario Kart many years ago.

It was particularly lumpy on the approach to Anstruther, and while personally I found it exhilarating, the crew was no longer feeling 100%. In the end we had to power our Macwester Malin into the outer harbour at speed to minimise the risk of the swell sweeping us off course. The good news when we reached the inner harbour was that for the very first time …the carnival was not in town.



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