Day sails; Bridges & Blackness

September 13, 2016


We squeezed in a couple of day sails recently between a busy onshore schedule. The first was a quick dash down to the bridges with family. We had a four-hour window to get everyone onboard, prep, nip to the bridges and back, prep and eat lunch, and finally disembark and shut the yacht down again.

Above; visibility onboard our Macwester Malin was poor despite it being a fine day.


By the time we rounded Inchgarvie (above), we knew that we were on schedule so we could take our foot (or should that be feet?) off the gas. There wasn’t all that much time to get sails up, but we did switch off the engine for quarter of an hour or so.


The new Queensferry Crossing is getting ever closer to meeting in the middle. Three of the four gaps have yet to be closed, with both middle gaps remaining. Above; heading for the southern middle gap.


At the time this post is being published, there looks to be only one final section to close the southern middle gap, which I’d imagine will be closed this month (September 2016). The above shot shows progress at the end of August.


A week later, we decided to head to Blackness Castle. There was no noticeable wind, so we motored through the silky water. A fat, mellow seal seamed pretty relaxed as we eased closely past him. We’ve noticed quite a few more seals up the river this year, which we’re taking as a good sign.

The wind picked-up a little as we reached Blackness Castle, which made our next move a tad more difficult. We were planning on going alongside the stone jetty at the castle. Unfortunately one of the ladders is at the west end of the jetty (right hand side of jetty below), and the other is just on the left corner.


Attempt number one failed, as we approached from the west and I couldn’t get our Macwester Malin’s stern in close enough to the wall. We swapped fenders around and tried from the east, however despite trying three times the bow kept being blown off by the westerly wind, and was simultaneously pushed away by the current despite my best efforts on the thruster.

While we were attempting to land, the occupants of the castle were doing their very best to discourage us. Canons and muskets were constantly being discharged in our direction. It was only when the crew took a bullet and very publicly expired out on deck that the reenactors were sated …and as I couldn’t single-hand on to the jetty, I decided to beat a hasty retreat.


Miraculously, the crew came back to life, so we threw some sails up and meandered around for a while. Out on the water we met up with the club rescue boat which was waiting to rendezvous with Ramillies which was towing a defunct Westerly Centaur down from the Kelpies.

We enjoyed both days out on the water. I guess the taking of Blackness Castle will just have to wait for another day.


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