Posts Tagged ‘flotilla’

h1

Festival flotilla fail

June 13, 2017

Preparations for this year’s river festival had been going on for months, and it must have put a smile on the organising committee’s collective face to see things taking shape on Saturday morning. It’s a pity that the weather forecast for the weekend was poor, with rain and gusts over 30 knots.

The main task for the crew and I was helping with the river golf. Our job was to collect the balls after they were struck by the paying public. This meant a three-hour shift in a dinghy, which at some point was interrupted by the arrival of Wave Spirit from Port Edgar. With two 500 hp water jets, we could feel the hum of her engines permeating every inch of our bodies. Yes, I’ll have one of those please!

After our river golf shift was completed, we dried ourselves off and spent some time catching-up with friends on the pier and in the garden. The sun came out for a while, and it started to feel like June. At the bar, the barman gave me a choice of beer from the local brewery. It wasn’t until later that I realised the barman owned the local brewery, and that my favoured tipple would probably have been available too. This would come back to haunt me.

Our plans was to bring Indefatigable Banks, our Macwester Malin round later in the day once the rib trips had stopped. We had a window of about 30 minutes to leave our mooring before the tide would leave us high and dry. I spent a lot of time mulling over the conditions; the wind was picking-up and there were waves coming into the harbour from the south-east. In the end the conditions, the deteriorating forecast for the following day, plus the lack of space to manoeuvre in a busy harbour meant that I decided on the safe option and left our yacht on her mooring.

We enjoyed a good night with live music and our friends in the marquee. As usual, time vanished and I didn’t get to catch up with everyone that I hoped to. With no yacht alongside to sleep onboard, our chums from Calloo kindly put us up for the evening (thanks again team Calloo). Unfortunately the crew had to put up with me keeping her awake for what was left of the night, as three hours in a dinghy obviously represented more exercise than I’m used to, and I had leg cramps all night long. The following morning I was hobbling around like a ninety-five year old cartoon crack-whore who’d been a life-long-nookie-neighbour of Glenn Quagmire.

Giggity-giggity.

We all headed back to the club to help clear away the fixtures and tidy-up the litter left behind the night before. The flotilla was planned for mid-afternoon, and the raft race would take place following that. Although we’re no quitters, with the rain tipping down it became clear that our collective lack of sleep, my ongoing leg cramps (I should really be fitter), the hangover jitters from the local hooch …and the pressing requirement for me to be near conveniences (which again I put down to the local bitter rather than the very mild chicken curry) …meant that sailing in challenging conditions wasn’t the most sensible thing to do next. I guess that makes us light-weights; not heavy-hitters.

As the crew didn’t have a bullet to hand, she scooped me up and took me home for a warm bath. While that was disappointing and represented an epic flotilla fail …sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Advertisements
h1

Forth Bridges Festival Part 1

September 9, 2014

forth Road Bridge 50

With the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge due to kick off with a 180-boat flotilla on the River Forth on Sunday the 7th of September, we took some time out in the late summer sunshine at Port Edgar marina on the run up to the event. As well as cleaning our Macwester Malin, we went for walks along the coast to Hopetoun House and other nearby destinations. South Queensferry got busier as the week progressed, and before long the big day had arrived.

Flotilla Reaper

We were in column two of three columns, and our column lead was Reaper, a large wooden Fifie herring drifter. The muster point was on the east of the Forth Bridge (the original, rail bridge). The start of the flotilla was delayed and most of the boats were anxiously schooling like sardines. Eventually we set off, and ten minutes into proceedings things settled down and we were able to relax a little. That said, my head continued swivelling back and forth checking we had enough space, like an owl watching a ping-pong championships final.

Forth Road Bridge flotilla

The flotilla passed under the road bridge and the waving crowd above, and continued out passed what will become the Queensferry Crossing. On the way up to Dhu Craig buoy, Jacarah, a Seadog ketch from our club (see here), had a gearbox failure, and she broached side on to the flotilla just ahead of us. We, along with a hundred other small craft, managed to avoid T-boning her without too much trouble. The rescue boat was with Jacarah very quickly and she was towed back to Port Edgar without any further drama.

SmallSteamBoat

The rest of the flotilla made it up to Rosyth and performed a 180 degree turn to head back through the bridges once more. The sun came out for the return leg, and that brought an even bigger smile to the crew and guests onboard our yacht. As we came under the Forth Road Bridge, there was a cacophony of klaxons, but the sound that stuck with us were the happy whistles from the two little steam boats that had made the journey. The one in the shot above is called Talisker.

Forth Flotilla Erin

We rounded the Forth Bridge (the original, rail bridge) including Inchgarvie and headed back up river. On our short journey back to Port Edgar, we spotted what initially looked like human-shaped flags on ‘Erin’, a 49-foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssey, but on closer inspection, we realised that there were actually two enthusiastic souls dancing around on her spreaders. Back in Port Edgar the party atmosphere continued, and along with lots of members from our club we enjoyed a lively evening.

Macwester Malin & sick Seadog

South Queensferry remained a busy place at the start of the week, and we ventured on-board Reaper. At 70ft long and with a 20ft beam, she’s a voluminous boat, however the conditions below are very cramped. By mid-week we had well and truly recovered. However the same could not be said for Jacarah, the Seadog that was berthed alongside us. Her gearbox trouble was terminal, so we gave our chum a tow back up river (see below).

SeaDog ketch

As we approached Capernaum Pier, we brought the Seadog alongside and rafted up. Rounding the end of the harbour a small battalion of club members were waiting at the pontoons. We took it easy, letting the gentle easterly do most of the work with a short burst from our Macwester Malin’s bow thruster here and there. Everything went according to plan, however it was reassuring to know that we had more than enough help in reserve in case things hadn’t gone well.

Charlestown Harbour

We spent a further couple of days pootling around up river, including nipping into Charlestown harbour (see above). We didn’t stop, as there was lots of flotsam and jetsam lying on the surface, so we performed a gingerly 360 degree turn and beat a hasty retreat back out to the river.

Macwester Malin return Port Edgar

After giving our Macwester Malin yet another clean with a power-washer, this time to remove the overly-generous gifts of a thousand berry-eating swallows, we set a course back to Port Edgar for the last weekend in the Forth Bridges Festival.

%d bloggers like this: