Posts Tagged ‘forth road bridge’


Single to Dalgety Bay please

May 25, 2017

As the crew had prior commitments, it was down to yours truly to get our 32ft Macwester Malin to her destination for the weekend on the Friday. I had work to complete on the engine bay hatch (see previous post here), and therefore I set off in the morning so that I had the afternoon to get my head down.

There was very little wind on the journey east, which suited me as this was easily the most adventurous single-handed sail that I’ve tackled. As luck would have it, an unwelcome swell appeared out of nowhere just as I was coming into the harbour at Dalgety Bay. Fortunately things settled a little as I rounded the end of the pier. It was a neep tide and having overshot the stairwell, I realised that the leap up on to the pier was too risky, and so had no choice other than to manoeuvre astern …using the thruster to keep the bow steady. It was all good.

I worked on the engine bay hatch until the crew arrived by road later in the day. It was a peaceful evening, however that peace was shattered in the early hours of the following morning by some late-night revellers intent on revelling. With raised voices for an extended period, I got up and kept a look-out for upwards of thirty minutes.

Saturday was mainly soggy and we didn’t venture out apart from a trip to the local store for provisions. There was a brief spell of sunshine late afternoon, but that was followed by increased winds on Saturday night. Despite this, the weather didn’t dampen our experience too much, as this was the first trip away from our home port this season, assuming that our voyage from Whitehaven to Largs on the west coast a few weeks ago didn’t count.

Sunday morning came around all too quickly. We set sail as soon as we floated and headed west towards the bridges. On passing under the Forth Road Bridge, I presented a wooden boomerang to the crew. She momentarily paused, before throwing the boomerang back towards the bridge in an act of commemoration for a close friend’s son who had leapt from the bridge a few weeks previously.

Leaving the bridges behind us, we threw our genoa up and pressed on with the motor to meet friends from our club at Blackness. We arrived just about the same time as everyone else, which was a pleasant surprise as we weren’t at all sure that we were even going to make it given the neepy tide.

With almost nothing under our keels and the tide falling, there wasn’t time for much more than a handshake and a quick beer at the Blackness Boat Club bar. The shot above was taken from our Macwester Malin’s stern as all the club boats made a hasty retreat.

Thanks to Blackness Boat Club for their hospitality. Hopefully we’ll have more time to spend the next time we visit.


Stuck up; well and truly shaken down

May 24, 2016


We left our mooring in a stiff south-westerly early on Saturday afternoon and headed to Capernaum for a few last-minute tweaks ahead of our 2016 shakedown sail on Sunday. While checking the rigging, I spotted that a halyard on our mizzen was on the wrong side of the stay that runs between our Macwester Malin’s two masts, and came up with a fantastically cunning plan to rectify the problem. I’d simply hoist a small hammer up the mizzen, rock the boat, and lower the hammer back down on the right side. All done and dusted in two minutes.

Or so I thought. Unfortunately the hammer wasn’t quite heavy enough to pull the halyard back down, and two minutes later I had a hammer dangling near the top of the mizzen. Despite trying to lasso the hammer from the deck below, eventually I had to accept that I couldn’t avoid climbing the mast and retrieving the hammer with a boathook.

Not such a cunning plan after all.


The following day we had drinks followed by an enjoyable lunch onboard for the friends and family that were coming along for the short trip under the bridges and back home. There were six of us on-board in total.

Our chums in Calloo, a Moody 31 [above] and Fyne Thyme, a Westerly Konsort Duo also made the trip.


The weather was changeable; it was wet and breezy when we left, but it brightened and the wind started to drop as we approached the new Queensferry Crossing. We made steady progress of around five knots over the ground against the tide.

Shot above; all three bridges clearly visible, with the newest to the fore and oldest furthest away. The larger yacht in the middle-distance is Erin, a 49ft Jeanneau that had eased past us on our approach to the bridges.


It was calm and sunny as we rounded Inchgarvie and turned west to head back under the bridges once more. It was great to see lots of yachts out on the water.

I kept an eye out for Huck Finn, a Macwester 27 that I expected would be sailing around the bridges on sunday afternoon …but I didn’t spot her.


Huck Finn spotted us though. The shot above of our Macwester Malin, Indefatigable Banks heading west, passing under the Forth Road Bridge, copyright of Charlie Simpson. Thanks Charlie.


As we left the bridges behind, we lost sight of our chums in Calloo and Fyne Thyme, along with the sunny weather. The wind picked up to over twenty knots and it started raining. We were heeled over enough to prompt crashing noises from below deck, and some of the crew went down to brace the cupboards until things eased a little. We’ll need to re-organise some of the stowage down below.


By the time we reached our mooring the sun was back out. Calloo arrived shortly after, and Fyne Thyme circled around our stern before heading off to her mooring.

We heard the tell-tale ‘pop’ of the cold fizzy stuff being opened while we were still getting the strops on, and three friends from Calloo arrived by dinghy to join the après-sail celebrations shortly afterwards.

One of our chums and crew member for the day, a naval architect by trade, had baked us fresh ginger cookies. They were robust, well-built biscuits that we decided to label as “ginger brittles”. They tasted great and were very much appreciated.

Everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time, which was rather inconveniently interrupted when our Macwester Malin took the ground. Eventually we grudgingly accepted that we needed to overcome the logistics of ferrying a party of nine to the shore while the dinghies were still afloat. We also had to tidy the boat up, and go through our usual procedures of shutting the boat down. It was tight, but we just about made it.

As luck would have it, the local pub happens to be just two hundred metres away from our mooring, and within a couple of minutes our après-sail celebrations started afresh.

All-in-all it was a really fab day.

Shakedown completed; roll on the summer!


Get well soon Forth Road Bridge

December 4, 2015


As widely reported in the media today, following it’s closure overnight, it seems that the Forth Road Bridge is to remain closed until 2016. Regular readers of this blog will be used to seeing our photographs of the bridge and it’s replacement, the Queensferry Crossing, which is due to open next year.

Clearly the plan was that the Forth Road Bridge would be in service until the new bridge is completed. Hopefully the closure will be short-lived, but its early days and it could be that vehicle users are in for many weeks, if not months of detours further up river to Kincardine; a detour of approximately 45 miles one-way. That’s bound to be made substantially worse by the volume of traffic, as 80,000 vehicles cross the Forth Road Bridge daily (source BBC).

Flotilla Reaper

This is all in stark contrast to last year, when we took part in the celebrations to mark the Forth Road Bridge’s 50th birthday. We were part of the flotilla [above], and were in Port Edgar for the awesome fireworks [below].


What a difference a year makes (the firework event was a great night). Hopefully the engineers will be able to nurse the bridge back to health sooner rather than later.



UPDATE: The Forth Road Bridge opened to all traffic except HGVs on the 23rd of December 2015. The shot above, taken on the 22nd of December shows the bridge without any traffic. Fingers crossed that won’t be repeated any time soon.


Forth Bridges Festival Part 2

September 15, 2014


There were lots of yachts from our club at Port Edgar marina for the finale of the Forth Bridges Festival. We had arrived back a couple of days earlier, and along with sailing around the vicinity of the bridges, we spent time in South Queensferry as the excitement was building.


By the time that the fireworks started (after 10pm on Saturday the 13th), there was a party atmosphere on the marina pontoons. On reflection it’s amazing that nobody ended up taking a bath, especially given that we had been getting into the spirit of the occasion …in advance.


The fireworks were set-up on the east side of the Forth Road Bridge, and the marina is to the west, however this didn’t appear to dampen the experience too much. We completely missed the torchlight procession which had taken place before the fireworks, but it’s feasible that we just weren’t paying attention.


In the end, the fireworks only lasted for around ten minutes, but it was a pretty impressive ten minutes. Easily the best firework-fest that our crew have seen.

Shark Toy

On top of the fireworks, I had been given a shark with a frickin’ laser beam attached to its head to play with, so I was having more fun than most.

As the fireworks subsided, we ended-up on our friends’ Moody 31, where an enjoyable if rowdy night was had by all. It was a fitting end to the season …even although it wasn’t quite the end of the season.

Sink Outlet Renewal

The following day, I discovered a leak under the galley sink, so it was back down to earth with a splash for me. Anyhoo, I did all that I could in terms of remedial work and eventually left the various bits of plumbing disassembled until I could source replacement parts. A few days later the new parts arrived, and by the following weekend I had replaced the sink outlet with shiny new components.

Macwester Malin at Blackness Castle

The weather remained better than could be expected for mid-September, so we eagerly squeezed in another great weekend before the end of the season, which now looms less than a fortnight away. Above shows us approaching Blackness Castle from the north-east.

Hopefully we’ll get one more weekend before crane-out.


River Forth in widescreen

November 10, 2013

Port Edgar Marina

We took a break from boat maintenance this afternoon to walk over the west side of the Forth Road Bridge. By my reckoning it’s been one year and five days since our last crossing by foot (on the east side of the bridge), and today was the first time that we have walked across in daylight. The image above shows the view from the south bank of the river, looking east towards Longannet power station, with Port Edgar on the left and Rosyth on the right.

Lookinf west from the Forth Road Bridge

The weather was crisp and clear, with very little wind and it was surprisingly warm in the afternoon sunshine. Walking from one side to the other and back again takes just over an hour. Unfortunately the photographs shown here fail to properly capture the breath-taking widescreen views or the scale of what stretches out in front of you. It was truly awesome. If you ever have a spare 90 minutes and have the opportunity, then I highly recommend it.

Forth Road Bridge looking south towards Port Edgar

One of our chums from the sailing club was somewhere up above us in a microlight taking snaps, so it will be very interesting to see those …assuming that we don’t read about him in tomorrow’s papers.

Port Edgar at sunset

As regular readers of this blog might imagine, over the last month I’ve been taking photographs and video of remedial and maintenance work that I’ve been carrying out on our Macwester Malin since the end of the season. I’ll create a summary post of this work over the coming weeks, but for the moment I just wanted to share some alternative views of our closest cruising grounds.

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