Posts Tagged ‘macwester malin 32’

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D-Day 2017

June 25, 2017

We headed over to Port Edgar on the Saturday morning, with just the genoa pulling us along at 5 knots, ahead of D-Day the following day. Obviously not the original and substantially more important D-Day from WWII, but “Dad-Day”.

Yes okay, admittedly it’s more often referred to as Fathers Day, but then the title “F-Day 2017” would arguably set the wrong tone for this post.

As we piloted our Macwester Malin into the marina under ominous skies there was a heavy police presence. Given that we’ve probably only ever spotted one single police craft on the Forth over the previous six years, it was a surprise to see seven or eight [above]. Several days later the online rumourati concluded that ‘the rozzers’ are in town to close down the river west of the bridges when HMS Queen Elizabeth leaves Rosyth for sea trials. More recently a Notice to Mariners clarified that a 200m exclusion zone was in place for the big event.

With the wind in the high teens / early twenties all weekend, we deployed our Slapsilencer for the very first time. Essentially, it’s a bit like one half of an XXXXXXXL padded bra that’s deployed around the yacht’s stern. It’s supposed to stop the constant slap-slap-slap of the waves that can drive you nuts at 2am …and 3am.

Not forgetting 4am.

Having tossed it around in my head for a while, I reckon that there was an 80-85% reduction in noise and we had a quiet night uninterrupted by the racket that would undoubtedly have kept us awake without the Slapsilencer being deployed …so it gets a big thumbs up from us.

Oops; that’s getting a bit close to being a useful consumer review. I’d better move along.

So …moving along, early the following morning we hosed-down the Slapsilencer and put it out on deck to dry. Just after lunch the guest of honour arrived along with other family members. It was blustery but sunny as we set off for Inchcolm, where we arrived around low tide to find a couple of yachts at anchor sheltering from the westerly breeze.

My plan, given that it was D-Day, was rather predictably to attempt a landing, but the tide was so low that there was no means of securing our Macwester Malin to the wooden jetty [see above]. Instead of anchoring, we opted just to pootle around for a while.

We picked our way through very shallow waters around Inchgnome [above], and then headed west again, south of Inchcolm. Later we passed under all three bridges for the benefit of our guests, then back in Port Edgar we ordered some Chinese food to go, before setting-off on a late evening sail back to our mooring.

The weather the following weekend was poor with high winds forcing sailing off the agenda, including the cancellation of the Fife Regatta. That actually worked out well for us, as we had shore-based commitments. Our boy Harry was up from London playing a Friday night gig in Glasgow, as a warm-up for two sets they were playing at Glastonbury a couple of days later. They stayed the night chez nous, with 21-year old Matt even giving us a tinkle on our piano in the wee small hours. Despite downing more than a couple of shandies, he managed to knock out an impressive ditty. Come to think of it, listening to the lyrics of ‘As the world caves in‘ you might be forgiven for thinking that D-Day could easily stand for Doomsday.

Here’s hoping for fair winds next weekend.

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Macwester Malin …as seen on TV

March 9, 2017

With just one month to go before crane-in, we got a surprise reminder of the adventures that lie ahead over the next few months, when we spotted our very own Macwester Malin, Indefatigable Banks in a fleeting, background shot roughly 14 minutes into BBC1’s Heir Hunters (Series 11:8) shown yesterday.

The footage was shot by a film crew onboard Christina II on her way back up river, while to the best of my calculations, we were heading away on our last sail of the season.

The Christina II crew did well; coming away with all of the fame …but none of the fortune this time.

Imagery copyright of the BBC.

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Last hurrah 2016

October 12, 2016

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Early on Saturday morning, just as our chums from Calloo were returning from Port Edgar, we were heading over there for our final overnight trip of the season. It would have been great to catch up with them, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

Out on the water, we passed Christina II, and spotted a solo seal basking in the autumn sunshine on Dhu Craig.

queensferryclosing2016

As we passed under the Queensferry Crossing it seemed likely that the gap would close soon; in fact that turned out to be the following day (although there are still two gaps yet to be closed elsewhere).

Our berth for the weekend was on the east side of the marina, which is closest to the Forth Road Bridge and gets much less protection from the breakwater. Not ideal. We had asked for a better berth that we knew was free, however the staff refused claiming that it wasn’t available (not surprisingly the berth we requested lay vacant for the duration of our stay).

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We had no fixed plans for our time in South Queensferry. I checked that our new wheel cover fitted (which it did). We strolled around the pontoons after returning from the local mini-market. Later, the crew hosed down our Macwester Malin one last time.

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It was peaceful, uneventful and enjoyable. After dusk it became apparent that we weren’t going to get a decent sleep in the aft cabin (due to our bumpy berth), so we moved the bed linen through to the forepeak and spent the night there. That was after I nipped round for a quick chat with our friends on Ragdoll, who had arrived late on Saturday. Team Ragdoll were getting up early in the morning and heading over to Granton with the skipper of Solveig, a Westerly Konsort.

Latterly, we decided not to tag along, and opted instead for a relaxing day in the marina.

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The next morning, we chomped through our ubiquitous bacon and eggs for breakfast. The shot above shows Inchmickery and the Cow and Calves, (the three dark blobs) in front of Inchkeith, which I snapped on our way to Granton.

It took us until around 10.30 to accept that we both really wanted to be out on the water. After all, with crane-out the following weekend …it was our very last chance.

We noticed the depth beneath our keels fade away to just two metres as we left Hound Point behind us and passed over a sandbank. I say ‘passed’, however what we actually did was slow to a crawl …and then gingerly retreat in the opposite direction.

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A while later, as we approached the pontoons at Granton, it became clear that there wasn’t much space for us. In fact, there was no space at all. What’s more, Ragdoll and Solveig weren’t sitting on the pontoons as we expected.

That being the case, we decided to turn around and head back east. We thought that we might have one more attempt at landing on the pier at Blackness Castle before the end of the season.

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The photograph above, shows our Macwester Malin’s bow pointed towards Inchkeith, which if you know the Firth of Forth at all, is in totally the opposite direction to Blackness Castle. I can only put our abject failure to do what we planned to do, down to fevered, last-day-of-the-season madness.

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Fast forward thirty or forty minutes and RagdollSolveig were rafted up just a few metres away from the harbour at Inchkeith; we joined them there. We had a couple of drinks and spent some time shooting the breeze. Apparently our friends on Pampero, a Moody Eclipse had also stopped off on their way up to Anstruther.

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Eventually our thoughts turned to mugging fish, and before long a couple of rods magically appeared. The crew (my crew) was new to fishing and didn’t have much luck. Time for me to step up the mark and show the lil lady how it’s done.

Yup, I didn’t catch anything either. In fact, nobody had a bite all afternoon. Personally, I blame the seals; there were more congregated off our collective sterns than I’ve seen for many a year.

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We probably spent more time at Inchkeith than we should have. Understandably, we didn’t want to think about heading back up river, however we knew that it would take 2.5 hours motoring and twice that sailing given the lack of wind. A couple of hours before dark, we reluctantly slipped our lines and pointed our Macwester Malin’s bow back west.

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As we sailed under the Queensferry Crossing, the small gap that we saw the day before had been plugged. In plugging the gap, the Queensferry Crossing entered the record books as “the largest freestanding balanced cantilever in the world”. More here.

We pressed on, and once again stumbled across Erin just off Rosyth [above]. The light was beginning to fade as we reached Brucehaven, and we made for the harbour wall. As darkness enveloped us, we ate a fishless meal and waited until the tide reached our mooring.

We set sail again about 7.30pm in total darkness. Once our eyes had adjusted to the night sky, we still couldn’t see a damn thing. Nonetheless we navigated our way to our Macwester Malin’s mooring and promptly ground to a halt about 15 metres short. Having looked at the tide tables, I reckoned that we should have had a meagre 10 cm under our keels by 7.30pm, but tide tables are just predictions …and we evidently didn’t have enough water.

Unfortunately it was too dark to see where the tide had actually reached. We tried again taking a different route, but it took a third attempt to make it on to our mooring. Obviously, there was no physical damage to our yacht as our mooring is nestled amongst thick, soft mud …and any damage to my reputation might actually represent an improvement of sorts. So it was all good.

With season 2016 relentlessly drawing to a close, next up for us is crane-out.

As ever, that has come around way too soon.

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Summer cruise 2016 – Part 2

September 1, 2016

MidnightViewAnstrutherAug16

We spent a full week on the pontoons in Anstruther. Another couple of visiting yachts arrived the day after we did. There was Maisy, a Westerly Storm 33 from Amble, and Seannachie, a Hunter Channel 32 from Port Edgar. The weather was changeable, but there were plenty of sunny spells, and most nights were calm. The photo above was taken by me after dark through the starboard aft cabin window of our Macwester Malin. Reaper wasn’t in her berth (left, out of shot), as she had suffered damage further up the coast when she tipped over on taking the ground.

PittenweemAugust2016

We did a fair bit of walking around Anstruther and west to Pittenweem (above). The crew also walked to Crail and back. My father came to visit us on the Saturday; we dropped into Pittenweem again, and also popped over to the East Pier Smokehouse in St Monans for lunch by road (not by sea as I had originally planned). I ordered the hot smoked sea bass with fries, and assorted trimmings. While I’m not a huge fish aficionado (can you see what I did there?), it was truly awesome. The best fish and chips I have ever eaten by a country mile.

FeckinBoatAnstruther01

By comparison, the award-winning chippy in Anstruther was a poor second. The local Indian restaurant didn’t perform too well either, however the artisan butchers was fab and the crew really enjoyed her ribeye steaks, while their duck eggs hit the spot for me.

Above; Anstruther’s riposte to Plop. Perhaps, in some ways, Plop and Feckin Boat sum-up the difference between Elie and Anstruther.

ApproachStMonansAugust2016-02

Given that we had family commitments back home, and we knew that we didn’t want a rough ride back up river, we kept a weather eye on the… … …umm …weather. We were very keen to make it to St Monans by sea, and when the tide and wind were favourable, that’s exactly what we did. The arrow in the image above shows the right turn at entrance to the outer harbour, which is where the visitors berths are.

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This was our first visit to St Monans. It’s a cracking venue, but it seems to me that Fife Council haven’t got the pricing right. The cost is roughly on a par with Anstruther, and like Anstruther there’s an entrance fee, so that equates to north of £27 for the first night for a 32 footer like our Macwester Malin. However, unlike Anstruther there’s no pontoons, no shore power, and no showers in St Monans, and the public toilets are awful (even worse than Anstruther’s). With all of those aforementioned facilities available just a couple of miles east in Anstruther, St Monans is typically going to be a one night stop …and as a result the entrance fee distorts the cost for a single overnight stay. The council really should provide facilities or drop the entrance fee, and if they did …I have no doubt St Monans would attract many more visiting yachts.

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We took the ground late morning, went for a walk around the village and then headed back to the East Pier Smokehouse, which is the blue building that can be seen on the far left in the photograph below. This time, we sat out on the raised sun terrace with 360 views over the village, harbour, and the Isle of May.

MacwesterMalinStMonans02

The crew and I both opted for the smoked sea bass. The sun was shining and the food was great, so we took a long (really long) time over lunch. Later we pootled around the village for a while, then the crew lay out on our Macwester Malin’s foredeck enjoying the sunshine. You can just about make out her legs dangling over to starboard in the photo above.

We were only in St Monans for 24 hours, but we really enjoyed our time there. Well worth doing at least once.

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The following morning, a light haar had descended over the east coast of Scotland. Our plan was to leave on a falling tide and head back home. This would mean we wouldn’t be able to access our mooring until eight hours later.

There was little to no wind in the first few hours, and we only averaged about 2 knots. Eventually, we had to concede defeat and revert to motoring. We spotted a handful of puffins crossing Kirkcaldy Bay, but none sporting their colourful beaks. By the time we reached Kinghornness, the wind had picked up a little and there was a noticeable swell. The photo above shows our approach to the Forth Bridge, with Inchcolm on the right, and thicker fog concealing the bridges.

HaarForthBridgesAugust2016

Unbelievably, we were spotted in the thick haar passing just south of North Queensferry by the eagle-eyed skipper of Ragdoll who was preparing to set sail from Port Edgar for a mini-cruise a few hours later (you would think he’d have better things to do).

We eased-off, as we had made up the lost ground and were ahead of schedule again. In the end we decided to sneak into the harbour mouth at Brucehaven for dinner, as we reckoned there would be just enough water. There wasn’t much below our keels, however we made it alongside even if that required a little bit of putty-surfing. We spent an hour or two stowing things and tidying, before we set sail again for our mooring.

Although we hadn’t quite managed the full fortnight, due to a family member arriving from London early the next morning, we had crammed in as much time afloat as we could.

Over all too quickly.

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Summer cruise 2016 – Part 1

August 30, 2016

MacwesterMalinAberdourAug2016

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.

KirkcaldyBayAug2016

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.

ElieBeachCricket2016

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.

MacwesterMalinElieAug2016

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.

ElieBeachAug2016

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.

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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.

LeavingElieAug2016

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.

MacwesterMalinAnstrutherAug2016

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.

Hurrah!

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Limekilns River Festival 2016

July 5, 2016

QueensferryCrossingJune2016

We’ve been busy with life ashore over recent weeks, and so haven’t made it out on the water all that much. We did manage to squeeze in a ‘quiet’ night over at Port Edgar a couple of weeks ago. Well, at least it was supposed to be quiet, however when a fellow club member parked a trolley-full of drink at the end of the pontoon, I should have realised that we were in for a long boozy night. We collectively ended up on a lovely Grandezza 27 until 3am.

The next morning ‘the crew’ [who had called it a night early on] harvested oodles of pleasure* from my delicate disposition, and the large colourful flag that our new chum from Ragdoll, a fin-keel Westerly 33, had hoisted up our mizzen mast at some stage the night before. Later that day, we sailed back up river to our mooring complete with flag et al.

*Don’t worry, I’ll get payback somewhere down the line.

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Two weeks later, we brought our Macwester Malin into Capernaum on a falling tide towards the end of the first day of the Limekilns river festival. Reaper, a Fifie herring drifter, and four or five yachts, mainly from Blackness, had arrived the day before [above].

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The bow to the left of the photograph above belongs to Reaper. In the evening there was live music in the marquee and we enjoyed a good night with friends from far and wide, although we did bail-out a bit earlier than planned.

About 11.30pm, just as we were settling down for the night I heard the deep burble of a yacht manoeuvering at close quarters. It was still pretty windy, but fortunately I could hear help was at hand ashore, as if it had been down to me to provide assistance, I wouldn’t have had time to get my kit back on.

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The next morning we were greeted with the welcome sight of Ragdoll sitting off our starboard quarter. They just about managed to make it to the bar before last orders the previous night. Above; our Macwester Malin with Ragdoll just behind taken from Reaper’s bow.

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The shot above, taken from the pontoon shows the threatening clouds, and the colourful flag that drew a complaint against Ragdoll’s crew, although we also heard that the complaint was about the EU flag. Who knows? Either way, apparently when the woman who made the complaint had zero joy with the organisers, she intended to call the police. Given that neither Starsky nor Hutch put in an appearance, it’s probably fair to assume that any complaint wasn’t taken too seriously.

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We had three guests aboard for the sail past, as our friends’ Westerly Centaur, Jambel had engine-cooling problems. We were ready to roll about ten minutes ahead of schedule and were all eager to get out on the water. In the end, we made a break for the harbour entrance first, and cleared the way for Reaper to set off.

After thirty minutes of mustering, we headed west for the sail past. The shot above from the left shows Reaper, Joint Venture, Calloo, and Fyne Thyme.

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A tug had made the journey up from Hound Point, and set off her water-cannons as we sailed up river. I use the term ‘sail’, but we were all under power. It was choppy, with the wind occasionally above 30 knots.

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Above; Ragdoll off our port with some giant figs hanging from her stern [they must be keen vegetarians].

Although it was windy, it was pretty invigorating and everyone aboard appeared to have a good time. I certainly did, even when I got a face full of salt water at the helm just as we were heading back into our Macwester Malin’s mooring.

Why I hear you ask?

In no small part because ‘the crew’ was out on the fore-deck at the time. She got absolutely drenched. It might have taken me a couple of weeks, but revenge is undoubtedly a dish best served cold.

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Battleships & Bridges

June 1, 2016

ForthBridgesApproachMay16

It was an early start on the Saturday of the long weekend. We set sail about 15 minutes after half-a-dozen yachts from our club set-off on a race down river to Granton. With the tide and wind against us, our Macwester Malin ketch managed a respectable 6.5 knots over the ground on the way to the bridges.

In the distance [circled above] we could just about make out HMS Kent which was lying in front of Inchgarvie.

HMS-Kent-Jutland_May2016

The 436ft long frigate was on the Forth as part of the Battle of Jutland commemorations. Tragically, HMS Indefatigable (1909, obviously not the later aircraft carrier of the same name) was sunk in the first few minutes of the battle with the loss of over one thousand men. Later, the dazzle-painted Windsor Castle would also make an appearance.

While the club racers carried on to Granton, we sailed north-east towards St David’s Harbour before turning back to Port Edgar for lunch.

PortEdgarQueensferryCrossingMay2016

The weather brightened, and we had a relaxing day in and around the marina …and beyond to South Queensferry. Most of the yachts from our club that had been racing to Granton arrived at the marina around 5.30pm, and before long we had all congregated on Joint Venture (a Salty Dog) which was berthed alongside us. By my reckoning there were thirteen of us on a twenty-six footer, so it was pretty cosy in the cockpit.

We cooked and ate on board Indefatigable Banks while the others headed-off to an eatery in South Queensferry. Although there was more stuff and nonsense to be had on Calloo later on, we opted for an early night.

MacwesterMalinCupboardSpring

Early the following morning (Sunday), we heard our chums all set off for home. We thought about that momentarily, and quickly decided to spend the day pottering around in the marina instead.

Having managed to find the right size and shape of spring (above; at last), I replaced a missing spring from one of our Macwester Malin’s cupboards, so we can now heel over without fear of the contents making a riotous bid for freedom. Hurrah!

RosythDocks01

Later on Sunday afternoon we decided that we would head back to our mooring. We took it easy, only unfurling the genoa, as the wind and tide were behind us. By the time we reached Rosyth (more naval hardware above) we partially furled the genoa to lose some speed, as we were well ahead of time. In the end, we were still about an hour too early to access our mooring, so we spent the night at Capernaum.

As the haar smothered Port Edgar, we were happy with our decision to leave.

HeadsVeneerCover01

We opted for another late start on Monday morning, so we missed the opportunity to pop our Macwester Malin back on her mooring, and spent another day pottering around. Still seeking to finish-off the heads, I had sourced a rubber/cork solution (from Tiflex, the same company that provided the Treadmaster flooring), to cover the veneer that had been ruined when I removed the seating that was originally situated there. The new rubber (left-hand-side on the bulkhead above) was a substantially lighter brown than I had hoped, but tonally it was a reasonable match for the paint to the rear of the heads, so I trimmed it up and installed it.

MacwesterMalinDuskMay16

It was about ten pm on Monday night before we popped Indefatigable Banks, our Macwester Malin back on her mooring. By then the light was beginning to fade, and we knew that we had squeezed just about all we could out of our long weekend.

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