Monday, 20 June 2016

Thursday 16  rainy day so an easy time ashore at Port Edgar looking around historic South Queens-ferry under the bridges. Pub lunch and a visit to a museum. Lovely place with ancient organic architecture running down to the Forth under the huge bridges

 Friday 17 Port Edgar to Anstruther via Inchcombe Island 30 miles 7 hours.
Early start, good visability calm sea edging the northern shipping lane, easing past some basking seals into a lovely anchorage at Inchcolme island just under shore of ruined abbey. Breakfast with dramatic views across to Edinburgh.

Then a wonderful long sail all the way along the Fife coast past the numerous harbours, villages to Anstruther. Mooring against the wall, this time drying out.
Beautiful small town in 2 parts ancient and more recent harbour. Fish supper at the famous award winning fish restaurant.

Saturday 18 Anstruther to Isle of May to Inner Farne; 54 miles 11 hours, an endurance day
Late start, till afloat again. Short journey on a brief northerly to the Isle of May, a good place for a longer visit another time. Wind rapidly turned to southerly just off the nose, predicted stronger for the following day. Conscious decision to try to get back to the Farnes so as to make Sunday’s sail shorter. Sea big rolling in from the northeast. A long tiring day with deteriorating weather. Difficult making passage. Farnes most welcome tricky identifying safe buoyage because of the sea conditions. The Kettle mooring a refuge from moving all the time. Wonderful light and vistas. By 4 am tide full and the calm of our moorings a seething cauldron with a strong westerly and flying foam, moorings secure allowing a fitful sleep.

Sunday 19 Farnes to Blyth 32 miles, 8 and half hours.
Sea and gathering wind on the nose making for slow and painful passage, motor sailing and lots of tacking as without sail power speed down to 2 knots.
Slowly steadily ground covered, quickest closer in shore.
Home to Blyth eventually

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Monday 13 June
Next trip, Alan Conn and I heading North. Day dawns misty, unfavourable, shall we sail?
Quietly slip past north east pier end, light house in the mist then head east then north, little wind so motor sailing in the contracted slightly confusing misty world, land out of sight.
Some hours later the mist starts to lift and 2 miles off shore we see Amble and north Northumberland, Craster and Dustanburgh pass. 6 hours into the journey we approach the Inner Farne. Birds every where arctic terns, guillemot, razor bills and lots of puffins, seals as we enter the shelter of the “kettle”
My favourite place, 4 castles in view, 360 degree panorama, smell of guana, bird sounds, inquisitive seals, distant warning lights Longstone light house.
Swallow creaks and sways on her mooring, it couldn’t be better.

Tuesday 14 Farnes to Dunbar 43 miles 10 hours.
A day for long distance sailors. Set off with modest visibility, against the tide towards Holy island, as we past, fog mist and rain descended and persisted. Fishing boat looming out of the mist. A day you knew you would enjoy more in retrospect.
Brief relief as we past St Abs head shrouded in mist and on to Dunbar a little early to enter so some circles in the bay waiting for the tide. Mooring against the harbour wall under the Kittywakes.

Wednesday 15 Dunbar to Port Edgar 36 miles 8 hours
Another wet, wild and atmospheric day punctuated by a close look at the Bass Rock and mooring for lunch at North Berwick.
Then mist and rain steering between islands on the chart plotter to arrive at the fairway buoy and enter the northern Forth shipping channel, with its significant shipping load, full of big ships
North Easterly brisk wind running sail ending under great bridges.
Shelter on a pontoon at Port Edgar

Friday, 27 May 2016

Friday 27, this is unbelievable

We had resolved to return in the face of the threatened northerlies.
Set off with plenty of water in a northern tidal stream, no wind, so motor sailing under leaden skies.  A few hours into the 6-hour journey with Ray the auto-helm steering, I started some locker cover maintenance; completed the starboard lid and opened the port side. To my horror a stream of water was pumping out of the topmost connection to my new hot water tank, the crimp clip had slipped with the heat of the continually running engine. The boat was flooding.
Thankfully we were able to turn the water off and urgently pump all the water out of the bilge, without damage to the boat.
The pic shows the reattached hose with a jubilee clip.
Lovely rest of journey.
That's enough drama for one trip

Thursday, 26 May 2016

An ill-fated voyage, Thursday 26
Wind easing and sea state calmer so we decided for Whitby. Short weather window as strong Northerlies forecast for the weekend which would make a return to Blyth difficult/impossible
Advised by marina 11.30 departure latest safe leaving time, thereafter channel too shallow for our draft.
As we locked out it was clear not enough water and very soon we were aground and stuck with an hour and a half of falling tide. Not a familiar predicament, no help from marina or advice from local coast guard, apart from checking we were safe.
2 anchors, aft and stern, all drinking water, three quarter of a ton jettisoned and waited with some trepidation, would we tip over?
Thankfully with about a metre of water we rocked the keel into the sand and remained afloat and upright, WHEW!!!!  Back in when enough water.

Is someone trying to tell us something?  Home tomorrow to sail another day.

Image are of us aground from the chart plotter and back in the lock.
Wednesday 25
Ventilation cover arrived and installed, 5 days following the incident.
We felt desperate to sail somewhere, wind F6 NNE sea state rough (3 meter waves), only one direction possible; south, running mostly some broad reach. We had learnt from our misadventure, so hoisted the foresail only and taken by the motion of the sea slewing as the waves passed under us sometimes even surfing the 5-ton yacht down the waves averaging 6 knots to Hartlepool. That slightly unnerving feeling looking back, seeing an approaching wave towering over the back of the boat. Thankfully she rides over.  In the distance waves on the breakwaters 30ft white water plumes.
Very welcome coming in from what had become a rather confused sea with persistent rain (north sea summer sailing)
On a pontoon now, heaters going drying the oilskins, Mexican chicken from Carolyn, Mark Knopfler . on the CD , well sleep well.

 Possibly Whitby tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Saturday 21, Limping back

Departed at last from from Blyth this morning, wind SSE 18-24 knots.
Running before with full foresail and mainsail at times doing 7+knots.

Always a tricky point of sail, minor course changes easily destabilize sail balance.
I had poled out the foresail to stabilize it, with a spinnaker pole attached to the mast at one end and the sail ring at the other.

Unfortunately the heading was momentarily lost and the mainsail gibed badly from full starboard to full port. The foresail similarly backed with great force wrenching the spinnaker pole from the mast and the flailing pole swept one of the ventilation covers off the coach roof .
The cabin was now open to the sea, no way to start a long voyage.

So back to port for repairs and renewals, could have been much worse
Better sail another day

Pic shows repair of coach roof to keep weather out

Thursday, 19 May 2016

A new adventure

Thursday 19 May 2016. A long time since I visited this blog.
Mick and I hope to set sail again on Saturday for Oban, retracing the first part of the circumnavigation journey of 2 years ago.
Swallow has had a refit (including hot water which is leaking, hopefully to be repaired tomorrow)
She was launched last Saturday from Amble just after this pic was taken and is now in Blyth.
I'll maintain the blog so as to communicate with those interested in following our progress