South from Arbroath to Gosford Bay, Firth of Forth.
Thursday 29th May was a very pleasant day indeed. Light winds and sunshine combined to give us sailing conditions up there near the top of the Top-10 list of ‘wished for’ sailing conditions. The sort we would ask for in our annual letter to Santa. Said present to be delivered only if we’ve been a good boy or girl. Ergo today, I deduce, we’ve all been good boys and girls.
En- route we practised our cloud-spotting techniques, how they’re formed, what height they live at as well as at what point, in a low-pressure system, they can be found. It does not surprise that there are multiple types of cloud so the possible combinations are many. The trick is not in identifying whether it’s currently raining (all too easy) but on whether it will continue to rain, will the wind get stronger or weaker, will the direction of the wind change and, if so, how will it affect our plans?
I have posted some pictures of clouds in the Gallery, more as an aide memoire, and have tried to look at them from both sides now, from up and down, but still, somehow, I cannot tell the difference between a Nimbostratus, Cumulonimbus or Altostratus. On top of that, since writing this line, I seem to have developed an ear-worm of a song heard long ago. (For which I thank you, Joni Mitchell.)
We arrived at Gosford Bay around 9pm and after lowering and setting the anchor, and then after dining on that yachting staple, the chilli con carne, we set up an ‘Anchor Watch’ schedule for the night. I volunteered (!) for the 1.0am-3am shift.
So, what does one do when on the ‘Anchor Watch’ from 1am till 3am? Very little, is the answer. One has to stay awake as that’s the whole point. We’re at anchor in a place we don’t know and in changeable weather conditions so we’re obliged to ensure that we do not drift or drag or come off the anchor and potentially go aground on some nearby rocks – on which there are already several wrecks of those foolish enough, in years gone by, to think that it was utterly safe coming into shore (“I cannot believe it was that shallow” was the only thing offered up to the coroner).
So, here I sit, 2.13am, armed with the latest GPS technology that should sound an alarm if the boat moves so much as a couple of meters away from where we parked her last evening. Thank goodness for Apple, iPhone and Apps otherwise I’d be up and down the gangway trying to figure out whether the ‘transits’ we took, before we retired, are still good. An impossible job as those unlit transits, clear as clear can be in broad daylight, having a habit of disappearing as soon as the sun goes down. For example, a large white chimney stack on a house aligned to a clearly discernible mast on a hillside, simply cannot be seen once the sun has taken it’s light with round to the dark-side of the earth, reducing Gosford Bay (for that’s where we are) to a blackness only marginally lighter than M87. And even my head-torch, with its compliment of 3, brand-new, AAA batteries from Robert Dyas, will not have much of an effect on that.
Hence the blessing, in these days of Health and Safety madness, of the App store products such as Anchor Alarm. There is even one app named ‘DragQueen Anchor App’ (I kid you not) which purports to do the same but I don’t even want to think about downloading that one – although I may go back to the App Store simply to read the ‘Reviews’ and note the disappointment of some of the Lilly Savage Wannabes.
Suffice to say that, at the time of writing, we have not moved, so all’s well at 3-bells.
After tonight we sail into Edinburgh (Leith, actually) for a 3 day stay as the boat changes Skippers. We say goodbye to Alastair and Hello Again to Duncs. The point about Leith is that we’re going to be tied up in a commercial dock so access to electricity and water will be very restricted for a boat of our size. That means that we are going mad on saving energy and rationing our water usage. That will manifest itself in at least two ways. First, limited blog updates. Second, we’d be reduced to ‘Cat’s-lick’ ablutions but I am drawing the line, on age considerations, at even attempting ‘playing the cello’. Those nether regions will have to wait until the water is running freely again!
May 29th Day 54