Bridgey-Widge

What a busy weekend! Was out on the Forth both days – first day, a quick blast around the Limekilns area getting used to Aqua Vitae’s handling under sail. She really does go like shit off the proverbial shovel. Handling at low speed, approaching a mooring, for example, is very good. Which is just as well, really, as Brucehaven harbour at Capernaum Point is very crowded. On the Sunday, we decided a more gentle sail up through the bridges was a good plan. It was a lovely clear day with next to no wind, but we were still clipping along at 5 knots or thereabouts.

The nice thing about sailing through the bridges is the weird range of conditions you get. There are all kinds of odd currents and wind patterns roaming about in there and there’s usually a fair bit of traffic so you have to keep on your toes. Yesterday, though, was very calm and fairly quiet. We did pass by the Maid of the Forth and got some waves from touristy types.

Conditions were lovely for the whole five hours we were out. It was a gentle force 3 Easterly wind with next to no gusting. Doing downriver meant a lot of tacking, but with the whole width of the Forth to play with, that generally means more sitting back and relaxing then frantically switching sails around. Had my crew downstairs making coffee at one point – Aqua Vitae is no problem whatsoever to sail solo.

After scooting around the bridges, coming back up-river was beautiful. The tide had changed by this point, so even with the wind at our backs on a training run, the tidal effect limited us to around 3 knots for most of the way. But running with the wind gives you a beautiful calm run, with no wind on you, lovely sunshine, and the gentle lapping of the water. It looks, from the boat, like you’re stationary, but making steady progress. Once back at Capernaum Point, we were spotted on approach and, as the newbies, immediately attracted an audience, hoping to see some comedy mooring. Sadly (for them) the observation of the owners of all the really expensive boats packed into the harbour does a wonderful job of focusing the attention and we managed to pull of the most textbook and elegant mooring manoeuvre to date. Happy club-mates, happy sailors, and happy insurance companies. It was a good day.

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