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Findochty Water sports Club
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What we do 2013
WICK R.N.L.I. GALA WEEKEND 2013 Back in Gala week 2012, Malcolm Bremner, the Wick Harbourmaster approached us and asked if we could try to assist him by encouraging boats from our side of the coast to attend the Wick gala weekend in 2013. As the date drew nearer we began to contact all of the local clubs and eventually we drafted a potential list of yachts and crew numbers for Malcolm. The preplanning was essential in order to organize a sensible berthing plan and also to ensure that catering facilities at the evening R.N.L.I. dance were adequate. Myself, Neil and George Craigen from Whitehills kept in close touch with Malcolm and with the skippers who advised us they would be making the crossing by flotilla from Whitehills. Friday, 14th June saw a large flotilla of yachts departing from the south side of the Moray Firth, bound for Wick. Departing from Banff were: Bella Fae Banff, Dolphin and Kentra. Departing from Whitehills were: Sunrise, Calloo, La Strega, About Time, Sparkle, Fantastique, Ufor, Aquamarijn, Snowgoose, Gannet and Melady Fair. The Findochty boats Lady Vi and Lotus left separately as did the Lossie flotilla: Tsarina, Saga, Susannah and Coruisk who arrived a bit later in the day. Malcolm and people of Wick were absolutely delighted that 19 boats showed up in support of the RN.L.I. event and the other visiting yachts from near and far joined in with the fun too. George Craigen kindly entrusted me to skipper his yacht, About Time and I had an all girl crew with me for the 50 mile passage from Whitehills to Wick: Jill Price, Gay O'Nolan and Ali Bryceland. We departed on Friday morning and conditions were superb with a west south west breeze of about 15 knots blowing consistently. We had a cracking sail all the way to the Beatrice Field, eventually shaking out the reef in the mainsail but having to reef the big genoa later. As usual the wind died at the Beatrice Field and we had to motor sail in order to get into Wick in good time. The trip took us a total of 9 hours but the time seemed to pass quickly enough as myself and Gay had to helm most of the time until the engine went on. I even managed to berth About Time in Wick without clouting any pontoons……….I have to say that us quines were well pleased with ourselves and with our achievement! The gala weekend was a huge success and large crowds flocked to the harbour on the Saturday, when the crews of Fantastique and About Time dressed up in pirate garb, entertaining adults and scaring children for most of the day. We won a case of red wine for our efforts though and Malcolm said that anyone who wandered around Wick all day dressed as a pirate deserved a prize! I must mention the new shower and toilet facilities at Wick. They are absolutely stunning. I was very impressed with the facilities and they seem to have thought of everything, even well placed mirrors and sockets for hair dryers, so I guess there must have been a woman involved in the design at some point…. The showers are by far the bonniest in Firth and nobody will be able to brand Wick's showers as a "swamp" again. Sunday afternoon saw the departure of Fantastique, About Time, Sparkle, Melady Fair, Kentra and Snowgoose, all bound for Stromness in Orkney. As we left the harbour the fog descended like pea soup and we had to rely on a combination of radar, plotters, radio instructions and internet AIS to cross the Pentland Firth. We stuck together as a group, with visual on each other. We passed the west side of Flotta, through Switha Sound. Just as we were passing the west side of Cava the sun burst through the fog and suddenly we had the most amazing sunset to chaperone us up to Stromness. We spent 2 days in Stromness, exploring the tourist attractions of Kirkwall and beyond, before departing via Hoy Sound, bound for Wick via the Pentland Firth. The exit was rather bouncy but once we cleared the headland the conditions flattened. We motored down to the Old Man of Hoy where we took some nice photos before carrying on down to the Pentland for our long passage through. As we entered the Firth we encountered the Merry Men of Mey who were still up and about on the dyeing ebb tide. The waves were so big as we could only see the spreaders of the yachts around us at times but again we stuck together for the passage through and all went well. Photo attached showing Fantastique's mast! Another night was spent on the town in Wick, with a great pub grub meal in JD Weatherspoons which is great value for money when there is a crowd to be fed and watered. We sailed back to our respective ports on the Thursday and once Fantastique and crew cleared the Beatrice we had quite a good sail back, only switching on the motor about 7 miles from Lossiemouth. I would like to say a very big thank you to all who supported the event in any way and especially to those of you who took the time and trouble to bring your boats across. Your support assisted the RN.L.I. to raise over £10,000 (at the last count, monies were still coming in). I hope that we can repeat the cruising in company event in 2014, and that more of you will be encouraged to join in after reading this report. You will however, have to start thinking about fancy dress costumes for next year as a high standard has now been set by the pirates, whose next year's outfits remain a closely guarded secret. Mairi (Fantastique, Lossiemouth)
To Findhorn and back I rarely get to spend time sailing. I am doing well if I get a couple of hours a couple of times a month. So I was looking forward to a few days to head down the coast; but first I had a problem to solve. For the last few years I had been having problems with battery charging. A wind charger and solar panel meant that I always had enough power for my limited sailing but a few days away may be beyond my batteries capacity. I had tried remaking connections, thinking there may be a bad one somewhere, I even changed the starter switch and changed the Dynastart two years ago, all for no improvement. I finally concluded that the problem was with the reglator box for the Dynastart, so I made a phone call to Bukh. As usual they were very helpful but informed me that they had stopped using Dynastarts in 1973, the year Destino was launched, and the regulator boxes had been unavailable for a number of years. Stymied! A look at the cover and I saw the trade mark for Bosch so I took a shot in the dark and googled "Bosch Dynastart regulator". I was amazed when up popped the site for Dynamo regulators ltd. (click the link left for more information) Which had just the thing I needed. I put in an order for a DVR2-S regulator and cut out, (£74.00) "a high quality solid star electronic dynamo regulator for Siba and Bosch Dynastarters". This little magic box arrived in two days and I set too fitting it. The Bosch Regulator contains two electro-magnets which operate switches, one for the start circuit and one for charge regulation. The instructions say to remove the coil for the charge circuit as the DVr2-S is supposed to fit inside the Bosch cover. As it happens in my case it doesn't so I could have left it alone and saved my self a lot of grief. I ended up mounting the new unit next to the old. You have to retain the old unit for the "start" part, as the new unit only deals with charge regulation. I connected up the clearly marked unit. Simples! I turned on the power, turned the key and ….. nothing! Not even oil and charge lights. I then turned the key further to start and …. Nothing!!! I double checked the connections and everything looked ok. Over the next couple of frustrating days I discovered that the main battery/start cables were back to front. This got me to the point where I could start the engine by closing the magnetic points with a screwdriver and it would actually charge the batteries, but there were still no oil/charge lights and it would not turn the engine on the key. I then did something which was logical at the time and I have no idea what it was now and it would once more start on the key and the warning lights were back. Hooray! … Ah but it is no longer charging according to the volt meter. #!!!!$£"&*^!!!!!! ??? A bit of thought and I convinced myself that although the volt meter and battery monitor said that there was no charging going on, the charge light was going out as soon as the engine started so something must be happening. So the next day I headed out of Findochty and set off west across Spey Bay. This was the hottest week we had had in years and the one thing we forget about this glorious sunshine during the years of cool overcast and even wet summers is that when the weather is that hot and sunny we also have no wind. I therefore headed westwards with the Bukh thumping away and myself covered in Factor 30. I gave up on all pretence of sailing before Lossiemouth and took down the sails. The main wasn't even needed as a steadying sail as there was no swell and not a ripple on the water. I was saving as much battery power as possible so the plotter was off and I was using mark 1 eyeball. It was working well as I spotted the new (to me) North Cardinal for the Halliman Skerries. Having rounded the Skerries I decided I had had enough of the heat and decided to spend the night in Hopeman. Tied up against the wall I headed up to Miele's for an icecream. Cooled down I returned to the harbour and watched the lines as Destino went down with the tide. All was going well until the port side stopped going down. It was at this point that someone on the boat ahead told that there was a rock ledge at the base of the wall that stuck out about 5 feet, just where my port keel sat. The starboard keel was over mud. I continued to go down on the starboard side. I ended up leaning about 20 degrees to starboard. Food cooked aboard is always delicious after a day on the water and the Tesco Liver and onions with added peas was no exception. When I re-floated about 22.00 I pulled Destino further down the quay as I was told it was more level there. At 06.00 I discovered it was but not by much. The morning was shrouded in thick fog, so as I waited for the fog to go and more importantly the tide to refloat Destino I had another look at the wiring. Just on a whim I moved the power lead for the new regulator to a different connection on the starter switch and gave it a try. Hardly believing my eyes everything worked, as it should. The voltmeter showed charging at 15 volts and the battery monitor showed a charge of 6 amps. Time for a celebratory cup of tea and bag of crisps. Just as I floated free a creel boat came back in and I asked the skipper what the visibility was like. He said not too bad so I cast off and motored out of Hopeman. There was absolutely no breeze but the sun's heat was building through the fog. There was no point in hoisting any sails. Visibility was 200 - 400 yards and Burghead was hidden ahead as was the shore within a few minutes. I had a bearing to a safe point north of Burghead so I planned to head there and then ease in to Burghead harbour until the fog disappeared. As I approached the point of Burghead the shore was still hidden but visibility was good enough to keep me away from the rocks. As I eased towards the harbour the mists cleared and I could not only see Burghead pier I could see all the way to Findhorn. Astern, everything was still shrouded in fog but ahead was glorious sunshine, so I took the decision to head on for Findhorn. As usual the safe water buoy is further along and out from the shore than you expect, but it's not worth taking a short cut as even at the buoy I could see the bottom through the clear water. As I headed in towards the first port hand buoy a fleet of dinghies sailed out from the bay. The red racing marks took a bit of effort to identify from the navigation marks from a distance but as I approached I could spot the lateral marks between the battling dinghies. The water was clear and less than 10ft deep in the channel and was getting shallower, with nearly half a mile of the channel to go. The committee boat was anchored opposite the starboard mark that marks the 90 degree turn to Starboard and I had to pick my gap between the bottleneck of racers to head into the deep water at the mouth of the bay. Safely back in deeper water I motored past the Pontoons of the boat yard and made my way to the piers, where I tied up on the north side of the south pier for the night. Ashore, I headed up to the boat yard in search of diesel. No luck. I reckoned that I had enough diesel to motor all the way back to Findochty but it's always worth topping up when you can. Friday dawned bright and sunny with a steady F3 from the west, perfect for a sail back to Findochty. Unfortunately it would be six hours before I could cast off. Sure enough six hours later it was scorching hot and flat calm as I motored out past the days batch of duelling dinghies. As I pointed East from the safe water buoy there was a very light NNE breeze and I set all sail and switched off the engine. I was making just on two knots but was happy with this, as I didn't want to arrive at Findochty too early due to the tide. Before I reached Burghead what breeze there was disappeared and I furled the genoa, leaving the main set in the forlorn hope that a nice breeze from the north, south or west might appear. I motored on. By the time the Skerries Cardinal was once again rounded the sun was being hidden by high cloud and it was pleasantly cool. Just north of Lossiemouth harbour I hove to, or at least I would have done if there was any breeze. I actually put the gearbox in neutral. I then dipped the fuel tank and found I had more than enough fuel left, so a diversion into Lossiemouth was avoided. Which was good news as I probably couldn't get fuel until morning anyway. So it was back into gear and followed the compass on 100 degrees back to Findochty arriving off the harbour entrance at 20.30, about an hour after low water. Looking at the steel piles on the bottom of the East pier I didn't think I would get in to my berth but I thought it was worth a try as I might get into the inside of the west pier until the tide came up. I slowly motored towards the harbour entrance and sure enough I ran aground right in the entrance, so with a sustained burst of astern I backed out into deeper water and tied to the ladder on the inside of Sterlochy pier. It was absolutely calm so I just fastened a line from three rungs up the ladder to a winch as I only expected to be there a couple of hours. I then put a Fray Bentos pie in the oven and opened a half can of peas and put Destino to bed as it heated. It always amazes me how much better Fray Bentos pies taste on a boat. I think it's the same with bacon when you are in a tent. I had been spotted by a couple of club members who took a walk out to Sterlochy to chat about the past weeks sailing. They had been across to Portmahomack and recommended it highly. After washing up my late supper I settled in the cockpit with my Kindle in the gloaming and waited for the cockpit winch to rise level with the rung of the ladder the line was tied to. When this happened I switched on the navigation lights and motored towards the harbour mouth where I found a couple of feet beneath the keel. As I approached the pontoons I felt the drag of mud from the keels and went for it opening the throttle and hoping I didn't stick. It was a close thing but I slid off the mud into the hole at my berth, arriving back at 23.15. As I had already put Destino to bed it was just a matter of fastening lines and heading below to my bed. As I awoke at 06.30 it was raining and the wind had finally reappeared. I had a quick tidy round and then headed back home via the 24hour ASDA in Elgin to pick up the ingredients for a "Full Scottish". I may have only actually "sailed" for twenty minutes of the whole trip but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable break. Bob Chapman Destino.
Ice cream Cruise One of the regular events on the Findochty Water Sports Club's callendar is the "Ice cream cruise". The mission is to sail down the coast to Cullen and then enjoy homemade ice cream from "The Ice Cream Shop". With this in mind nine club yachts departed Findochty on a hot sunny Sunday in July. The winds were like and a bit South of East. Most boats set of to windward on a long tack, planning to make Cullen in a single tack. Others short tacked along the coast. On arriving at Cullen bay there wasn't much difference in the two tactics. When we arrived at the harbour the spending beach was crowded with young families enjoying the sun. There was lots of digging of sand and splashing of water. We quickly arranged our berthing and rafted up on both sides of the pier. I was approached by a worried looking man. He was relived and delighted to find we were on the "Ice Cream Cruise" as he had thought we had been given the wrong date for the Cullen Harbour Gala taking place in a couple of weeks time. Once he found this was not an error on his part he welcomed us to Cullen. When all the warps were secure we set off up the hill in search of our reward. Freshly made Vanilla Ice Cream. With this objective completed we returned to the harbour for a picnic lunch in the cockpit. As the tide started to drop we cast off and hoisted sail for our return to Findochty. By this time the wind was steady from the East and we set off downwind for home. An unpleasant short chop had set in and the boats rolled unpleasantly towards Findochty. There were one or two first time crew members who had been invited for a day out, who were glad to step onto the pontoon, some of them doing so without the lunch they had enjoyed in Cullen. I hope this didn't spoil the day too much for them as apart from the last two miles home it was a cracking day. Bob Chapman
Findochty Gala Saturday 27th July 2013 was the day of the Findochty Gala. The club had a small part to play on the day. The harbour side road was filled with stalls of various sorts, everything from a second hand book stall and the almost compulsory bottle stall to a large paddling pool with large inflatable globes in it that kids could run around inside like hamsters as the operators made sure the kids were removed before the air inside was used up. Our part was to feed the throng. To do this we had the barbeque crew of Jackie, Mhari and Bob. They made the wise choice of sampling the Venison burgers and Bratwursts early, before the rush. Things started slowly with a short queue but it soon got busy with customers being invited to "take a seat" while the next batch of burgers and wursts cooked to perfection. For many both the Bratwurst and Venison burgers were being sampled for the first time but all gave them glowing reports. To club members they have been enjoyed at various club barbeques for a number of years and they are generally agreed to be far superior to a common burger or sausage. If you missed out on the day I am sure that if you join the membership you will get a chance to rectify this at the earliest opportunity as the club barbeque is regularly fired up during the year.
Cullen Gala 7 boats set sail for Cullen just before 10am on Sunday 4th August. They were Sea Swallow, Nimbus, Merlin, Sheena, Solan, Sparkle and Careth. The Scunner sailed from Portknockie. Two boats sailed from Whitehills. Neil and Mairi also visited in their Rib. A light to fresh wind from the south west gave us a good passage to Cullen where we went ashore and visited the various stalls. Due to the times of the tides we departed about 1300 hours and had a good sail across Cullen Bay. When we cleared Portknockie the wind was ahead so we had to motor to Finechty. A good day was had by all. James Calder Careth