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What we do 2008 - part 2
Cruise to "The House of Trousers" John Barclay Fred Murray and myself drove to Loch Aline (Sound of Mull) on Friday afternoon where we keep "Harmony" on her summer mooring. Arrived at 8 pm to a beautiful warm quiet evening. So beers and drams in the cockpit in shorts and tee shirts. Not for long though as a heavy rain shower swept down the Loch. So up with the cockpit awning to continue our social entertainment. Bed at 11.30pm and up at 7 am for a sail to Dunstaffnage. A very misty morning greeted us as we sailed down the Sound of Mull. The mist lifted as we cleared Lismore light on the end of Lismore Island. A lovely broad reach in a warm force 2 to 3 southerly took us to Dunstaffnage bay north of Oban. We picked up a vacant mooring and made the traditional brunch of bacon, sausage and beans. We watched the comings and goings for an hour or so then sailed to Oban. We motored gently around Oban bay checking the sights when we heard a shout from the promenade. It was Ian Morrison with Craig Hardy on a boat-buying mission. It appeared that Craig was in the process of buying a Contessa 32 from Ardorran Marine in Loch Feochan. We then sailed lazily down through the Sound of Kerrara, through all the moorings and tacked south down to Seil Island where we anchored in a sheltered inlet called Puldobrain ("pool of the otter"). There were 6 boats anchored there when we arrived on a beautiful hot late afternoon. The pub over the hill at the back of the anchorage was calling so we pumped up the dinghy, rowed ashore and strolled up the well-worn track. We ordered pints of cask ale at the "Tigh na Truish" ("The House of Trousers" where islanders changed from kilts to trousers, before crossing to the mainland, during the time when the Kilt was banned) and sat out on the grass overlooking Clachan Sound and the well known "Bridge over the Atlantic" in the brilliant sunshine. Surprise - surprise, who do we spy standing of the bridge? but the two worthies from Oban Bay. After downing a few we wended our way back over the hill accompanied by Ian and Craig who wished to see the anchorage. Once aboard Harmony again we put our chilli con carne supper on to heat whilst we sat in the cockpit watching the sun go down over the island of Mull. By this time there were 21 boats in the anchorage and a couple outside. Red wine and chilli consumed and it was almost dark and time for bed. We awoke at 7.30am to a very still and misty morning. Quick breakfast of tea and toast saw us on our way by 8am. Motoring at a gentle 5 knots over a glassy sea we saw the sea mist descend on us with visibility down to about 150 metres just as we were about to pass between Bach Island (at the south end of Lismore) and Lismore. The passage here is only about 200 metres across so we were glad of our trusty laptop and digital charts as we passed through safely. Shortly after the mist lifted and we motored gently across to Duart Castle at the entrance the Sound of Mull. Here we cutback the engine and had our traditional brunch as we drifted past the castle. The Oban to Mull ferry chose this moment to come charging out of the mist between Lismore Light and Lady Rock to disturb us as we held onto our plates until her considerable wake had faded. From here we sailed gently back up the Sound to our Loch Aline mooring for 1200 hrs. Another good weekend especially as most of it was spent in shorts and tee shirts. Phil Brown Harmony
Kentra Moray Firth cruise 8th-24 th June Alex and I delayed our departure to allow us to participate in the Varis Spey Bay Regatta, a good decision as that was such an enjoyable event. We finally left Buckie harbour at 11 on the Sunday in the company of many Lossiemouth boats heading home. Our destination was Lybster, the weather was fine and the wind Southerly force 4 allowing a good run passing just west of the Beatrice field and reaching the Caithness coast at 7 pm. The sun had been out all day and was now slowly setting behind the coast. I had entered a waypoint from the Clyde Cruising Club Sailing directions to find it was wrong and brought us up to the light at Clythness. We found the waypoint in Martin Lawrence book to be correct. I have been to Lybster before by land and passed it and identified it form sea but it shows that pilotage on this coast can be awkward even if you think you know where you are going! We tied up outside a fishing boat and ate aboard, leaving the long walk up to the village for the morning. By then the wind was south westerly and blowing force 5 , forecast 5-7.Our destination was Helmsdale and the tide meant leaving after lunch. We had a good look round the village, had a coffee at the Portland Arms, saw the golf course, chatted to the interesting lady in the old fashioned shop on Main Street. Reports that there has been no new blood in the village since the age of the Vikings are greatly exaggerated. Finally we had lunch at the visitor centre where a ridiculously wee sign said berthing fees were £ 15 per night (no such signs anywhere in the harbour) but included use of showers and toilets. As it turned out there's some sort of ongoing local dispute amongst the harbour trustees and we didn't have to pay as it turned out. The departure from Lybster was uneventful although the wind was now onshore force 6.The wind slowly strengthened and eventually was blowing parallel to the shore at a steady 32-34 knots with occasional gusts to 35,remaining so for about 2 hours .We had a full reef in the main and small genoa but found windward progress slow. We were shipping large amounts of water in the cockpit and were pleased to eventually make the protected harbour entrance in the lee of the Sutherland hills. Alex the harbour master was his usual very pleasant and accommodating self and we were especially grateful of the drying facilities in the toilet and shower block. A combination of the weather, winds slowly veering NW and lessening and Alex's 2 nights for the price of 1 deal, saw us spend another day. When we enjoyed a round of golf, including club hire, in Helmsdale followed by a bus trip and swim/bar meal at the excellent Royal Marine Hotel in nearby Brora. We left Helmsdale in bright sunshine on the Wednesday morning, the wind North Westerly f 4,our destination Findhorn. We had an excellent run down the coast, past Portmahomack and the Dornoch Firth. At one stage we were exactly on the Tornado approach line to the bombing range at Tain a noisy if interesting experience. We had phoned ahead to Findhorn and were advised that with our draught of 1.1 meters we would be ok to cross the bar as early as 3.5 hours before High water. As it turned out we touched the bottom at the outer starboard approach buoy and had little or no water in the channel, not a pleasant experience in a strong onshore wind (now force 5). We were glad to tie up on the pontoon at the boatyard and make for the Kimberly where we both met a number of acquaintances, confirming our arrival back safely to Moray. The forecast for the next day was not good with force 5-6 North Westerly and we were already slightly apprehensive after our days adventure. As we left our friends in the pub we jokingly said by Thursday night we were sure to be somewhere beginning with F (Findhorn, Finechty or F%$£&%^ !) As it transpired the weather and conditions were even worse than expected, we left Kentra at Findhorn and returned home. The weather didn't improve till Monday when I was back at work so Fred and I got the bus up toFindhorn and made a night passage to Buckie, crossing the Findhorn bar at 10 pm, rounding Lossiemouth in the dark to arrive in Buckie with the very first signs of sunrise at 3 am. Back to bed and up for work at 7.30 am. A bit of a slog but probably easier than sailing continuously day and night! Angus Gallacher Kentra
Race 4 - the view from the rear It looked like being a scorcher. Sunday 3rd August was the date for race 4 but in the conditions it was likely to be a very long race or a short course or both. It was bright and sunny with a whisper of a breeze from the east. A triangle course was laid with about 200 yards between markers giving us our short course. Three circuits were required to finish. I crossed the start line doing about 1 knot and was passed by Phil Brown in Boomerang who was making 3-4 knots. From the start line it was a broad reach to the first mark. The second mark was reached in 1 tack by which time I was at the back of the field. Another reach brought me back towards the third mark. On this reach I started to overhaul the two boats ahead of me, not quite catching up by the time they rounded the mark. I reached this mark with a time of about 30 minutes. This is where my troubles started. As I turned downwind I goose winged the sails and looked forward to an easy run to mark 1. Five minutes later Boomerang lapped me and I was still by the mark. I was moving through the water but I only equalled the tide going in the opposite direction!! I tried various sail adjustments but I could only make progress by a couple of feet a minute. While this was going on the whole fleet came past and then came past again as I settled back and enjoyed the sun and hoped the tide would change soon. After about forty minutes of this most of the field had finished the race and a call was made to ask if the number two mark should be lifted as I passed it on my third lap? In reply, I owned up to the fact that I was actually still trying to complete my first lap and consequently withdrew from the race to allow the committee boat to get home before midnight. This put a downer on the crew of Gypsy Maiden as I deprived them of the pleasure of lapping me, as they were only about twenty yards behind me at the time. As it happened they may not have been able to lap me as just after this I rounded the 1st mark and decided to continue unofficially, and was soon reaching for mark 2 at 2-3 knots, having broken the hold of the tide. The wind had veered slightly so I managed to sail directly to the mark, in about 5 minutes. Rounding the mark I then went on to mark 3 where I discovered the tide was as strong as ever, so it was down with the sails and on with the engine after a very pleasant, if slow, sail in glorious summer sunshine. Bob Chapman Destino
Davits Laugh ? I had to or I would have cried. All the effort gone into making the first davit and there it was opened up like a withered bunch of flowers. Maybe this isn't such a good idea after all. Several people (well two anyway), have commented on the Davits recently installed on Gipsy Maiden. I blame it all on old Don Scott a good friend who died a few years ago. Don was a hoarder of the first degree and when he returned from Rhodesia and came to Findochty he brought home just about everything he possessed including some quality pieces of timber such as teak, mahogany and various other types as yet unidentified. I fell heir to this treasure trove and over the years have made many little fittings and pieces for my old Myth of Sandwood and now Gipsy Maiden. Because I'm so bloody useless at getting it right first time I tend to make things twice, the first in rough wood and then when I think it`s right, do it again in good stuff. That way I get it wrong twice! I even made a sea chest or `kist` which turned out so heavy that it took three of us to get it upstairs. It's never been moved again. Dinghies are always a problem to stow on a smaller boat and whilst they can be folded and left on deck they are always in the way. Nice to have one aboard though if only to escape from a mutinous crew. Davits were the obvious answer, and I even borrowed a set from Angus to crib the design. But somehow stainless steel would be too easy. This had to be really difficult to make otherwise where was the challenge. It had to be of wood and curved and open to a large margin for errors and at the same time, incorporating a degree of suggested elegance. Laminating. Yes that was it, laminating was the way to go. Lots of things to go wrong there. Years ago I'd laminated the coach roof on Myth of Sandwood and it never leaked and you could stand on it and I often wondered why this was so. With a misplaced confidence of old age, I marched determinedly down the lamination road. I finally bit the bullet and got Bert Reid to slice up a piece of teak which was about 8" X 3" X 6ft into ten ¼" slices to bend into shape. The coach roof job used GRP resin and it worked well. So I thought I'd nothing more to do than repeat that idea. I fixed blocks to the garage floor and did a couple of trial bends and it looked as though it might work. About 20 clamps were mustered and the resin mixed and off we went. About 20 minutes later the first one was all clamped up and looking good. I then spent a week itching to test this sculpture I'd created and then the great moment came. Undoing the clamps one by one it was looking good till right at the end the whole lot flew apart! "Oh bother!" I must have said. After much head scratching and thinking into a dram, I remembered Cascamite. A white powder made from the liquid excretions of piggies, mixed with the slightest amount of water, forms a paste which when cured is stronger than the wood itself. So at the 2nd attempt Cascamite was king. Back to the original attempt I cleaned up the GRP mess and tried again with Cascamite. This time it didn't work and in fact it not only flew apart the laminations broke as well! Now I had no more teak left so I had to go cap in hand to Bert to see if he had anything suitable. He found some larch, which was a fine substitute. A bit lighter in colour and weight but a blind man would be pleased to see it. I know a man in Craigellachie who is an artist in stainless steel so had him make up some end fittings to carry a little block and tackle system, if you want to be posh they are called falls, and on the first test run it has worked well. In fact when one of the falls slipped all the weight of the dinghy was taken on one davit and it held it OK. The dinghy is only a little two-man size but sits there ready for action when we hit the canal with grandchildren aboard. Ron Billing Gypsy Maiden
ORKNEY CRUISE - JULY 2008 Neil and Mairi of Fusion II decided to join the flotilla from Lossiemouth Cruising Club on their annual trip to Orkney this year. The intention was to hold a race from Lossiemouth up to Wick, however, the race had to be abandoned because the event organisers took the decision that all yachts should depart early and get to Wick as soon as possible, as a Force 8 was forecast for Later. Hard to believe when we were sitting in Lossiemouth with zero knots of wind!! We motor sailed from Lossie on a heading of 018deg, passing to the west side of the Beatrice Oilfield Platform exclusion zone. Soon after passing the field a large, ocean liner started to appear out of the dusk from astern. On went the navigation lights and the radar to ensure she picked us up but we had no worries there. The liner saw Fusion II and the two yachts behind us, Flying Finn and Stravaig and altered her course widely and came round the stern of Stravaig. It was quite a sight to see from behind and I'm glad I was not on Stravaig that night I can tell you. Fusion II arrived at Wick at 10.45 pm where we were welcomed by Norman, the Coastguard and the members of the Wick Lifeboat. We were treated extremely well by everyone and they made us so welcome by going out of their way to assist us in any way possible. The following day the wind was doing exactly what was forecast, it was blowing a hooley and some of the gusts in the harbour were reading 35knots on the wind instruments. As a result, the 16 strong fleet spent an extra day in Wick, weather bound and sampled the delights of the Alexander Bain, which is a JD Weatherspoon's pub. There were a few sair heidies!!!! The yachts finally set sail for Orkney, bound for Longhope on the Island of Hoy and the Isabella Fortuna, which berths in Wick Harbour, escorted us on our way. We timed ourselves to be off Duncansby Head for 14.30hrs that day to get the benefit of the pull of tide which would assist us across the Pentland Firth. Fusion II sailed a total of 18.9 miles, on the same tack, towards the eastern edge of the Pentland Skerries, by which time we noticed that many of the yachts behind us had rolled away their gibs and were motor sailing. It was a great comfort to have the safety in numbers factor and to be with 15 other yachts. The weather was fantastic, beautiful and sunny, but the seas, however, were like nothing I have ever seen before. There were whirlpools and eddies all over the place, one minute you were sailing along at 6 knots and the next you were almost stopped in the confused water. We entered the Islands to the east side of Swona, at which point we saw 3 killer whales just yards off our port bow, it was a beautiful sight to see. We passed by Cantick Head and to the west of the Island of Switha before altering to the west towards the North Bay, which lies beyond Longhope. The Lifeboat Crew, headed by Kevin the Coxwain, opened their station for our use once again and catered for a superb barbeque for the flotilla. We spent a couple of nights rafted up in the small harbour at Longhope against the Lifeboat pontoon, enjoying the ambiance and exploring the island. We visited the Lyness Naval Museum and the Longhope Lifeboat Museum, both of which were well worth a look. We also visited the coast at Rackwick, which lies south of The Old Man of Hoy. The scenery here is absolutely stunning. You can see the photos by logging onto Lossie Cruising Club website. We made firm friends with the Lifeboat crew and vowed to come back and see them sometime (in our boat, not theirs). Day four and the fleet left in a huge convoy bound for Stromness via Scapa Flow. Having refreshed our Buckie High School History lessons on the tragic history of Scapa Flow during our visit to the Lyness Naval Museum, the passage seemed so much more meaningful and interesting to us. Sailing over cleared wrecks and then seeing the remaining wreck markers gave you goosepimples. The sun shone very brightly that day and several of us hoisted spinnakers for the trip to Stromness. We passed between Flotta and Farra and we travelled up the west side of Cava. I had no idea there was an island named after my favourite tipple!!!!!! Cava. Stromness is a beautiful town and the views from the seaward approaches are very pretty indeed, the town has a rich maritime history, visible by the multitude of historic slipways and the huge natural bay that houses the harbour and ultra modern marina. We berthed in the marina for a couple of days, taking trips to the Stromness Museum and partaking in Shopping Week, which is the annual gala in Orkney. We even took a trip by car to Kirkwall, which is a more significant shopping centre, but in my opinion, not as pretty as Stromness. There was quite a bit of eating out and meeting up with fellow sailors for socialising and one evening there was a parade where the local men dressed up as Vikings. They paraded a longship through the narrow, cobbled streets and then set fire to it, out by the point, similar to the festival on the Shetland Islands, which I will not attempt to spell. The holiday was drawing to a close and the yachts left Stromness with a goal to be past Cantick Head on Hoy for 12.30hrs and to skirt round to Airth Hope to catch the full tide and get the pull back across the Pentland Firth and head down to Wick once more. The yachts were sailing for part of the way, then we started motor sailing. We tend to Hold Fusion II at about 6 knots when motor sailing and with the full flood tide, I saw a speed of 10.20 knots over the ground register on the instruments. Shame she doesn't do that speed in the Club Races. We soon reached Duncansby Head and several of us were just a bit too far in for comfort. The waves were smashing off the headland and bouncing back at us, throwing us around like corks, but the motion soon died down and we got the jib back out and had a sunny, tranquil sail back to Wick. At this point we parted company with several yachts from our fleet, some headed for Wick, some for Helmsdale and for those on a schedule it was homeward bound. Wick Gala Week - Super to see, floats paraded the streets, brightly decorated, containing individuals in fancy dress, all in aid of charity. Again the lifeboat crew, the harbour staff, coastguard and the locals treated us like royalty. I cannot speak highly enough of them. The following day Fusion II and three other yachts set off in thick fog for Helmsdale. The journey was pretty scary to begin with as we were all a bit disorientated by the fog. However we all stuck close by and we crept our way down to Helmsdale, using our plotter and radar as backup. The fog burned up just before Helmsdale making the entrance quite easy. You must adhere to the port and starboard can buoys when entering Helmsdale harbour approaches, as there are rocks to be avoided. We moored on the modern, visitor's pontoon for the night. Helmsdale is a quiet, pretty village where once again the harbour staff and villagers were so friendly. There were about three hotels, eateries, to choose from and a chippy. I will certainly return for a weekend sometime soon. Every story has an ending and eventually it was time to go home to Findochty. We set off in light fog, Findochty bound, and the light fog soon became thick fog. On went the plotter and the radar once again. It is an eerie feeling being all alone out there on flat clam water, unable to see anything around you, but we always felt pretty safe. Exactly half way across the firth on a dead heading for home, the wind freshened to 16 knots, as if by magic and the sun burst through the fog and shone brightly all the way home. We had a superb sail and we romped back home in a very short time. Later, one of the locals passed me on the pontoon at Finechty and asked, "Have you been far?" Big sniggers when I replied, "Orkney". I had my misgivings about what to expect from the trip, but I needn't have worried. The trip to Orkney was an extremely well organised event. Hats off to the officials of Lossiemouth Cruising Club for their excellent planning and hard work. Neil and I were included in everything and we were made to feel very welcome by all of the other crews. We made loads of new friends amongst the sailors and amongst locals in Wick and Orkney and we have decided that we will definitely do the trip again, hopefully in 2009, when I hope some of you readers will be encouraged to join us on the flotilla or otherwise. Mairi Innes Fusion II
A day that it didn't rain. As cruises go this one was one of wettest and stormiest I have ever known, but just one day will remain in the memory cells for a long time to come. We had fought our way down Loch Ness against a gusty westerly and finally chickened out and went into the little refuge belonging to Caley Marina near Drumnadrochit, getting into the peace and quiet and away from the roar going down the Loch. Mary flashed up a delicious stew and with a glass or three of good malt, life became very mellow. Poking the head out of the hatch about 0700 it was a completely different world to that of the previous evening. A flat and sensuous calm just begged to be taken advantage of and whilst Mary was still bedded I wound up the little donkey and gently puttered out on to the Loch. Just a merest puff to fill the sails saw us take an hour to go the mile to Urquhart Castle and the bacon and eggs eaten whilst sat in the cockpit never tasted so good. What is it about bacon and eggs when you're sailing. All thoughts about any diets go out window and you begin to feel you could take on the world. Out on the Loch past Urquhart Castle a favourable Easterly picked up and soon had us goose winged and the old adage about gentlemen only sail downwind, came to mind. All the years I've sailed through the canal system I have never had an easterly wind and this was pure magic. The sun warming our old bones and the auto helm doing the steering graft, the world was our lobster. We even chose to go over to the southern shore to avoid the roar of the traffic on the A82. About half mile out of Fort Augustus, dropped and stowed the sails, lines ready for tying up and gently wafted in to a vacant berth. Up at the Lock Inn the Barman remembered me and what I drank, Calders 80/-. It all felt so good it was almost like coming home. My old father used to say, a day given………………….. Ron Billing Gipsy Maiden
Gael Force Lossiemouth Regatta I was not taking part in the races, but that was no reason not to enjoy a cruise. Club boats that were racing headed off for Lossiemouth at various times on the Friday. I had no early deadlines so I planned to arrive at Lossiemouth as the racing was ending. Saturday morning was bright and sunny, one of the better days of 2008. The winds were light and just west of south. I loitered around the harbour area as I waited for the tide to rise enough for departure, which I made at 13.00. As I departed the Southerly wind was overpowered by a developing sea breeze, from the north. There was enough breeze to push us along at 2-3 knots and I settled on Destino's new cockpit cushions for a pleasant cruise across Spey Bay. As I approached Findochty from the Cullen direction by car I had seen a mass of sails off Lossiemouth, but at water level it was only when I was North of Portgordon that I could see sails appearing over the horizon. I was a few miles from shore by this time and the sea breeze was loosing effect so I motor sailed the rest of the way. As I approached the fleet I dropped all sail so I could get some photos. Various methods were being employed to extract the last of the breeze, including using the leeward shrouds like a trapeze in the case of Sea Swallow. I motored around the fleet for a while then headed into Lossiemouth where the harbour master directed me to raft up to a nice old wooden sloop. The owners were aboard and told me they had been restoring it for a while. The fleet returned and we all prepared for the barbeque and prize giving in the Steamboat. The food was delayed but was well worth the wait. This was followed by the handing out of trophies after which I returned to Destino for a relaxing read and an excellent nights sleep. During the night the wind returned and blew up to F5-6. By the morning it had abated a bit but was still gusting around the west basin. The planned departure time was 12.00, which would give us enough water in Findochty when we arrived. This was almost low water (neaps) so there was a bit of debate about how much water would be in the entrance to the basin. I was asked to report on the depth as I departed on channel 8 and I found almost 2 meters at the shallowest, which gave me a good margin with Destino's 1-meter draft. As the wind was S.W. I was also asked to report back on conditions outside the harbour. I found a rippled sea with a steady S.W. F4 off the land. So it was set all sail and off we went at almost hull speed. The next ten minutes became a bit of a nightmare as I sailed through dozens of small pot markers, each one with about thirty feet of polypropylene rope floating on the surface before the weight of the pot dragged it below the surface. There was such a length of excess rope that even at high water it would have been a hazard. I tried to sail to leeward of the floats but there were so many, so close together that this was impossible and three or four times I watched as we passed over a rope just as it disappeared into the depths. More by luck than judgement I managed to get through without snagging and it was with much relief I set a course for Findochty. I was thoroughly enjoying my sleigh ride. Occasional radio traffic informed me of the progress of those departing as they asked for conditions outside and what those outside were doing about sail set. The last message I heard was a one sided report to a boat out of my range, which I assume was about me, which reported, "He's got everything up but his shorts!" I did have and I was flying. The wind was due to drop, so I was keen to make the most of it. As forecast the wind did drop away to almost nothing as I was off shore Buckie. From here to Findochty took almost as long as the trip from Lossiemouth, but it was a nice day and I was in no hurry. I had taken the direct route but some boats followed the shoreline around the bay another boat, from Lossiemouth, sailed the direct route, before turning off Findochty and returning to Lossiemouth. Another Lossie boat sailed into Findochty for the night before returning the next day. It was an enjoyable cruise and a good social occasion with the Lossiemouth and Banff clubs. I am told the racing could have done with a bit more breeze, but was enjoyable. The two inter club race/musters which have taken place have had something for everyone. Here's to them continuing for many a year. Bob Chapman Destino
Kayakers rescued off Portknockie Crew of Moray yacht pulled well-equipped group to safety in six-foot swell By Heather Baillache Published: 15/09/2008 (Press & Journal) The crew of a Moray yacht which rescued four kayakers yesterday described how they pulled them to safety in a six-foot swell. The unnamed kayakers - one woman, two men and a six-year-old boy - had got into difficulty while paddling near Portknockie around 1pm on Saturday afternoon. They had been equipped with a distress beacon and flares, which they set off to attract attention when they were swept out to sea. The crew aboard the yacht Lolita were on their way back to Findochty harbour from a day's sailing at Whitehills Regatta when they spotted the flare. Skipper Robert Morrice , 48, of Buckie, acted quickly to turn his boat and head towards where the kayakers were drifting, about two miles from the rocky shore. On his way to their rescue, crew member John Fraser, 48, from Edinburgh, alerted the coastguard and the Buckie lifeboat on the yacht's radio. Aberdeen Coastguard called in a rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth, which searched the coastline for another kayaker who was initially thought to be missing. It was later revealed that the man had made it safely to Portknockie harbour where he had also raised the alarm. Mr Morrice, a project engineer from Mackenzie Road in Buckie, said at a distance the group looked like crew from a small upturned boat. Although he is an experienced sailor, Mr Morrice said if the swell had been any bigger he would not have taken his boat out at all. When the Lolita had pulled up alongside, the crew saw that the group had tied the three kayaks together along with the inflatable kayak being used by the young boy. Mr Fraser, a police constable with Lothian and Borders Police, said this action alone would have saved them from further danger. He said: "They had probably been taught this during training, because it prevents them from becoming separated. "They were experienced kayakers. The woman had capsized and righted herself twice by the time we reached them." The yacht crew had difficulty pulling the group aboard, before tying the kayaks to the boat and heading for shore. Mr Morrice said: "The young boy was very distressed and was comforted by Kenny Webb the third member of the crew, a School Janitor from Merseyside. He was crying and was seasick, as was one of the men. They all kept saying thank you for rescuing them." Mr Morrice is a former member of Fraserburgh lifeboat crew, and has taken part in many rescues over the years. "The Buckie lifeboat was right behind us so if we hadn't got to them first they would have rescued them. But it's still good to have been in the right place to do so." Mr Morrice described the group as Scottish holidaymakers who were in their 30s. When they reached Portknockie none of the group required medical attention. Aberdeen Coastguard watch manager Fiona Hastie praised the efforts of the kayakers for assisting their own rescue by carrying the right equipment. She said: "We hope others will note their fine example in being properly prepared before setting out."