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Findochty Water sports Club
© Findochty water sports club
What we do 2014
The club year "officially" starts with the club crane in. This year that was Saturday 19th April and, for once, the weather was perfect. There was little wind and the sun was shining. We had about a dozen boats to crane in and a couple to crane out. The Crane was booked for 10.00 but arrived at 08.30 as the driver had an early job in Buckie. This allowed us to lift in a couple of boats early from trailers directly into their berths. There was then a break as we waited for the tide to rise. The barbecue was being fired up and the Howff patio was decked with tables and chairs so we took a short break in the sun before lifting the next few boats onto the sand. We than came to the long keel boats which needed to be afloat to get the slings from underneath. This entailed another short break but once there was enough water we could crack on and lift the remaining boats into floating depth water. The final lift of the day was a 32ft Colvic Atlanta which was being lifted ashore for a scrub and anti foul. It will then be lifted back in in May along with the remaining half dozen boats remaining on the harbour wall. The Crane in may be the "official" start to the club year but there has been plenty going on over the winter. In recent years more boats are remaining afloat both in and out of commission. Over the last few years I have remained safely afloat in Findochty during some horrendous storms when boats on Harbour Walls around the Moray Firth were being damaged and in some cases the actual harbour walls were being destroyed. Most winters I manage four or five short day sails in glorious winter sunshine but last Winter I craned back in during the club crane out, after a short time on the hard for a scrub and paint, and never moved again all winter. It may have been the mildest winter for years but it was one storm after another. There were some good sailing days though. Some members got out on the water in the rare mid-week sunny days but for those of us in 9-5 jobs we could do no more than check the mooring lines on our weekly trips to Findochty. The club has also taken on a project over the winter. We have purchased a St Ayles Skiff kit with the aim of adding coastal rowing to the club activities. To follow the progress of the Skiff build click on Coast Rowing on the side bar.
Saturday 17th May 2014 was set as the date for the Findochty Water Sports Club "First Sail". It may not be the first time afloat since crane in for some members but the "First Sail" is the actual start of, on the water, club activities. The day started bright and sunny with a light S.E. wind, however the forecast was for it to veer to the south by mid day. It was also forecast to rise to F4-5 as the day progressed. For Findochty this is the perfect wind as you can reach along the coast in both directions and even if the wind approached 30 knots the sea will remain flat close to shore. The down side was that it would become overcast by mid day and rain shortly after. I was working in Elgin until 12.30 and was watching the glorious sunshine out of the window and hoping the forecast was wrong. No such luck. Dead on 12.00 the sun was hidden by cloud and the temperature dropped. Come 12.30 I headed for Findochty and as I passed Craigenroan I could see club boats passing though the channel between the rocks and the old swimming pool. Half and hour latter I was leaving Findochty with full sail set and found the club yachts sailing back towards me. The wind was light and from almost south so I turned to starboard towards Portknockie to head the same direction as the club yachts. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that there were three Lossiemouth yachts mixed in, which were on passage further East, so I went about and tacked back and forth off Findochty for a while as the club boats returned from circumnavigating Craigenroan. By this time the wind was begining to increase and I was having a cracking sail. It was soon time for a couple of rolls on the foresail. By now I had had my sailing fix so followed some of the boats back in. The timing was perfect as just as I was putting on the sail cover it started to rain. This turned in to a steady drizzle which looked set for the day so the Barbeque was deemed a non-starter. Who needs a barbeque when the sailing is good. We can save that for a day of no wind and bright sunshine. Bob Chapman
Enough Spares! Our adventure for the journey to Wick started on Thursday afternoon 12/06/14, this involved taking the Cara over to Buckie along with the Solan, this was to allow us to leave Buckie early on Friday morning as opposed to having to wait for the tide in Finechty. When we left Finechty it was a case of motoring over to Buckie as there was no wind. Cara and Solan arrived in Buckie with no issues, we were fortunate to be allowed to moor against the Pilot boat with no need for additional mooring ropes to the pier. Double checked that we had spare oil filter, primary fuel filter and secondary filter and plenty of back up diesel and all necessary provisions. Decision was made for both Cara and Solan to leave Buckie at 08:00 on Friday morning, after both boats were tied up and secure both Fred and I headed our separate ways for further preparations for the trip to Wick. Next morning at 07:45 both Cara and Solan left Buckie harbour , once clear of the "mucks" we hoisted main and foresail and started to motor sail to Wick, this was going to be an adventure for myself and Madge as we had never taken the Cara further than Lossie before. All going well and with the kettle boiled we settled down for the trip. Within 45 minutes of leaving we had company, we had the pleasure of 2 adults and a young dolphin all ducking /diving beside Cara. It was about 3 hours later, 18 miles out, within sight of Beatrice oilfield and Wind Farm, and the dolphins were still with us, the wind decided to pick up. On talking to Fred over the VHF he advised he was going to sail as opposed to motor sail. This was when we encountered the "spares issue." I throttled back Cara to neutral to see how she would make way under sail alone. Once she was in neutral all of a sudden the engine coughed/spluttered and stopped!! I then went into saloon, lifted the engine hatch and was greeted with the smell of diesel. I attempted to start the engine again but to no avail. I looked all over to see what was wrong, gave her another 15 minutes and then turned the key and engine started ok. However, there was diesel "spurting" from the pipe going into the injector and when I engaged the throttle to see if we could motor the engine just continued to tick over. We called up Fred on Solan and advised him of the situation. I made the decision to turn around and head back to Finecthy as I was unsure as to the issue. Fortunately for us the wind was 15 to 19 mph from the SE, this enabled us to have a good sail back, averaging 4.5 to 5 knots speed. The dolphins turned round with us and stayed with us all the way back to Finechty. Just off of Finechty the wind faired away and without throttle we couldn't make any headway. I gave Gordon Reid a call and he came out in Progress to tow us into the harbour. Once we were tied up at our berth, further investigation was carried out and it was discovered that even though the diesel was getting through to the injector there wasn't enough to give engine power. A spare injector pipe was sourced and fitted - sorted!! So, at the end of the day where does one stop with carrying spares? Or as the saying goes "all for the want of a horse shoe nail". Jim Sammon Cara
WICK R.N.L.I. GALA 2014 The Wick R.N.L.I. Gala weekend is now firmly etched in the Club Calendars up and down the East Coast and beyond. We "SOOTH SIDERS" as the Wickers call us, supported the R.N.L.I. weekend once again by sending a large flotilla across the Moray Firth on the weekend of the 13th to 15th June. In fact, in excess of 20 visiting yachts actually attended the event. In order to hook up with the flotilla, Neil, Robin and I moved Fantastique on Thursday 12th from Lossiemouth to Whitehills, just as soon as tidal restrictions allowed, we were off out of Dodge. Unfortunately, there was not much wind so we motor sailed most of the way. A large pod of dolphins teamed up with us as we approached Portsoy and they put on a good show for quite some time as they accompanied us all the way to Whitehills. After mooring on the visitors pontoon at Whitehills we did some cleaning and boat jobs, after which we ordered up take away food from Rock Fish…..excellent food, great value and way too much! Martin and Ali joined us on Friday morning "at the sparras fart" and the yachts began to depart Whitehills in dribs and drabs. Last but not least was Fantastique, with a draft of 1.95 meters and a muckle bump of silt to be avoided in the middle of the harbour, we were not taking any chances. Once out in Banff Bay it became apparent that we would never get to Wick in these light southerly airs under white sails alone so a decision was made by the crew to "unleash the beast". So out came our "massive" red spinnaker and after much faffing about it was successfully hoisted and we rapidly caught the boats which departed before us. We were making very good speed and we sailed under spinnaker and main sail most of the way to Wick. After ensuring the flotilla were all safely moored in Wick, we used their gorgeous showers then headed up to the Alexander Bain (Weatherspoons) for supper where we organised a huge team table. To cut a long story short, several of us did not get to eat our tea as Neil was taken by ambulance to Caithness General Hospital following a choking incident. He was kept in overnight and put on oxygen, suffice to say, he had a lucky escape and scared the sXXt out of us. Beware Friday the 13th! Having sprung Neil from his confines on Saturday morning, there was great relief all round and we were all able to chill out and get into Gala mood. What a bonnie day it was with light airs, a wee bit of sun, no wind for a welcome change and definitely no rain. Super day for it! As a result, the gala was extremely well attended and there was a lot laid on for the public. Myself and Ali decided to have our faces painted as poosycats…. Not sure what the kiddy winks in the queue behind us were thinking but who cares we were Top Cats! That evening, after washing off my beloved cat face it was time to get dressed for the party, gala dance at the "fish market." N.B. My husband takes me to all the best places! The crews of Fantastique and About Time went as "Flower Power/hippies" and the crew of Aquamarijn went as pirates. Even some locals came along dressed as pirates and I definitely saw some jolly sailors in drag that night. We were still bouncing around the dance floor at 2.45am so at least we burned off some of the burgers. The following day, Sunday, we bade farewell to the departing boats and then it was our turn to say goodbye to Wick, to Malcolm the H.M. and to Corrie from the lifeboat. Fantastique, About Time, Aquamarijn, Kentra and Spey Jess set sail for Stromness on the mainland of Orkney. We sailed up to Noss Head where we lost the wind and then we motor sailed to Duncansby Head in time to catch the ebb tide. Fantastique and About Time crossed the Pentland under full sail in really good conditions, taking the passage to the north east of Swona. As we entered Scapa Flow and shelter, no wind, prevailed, we had to motor sail once again. I tried to deliver Georges lunch whilst at sea….after chucking a softie wrapped in tinfoil directly into his cockpit as he drew along side us, he ducked and the softie went clean across the cock pit and out to sea…poor hungry George! Once we were moored up in Stromness marina we used the team showers at the ferry terminal which are kept clean and tidy, after which the crews headed to the Ferry for supper. The food was really good, recommend! The following day was a bit overcast and dreich so the motleys headed off to explore the town shops and sights. Several of us met up again in the evening when we went to the Royal Hotel for supper, the place was heaving but we managed to get a table and the food and wine were excellent as was the ambiance. Highly recommend the Royal. Tuesday morning brought with it pea soup fog! Fog I have endured in all but one of my visits to Stromness, so odds on, they must get a fair bit of the stuff. Spey Jess and Kentra were staying on for a few days and their plans were to go round the top of the mainland to Kirkwall later that week. Fantastique, A.T. and Aqua were heading down to Wick as we all had commitments at home. The three yachts cast off the ropes and headed towards the South Pier just in time for the "Hamnavoe" ferry to commence departure so we motored in circles treading water for a while as she went astern, turned and disappeared into the fog sounding her fog signals, loudly. As we left the harbour A.T stayed well away from the shallows (this time) …..Another secret story. The three yachts motor sailed down the Flow in fog which eventually burned up and allowed us and our first time guests, Martin and Ali to take in the scenery. Also, Carmen and Peter on Aqua, had not been there before so it was nice that they got to see something. We did some sailing and eventually came to Switha at which point we followed the Clyde Cruising Notes (bible) and we hugged the coast to Aith Head or just short of it in order to get the dying ebb current that flows there before turning to cross the Pentland Firth with the flood. The crossing was not exciting! The tides were neaps and as such, were not very strong, there was not much wind to speak of, no bloomin sun and our boat speeds were mediocre, however, this all changed once we rounded Duncansby Head and the wind veered NNW and picked up. Carmen managed to snap a picture of Fantastique as she stormed along doing 9.50 knots of boat speed under full sail. The conditions remained excellent all the way to Wick and we made a good passage time although the wind calmed down a bit and we narrowly missed some heavy squalls. Once we were moored up in Wick and had another wash in the bonnie showers, we toddled back to Weatherspoons for unfinished business (Scooby burgers). Neil was allowed to come with us only under strict supervision and based on the assurance that he only had soup and custard to eat. The three amigos parted company on Wednesday morning, Aqua and A.T bound for Whitehills and Fandabby bound for Lossiemouth, it was quite surreal watching the others disappear gradually into a fog bank as we sunbathed on the slightly different heading towards Lossie. We did however see four minky whales whilst we were in the Beatrice Oil Field area so they must be feeding there and I even caught one of them on my ipad camera. See photo. The day seemed to be short some watching for them and as much as we would have liked to hang about and get a bit closer, we could not afford to do so as we had to be in Lossie for No later than an hour after HW, which we achieved and thankfully the "wild" and windy forecast arrived much later than predicted and just as we entered the mouth of the harbour. We had a cracking sail from the Beatrice Alpha platform all the way to Lossie, probably due to the approaching weather front and the winds picking up all the way. So another Fantastique trip was had by all and I look forward to supporting Wick and RNLI next year in 2015 if weather allows us to do so. I would like to thank everyone who supported F.W.S.C., Banff Sailing Club, the flotilla, Wick, Malcolm and the RNLI. Also thanks to the Wick berth holders who moved their boats in order to accommodate us. Thank you all for keeping in touch with the organisers and for keeping Malcolm, Harbour Master, informed of your intentions as this is very important in order to have adequate berths made available and to run a successful event. Big ThankYou x I heard from Corrie, Coxswain, that the RNLI made over£9500 as of Sunday morning and that the money was still being counted so well done to everyone who supported them. As sea farers we never know when we might need their assistance! Mairi Innes "Fantastique" (parked in Lossie) Findochty Water Sports Club
Findochty Gala It was great to see that many of the yachts had their flags up for the gala and I heard a great deal of compliments from the public about it, they really enjoyed seeing them decked up. The weather held out for us and it stayed very warm and dry throughout the event. We got the burgers kicked off at 12.30 and had a steady queue of people throughout the afternoon. We sold everything and those of us who were helping got nothing to eat as a result of the popularity of venison burgers! The William Blannin life boat came in against the visitors pontoon this year and Chris from North East Dive was busy selling dolphin trips on his RIB. The Soy Loon made several trips out past Sterlochy giving lots of people a chance to try skiff rowing for the first time. I got a trip out as Cox, which was different as I have only ever rowed on previous occasions. It was great fun though and I think we have some budding new recruits and a couple of new Club members by the looks of it. We had a visiting yacht from Banff stay over but unfortunately Alex from Portsoy could not manage to bring his scaffie boat as he has been ill, he did manage to come along and watch the skiff though. Glenfiddich tasting barrels were set up just outside the Howff and this proved to be very popular with the whisky drinkers. We had a few wee tastes of the various vintages ourselves all of which were most worthy. 18 year old Glenfiddich being the firm favourite with the "crew". All of the stalls did well in particular the raffles and the bottle stall. I heard they made a great deal of money. We made £262.00 profit from selling the burgers and sausages so £100.00 is going to the Community Council to help pay for a welcome sign/stone for the town (that was the suggestion as to where any donations would go anyway). The remaining balance, we have given to the FWSC. Attached is the photo of the motley crew. Bill Douglas was missing from the picture, but he was there helping all day. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to put flags up on the boats, and to the team who cleaned the Howff and the garden before and after the event also thanks to those who served and took in the money on the day. Those of you who attended the event and put money into our Community helped to make this years Gala a huge success. Mairi Innes