Thursday, 31 July 2014

Video of sailing around Bass Rock yesterday

Flush with our triumph from yesterday's sailing from Port Edgar, Edinburgh to the picturesque harbour of Eyemouth, the crew of the good ship Alexandria thought the World needed to see proof of their exploits, so there is a link to a video I have just posted.

The conditions were reasonably challenging with a strong following sea which had a marked swell. The boat loves to surf, although this demands extra vigilance from the helmsman (Mark W who performed magnificently), especially when combined with strong winds which started at around 20 knots and at their peak exceeded 30 with one gust of 35 knots. Punchy stuff. We started under full gennaker,  which is the very large sail, and reefed it at 27 knots apparent and then reefed the main sail at 29 knots. Both sails had been eased and centred respectively beforehand, so it was not as reckless as it might appear. Nonetheless, the boat was under a lot of load as were its crew, and both performed amazingly. We were certainly attentive to swell, wind, surfing and gusts, but it was great fun. We were the only boat out the whole day, often travelling at around 9 or 10 knots through the water, and for a brief period recorded 12 knots. For those of you who don't understand the speed, think of a fast car and add a zero to our speed, so the image of 100 or 120 mph on a roadof changing   terrain should spring to mind. Even when we reefed both sails, we were still pushing along at nearly 8knots with no tide under us to speak of. 

The entrance into Eyemouth is quite challenging with a narrow set of leading daymarks which become clear at the last moment, and one has to sail down the line, missing a very close reef, and into a canyon created by the two vast harbour walls. We were, as we work the tides, at low water. Then, into the inner harbour after permission to enter. A very pretty harbour indeed.

I was struck as always with how friendly people were, even when firmly acquainting me with the unfairness of sundry Scottish military defeats. Clearly ahead of the referendum, their minds are filled with the inequities of the fourteenth century, rather than the future powers of Scotland. My thoughts were rather more prosaic and were connected with getting AC power to the boat! 

So, bass rock is (according to Wikipedia):

 "a steep-sided volcanic rock, 107 metres (351 ft) at its highest point, and is home to a large colony of gannets. The rock is currently uninhabited, but historically has been settled by an early Christian hermit, and later was the site of an important castle, which was, after the Commonwealth, used as a prison. The island was in the ownership of the Lauder family for almost six centuries, and now belongs to Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple. The Bass Rock Lighthouse was constructed on the rock in 1902, and the remains of a chapel are located there." 

It's also huge, dramatic and awe inspiring and there is a vast colony of gannets circling around and plunging and dive bombing the fish below. 

And so, Matthew, Mark W and I are off to have lunch at anchor in Lindisfarne this morning about four hours down the coast, then onto Amble where they leave and where Ian and Jonty are welcomed aboard.

PS. We have just past Berwick and hence the administrative border and are now back in England. The photo shows Mark W pointing the way, and Matthew saluting as our Scottish saltire is taken down.

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