While we were in Berwick, I had removed the spinnaker pole to get better access to some wires on the mast and, like a moron, I left it on the pontoon, so - at the very least we have to go and pick that up, not the most exciting of trips - or reads, but it's just what's going on...
We were going to stay for another few days, but the weather was about to change and if we didn't leave in the morning with the winds, we'd be going against them in a few day's time.
So I packed everything away, strapped down what needed to be secured, set some alarms for the next morning, fed the crew, and did my best to go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Phoebe has a sort of routine at nights of wanting to be brushing, then not wanting to be brushed - then ultimately deciding she does want to be brushed and generally, just being a pest for 20mins before she finally settles down for the night - but whenever I sleep in Phoebe's cabin she always tends to make a fuss!
The next morning, it was pretty breezy - but that's ok - that's what we needed - we've got a little over 50 miles to cover before it gets dark. The weather reports seem to indicate that we should get about 15-20kts of favorable wind.
Getting off the pontoon and out of the Firth of Forth, with the wind behind us, was easy enough - not too many boats out here today, the only boat we saw for a while was a slick-looking pilot boat, just ploughing through the waves at about 20kts.
After a few hours, we came across a huge anchored ship, as it was kinda on the way I went over for a closer look.
Not sure what it's doing here, but it didn't seem to be loaded with anything - I only think it was empty as it seemed to be sitting quite high in the water - you can see the red anti-foul paint that usually mostly submerged
The ship looked completely devoid of life except for two dudes standing by the railing, kinda gives you a scale of how big these things are...
Even once we got past it, it seemed to take forever to get away from, an hour later, despite sailing at a decent pace, we could still see it!
Everything was ticking along nicely, with a steady 18kts on our stern, I hadn't expected it to get much stronger, but as we got closer to Bass Rock it started to pick up and get a bit gusty, quite gusty, actually...
I don't normally put a reef in the sail till it's blowing consistently above 22-25kts, I mean gusts come and go, but when it's sustained - you need to do something about it, and we were getting gusts of 35-38kts, and then it would drop to 25kts, I grudgingly put a reef in.
As I was going to be away from the cockpit, I put the companionway hatch in, and mostly closed the acrylic slide. While I was putting in the reef, we would have to come off the wind slightly - and both I, and the deck, were probably going to get a bit wet.
I slackened the lines to lower the mainsail and tried for the first reef point, but due to a complication on the boom, it just wasn't possible - so I had to go for the second reef point which involved slackening the lines further, and fixing it on the opposite side - it was a pain.
Only then did I realize I didn't have the reefing line attached to the correct reefing point, the lines were tied to the first and third point but not the second. Not sure how many of you sail, but trying to tie a tight, neat bowline onto a flapping D-ring on a sail is more than just a frustrating experience.
You're just about to tie the knot, and then you get a gust and the wind just wrenches the sail right out of your hand, then you have to start all over. It gets super annoying after the third, or more realistically, the seventh time.
Really, I should have lowered the sail just a bit more, but I was convinced I could do it, and I was right - I could - but it would have been much easier just to have lowered the sail a little more.
Once I had it all tied in and tightened up, we were good to go, but then I heard a bit of a tear, one of the sail bag tabs had ripped off the sail bag and one of the lazy jacks flew halfway up the mast, with the sail bag unsupported on one side the unused portion of the mainsail spilled out.
It wasn't flapping around or anything, just looked a bit unsightly, we can deal with that later - I think I'm just going to rivet the tabs onto the sail bag - as I'm sick of sewing them back on.
I got us back on course with the reefed main, and we were off again. While all this was going on - someone wasn't very happy about being locked down below...
Before long we were passing the Bass Rock, again. I feel like I've seen this place too many times...
The neat thing about passing this place is all the Gannets, the Bass Rock being the largest Gannet colony on earth, with over 150,000 of them - they're all over the place and seem to fly in nice neat lines - they're beautiful birds, and I always enjoy seeing them.
A little while later we came across some more huge ships just anchored out here, I didn't bother checking them out, they weren't really on the way - and we have places to be...or something like that.
Before too long the gusts had seemed to stop, the sea state really smoothed out, and the wind eased slightly to a nice 16ish knots. With the wind, waves, and tide all working mostly for us, we were flying along at about 7kts - so I took a walk down the deck to see what things were like up at the bow.
Being quite satisfied that the gusts were gone, I took the reef out of the main, and added the genoa - now with all the sails out, we were just cruising along nicely, nothing to do but watch the scenery roll by until we get to Berwick.
Having spent an awful amount of time on a pontoon, this trip was kinda what I needed, just to get out - I just wish it was a longer trip, a much longer trip...but things are what they are just now - But it was just nice to be out...
Anyway, soon enough we were passing Eyemouth. I'd kinda like to stop there sometime, I'm curious to see if Nathan is still alive... and I think Chloe would love to see him again!
And this point, we'd been sailing for about 6 or 7 hours, and almost to Berwick when I happened to notice quite a few lobster/crab pots, terrific.
Our engine was off, and our prop wasn't turning, so I wasn't overly concerned about them, but still didn't want to get caught up in any of them.
I always hear stories of fresh victims, as these things claim passing yachts, I figure it's just a matter of time before we snag one of these things - either my eyesight or our luck is gonna run out one of these days... I know it
But we're almost there, and just in time too! The light was starting to fade, and we were just going to make it just in time for there to be enough tide for us to go in.
In the distance, I could see the lighthouse on the end of the breakwater that marks the entrance. As we banked toward the harbour and into the wind, the sails were becoming useless, but we still managed to sail most of the way up to the breakwater.
After dropping the sails, visibility was a tad obstructed by the sail hanging off the boom due to the lazy jack not doing its job, but meh - it's fine.
The last photo I took was just as we were getting through the channel, it was very shallow, and I always get a tad on edge getting into this channel - I have grounded out here before - twice.
It's not the harbour's fault, I really need to start coming in when there's a bit more water!
And that was this trip over, a choppy start, but overall, a nice sail down - a few minor things to look at in the morning but, that's nothing out of the ordinary...I can live with that.
The next morning it was back to 'business as usual' - for the crew, they seemed to settle right back into their old routine, I do wonder what they think of being back here again?
I have a few things to get in town, the usual washing, supplies - Phoebe is getting low on her favorite food, so a trip to the pet superstore is needed. Plus, I'll need to haul a bunch of cat litter back to the boat at some stage.
It's one of the more annoying things to have to haul, and periodically there seems to be a shortage of the stuff in some supermarkets- of the stuff we buy anyways - and keeping stocked up is pretty essential - a boat can get real smelly, real fast if their box is dirty!!
...and luckily, our spinnaker pole was exactly where we left it.
Hopefully, we can be out soon enough...
I'm aware this hasn't been the most exciting year so far, but we're going to try out a site called "buy me a coffee" that allows you to 'buy us a treat' - I changed it from coffee to treat, it seemed more appropriate, given the cats'n'all...
Basically, it's a way for people to support what they like. And if we do something you like, well - I think you get the idea, you can check out the link below if you want.
You don't have to buy us a treat or anything like that - I mean, we're going to keep going regardless, but if we do something you like, it would help us out! You can also follow us there too, we'll be uploading extra stuff there soon. As I understand it, it's free to follow!
We've only just set the page up but, buymeacoffee.com seems to have tons of options for members, so we may expand with a membership option once we can figure out what benefits we could possibly offer...but for now, we're just gonna stick with the 'treat' option.