Last week I recounted the trip over to Fife in the Heron for the 2011 Anstruther Muster.
Once we were all in the harbour we got down to the task of mooring up. Rudders were raised or lashed as the Harbour dries at low water. It also makes for a quieter night without the eeedonk sound of a rudder moving in the tide. Fenders were tied and springs were run between the boats. Beers were passed around and we sat back in the last sunshine we were going to see all weekend.
When the rain started we put a simple tarp across the boom to form a basic boom tent. It needs to extend the full length of the boom from mast to out-haul to provide any real protection on an Alacrity. The dodgers came into their own here providing side protection without the angle of the boom tent taking up space inside the cockpit.
A small Jib was lashed around the mast under the tarp to give some protection from the driving rain. This all helps but it would be nicer to have a little more headroom on the boat ..or better weather.
As the rain showed no sign of letting up we wandered off to The Ship to have another beer and watch the rugby. I think Scotland were playing Ireland and Scotland won! Things did become a little hazy as we spent the afternoon between the boat jumble, nosing around other boats and visiting various pubs. Anstruther has no shortage of drinking holes.
I think the next pic was at The Masons where I met up with Darren and Kirsten and fair enjoyed myself.
We could here music from the marquee on the pier and eventually staggered over to meet up with everyone else. Ross and I had missed the prize giving where Stuart and Scott won the smallest boat (Ambition) to attend. I miss this by about 1ft every year!
There are pics of the events in the marquee here. The band knew how to entertain and as the beers continued more and more folk believed they knew how to dance. I decided to switch over to soft drinks as I had the thought of sailing back the next morning at the back of my mind. Unfortunately as the next pic shows, Ross, my crew and Jamie, Gordon's crew weren't planning that far ahead.
The next morning we decided to catch the early (1pm!) tide to ensure a safe entry at Dunbar. There was hardly any wind as we left and we decided to motor. We were soaked and going to get a lot wetter.
Above is leaving Anstruther. The sky behind is darkening and I think this was about this time I decided to put the wash boards in place and batten down. The pictures don't give an impression of the swell that was running. At about 6 miles from land the swell was coming in against a flowing tide and we were all over the place. I had no doubt in the Heron's ability but it was not a comfortable crossing. Ross was strangely quiet. Over on Gordon's boat, where these pics were taken, Jamie was happily talking Swahili into a bucket.
Miserable sailors in a lull. Yeah I know, someone forgot to take in a fender.
Although it was hard going at times there were still great moments. Really hard rain out at sea is something special. I couldn't see any land and we could barely hear for the hissing of the water all around. We also saw a whale. Probably a pilot or a minkie. They are not uncommon but make you realise how small an Alacrity is. As usual wasn't a camera to hand.
Three hours and we were tying up in Dunbar. Everyone was heading home with the usual "never again" remarks. Anstruther Muster this year is Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th August.