Sunday, 12 August 2012

Anstruther 2012 pt1

This weekend was the annual gathering of small boats at Anstruther. Several boats from Dunbar had left on Thursday and Friday but I couldn't get the time off work. I eventually managed to get away just after 6am on Saturday. The forecast was good with slight seas and an easy south-easterly to push me along. 

As I left the harbour the sun was just rising above a low cloud bank out over the North Sea.

Lovely sailing weather, out early on my own with no other boats around and just the occasional sea bird for company.

Inevitably the peace was broken. This is the Fionia Swann, a chemical tanker owned by Brostrom of "Middelfart"! 

Most of the passage was empty sea with some very welcome sunshine and the wind on the starboard quarter. I had a wee worrying moment when I was approaching Anstruther. I had dropped the sails and was motoring in when the engine cut out with no warning. I got the sails back up and hove-to. Fuel was fine but no spark so I changed the plug and the engine fired up. I've never had a plug fail on me before and I change them yearly which is probably excessive.

14.6 nautical miles and the Heron had got me safely to Anstruther again. In the harbour I spotted some Dunbar boats and rafted up to the Aquilla and the Zig Zag. This was at one of the pontoons rather than the wall which is a bit cheeky without having a prior booking but is a lot more convenient. Tam the harbour master didn't seem too bothered as long as I paid my dues.

As usual there was greeting of old friends and drinks were offered. As it was only 10 am I thought I should try to do something more productive with my day than lying on a boat, lazing in the sun with a cold beer in hand. Hmm.. Eventually Darren (Zig Zag crew) and myself went for a walk along the coast to Cellardyke, which was a lovely wee town, and on to Caiplie caves.

On the shore we spotted some wreckage of an old boat. The keel and the rudder stock were heavy duty with old nails and roves in the timbers.

This looks like a tabenacle. You can make out the bent cleats for the running rigging. It was a couple of feet high so would have been able to support a substantial mast.

Further on we found the caves. The rock shows that this part of the coast is a raised beach. The caves have links to St Adrian and there are supposed to be incised crosses from early Christian and Pictish habitation. We didn't see any of this, a torch would have helped.

Wave worn patterns from when the sea washed against these rocks.

 Worth the visit and the walk worked up an appetite, and a thirst.

Back in Anstruther and the Reaper is keeping watch over the harbour. A wonderful old boat, 110 years of history. I should have taken some more pictures but the link will have to do instead.


  1. This was a really lovely voyage post. I have never sailed as I a bit nervous around water, but I applaud you on a nice trip.

    I have had a spark plug fail on my Moped, many moons ago. Boy was it a pain in the neck to have to push the Moped to the nearest mechanic, on a hot day.

    Do you take your bike on the boat, in hopes of riding it in a nearby island or something like that?

    Peace :)

    1. Hi Chandra, the Heron is only 18 foot overall so is really just a dinghy with a roof. Taking a bike would mean little wheels and a folding frame..any suggestions? There is a bike scene in the canal boat world, "Tiller Cycles" have some interesting Brompton ideas