Lossiemouth to Eyemouth: 1 July 2013

Most of the fleet are spread out down the east coast of Scotland, making their way south for the next planned ‘gatherings’ in Eyemouth and Newcastle as they reach the English coast. In this update we hear that eight boats reach Eyemouth, last port in Scotland, a new boat joins the fleet, sailing single-handed from the Netherlands and there’s still one vessel sailing up to Orkney and Shetland. We also hear about an incident with a lobster pot and the RNLI!

Sailing off Lossiemouth Photo: Sue Lewis
Sailing off Lossiemouth Photo: Sue Lewis

Two boats are still sailing north . . . ‘Annabel J’, the Bristol pilot cutter who’s been with the fleet since the Solent, reports she’s: ‘cruising the lovely islands of west Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, we’re in Stornaway waiting for a gale to blow through before setting off round Cape Wrath to the Orkney Isles’. Earlier this week we hear there’s a new member of the fleet, arriving on the English east coast from the Netherlands, and also sailing north.

‘Snoopy’, sailing single-handed in an 18′ ship’s jolly boat from the Netherlands, starts the circumnavigation counter-clockwise, the only vessel to do so. After an uneventful but exhausting (and boring) 44 hours 222 nautical miles crossing, her skipper arrives Scarborough. He reports that the new engine is doing well, and ready for it’s first service and oil change. ‘Will it still be possible to go round Britain and arrive in Cowes in time?’ he wonders, ‘1200 nautical miles to go. With a little help of the weather it should be possible.’ We’ll bring updates of her progress as she passes the rest of the fleet sailing south towards England.

‘Bonify’ makes an early start from Lossiemouth on Saturday, escorted by bottle-nosed dolphins. Passing the mouth of the River Spey, she makes 5 knots, no engine, with skipper and crew enjoying the sail!

Further south at Seaton Cliffs, Arbroath, once a thriving fishing port and home to the famous ‘smokie’ (whole, wood-smoked haddock with backbone intact), ‘Vlieter’ explores the spectacular red sandstone cliffs and rock arches. Blowholes, caves, gloups (collapsed caves) and geos (stacks) make for a fantastic lesson in geology (and wordcraft) on this spectacular part of the coast. We also hear from ‘Toucando’ of the challenging approach to Arbroath, with lobster pots everywhere as skipper and crew pilot their way gingerly into the harbour.

Another member of the fleet is not so fortunate. We understand the Fraserburgh lifeboat ‘Willie and May Gall’ launched to assist ‘Witch’ on Saturday. She’d fouled her prop on creel lines three miles off Fraserburgh and lifeboatmen had to grapnel the line, cutting it clear before towing ‘Witch’ back to Fraserburgh. Read her blog for full details and photos. Safely secured alongside, harbour divers helped to clear the prop. Catching the early tide on Sunday, she’s safely moored in Peterhead, joining ‘Bonify’, ‘Moon River’ and ‘Windflower’.

Many thanks go to the RNLI, always available along our coasts.

‘Windbreker’, ‘Vlieter’, ‘Cine Mara’, ‘Raven’, ‘Morgaine’ and ‘High Barbaree’ take shelter in Anstruther, a large fishing port with long history, 20 miles south of Dundee and 50 miles north of Edinburgh. The coast here is called the East Neuk of Fife, described by James II of Scotland as ‘a fringe of gold on a beggar’s mantle’.

Monday dawns and its a new month which will see the fleet sail down the east coast of England. We hear there’s now ten boats, ‘Capraia’, ‘Cygnet of London’, ‘Windbreker’, ‘Toucando’, ‘High Barbaree’, ‘Syene’, ‘Bonita’, ‘Moon River’ and ‘Minstrel’, close to the English border.

They’re tucked into the harbour at Eyemouth which has provided safe haven to merchants, traders and fishermen since the 13th century, whilst the surrounding rocky coastline helped smugglers evade customs boats in bygone times.