In Arbroath I decided it was time to stop worrying about the Met office weather forecast quite so much. The plan was to get as far as Scarborough, if the weather was better than expected, in as few days as possible.
Rory arrived in Arbroath and, on his first morning, we got suited and booted to go out but the weather was just too rough. The wet crew were able to take "SUB" out and have some fun in the waves, but Arty and I just couldn't have coped for very long.
The following morning looked a lot better and we set out for Dunbar, a long sail across the Firth of Forth. With the wind on the nose we were tacking back and forth. This inevitably meant we had to tow a large section of the sail at the end to get into Dunbar. Arriving in Dunbar there was barely enough water for the boats as we came through the two cliffs which mark the entrance. We found ourselves in a fishing port where tame seals entertained the tourists for fish. There was also what felt like an enormous wall to hoist me up. It was certainly well above the spreaders on my mast. The ground crew did a great job getting me up there. The wet crew acted as fenders to stop Arty hitting the wall, or the seat tangling in the rigging or hitting the mast. After a night's rest no one was looking forward to hoisting me back down except, apparently, me!
We started the sail to Amble doing 5 kn over the ground while still pointing, which was pretty good. Soon, though, a short chop set up which stopped me dead in the water. My speed dropped right off and we were soon struggling to make much headway. We had travelled about 20 of the 50+ nmiles and decided that we stood no chance of getting to Amble that day. We phoned the ground team, who were almost at the Marina, and they turned around and came back to Eyemouth for us. Considering they'd driven such a long way they were incredibly understanding. Paul even managed to find us somewhere to stay in no time at all. We were lucky enough to bump into Ian, who runs the Seaman 's Mission, his wife Irene and their friends George and Fay on the dockside. The mission had a disabled loo, which made life much easier for both me and Jo. They opened up to let us use it.
Amble marina was great. They took us and our caravans without blinking. The marina manager, Carl, Was fantastically helpful. Deep water ports are rare along the east coast and are spread out, which is why we are having to do such long sails.
At lunchtime on the 7th, as soon as we had enough water to float Arty with the keel up, we left Amble for Hartlepool. I think this probably will be the last sail we will see gannets on. We've seen lots on the east coast, but they began to become rarer on the way here. They are incredibly graceful, agile birds - not at all what I'd expected given their reputation. Despite the fact that Arty was pointing well and tacking at around 120° at her best we knew that we had to get here from 9 PM. This, frustratingly, meant we had another tow. The Electronics also decided to misbehave a little and we got in late at night. It was midnight before we got to bed and, given what needed to be done to the boats and the weather forecast, we decided to spend a day resting. It was great to arrive in port to see a Lion waiting for us. They kept us entertained yesterday with stories about old Hartlepool.
We'd planned to leave here this morning, but I fell asleep yesterday afternoon and managed to choke. After a couple of hours of oxygen therapy and the care of Cat and Kate I was feeling a lot better and they let me out of hospital in almost record time! I lost a T-shirt to a pair of scissors, but that was a small price to pay.
We will all be sad to see Rory go tomorrow morning. He has been a huge asset on the water and great to have around on shore. He's off to Helsinki to watch his sister, Sophie, compete in her Laser. It will be very strange not to hear him talking in his sleep in the caravan at night and he has certainly kept us all entertained on the RIB :-). We've certainly worked him incredibly hard and he has more than stood up to whatever we threw at him!
Sean Cassidy has come back for a week, to everyone's delight. Last time he sailed with us we saw whales so we are all expecting dolphins at the very least!
Page last updated on 10 August 2009 at 18:38