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canoeing, kayaking and other adventures

canoeing and kayaking adventures born in the Southeastern U.S. and now centered in Scotland...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sailing in South Queensferry - 21/5/2008

The original plan for Wednesday night involved bikes and Glentress. Neil canceled in that morning, claiming malfunctioning legs. I saw him in the Faraday break room and watched him walk/hobble/waddle across the room like a marathoner. Biking did not appear sensible. George proposed sailing instead. Neil declined, but Brian and I took him up on the offer. It was a nice evening for a sail, with some wind but not enough to get anyone too excited.

George owns half of a Lark, which is on the large side of a two person boat. Soon after we arrived, I learned that my paddling boots were in another bag and sailing would have been another good use for welly boots, also at home. Oh well. Brian and George launched the boat and I offered to park the trolley in exchange for collection from the pier. My feet got to wait until entering the boat to get wet and cold.

The Lark has an especially low boom. I am not sure that is the correct term for it, but considering it could go boom against either Brian's or my head, I think the name is apt. Our job was to negotiate the small front sail which meant when George said, "Coming about," we would either pull a line taut or release a line. It worked pretty well. I found a reasonable perch to avoid the boom, but Brian struggled. My perch attempted to minimise wet and cold feet, but after a few comings about, wet and cold were achieved anyway.

George gave each of us a shot at steering, though he wisely held onto the part that controlled the sail. The Lark is tippier than the Sunfish I remembered paddling in the Girl Scouts, so perhaps a less crowded boat is a better idea for trying both.

We sailed around Queensferry Harbour, staying in the shallower parts to avoid the race involving the bigger boats. We were out for about an hour and a half before deciding it was time to head back. Without the race, we might have ventured across to North Queensferry, but that can wait until another time.

The tide was on its way out, which meant loading the boat onto the trolley involved a lot more faff than unloading it. I was deposited at the same collection point and held the boat for the boys to take down the sails. Brian provided propulsion for the journey back to the ramp. Low tide meant the ramp ended before enough depth was reached to collect the boat. We tried many configurations but in the end had to empty a lot of water from the boat before it was reunited successfully with the trolley. We then made use of the hose to leave the unique smelling Port Edgar mud where it belonged.

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