Out of the Blue

Kandulas Eye View- Out of the Blue

It seems an age since I was last on the water. Social events DIY commitments having got the better of me.

On Saturday, I found myself just off the Bass Rock. It was a beautiful day and there were boats of all shapes and sizes sailing off the beach at North Berwick.

There was a steady Westerly wind and a flat sea. The sky was a pale blue and endless. A few wispy clouds were making their way out to sea, leaving the Firth of Forth behind them.

The last time I was at the Bass Rock was over a year ago. Aboard a Beneteau 373. We had entered the Bass Rock race, which was cancelled at the last minute, leaving us on the start line all alone. We completed the course, as we had put a crew together and were somewhat at a loose end. The conditions at that time were not ideal.

This time however, the conditions were near perfect. There is however a slight problem with this idyll. I was at in my Audi A6, rather than Kandula. I was watching the perfect sailing weather from my car. Watching other people enjoy the conditions whilst I sat and ate fish and chips (bonus!)

You may wonder why I was at North Berwick. I was wondering myself really. North Berwick is not on the way anywhere, unless your destination is North Berwick itself. Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely place, but it is a little ‘out of the way’

Over the weekend, I was at a family wedding in Bathgate. The wedding seemed to consist of a lot of Kilts and even more alcohol. I partook in my fair share of both. I had a car full of extremely hung over family with me. We had missed breakfast and by the time we were on the road, it became quite apparent that we were all in need of a restorative McDonalds or a KFC! (euch..I know, but some hangovers require drastic measures)

Amazingly, Scotland (being Europe’s top spot for obesity, apparently) lacks in McDonalds and KFC. So in desperation, we decided to use technology to find a fast food outlet. I gave this task to our 18 year old Son, who had a smart phone on him. Once he had managed to find a signal, he typed in his search and located the desired McDonalds. We were heading South on the A1. I could not believe our luck, when the smart phone informed us (via Son) to take the next available left turn, as there was a McDonalds within 2 miles! Strange I though, we seem to be in the middle of nowhere, driving down a country lane.

I don’t know if the smart phone was malfunctioning, or my 18 year old son. I suspected that there was ‘an issue’ with the information being passed to me.  However within 2 miles, there it was, sure enough.

Mac Donalds Farm Shop!  Excellent. Now if we had wanted to buy a seed drill or animal feed, then we were in exactly the right place. However, we were still hung over, miles from anywhere and no closer to finding stodgy fast food.

We continued on our way, trying to find civilisation and food of any sort. Things were getting ‘tetchy’ in the car!

That is why, we found ourselves at North Berwick, overlooking the Bass Rock, whilst watching yacht racing and eating Fish and Chips!

On Sunday, I went to see Kandula at RNYC. My hangover had disappeared. Who would have thought the human body can take so much punishment? Fish and Chips followed by a Chicken Madras on the same day!

Although there was no wind to talk of, and it was cold, the lure of the sea was too strong. I almost ran down the pontoon. I prepared Kandula for a Solo trip around the bay. I let my dock lines fall away and in a very slight zephyr of wind, I left South Harbour. I raised the main, as I rounded the inner pier. Set the autohelm, and went onto the foredeck. I hanked on my comedy Genoa (I call it this, because it is ridiculously large and makes me laugh every time I use it!) returned to the cockpit and hauled away on the halyard. The sail went aloft and filled with wind. I joined a fleet of over 14 other yachts stretched across the horizon.  The sea was mirror flat, with a glorious winter sun to warm the face. A gentle breeze blew in from the North East and I ghosted along without a care in the world.

After about half an hour of this, (I had gone about 1 mile) I looked around at my fellow yachtsmen (and women). A beautiful day on the water. All was calm as I drifted along. The peace was zen like. At that moment (oh no!) my phone went. My wife (Karen) with eldest Daughter and Boyfriend had arrived at the club. They were going to have lunch (which I would thoroughly recommend!) and then, as Daughter was returning to Manchester, Karen would take my car back home and collect me later. How kind, I thought. I can also have a pint in the bar afterwards. The day was just getting better and better. Karen asked my where the car keys were. I know it seems bleedin obvious now, but they were on the chart table, below, about 1 mile off shore. My ideal day was slipping from my grasp. Then I had a brain wave. My friend was coming up the coast from Royal Quays, to have lunch with friends at RNYC. I could get him to come along side and collect the key. I thought about this for a while, and then dismissed it. A 52 foot squadron is probably not the best vessel to do a transfer to. Its slowest speed being about 6 kts . I then remembered seeing Jamie Shepherd in the boatyard. I sent my instructions to Karen and 5 minutes later, I saw the RIB emerge from the piers and head out to intercept me and my keys. What sterling service the RNYC provides! I had forgotten that the Newcastle, Sunderland derby game was on, so I knew this was going to cost me a few beers.

I returned to the club after a little more sailing. I went to the bar to find Jamie. I also found Karen, still there (I could have brought the keys in myself) together with family, just finishing lunch. Oh well. I bought Jamie a beer and then it started to unravel.

I don’t rightly know how many pints I had. I don’t rightly remember all of the songs I sang on Karaoke, I do seem to recall drinking Whisky. I understand that Karen left me to it and came back in a different car. (I only realised this today) Happy Birthday is due to Lynda Flisher (I was at her Birthday party apparently)

There seems to be a couple of constants in my life. Random sailing adventures, punctuated by sojourns into alcohol induced delirium.

The RNYC seems to be able to fulfil most of my life’s requirements.  Long may it continue. There is another chapter to this little tale, and those who were present in the bar may ask why it is not mentioned. However, in the cold light of day, I am a perpetual coward. You know who you are and I know where your hiding place is!

Enjoy your club. It has a lot to offer, Sailors and Socialites alike. Good food, good beer great company; and a script that the writers of Coronation Street and Eastenders would envy.