On Sunday 11th May, about 09.30hrs some 15 members gathered on the pier at Aberdour and decided that the weather, tides and company were all agreeable to attempt the planned Club Opening Cruise. Wx was fine, light NE’ly, clear and dry.
With 9 owners all keen to make the trip, the company divided into 6 sociable boat crews and embarked by dinghy or ladder to their yachts, hoisting all sail about 10.45am as soon as clear of the harbour. Most headed straight for Newhaven while one took a partial circumnavigation of Oxcar and Mickery, rendezvousing with the further yacht joining from his winter berth at Port Edgar, and checking positions of clearance race marks off the Southern skier ‘en passant’.
A brisk squall forced some donning of oilskins but speeded the course and we duly berthed, just after noon, rafted against the harbour wall or slipway, while admiring the fleet of new pontoons set in the Newhaven harbour by the Port ‘o Leith Motor Boat Club. These are not yet accessible to visitors, due to some difficulty with security access, but are already well filled with their resident power cruisers, motor boats and happy PoL members.
The ABC contingent made their rapid way along to the Old Chain Pier restaurant, ten minutes’ walk, against a motley throng of kilted cheery charity walkers, to enjoy good food and refreshments and met the final road-based members and some guests.
A thoroughly enjoyable meal, some mild libation and plenty of craic of forthcoming cruises concluded at 14.00hrs when we returned by foot, yacht and sometimes motor, to secure home berths by 16.00hrs on an early-falling neap tide. Two sailing purists dallied on the way, just making the shelter of the pier, but completed their voyages to their moorings the following morning, in sunshine.
In conclusion, while the chain pier was lost to wind and weather almost 100 years ago, the ticket office and Newhaven, continue to offer good service to customers. Aquarius, Kennamara, Markate, Ol’Swell, Sinamara, Spintail, and Valka, are all off to a good start to the 2014 season!
Andy Carnduff, cruisemaster for the day