DAY 34 – Monday 23 May 2022 – Eyemouth to Arbroath

Miles logged: 33
Total miles logged: 1,058
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 34
Days at sea: 22

We duly left Eyemouth following the harbourmaster’s warnings about Tuesday’s weather. I write this on Tuesday morning in perfect calm conditions and with sun streaming into the cockpit. Doubtless we could have stayed in Eyemouth but at least we are further north here and Arbroath is a much bigger town than than Eyemouth, so we are better-placed to stock up our fridges and larders here.

We meet many interesting people when we stop for the night; several have been circumnavigators as we are. Today I had a good chat with a couple from Guernsey who are circumnavigating anticlockwise in exactly the same type of boat as Bubble. In Eyemouth we admired an absolutely beautiful Contest 42 which, astonishingly, was being sailed from the South Coast to Norway single-handed, and by a lady helm. It is simply a fact that one sees many fewer lady helms than would reflect the proportion of ladies in the population but single-handing lady helms, and of such magnificent craft, are not often seen. We had a good chat with her too.

We enjoyed a quiet morning in Eyemouth in fine weather. Then, at the moment we slipped our lines at 12:00, it began to rain. We motored out in the rain and raised our sails hopefully but could make only 4-5 kts. On this passage in particular we had to reach our destination, Arbroath, by 19:45 at the absolute latest because at that time the lock-gate into the inner harbour would close and we would not be able to berth in the outer harbour which dries at low water. So we fired up the engines and motored at our standard 6.5 kts. In the end we had to motor for three hours as the wind dropped to nothing. There was not a great deal to see either; the one moment of excitement came when I was called by a guard vessel to confirm that we would not stray into the area being developed into a wind-farm which she was protecting. I explained that our course deliberately took us a mile to the west of the western border of his area. He said that he could see this, confirmed that there was indeed no risk of our encroaching and wished us well. I think he just wanted a chat.

Pagets Lady against a cloud-filled sky en route to Arbroath

Eventually we had some wind so we raised our sails and within minutes had to reef. This is not uncommon; one minute there is no wind; the next there is too much. The wind settled at around 20 kts and we enjoyed a fine sail … but it didn’t last. The rain started and the wind dropped and came at us on the nose so, for the final few hours of the trip we once again had to motor.

About to enter Arbroath harbour. By now it is raining

Arbroath harbour did not come into sight until quite close in due to the weather. I was a little anxious as the pilot book gives dire warnings about depths in the the narrow channel, which is bounded by rocks, to the entrance but once on the leading line in there were no issues. It was a struggle to pick our way though the forest of pot-markers coming up to the leading line but there were none on the line itself. The impounded inner harbour has three long pontoons with hammer-head ends and we were instructed to berth alongside on one of the these. It is a plesant marina facility. As is often the case where a historical harbour has been converted into a yacht basin the marina is centrally-placed so is convenient for all that Arbroath has to offer. It does indeed offer Arbroath Smokies; the evidence of their manufacture is in the air around us in the marina. We can see two smokeries from our yachts.

Heading to our berths on the hammer-head on the port bow

Tuesday is to be a rest day. We will need it because the next leg will be a long passage up the coast, past Aberdeen, to Peterhead and then we will have to take on the Moray Firth as we make for Wick, from where we must contemplate the remote and exposed north coast of Scotland.

Bubble framed by some of the many fishing vessels which operate from Arbroath
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