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It's Vince and Malcolm

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Whitehills to Wick 12 June 2007


After three days the time has come for me to leave Whitehills, and head across the Moray Firth to Wick. I saw Derek aboard Golden Otter, leave earlier today to sail in company with another single hander, and was heading for the Caledonian Canal having changed his mind about going through the Pentland Firth. He was meeting up with some friends and didn’t want to be late at the appointed meeting port. I have heard that there are Minky Whales in the Moray Firth so I will keep my eyes peeled during the crossing. I rise at 04.00 hrs, and prepare to depart by 04.30. So with engine on I leave Whitehills behind. The wind is on the nose so I raise the main and motor sail. By 08.00 the log goes to zero, so I go below and revolve the paddle 180deg in case there is something caught. The log returns at 09.05 so I think there is a problem with the paddle probably its age. 09.30 And I unfurl the genoa and put the gear into neutral to see how much speed I loose. The GPS shows 1.5kn less over the ground which I can live with so I turn the engine off and enjoy the peace. A quick check around reveals nothing in site so I go below and prepare some breakfast, I check my position at 12.00 to find I have been pushed West but the tide will be changing later to push me East again so I hold my course which means I can still sail. I pass two oil platforms, and a helicopter circles my position before returning to one of the platforms.

By 14.00 I am closing the northern shore and have to alter course to make the waypoint for Wick which is to the East. The alteration in course puts me head to wind so I roll in the genoa and motor sail. With a fair tide I reach the waypoint in good time and enter Wick Harbour at 15.50. By 16.30 I have Anita ‘A’ tied up alongside, and make my way to the harbour masters office to pay my dues.  I have to thank Richard and wife Jenny who live in Clifford where Martin House is situated, who took the time and trouble while on holiday in Scotland  to drive to Wick and meet me on the quay, and kindly invite me to have a meal and drink with them which was very nice and much appreciated. On returning to the boat I bid farewell to Richard and Jenny, collected my soap bag and towel and proceed to the shower block. This was not a pleasant experience as the whole building requires updating and cleaning. The shower tray was missing one of the sink heaters wasn't working and whole the whole place was a mess, and to cap it all there was a notice on the door asking clients to clean up after using the facilities, as the staff were complaining about the mess. As I was leaving I saw three men, one with a clip board  inspecting the new pontoons that were being installed in the harbour, so I asked if the harbourmaster was about. Willie Watt the Wick harbour Chairman asked if there was a problem, so I pointed out the state of the facilities and the notice on the door. He agreed with me and said, he  assured me that he would ensure that the place would be cleaned up as soon as possible.  I received an email from Willie a short time afterwards updating me with the progress at Wick, and I have had reports from fellow yachtsmen who had been to Wick after myself stating that the facilities had been improved, and some of my points taken on board, including contacting David Findley at Whitehills to find out how he does things. Willie was true to his word, and I now feel confident that Wick will be a much better haven to visit while waiting for the tide or a weather window to cross or pass through the Pentland Firth, and look forward to a planned visit in 2008. and I am sure there will be some permanent berths taken when the facilities are complete.

PS. I suppose the fees will have increased but a small price to pay if the facilities are good.


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