Number 143 / April 2003

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Spring Outing (EddieP)

At the end of March I enjoyed an unexpected and very enjoyable trip out, the first time properly on the water this year (not including Lakeside in January). I sailed and paddled with StuartS, whom some of you will remember, and MikeR, who has been to one meet, at Loch Lomond. Both live in Newburgh on the Tay estuary, and I joined them at Newburgh to travel up the Tay to Inchyra, just below Perth.

March has been extremely dry, and warmish, in the east of Scotland, and the very spring-like weather continued for our voyage up on the flood tide, and back on the ebb. Although having been in the area for eight years now, I am ashamed to say that I know the tidal Tay hardly at all - although it is an estuary of very fierce tides, the fastest in the UK, and there have been

EddieP (here on Windermere, not on the silvery Tay!)

plenty of boats and canoes in trouble over the years. However, we left Newburgh, a small quiet village, with an old, wee quay, in warm, cloudless weather, with only a breath of wind - perfect for an early trip!

The first part is alongside Mugdrum Island, a mile long, which was inhabited until a few years ago and where cattle still graze. A good lookout was kept for shipping, because coasters still make it up to Perth harbour, the river well buoyed all of its length, and they have no room for manoeuvre in the river - we do of course! The day was perfect, geese, ducks and many other birds calling. We saw oystercatcher, curlew, and many swans, and the occasional lapwing over the grassy fields. The Tay, on this stretch of four miles or so, feels very rural, as many estuaries do, and after some small grassy islands, passed the entrance to the Earn. The Earn is no mean river, well known higher up as a very suitable open canoe trip venue.

We glided under the high pylon wires over the river, and Inchyra came into view, where the noise of road and railway begin to intrude. Inchyra is a sweet little place, about a dozen houses, a small burn emptying into the Tay, and a sailing club. There is a pier, a slipway, and a beach just large enough for three canoes. We enjoyed our picnic on the bank, sussed out by the sailing club general factotum, to make sure we were not water-borne vandals (they have had some). It had been an hour and a half of gentle floating and some paddling in the sunshine, and we watched the tide turn as we sat there. We made it back on an obviously strengthening ebb in just over an hour, with no effort.

What a good start to the season!


Safety Checks, Etc. (RoyB)

Perhaps this is the time of the year to check our boats and equipment before going out on the water. Some ideas:

1. Have you checked the condition of your hull after last year's punishment?
2. Are all the fittings still securely screwed/bolted on e.g. cleats, fairleads?
3. Do the rudder and leeboard go up and down and round as smoothly as they should?
4. Are your sheets, halyards, down/uphauls in good nick - not too frayed? Do they move easily through fairleads?
5. Have you looked at your buoyancy bags? No leaks? No grit lodged behind them to wear holes? Still well attached?
6. How about a touch of oil or WD 40 on moving parts?
7. Buoyancy aid OK? Still know where important sundries are, such as knife, bailer, whistle, dog, partner?

Have you paid your OCSG subs yet?

What does it all mean?

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