Findhorn Bay

Why you should not sail at the Findhorn Regatta.

I have been going to this open meeting for the past 10 years and I would like to keep it as a big secret. Firstly, Findhorn is 500 miles away (slightly to starboard of Inverness) towing a boat there and back is no mean feat. The sailing is very tide orientated (and I mean VERY ). It runs at 5 knots and if the wind is less than that in any direction you are either standing still or being propelled backwards out into the North Sea at a great rate of knots. Royal Findhorn Yacht Club is situated overlooking a tidal sea bay with a very narrow entrance out on to the Moray Firth. During racing, thankfully, a rescue boat is permanently placed at the entrance to catch the unwary or unprepared (you are advised to carry an anchor). The week long regatta has three races a day at about 1 hour each. The middle race is timed to be at the slack period so they start one hour later each day. Another reason for not coming is that the area is a bit sparse and the beach for instance is 11 miles long. Anyone walking along the soft silvery sand will find it can be a bit lonely. I would recommend you don’t go there until they have built an amusement park or a heritage centre. There are the seals and the dolphins to keep you company– but see one and you have seen them all! While out sailing the seals in particular can be a nuisance as they follow the boats around the course.

The village itself is very famous for its ‘eco/co-operative veggie/bakery, talk to the plants, type commune’. The food from there is just about adequate (especially the bread) – and it is to be avoided at all costs as it’s not the standard you are used at your local Spar Store. The nearest town, Forres is also on the famous whisky trail with several distilleries in the area. However, they are Speyside whiskies and you may prefer to go to the west coast for the more peaty flavour (see the area can’t even get the whisky right).

The Clubhouse serves meals with a view over the bay that is simply to die for (especially at sunset) -so don’t go there or you might pass away. The sight of ospreys diving into the water often interrupts the meal. The clubhouse needs to fit blinds to the windows or something. It is generally agreed that the view is only bettered at the RYA at Cowes, so again don’t put up with second best!

The racing itself is quite good with 45 boats (last year), of the usual mixture– see the Scots do get something right, occasionally. There are usually three separate starts with the marks sometimes up to half a mile apart. Those with Wayfarers are often seen cooking up a 3-course meal between beats and usually with the freshly caught salmon that is in the bay (you often see them jumping). Just another distraction from the racing, I think. I paid £10 for a fishing licence for two weeks and I did not catch one AND they would not give me my money back.

As for the social life during the regatta week- well they do get a reluctant 10 out of 10 for effort. At the ‘End of Regatta Party’ last year some lads from the club filled a pigs bladder full of air and blew into an orifice at the side of it. I think the pig was still alive! – The noise I am sure you would have heard 500 miles away at Hollowell.

Oh, and just don’t mention the weather. Three seasons in one day! Don’t forget you are further north than Moscow in latitude. Nearly 24hrs daylight is the compensation though and I reckon that makes better holiday value.

The sailing, the scenery, the company is just fine as it is. If you want an active holiday with a bit a sailing thrown in then don’t go to Findhorn – You will want to go back every year and it becomes addictive. Then there would be no room for ME!

The regatta is runs with the tide and is usually within the first week of July and for further reasons of why you should not go there have a look at The Royal Findhorn Yacht Club web site.

Crackin' sunsets.

One of one favourite pictures.

Looking across the bay with the tide nearly out.

... now with the tide in..

Keen racing - usually divided into three fleets.