Sailing The Tay 2

With commentary


One of the advantages of sailing a small boat is that you see the world from an alternative perspective. My feet are a mere two inches above water level, so my view is almost the same as that of canoeists, paddle boarders or dinghy sailors. I like it this way.

I am always wary about about disturbing the birds – but here on the Tay they are well used to yachts sailing up and down just yards from their sandbar.. This is a flock of eiders – britains biggest native ducks which is why they look and behave like geese, You can hear their calls – each one a slightly different polite expression of extreme surprise – coming at us across the wind . This whole flock is made up of adolescent and non breeding eiders gorging on this rich coastline whiling away the two summers while the fertile elder eiders are out scattered across Northern Britain getting on with the important job of breeding.

The bar is massive and flocks will move several times a tide as the water retreats and new territory is opened up–

How many of those moves are prompted by the natural need to shift to new patches to feed … or prompted by disturbance from boats or canoes or seals or gulls or me is anyones guess.

In my defense all I can say is that I have more shots of birds landing and feeding than I do of them taking off – And I will never tire of the site of big seabirds engaged in carefully choreographed aerial manoevers.

Katie L draws just 13 inches – with plate and rudder up – I play a sort of game with the geography – I try to guess the shallow spots by the look of the water and my knowledge of the physics of sand and tide. eventually make an inconsequential mistake and Katie’s joyfully dainty mastery of wind and water come to an abrupt halt as her keels embrace the sand. In an instant she becomes as imovable as a southwold beach hut.

Both Jill and I love a day spent stranded on a sunny sandbar. As soon as the water is shallow enough she will paddle away from Katie in a bare foot sandy stroll seeking out a sun warmed swimming hole she has heard a whisper about..

I like to stay with the boat and watch as the retreating tide reveals ever more complex shapes and artworks – here a sun kisswed miniature tropical archipelago , Over here an Afrikan rift valley, down there, the scarp and dip slopes of sussex, here individually placed grains of the sand which oddly echo the shapes of the strangely familiar dry canals that cover the surface of mars.

and here – the profile of Queen Elizabeth 2 our own dear Brenda reverantly rendered in sand and sparkling tay water.

But, as it always will, the inevitable Tay Tide returns to engulf and reshape and destroy these once in a billion year sculptures and works of art.

And with the returning tide walking back through the shimmering heat haze of this miraculous scottish sand bar come the love of my life.

Eventually we had enough water for Katie to start floating again and the solidly inert mass of grounded boat once more became light and lithe under my tiller hand.

Coming back into the Harbour seemed a bit of a shock after the perfection of the day just passed. The returning wednesday evening tide tide meant that the mid -week races were on – and a freighter leaving dundee – heading for a night at sea.

It is, I confess, one of the many small things I take a stupid pride in as a citizen of this modest island race is our love of sailing. Wherever I go I see groups of hardy men and women in all but identical small boats trying to sail slightly faster than their friends.

In my experience of this journey so far there seems barely a patch of water in this country where Brits do not race small boats dinghiwa. Seeing them makes me very happy.

Dundee is famous for one more reason – it was the site of the tay bridge disaster, where in a storm force 11 On December 28th 1879, a date that will be remembered for a very long time,a section of the cast iron bridge deck collapsed while a train was passing over the Tay. The whole lot, bridge deck, train and all the passengers were tipped into the freezing turbulent waters of the Tay – all 59 perished that night.

They built a new bridge right alongside the old one – the pillar stumps bear testament to a terrible trajedy.

However, it was not all bad – fortunately britains most misunderstood poet William Mcconigle was born born in dundee – his poem dedicated to the Tay disaster is now regarded as an ostentatiously tacky classic of victorian sentimental doggeral – while more intelligent critics say it was written entirely tongue in cheek

and even today most Tay sailors seem happy to recite a few lines of the poem –

The McGonicle mastepeice is at the end of this film – just after the buskers cup

The mid summer light ensured that we had plenty of time to gently sail our way up the tay. As we drifted and sailed we passed up through this fertile slice of scotland. This is easy scotland where the fog hardly ever rolls off the hills in in off the sea and it rains almost as seldom as my own patch of suffolk. This is the bread basket of scotland = one more reason why Dundee was big in ship victualling.

No matter how often I sail the east coast of Scotland – it always comes as a surprise to see how tidy and well kept everything seems. There is a really admirable desire for order and neatness among those who live along these estuaries.

This is less true of the west coasters – I am not sure what that says about the East West cultural split that runs right down through britain

but it is just an observation – not a criticism.

We drifted on past Newbrough – once famous for lino and foulies – then they in invented plastic and that was the end of that – the neat little town is now just a dormitory for Perth and Dundee.

We needed to buy food and alcohol so it was on with the rattler and we hustled on up the ten miles to Perth.

Such a waste of a wonderful estuary to slam on the rattler and despoil the peace – but the weather the next day was going to be perfect for a day drifting up the Earn – which has been described as the jewel in the crown of scottish east coast rivers.

–In perth we tied ourselves to a wall , just one up from a fishing boat.

I will spare you the video vloggers trope of boat adventurers going boldly around tescos in Perth.

Lovely town by the way – well worth a visit.– but Perth is a lovely place for all that.

by the time we got back to Katie the tide was ebbing fast so we drifted back in the near dark towards the sandbars that form where the Earn meets the Tay.

we dropped the hook and spent a sublimely peaceful night.. swinging at anchor where the natural sounds of the nocturnal land meld with the night calls of the at sea birds





and without the jowly old wobble gob – if you wish






Have your say
I just want to say that….


This is about KTL 11 Sailing the Tay.

34 Responses to “Sailing The Tay 2”

  1. 20 November, 2018 at 6:07 pmMark says:

    Personally, I’ll wait for the voice over version. Your commentary is at least half the reason why I watch your videos.


  2. 20 November, 2018 at 9:29 pmTed Timberlake says:

    Hi Dylan. I like. Commentary well thought out… and a very brief glimpse of the only Devon Yawl on the Tay in background at beginning of the race sequence, doing her stuff. Bliss. Well worth a few coins just for that! Ted

  3. 21 November, 2018 at 8:49 amdylan winter says:

    sorry, I messed up – – the one with the voice over removed is now up…..

    what a dumbo I am


    (PS – they have remade dumbo

  4. 21 November, 2018 at 9:31 ammike harbourne says:

    Hi Dylan,
    I personally prefer your videos with the commentary / voice over which are both entertaining and informative. Many thanks,

  5. 21 November, 2018 at 9:58 amTed Timberlake says:

    Hi Dylan. Just viewed the version without voice over, and my first reaction is same as that of yesterday, that I prefer the one with your observations. Obviously a difficult call as to what to include and what to leave out and thus enhance the atmosphere, but there is much that your comments have added to the experience of the visit and sailing the Tay. Ted

    • 21 November, 2018 at 10:07 amdylan winter says:

      Thanks Ted….. making a version without the voice over is easy to do as th voice is the last thing to go in.

      Do you think that you might be more likely to watch something for a second time if you know that the same bloke will not be saying the same things second time around.

      Try watching the sailing bits again at 11.30 at night with the second scotch

      I did think about putting the voice just on one channel…. but I will try offering both, see if people like it. Sorry about the early mistake with posting the voice over film first. The aim of the experiment is to watch it without the voice and then again with and see how that changes your perception of the film.


      • 21 November, 2018 at 11:40 amTed Timberlake says:

        Re your second para… I generally am a once only type of person, whether films, books and stuff. What I do watch a second or third or more times are by subject and content, so I do not think that I am necessarily influenced by something being with or without voice over. Hope that helps, but of course I am one out of many that enjoy KTL. Ted

        • 21 November, 2018 at 12:01 pmdylan winter says:

          I am like you ted

          very seldom go back to anything inside the first three decades

          apart from music – but then I am usually doing something else while listening.

          I am not one to read and re-read the same poem or book.

          Films almost never.

          One chap sent me an email saying that he was re-watching troublesome reach most nights with his whisky. He was going through a divorce at the time

          Try it with alcohol maybe ted


  6. 21 November, 2018 at 10:35 amBob Bohme says:

    Much prefer without voice over. Rounded off by Skye Air is a nice touch.

    • 21 November, 2018 at 10:59 amdylan winter says:

      thanks Bob – I can offer both fairly easily – and if it works for a few people then no reason not to offer it.

      The outboard is always a problem. I still want the images to tell the story – they are journeys after all. I was in Anstruther for six months and only once managed to sail out of the harbour.

      If I can stay somewhere long enough I can usually film everything without the outboard running – the boat was in tayport for six weeks – I was aboard for three of those – it rained for ten of those days. That part of the story is not really reflected in the films… I could have spent three months on the Tay and been quite happy.

      I get quite a few angry emails about the history bits… I can just tell them that if they don’t like it they can watch the film without words


  7. 21 November, 2018 at 11:21 amChris Taylor says:

    I thought the version without your voiceover was a bit like watching a David Attenborough film without David Attenborough, good film work and pleasant sound track but lacking an authentic commentary and the interesting facts about what I was actually looking at. I must admit that personally I’m not so keen on the musical interludes during the film, does David do that with his films?. great job overall look forward to next one…

    • 21 November, 2018 at 11:27 amdylan winter says:

      the music is usually used to cover the sound of the outboard –

      when using location sound I have to move a lot of audio around – if I hear some nice bird noises then I run the camera – and might run that under shots of birds when there was an aircraft overhead – the Firth was rank with aircraft noise – the Tay was a lot quieter but there was an active light aircraft club out and about on sunny filming days.

      So in some ways the “real” sound is much more work

  8. 21 November, 2018 at 4:45 pmJan Hijkoop says:

    Without your very entertaining, informative and often witty comments in voice over, your films would be only half as interesting and probably tedious to watch! And I love your choice of music!!!!!! I started to look Tay 2 without voice over, but after 5 minutes decided that I’ll wait for the one with voice over.

  9. 21 November, 2018 at 5:52 pmBryan T yacht Difran2 says:

    Hi Dylan. Tay 2 is quiet and interesting! but I prefer your voice over.
    Interesting historical stuff. Little snippets of who done what to whom in the past a great history lesson and that is what coastal cruising is all about surely?
    You always seem to have the knack of when to let the view tell the story.
    Bryan T

  10. 21 November, 2018 at 6:04 pmApplejack Jim says:

    I definitely prefer “with” rather than “without”. It’s your bits of history and what we are looking at that make the videos for me.
    I do re-watch your videos at times and also re-read books as and when the mood takes me.
    The final sunset pan round of this video is wonderful, snug cabin, great sunset and the tranquillity of the anchorage…..great stuff!

  11. 21 November, 2018 at 6:07 pmDave says:

    I lasted 3 minutes and stopped watching. Without voiceover have no idea what is going on nor the history of the place. Just ‘watching some guy’s random vids’. If it wasn’t for your backstory and such I’d never have stayed a fan of KTL. I’ll check back and when posted will watch and enjoy the voiceover version. I wonder if your comments on Scotland politics brought out the ‘no voiceover’ viewers?

  12. 21 November, 2018 at 6:23 pmJoe says:

    +1 for the voice over. I would have been wondering what those column stumps next to the railway bridge. were What ruins many sailing vlogs is the music

  13. 21 November, 2018 at 6:50 pmDrew Hdson says:

    Please bear with me I may ramble a bit
    The KTL films are a record of your voyage around this wonderfull group of islands, not anyone elses, as such your commentry is a part of that voyage. Unless you are familiar with an area a picture of a navigational aid or some ruins could be anywhere, the commentry ties them down to a time a place and some times why they are there.
    But its much more than that, we get an insight into how things make you feel, the passage back from Shetland being a prime example.
    When you were on the Humber my home waters you showed parts I had not seen and gave a different insight into some that I know well.
    There was a fashion for so called coffee table books, just full of pictures, nice to flip through but you would not read it cover to cover.
    Without commentry a film is a bit like one of those books, very pretty but!
    As for comments dissagreeing with you bravo to both sides what a boring place if everybody agreed with everything
    By the way did I say the film with the commentry is missing something
    I look forward to the complete version and hope the KTL project is restarted

  14. 21 November, 2018 at 8:42 pmDrew Hdson says:

    Said I was rambling
    That should read
    By the way did I say the film WITHOUT the commentry is missing something

    • 21 November, 2018 at 8:51 pmdylan winter says:

      aha – now I understand – I thought you meant that it had a gap or a hole in the audio somewhere/

      when I said it was a good ramble I meant that it was a good analysis

      nice man Drew

  15. 21 November, 2018 at 9:37 pmHillary says:

    I will add my vote for your commentaries Dylan. The filming is superb and the commentary adds some indefinable Dylanness which makes it all much better.


  16. 21 November, 2018 at 10:58 pmEd Bourgoine says:

    For sure, keep the voice over. Just one persons humble opinion, as much as the silent version is calm and relaxing the loss of commentary is too much price to pay.

  17. 22 November, 2018 at 6:18 amRoss Coleman says:

    Greetings from the antipodes. I’m with those above… the voice tracks are part of the story and why I really enjoy the films. If I just wanted scenery, i’d be watching vlogs with more bikinis!

  18. 22 November, 2018 at 8:23 amApplescruffs says:

    Dylan “unplugged” , now there’s a thought, but not for me I’m afraid,

    I agree with Drew et al that it’s the commentaries and observations that make the films stand out, and for me it’s your sideways take on things and sometimes controversial dialogue that keeps the thing eminently watchable…

    Which is a good thing.



  19. 22 November, 2018 at 4:25 pmDave Barker says:

    If I had to choose, I’d have the commentary. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the version without voice-over or music because the original soundtrack sucked me straight in to the sailing experience. The background music that you use for your videos is excellent by the way but it can create a somewhat idylic feel although your commentaries are excellent. Informative, often pithy observations and I think I’d soon miss that. If only there was some way of switching from with to without whilst watching. You could try left and right channels but I don’t think that would be very satifactory.
    If you had the time, maybe selecting the odd video that has a good original soundtrack (like this one) as an unencumbered bonus?

  20. 22 November, 2018 at 8:02 pmjack says:

    Your commentary to the scene we are watching holds it all together. Without it, it’s any old bloke up some place and after a bit we’re off on to the next offering, hoping……

  21. 4 May, 2019 at 5:09 pmTony says:

    Voice over always, Dylan. You do such an excellent job with your research and presentation.

    • 4 May, 2019 at 5:35 pmdylan winter says:

      thanks T,

      I like to know a bit about the places I see from my cockpit and the saddle of the bike. Reading books or scanning the web gives me things to do when the weather is crap – as it often is


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