The Chentleman's Cruise - version 2

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DaveS
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The Chentleman's Cruise - version 2

Postby DaveS » Thu May 31, 2007 10:32 pm

(note the singular)

Well, the full story will eventually get written up in the blog, but here's a short precis for now. You might recall that the intention was to take a trip round Kintyre to the Clyde, do those Clyde islands I hadn't yet visited, then on the way back rendezvous at Sanda with Claymore on his northward delivery trip.

The big problem was the weather. The forecast for the first few days was pretty wet: unpleasant, but not actually threatening. A very deep low was however expected for the weekend. I eventually decided to set off, on the basis that if I was trapped in the Clyde there were options: I could accompany Claymore through the Crinan - together we should have enough crew to work the locks, or I could leave the boat at somewhere convenient - Tarbert, say, and catch a bus to recover the car. Whatever happened I had to be home in time to catch a plane on Thursday 31/5 - this morning in fact. So here's the story.

Wed 23 Craobh to Gigha
Mostly close hauled down a very bouncy Sound of Jura in F4/5 with wind against tide and almost continuous rain. Attempts at a new system for VB pick up resulted in 5 misses, and my neighbour setting off in his dinghy to assist, as I finally succeeded at try number 6. All very embarrassing. Dinner aboard.

Thu 24 Gigha to Sanda
Some frustrating beating, then a wind shift allowed a close reach down the rest of Kintyre. Since I'd not been round the Mull before, I took Martin Lawrence's "cautious" option of keeping 2 miles offshore. Biggish swell, but less waves than I'd expected. Raining, of course, and again F4/5. The now NW4 meant that the Sanda anchorage was exposed, but I thought I would give it a try anyway on the grounds that if I didn't like it I could always leave. In the event it was a bit uncomfortable, but seemed to be good holding, so safe enough. Ashore, did the island, then had a shower and dinner in the pub.

Fri 25 Sanda to Millport
This was a big day. Left at 0500 to catch the last hour of favourable tide, then had a reach all the way up Kilbrannan Sound, again in mostly NW4. In the Sound of Bute the wind veered to W5 so I dropped the main and ran across to Inchmarnock Sound under genoa. A mile off to port a large racing fleet was doing its thing - the Scottish Series! I'd forgotten about that. So using Tarbert as a port of refuge was really a no no. One option gone. Sunshine, however, and the waterproofs off for the first time! While anchoring at Inchmarnock an impeccably timed shower soaked me. Did the island, then another genoa run to Little Cumbrae. Its ascent was initially a fight through a jungle of bracken and brambles, but the view from the top was good. A quick motor then over to Millport, pick up a VB at the first attempt (different system, but resulting in a right fankle needing to be sorted by dinghy) then dinner ashore. Very bouncy night.

Sat 26 Millport to Lamlash
Late start and feeling quite queasy with motion and possibly dodgy dinner. Fast reach in NW 4/5 over to Holy Island in almost dry weather. Did island, dinner aboard. A bit worried by lack of communications, and then discovered that the anchorage was in a poor reception area, but eventually managed to get texts away to SWMBO and Claymore at the umpteenth attempt. Very peaceful anchorage.

Sun 27 Lamlash to Campbeltown
A bit of thinking and planning for possibilities. It now looked like the big low was going to track well south so it should be OK, but still a bit of doubt. I could stay another night in my sheltered anchorage and still make the original rendezvous, but I couldn't communicate here and that was starting to annoy me. Campbeltown started to look attractive as a possible place to leave the boat if necessary, with a pontoon and a bus: same advantages as Tarbert, really, but closer to the Mull. So I went there in decidedly lively conditions, broad reaching in F5/6, triple reefed main and a small scrap of genoa. Very fast, if wet, trip. I phoned ahead to ask for a berth, but got an answering machine. In the harbour the pontoon looked full with boats rafted three out, but a figure appeared at the pontoon end directing me to the left and, half way along, there was indeed a space just longer than the boat. Dinner in the pub, then lots of noise from a disco until 0200ish.

Mon 28 Campbeltown to Sanda
Shopping, then visited the library for internet access. The various weather websites seemed to agree that the low was going well south and that the NW should not exceed 4/5 - which agreed with the shipping forecast. I decided to go, with the possible fallback of a return to Campbeltown if things didn't work out. On powering it up, the Autohelm gave a plaintive bleep and refused to work, so I replaced it with the spare. Out of the loch the wind died away almost completely and I switched between ghosting and motoring. By the time I'd reached Sanda, however, it was back to NW5 making the anchorage uncomfortable and a dinghy trip ashore unattractive. I dismantled the faulty Autohelm and found it, as expected, to be full of water. After wicking water off everything using paper towel I propped the pcb up to dry in the sun for an hour which did the trick. After the usual finicky reassembly it was working again. I think to avoid this in future I'm going to make it a little raincoat. With the wind slowly dropping to F4, though gusty, I eventually seized the opportunity of a brief lull to paddle ashore. A very convivial night followed - the real ale was now in!

Tue 29 Sanda to Gigha
Set off just before the start of the west bound tide. Again, a bit bouncy round the Mull, but better weather - I could see the lighthouse this time. A frustrating beat in NW4 followed, the slamming knocking the wind out of the sails and slowing progress annoyingly. Without the favourable tide it would have been impossible. However, progress was made, and I stoppped off at Cara to grab that, giving another island, before motoring over to Gigha. Picked up a VB at the 2nd attempt using yet another new system (which involved the loss of my plastic "happy hooker" gadget - given its success rate no tears shed), then dinner in the pub.

Wed 30 Gigha to Craobh
The wind backed overnight to SW4 giving a genoa run for a few hours, then fell light, so I motored, then it blew W4 giving a good fast reach. No rain until 1 hour short of Craobh! Overall, 250 miles logged and 5 new islands. Not bad for a week that initially looked distinctly unpromising.

(edited to correct wrong date etc.)
Last edited by DaveS on Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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claymore
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Postby claymore » Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:38 pm

Sorry I missed you Dave. Called a few times but obvious now that I was always around a day too far behind.
Hardly saw any boats between Tuesday and Friday - a couple under spinnaker over on the Irish side - heading for Islay and a tan sailed gaff rigger on thursday which went into Gigha as we headed for Craighouse.
Are you around midsummer weekend - ish?
Regards
Claymore
:goatd

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DaveS
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Summer sailing

Postby DaveS » Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:39 pm

Glad you're safe back.

If things go to plan, I should be away on the midsummer weekend on the annual cruise. The current plan is to leave on Thu 21, probaby in the afternoon looking at the tides, heading generally for the Western Isles. With all the usual caveats about weather etc., would that give a possibility of a cruise in company for 1 day, say?

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DaveS
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Midsummer sailing

Postby DaveS » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:03 pm

My plans have now changed, and it looks as if the annual Hebridean jaunt is off for this year. I should, therefore be available for other things this weekend, and more than happy to join others. Is there any sort of plan / rendezvous yet?

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claymore
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Postby claymore » Tue Jun 19, 2007 8:36 am

No plans that couldn't be improved!
The BFG is opn his way up and is expecting to be around on Friday evening. He probably has some conference to get to in Madrid or Lisbon by Monday - tough life.
Trying to get out of work early on Friday but thats proving problematic so may not be up there until late.
Think I'll know more by Wednesday so I'll post then
Regards
Claymore
:goatd


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