St Kilda - brief report

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Nick
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St Kilda - brief report

Postby Nick » Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:00 pm

Got back into Lochmaddy last night about ten o'clock from St Kilda. We left for Village Bay from Taransay on Tuesday morning with very little wind, but it gradually strengthened and soon we were on a beam reach in a boisterous F4-5 . About half way across the 42 miles form the Sound of Harris to St Kilda we passed an HR36 going like a train the other way and noticed he had a reef in. Hmmmm we thought, then ten minutes later we picked up the latest inshore forecast from Stornoway CG which mentioned occasional sixes and took in a couple of reefs. It didn't slow us down noticeably. I did speculate as to whether continuing was wholly wise as Scottish Islands reckons the anchorage may be untenable in NE winds, but it was still mostly n rather than NE so as the fantastic outlines of the archipelago began to appear we pressed on and enjoyed a fantastic sail the rest of the way with the helm much more manageable now we were reefed.

We got into Village Bay at about seven o'clock and anchored off the pier next to a huge yacht - Elinca - out of Stornoway. As we fell back on the anchor I realised she was on a mooring, but worked out we could still swing without getting too near the buoy. We blew the dinghy up and went ashore, as advised in the CCC pilot - as the anchorage is very exposed to wnd and swell you never know when you might have to suddenly up sticks and leave.

A wander up Main Street, then back to the boat for a late tea and a dram. Squalls and calms made the boat sail all round her anchor, as did the Vancouver 34 PH anchored further out. Elinca also swung all round her mooring, and eventually we ended up stern to stern with les than 20ft between us - so we ended up re-anchoring before retiring for a slightly disturbed night due to alternating squalls and rolling.

Next day we went ashore for a more detailed exploration, then had a fantastic hot shower, bought some postcards (edge of the world indeed . . . ) and watched the BBC filming the return of (one of?) the last surviving residents, who had come in by chopper with the film crew. About 4 I put Kathy back onthe boat and went for a walk up Conachair, the highest peak on the island (1410ft) to enjoy the spectacular views over the island and out to Boreray and the stacks. My descent was quicker than planned as I was chased off by several bonxies, who oobviously regarded me as an intruder in their domain.

The Wednesday night was very uncomfortable - a lot more swell coming in and massive squalls at irregular intervals, some of which were well over 30 knots - interspersed with no wind and lots of rolling. I don't think either of us got more than a couple of hours sleep until about six it quietened down and we dropped off for another hour or so before getting up at eight to leave.

We got the anchor at nine and headed out of Village Bay with two reefs in the main to find a gentle 2-3 Northerly blowing, so we motored out to Boreray and went round Stac an Armin. This rises absolutely sheer straight from the sea to 500 ft or so, and every inch of ledge is covered with gannets. It is a truly spectacular sight from a boat.

We motored along the coast of Boreray then set a WP for the Sound of Harris. We were now in range of the CG and weather forecasts again, and as the forecast was for 5-7 later we kept the hammer down and motor-sailed until about lunchtime, when with 10-11 knots on the beam we hoisted all plain sail, rigged the Navik and settled down for a splendid ocean sailing afternoon.

We decided to have a look at Leverburgh as an option for the night, dropping sail to enter the narrow Leverburgh channel under engine and blessing the day we got the plotter. Leverburgh looked a bit rubbish really (as TCM might say) so we headed back into the main channel then unfurled the genoa and enjoyed a pleasant evening sail across the SE end of the Sound and on to Lochmaddy with the ebb in our favour and a smooth sea.

Here we picked up a VM off the RoRo terminal which had not been in place four days earlier . . . new pickup rope and buoy, new wire on the shackles and obviously just serviced, so here we are ignoring my own advice and hanging off a Western Isles VM with a possible F8 forecast.

NOW THE BIT PUT IN JUST TO ANNOY CLAYMORE
-------------------------------------------------
That's it for now, a fuller report and some pics later, but St Kilda has been added to Fairwinds' already impressive list of Atlantic Islands.
- Nick 8)

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Telo
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Telo » Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:07 pm

Very good Nick. Nice write up, and looking forward to the pics. You timed the weather well.

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Fingal
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Fingal » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:39 pm

Sounds like a great trip. I've been 3 times now and only once had a peaceful non-rolly night in Village Bay. The last time (2002) I fulfilled a long held ambition to sail (motor actually) between Boreray and Stac Lee, the scale is so hard to grasp that it feels like a tight channel even though it's about 5 cables wide. A fantastic place to visit, everyone should go at least once.
Ken
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claymore
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby claymore » Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:35 pm

Groan
Oh God -he's even throwing in TCM isms..... where will it all end?
Regards
Claymore
:goatd

Falkirkdan
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Falkirkdan » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:00 pm

I have never been to St Kilda but all 24 foot of Miss Sable has been a couple of times with the previous owners.

Sounds a great adventure.

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Silkie
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Silkie » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:43 pm

Congratulations. Rockall next?
different colours made of tears

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So_Sage_of_Lorne
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby So_Sage_of_Lorne » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:34 am

Falkirkdan wrote:I have never been to St Kilda but all 24 foot of Miss Sable has been a couple of times with the previous owners.

Sounds a great adventure.


Go on then, you know you want to :)
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby stevepick » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:33 pm

Nick

Snap, well almost. I was in Castlebay on the 2nd june and we set out for St Kilda early on the 3rd (wed) , but the forecast for thursday threatened F8 and with a novice crew, we headed for Canna . Roll forward to last tuesday (9th) and the unrelenting high seemed stuck till the weekend. We left Eigg mid morning heading for Coll but after some quick back of envelope calcs figured we could sail through the night to St Kilda so we did. It was a stunning passage, The sound of Barra was lumpy on the western side, but once out of the 30/40m shallows the sailing was fabulous in a perfect NE 3/4. St Kilda rising in the dawn was superb :
Image

We arrived at 0630, so went for some kip before going ashore, I was woken at 0930 by the Hebridean Princess dropping anchor:
Image

but the bay was flat calm verging on mill pond. So we relaxed, had a fry up then went ashore. it was a fantastic day, calm clear and bright. My crew went to the top and also got dive bombed by bonxies, I just wandered the village, and had a snooze in the sun. The Bay emptied of visitor boats, and the sun got higher and warmer:
Image

We finally left around 1630, heading around the north and west of hirta under engine, the cliffs are magnificent, and cutting through between Hirta and Soay Stac was like a scene from lord of the rings:
Image
I could only take a pic once through, concentrating too much on not banging the mast against Hirta as we went through!
Another superb night trip through the sound of Barra with a favourable NE 3/4 all the way saw us tying up at a pontoon ( for the first time in almost 2 weeks) at Tobermory at 1230 on the thursday. 128 Nm in 20 hours seemed reasonable to me.Then it really was time for a kip!

I have to say we had the most superb weather sailing from the 30th may to 14th june. Sunshine every day , one rainy afternoon . I don't think we could have had better weather.

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Clyde_Wanderer
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Clyde_Wanderer » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:04 pm

Silkie wrote:Congratulations. Rockall next?


Remember to notify the border agents if going there!
C_W

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Nick
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby Nick » Tue Jun 16, 2009 10:10 pm

.
That's an amazing pic of the passage between Hirta and Soay, .

We were back in Tobermory on the 9th. It was definitely St Kilda fortnight - another friend of ours was there two days before us.
- Nick 8)

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stevepick
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Re: St Kilda - brief report

Postby stevepick » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:35 am

Nick wrote:.
That's an amazing pic of the passage between Hirta and Soay, .

We were back in Tobermory on the 9th. It was definitely St Kilda fortnight - another friend of ours was there two days before us.



Thanks Nick, looking back at the pics I took ( and you can see in the village bay ones) I really should have paid more attention to exposing them better, but my little compact struggles when there is so much extra light from the sea.

It certainly seemed like the weather for getting out to St Kilda, although we were the only "non commercial" boat in the bay last wednesday, and as usual we hardly saw more than one or two boats sailing about when we were north of Ardnamurchan.

Steve


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