Tales of tidal weirdness

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Storyline
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Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby Storyline » Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:31 pm

Following on from the Grey Dogs thread and in particular Shard's account of his Rathlin adventure and Wully's Dorus Mor experience I though we could have a thread where people could share interesting experiences of tidal affects in our waters (if anyone can be bothered !)

This is about our one and only visit to Rathlin sometime in the early 90's when we had an interesting entry and exit.

Had been sailing north up the Irish Sea close in to the NI coast and once we got under Fair Head we set a course to Rathlin. The wind was on the quarter, the sea was quite calm and we were making a good 6 knots. After around 20 minutes we realised we were being set down onto the southern tip of Rathlin. The donkey went on and even on full revs and with full sails we were not making progress away from an unintentional landfall. Just before things got really scary the current suddenly stopped and then the issue was we were going too fast with land approaching - this was sorted with a crash gybe and we were able to make our approach to the tiny harbour (remember the pilotage was something like 'aim for a point a metre from the eastern harbour entrance' - this gave a clue how small the harbour was and small it was - as soon as we got in it was full revs astern to stop hitting the other side !)

The exit the next morning was also interesting. There were two of us sailing in company and the plan was to make for Port Ellen. The route chosen was to leave Rathlin to starboard and go past the western tip. The sail across the bay was uneventful but as we approached the open sea we could sea white water ahead. Everything was battened down which was just as well as we encountered huge standing waves. I had a video recorder going and was filming our friends ahead (westerly fulmar) when suddenly they reared up the face of a wave and you could see daylight between their bilge keels as they flew off the top ! The film is on VHS and I must find a way to put it onto Youtube as it is very dramatic.

Hope that others can share any experiences, it is one of the pleasures for me to go through places where the tide is interesting - even get a thrill making 10+ knots SOG at the top of the Sound of Luing with the sea boiling all around :)
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby aquaplane » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:47 am

I took my son and his partner through Cuan last Friday thinking it would be interesting for them, it always has been for me. I expected swirly bits, upwellings, a surge past Cliet rock you know the sort of thing. There was nothing. I know it was just as the tide turned and near neaps but it was the most boring passage I have ever had through there.

The same happened the following day when we went South through Fladda, we got there early and actually sailed against the flood and the SOG only dropped to 3.5Kts. The fabled flush south on the tide with mega SOG figures just didn't happen.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby Storyline » Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:27 am

Also had a disappointing trip past Fladda a couple of weeks ago. If possible, we always try to transit with peak flow for maximum swirlyness but this time we were going south with a one hour old ebb. The tide must turn first further down the sound because there was little or no flow between the lighthouses but a good half mile or so further south the water starting its boiling and the SOG picked up.

As we were not in a rush and there was very little wind we drifted south with the current. I was expecting something more intersting at Dorus Mor as our arrival was nearly three hours after the tide change but there was nothing - just some mild upswelling.

As a matter of interest does anyone know more about the tidal flow at the Dorus, in particular how to get through against the tide ? The reason I ask is that at the back end of last season we were coming back to Ardfern from the north but the tide was flooding. Arriving at Dorus our speed dropped to zero on the gps even at full revs (little wind), we may have even been going backwards at some point. I was not sure which shore to hug (Craignish or the island) so just zigzagged and eventually got through.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby claymore » Sun Jun 15, 2014 5:48 pm

Going East against the tide, keep well in to the left where there is a bay - the back eddy there will push you through nicely and then there is just a ferry glide across the main current as it comes off the point. That's a bit of a grunt but it does work.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby mm5aho » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:17 pm

How about getting through the Corryvreckan against the tide - is that possible?

There's a nice beach in a deep bay on the north west side of Jura, just west of the corryvreckan that seems good to wait for the tide, but is it possible to sneak along the shore against the tide?
I've only been through at slack or with a tide, never against it. Is it possible?

I have done the Cuan sound against the tide (engine) by sneaking along the bank, but Corryvreckan?
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby wully » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:20 pm

mm5aho wrote:How about getting through the Corryvreckan against the tide - is that possible?
eems good to wait
There's a nice beach in a deep bay on the north west side of Jura, just west of the corryvreckan that seems good to wait for the tide, but is it possible to sneak along the shore against the tide?
I've only been through at slack or with a tide, never against it. Is it possible?

I have done the Cuan sound against the tide (engine) by sneaking along the bank, but Corryvreckan?


It is possible, I used to know a clam diver who often did this- he knew all the eddies and had a shallow draught boat that could manage about 6 knots on a good day.

I know a few folk who've swam across it too.

It's not something I'd try.

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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby Storyline » Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:09 pm

claymore wrote:Going East against the tide, keep well in to the left where there is a bay - the back eddy there will push you through nicely and then there is just a ferry glide across the main current as it comes off the point. That's a bit of a grunt but it does work.

Thanks - I thought of going into that bay and hugging the Craignish shore - will try it next time we have to fight the tide getting back to Ardfern.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby pagoda » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:22 am

Not as local as usual, but truly a surreal tidal experience.

We're in SW Norway this summer, and visited friends near Randaberg (by Stavanger) about a week ago. We were given rough directions to a small pier near Dusavik, and lo and behold the pierhead was empty, except for a small motor boat at one end.
We trickled in to the pier very gently, seeing water below the keel disappear until we had 10-20cm left :shock: It was flat calm - and protected from wash & weather, so I tied up temporarily and decided to check the tide table in detail. We had come in at low water, and the rise for the coming night was all of another 20cm!

Bottom in this part of the world is usually granite or gneiss, so bumping it would be no fun at all. (Memories of planting our keel in Girvan Harbour -soft as putty- no issues)
I got out a length of cord and a fishing weight and checked the actual water depth round the boat. No more than 10cm clear!
However, given the very quiet weather, we stayed put, and all was well.
It's remarkably tricky to anchor in any useful way over here. Generally 10-12m is considered OK for depth , and holding is a bit iffy.

I think any Scandinavians in the UK really must have their work cut out for them coping with our tides, and the lack of municipal harbour facilities.

Graeme...

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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby mm5aho » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:02 pm

Today I tried the Corryvreckan against the tide. It is possible. It was pretty calm on sth side, but overfalls nth. We sailed in from w loch Tarbert, and just managed through, tho some period of zero speed over ground. There's a useful back eddy on Jura coast for a bit. Then proceeded through last of flood thru dorus. All that after going to top end of loch Tarbert, all in all anice day.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby Storyline » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:12 am

mm5aho wrote: .....
All that after going to top end of loch Tarbert, all in all anice day.


Right to the top pool ?
Did it once but did not fancy anchoring there as it shelves steeply so stopped in the pool before it - lovely spot full of (impossible to catch) salmon.
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Re: Tales of tidal weirdness

Postby mm5aho » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:39 pm

Now at Oban.
We did not anchor in the top pool, just went in for a look. Deep hole surrounded by mud by looks of it. But there was a yacht anchored there overnight. Muddy hook they said.
Antares charts very useful in there, and also used in Ardinarmar.
Now at Oban listening to a pump keeping a yacht afloat. Heard that they hit a rock and damaged keel. Whatever, its leaking severely, but saved by look of it. That 2" hose is sure flowing though.
Geoff.
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