Mull of Kintyre

After a long week of heavy and light multiple works at Ardfern Misha was set to go. Last week had her HydroVane fitted by Ardfern Yacht Centre Workshop and I worked on a variety of projects in the evenings including the Anemometer Display (and the cabling of the anemometer itself), the StarLink installation, mood lighting, tidying various items and trying to get the binnacle’s chart plotter working again. Everything completed successfully except the chart plotter.

The HydroVane installation completed on Tuesday afternoon and I spent Tuesday evening working on my own projects before heading home early Wednesday to a series of conference calls. Thursday again saw a pile of work commitments before returning to Falkirk with James to meet Gavin and collect Linda and head up the road to Ardfern.

We arrived up at Misha and got everything on board about 21:30. The boat looked brilliant sitting on the Workshop Slip and we had a quick drink, a chat, a bit of weather planning and headed to bed early for an early start in the morning.

Friday 26th April – Ardfern to Sanda

Alarms were set for 05:30, ropes off at 6am. Gavin sorted a bin run, extra ropes and kit. James sorted the water top up and a few additional bits and by 06:00 we dropped the lines and headed out into Loch Craignish. There wasn’t a puff of wind but he sky was blue and so were my lips it was so cold!

We headed down Loch Craignish and past the Doris More and Crinan and into the Sound of Jura. Speeds fluctuated from 6kn to 8kn all the way down to the MacCormaig Islands. The wind was non-existent and the beautiful new HydroVane sat as a very pretty piece of modern art on the back of the boat. I did note that the rudder was fractionally offset maybe about 4 degrees, so I released it and that reduced the ‘weather helm’.

Ok, I’ve got to admit it! My plans were out of the window right away! We were passing Gigha at lunchtime when I expected to be approaching the Kintyre Lighthouse at 19:00. The assistance from the current on the Sound and the extra speed from Misha’s clean bum was firing us along at rocket speed.

Breakfast had been Eggs Dr Seuss, Lunch was Insalate Capresse. We eat well on Misha! Of course there was lashings of tea and coffee throughout the day.

We were approaching the Lighthouse at the Mull of Kintyre at 2pm rather than the 7pm that I had planned. A few yachts were coming round East to West as we were approaching the west. As we passed the Lighthouse we could see loads of gannets diving at the corner and as we approached we spent an hour surrounded by seals surfing, gannets diving and 2m Atlantic Swell. I did an old trick as we were heading around West to East against the tide. I stuck close to the coast of the Mull. Targeting 5m but having to move out a bit from some of the rocks and reefs.

We had a clear view of Northern Ireland and as we turned East across the Mull of Kintyre we had a clear view to Sanda. One motor boat overtook us as we were doing 2kn into the tide. It took a while but we got to Sanda around 17:30. That was about three and a half hours earlier than planned despite getting round the Mull against the tide.

Dinner was a Chicken Mediterranean Casserole with baked potatoes and a lovely deep red wine. We anchored at Sanda Roads with two other vessels who were there when we arrived and an additional one who arrived around 21:30 and left before I awoke in the morning. We watched CaddyShack on the iPad and had a good laugh. Sunset was beautiful! Ardfern to Sanda Roads: 63.4 nm, 11.5hr

Saturday 27 April: Sanda to Ormadale

We set the alarms for 07:30 with a planned lift at 08:30 and we did exactly as planned. Gavin and I lifted the anchor, James was on the helm and we headed out towards the Mull of Kintyre again. The boat that had anchored late had departed before I awoke and we headed north out of the anchorage, bending NW and rounding the SE corner of the Mull of Kintyre and into the Kilbrannan Sound in blue skies and less than no wind.

I made us a breakfast of BLT sandwiches and lashings of tea and coffee. and we headed north. Once again the miles rolled by quickly in brought blue skies but cold airs and not a puff of wind. Campbelltown was piped by with Campbelltown Loch blasting out on the speakers. Carradale slipped passed almost unnoticed and we were at Lochranza before we noticed it.

Lunch was a tuna or pastrami beef salad and passing into the West Kyle we cracked open drinkies.

We will be back at Lochranza next weekend se we whooshed by. I will admit our plans weren’t set until we passed Lochranza but we committed for Armadale and visiting our mooring for the night.

I kind of lost the West Kyle as we left the north coast of Arran and had to resort to charts (been a while since I was here).

We headed up the West Kyle taking turns on watch while Ellen (autopilot) did the hard work. I had cleaned it deeply by taking it all apart in Ardfern and rebuilding it and for the first time ever it wasn’t squeaking.

Approaching Kames there was slight breeze and we quickly rigged the foresail and got the HydroVane working. it worked perfectly first time and we had 17 minutes sailing before the wind disappeared again.

Northbound took us past the narrows and to Ormadale. It took us a minute to find our mooring but we heeded it first time (of course at that moment there was a puff of wind) and got settled.

We had our mooring serviced recently and the new mooring is excellent. It is well named ‘Misha’ and is my favourite type; big mooring with a shackle on top through which we can loop our mooring strop.

Dinner was lasagne and garlic bread washed down with a fine Repasso before we retired downstairs for Local Hero and we started Whisky Galore before eI departed for bed leaving James and Gavin to nightcaps.

Sanda to Ormadale 44.6nm, 7.5 hours

Sunday 28 April, Ormadale to Kip Marina

Again we had 07:30 alarm with 08:30 departure. Breakfast was Eggs Dr Seuess with extra bacon and lashings of toast, coffee and OJ. James took us off the mooring with Linda managing removal of the morning strop for the first time. We headed towards Cladah and into the Narrows before Gavin took over at Colintrive.

I was a little nervous about arriving at Kip but everything went well and we dieseled up then headed to our allocated mooring and cleaned the filled the boat for the next trip. James did water, we cleaned the solar and got her settled for the next trip.

Andrea collected us and James drove us back to Falkirk where Gavin departed.

Another awesome trip on Misha!

Ormadale to Kip Marina, 14.9 Miles, 3 hours.

Ardfern Workshop

Friday 19th April saw us back up at Misha in light airs and a few more boat-jobs needing done. After the deep cleans she had a couple of weekends ago she was looking really great. The decks and white-work have all come up brilliantly and gleam in the spring sunshine.

Saturday morning saw us drive around to Ardfern and leave Chelsea there then march over the hill back to Craobh Haven. It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine, shades required, and light breezes, really light!

The walk was beautiful and Linda got photos of some beautiful flowers growing wild at the side of the road. The primroses were in full bloom and bright yellow. On the way into Craobh we visited the Stables which I had never done before and met a couple of their horses relaxing in their stalls before heading back to see Sue.

Sue has arranged a berth swap with Kip allowing us to use a berth at Kip for an Admin fee of £100 a month so we will have a berth in the Clyde for May! This will help with the logistics of arrival on the Clyde and also on and off for the Arran trip!

Next, we jumped on Misha and motored her round to Ardfern. The breezes were under 5mph and didn’t even stretch the sails but I insisted on popping them up for a while. We arrived early at the Dorus Mor but managed to sneak in running the northern eddies and set up Loch Craignish.

The anemometer works perfectly for speed and direction, but as I hadn’t fixed the gauge into the binnacle, we could only see it on our phones. It was nice to have an anemometer which tells us the wind speed rather than a random number between 0 and 42 though!

Arriving in Ardfern we slipped in the south entrance and came into the Workshop Berth. James was there to catch lines and we reversed her in perfectly. By this time it was 16:00 so we jumped right back in the car and drover home.

On Sunday evening I drove back to Adfern and brought loads more tools and materials with me. I had always planned on staying on the boat while they did the HydroVane install. However my week was full of conference calls with some of them looking quite hefty!

Sunday evening I had half a chicken and leek pie with some scalloped potatoes and veg gratin. I then set about ‘plumbing in’ the new LED mood lighting on the starboard bulwark.

Monday started early with prep for calls and a breakfast of muesli and yoghurt and lashings of coffee. The Workshop staff arrived for work at 7am and were already working on Misha at 8am.

First the fixed the pads that back the arch onto the deck structure and then they were onto the HydroVane. They worked while I was on calls all day and were in and out of the starboard cabin throughout. When I finished my call at 16:00 I went to see them and they were finishing off for the day. The fixings were in place and there was plastic pipe pretending to be the stainless structure.

When I finished work I had a dinner of the other half the pie and scalloped potatoes from Sunday night then prepped and touched up all the old gelcoat scrapes, chips and cracks that I hadn’t done since I bought her. I only missed one big area and one small chip and got all the other filled and multiple layers of gelcoat on to it.

Going inside around 9pm I then started on the wind system and consolidated it all down into one board, the same as I had done with StarLink. It means the boards can be lifted in and out of the electrical compartment to work on, but are solidly built. The only thing I didn’t do was the drilling as I didn’t want to disturb folks with drills at midnight.

My Tuesday was again full of calls and I was up at 7am to start prep and breakfast. The workshop gentlemen were on Misha before 8am and piling into it. When I went out to see them after my morning calls they asked me to get off the boat for 30 mins to allow them to set the vertical correctly which I did. Lucy’s was closed but I got a drink at the shop instead and headed back by which time they had finished and I was allowed back on board.

Shortly after that I went back on my calls and was focussed for the rest of the afternoon. Emerging at 16:00 the chaps were typing up and handed me the manuals, the vane etc and suggested I would want to run through the commissioning tests. My 16:30 and 17:00 calls had been cancelled so that’s what I did and it all came out fine.

Another visit to the Chandlery then I set about fitting the wind indicator gauge to the binnacle. I started that at 18:00 and finished around 22:00. the hardest part wasn’t the carving of the navpod to take the NASA rather than the Raymarine gauge, it was lacing the Cat5 cable up from the electronics enclosure of the Nav Table to the Binnacle. I really should have done that bit when there was someone else with me but just kept leaving it.

By 22:00 I was finished outside and went inside and went back to work. I got most of my work ahead for the rest of the week by 3am and then went to bed. My head was buzzing from work and I didn’t sleep. I just lay there listening to an audiobook and the next thing the 7am alarm was going off. I had the bright idea to drive down to Falkirk after my 9am call so I prepped everything off the boat before the call and moved the car to the office car park, did my 9am call and was on the road by 09:45. I got home and on my 12:30 call in time for the first IT question at 12:45.

The whole time I had been on her, she had been using StarLink to connect and I was doing back to back Teams calls without a single interruption! It really is a game-changer for remote working from the boat. Somehow I misplaced the Garmin InReach but Im pretty confident it’s on the boat somewhere. Need to find it next time I am up!

Windy Weekend

No sailing this weekend as the storm was just silly. The new anemometer records one minute mean wind speeds (rather than gusts) but it still told the story of the weekend perfectly and it reassured us we made a wise decision.

Easter Weekend Continues

Waking up in Fishnish Bay in very wet conditions and without a puff of wind we lifted the hook and headed up to Tobermory. There was plenty of room on the pontoons and we got settled nice and easy. A few more boats were arrived shortly after us and we were expecting Sia with Cairns and Lindy later int he day.

A visit to the Distillery managed to stock up on a range of malts to backfill those gifted and drank over the winder including a very nice Port Finish and a 24 yr old to add to stock as the one I bought at the end of last season is less than half left!

We ate in Cafe Fish and went back to Sia for drinkies afterwards. Without having too much to drink I managed to twist my knee in Sia’s companionway buts left like a baby anyway.

East Sunday saw us rising early, but not as early as Cairns who had departed before I awoke, and after topping up the milk and vittles, heading off down the sound again.

We anchored in Airds Bay by Port Appin in lovely conditions and had a beautiful night in a very settled anchorage after 27 miles.

Monday saw us sail down to Easdale before the wind died on us and then motoring through the Sound of Luing and into Achnaranich Bay, one of our favourite anchorages after 28 miles.

Tuesday saw us return to Craobh and settle Misha in her new berth. With heavy winds expected from the S and East next weekend we settled her ‘bow in’ and then went about finishing the good work KA Cleaning had started. Linda sorted out inside while I did a full clean of the decks and Starbright the decks. She looked great when we finished.

Before we left, I stripped out the temporary Victron Venus installation I had put in last year when installing the Solar kit. I have a plan to print a new housing, reinstall with the later version and consolidate systems as much as possible. We were on our way home at 13:30.

2024 Baby!

First sail of the 2024 Season!

Last weekend James and I came up to Misha and we did all the ‘heavy works’ that remained including replacing the heater, changing the heater control and fuel pump, rigging the boom, hanging on sails, flushing tanks and replacing the main switch panel.

This weekend Linda and I came up late Thursday after work and went straight to bed. This morning we attacked the remaining job list including sorting running rigging, reefing lines, buttons, another flush of the tanks and collecting the outboard.

KA Cleaning had given the boat a brilliant deep clean between last weekend and this. Misha has never looked and smelled so good. It was awesome to be able to just jump on board and go! We will certainly be asking them to do it every few months this season to save me having to scrub, polish, and clean.

By about 11:40 we were ready to set off and we cast off for the first time of the 2024 season. It was a text book departure and as we raised the sail we were able to put the final bottom batten in that wouldn’t go in with the sail down. We headed out through Cuan in brilliant blue sunshine and an air temp of 10C.

Up the Sound Of Lorne we watched the ferries playing dodgems near Oban. There wasn’t a lot of sailing but we were making great speed with the tide with us nearly all the way. Having left Craobh Linda sent me below to sort bacon butties and it was then I realised I’ve forgotten the loaf and it remains enjoying its Easter Weekend at home near Falkirk.

The sun never faltered and we turned into the Sound of Mull by Duart Castle as Corusk passed us by. We went through Black Rocks at 8kn and as we came up towards Fishnish, Lochinver was kind enough to give way to use and held off before we passed on by.

We entered Fishnish Bay and anchored in 5m dropping 30m of chain and got a solid hard stay on reverse. Before we had anchored I had popped the heater on and it was already 19C in the cabin when we went inside.

Dinner tonight is Chicken Kiev, baked Portobello mushrooms, Mange Tout and tomatoes. We had a wee glass of bubbly to celebrate a brilliant first day and first anchorage of the 2024 Season.

Cooking on Misha

Today was circa 25 miles