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

BBQ in Loch Spelve

On a beautiful Saturday morning we set sail southbound from Craobh in light breezes and a strong tide we ended up in Loch Spelve eventually but went via Crinan. We made good progress and almost immediately were seeing seals and porpoises. Approaching the Dorus Mohr with hefty currents Misha was being swept around and with an easterly we went past further south then tacked up and in through the gap.

We were swept into the Loch at 8kn and you could see the westerly counter-current clearly as a river running through the water.

Blue skies and sailing buddies
Blue skies and sailing buddies

We had to beat into the easterly wind to get into Crinan and anchored up outside two yachts in the middle of the bay between the pier and the island.

I prepared a lunch of baked camembert with berries and blueberry compote served with crusty bread and a glass of wine. We stayed until we were sure the tide had turned and we would have the current with us through the Corryvreckan outbound.

The whole time we were swapping round with Neil, Karon and Linda getting shots on the wheel so everyone felt they had a fair share and leaving the Loch Neil was on the helm most of the time with Karon taking it just as we went into the Corryvreckan.

As we passed through at a good 9kn on the start of the westerly tide a pod of porpoise were fishing nearby and they had two very small juvenile with them. One of which still had a pink underside they were so small.

Porpoise in the Corryvreckan

We sailed out towards Garvellachs but then headed north before we got within shooting distance and replanned due to the lighter winds. A bit of tide calculations later and we were heading into Loch Spelve.

We anchored up in the NE corner and initially the wind was a bit stronger but soon settled and I set up the BBQ. Dinner was burgers and bratwurst with salads and boiled corn on the cobb. As dinner was cooking there was an otter swimming about us and fishing for a total of 45 mins. His torpedo surfacing was of particular note! No photos though so ‘it didn’t happen”!

Misha’s calorifier (hot water ‘boiler’) decided to throw a wobbly! The water was flowing out the emergency pressure relief valve and we didn’t notice until it had emptied the whole forward tank into the bilge. Thankfully the bilge is very clean so we were able to just pump out using the bilge pump without fear of contaminating the Loch. It also meant we had no hot water and when we used the water pump at all it was sending our second tank into the bilge too.

We had a lovely early night, slept well and grabbed the 09:30 tide out of the Lock in the morning heading back to Croabh. A good sail was enjoyed and we got all the way back to Loch Shona under sail including a fair trott with the tide through Cuan.

Back at the marina, I worked out the calorifier is knackered and have ordered a new one. Which replaces next weekends sailing trip with a bit of marine DIY.

Craobh Marint to Crinan

Crinan to Loch Spelve

Loch Spelve to Craobh Marina

Total 52miles over 10 hours sailing.

Lochaline and a Storm

Linda and I headed up to the boat late on Friday and, as usual, had dinner in Lord of the Isles and then an early night upon Misha. We knew that the forecast was for wet weather all weekend and also that there was a blow forecast late on Sunday but we planned on visiting Richard and Marie-Ann of Gabriella up in Lochaline. So, after a short long lie till 9am, on Saturday morning we filled up the water and headed out towards the Sound of Mull.

I would like to say that the breeze was constant but it wasn’t. It was up and down and down and up all the way there. That said, we had a good trip enjoying seeing eagles, dolphins (far away) and seals. We timed Cuan well and swept through on a nice tide. With full sail set we made a decent 5 kn out past Easdale and northward up the Sound of Lorne. However the wind started fluking and we ended up on motor on and off all the way up into the Sound of Mull.

We arrived in the NE corner of Lochaline about 15:30 and met up with our friends. I cooked a meal of Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetables, and Marie-Ann brought a ginger crepe-cake and some lovely wines. We had a cracking evening with them then an early night as we planned on a 04:30 departure on Sunday.

I got up with the alarm on Sunday morning at 04:15 and I immediately noticed there was more wind than forecast at this time. The forecast predicted 3-5 mph until around 11am which it would increase up to gusts of 35mph in the afternoon. As I motored towards the mouth of Lochaline I was recording 18mph on my (frankly dodgy) anemometer.

Out in the Sound, with Linda now awake and by my side, I was very glad I had rigged up fully reefed as we were experiencing 23mph with stronger gusts. All the way round the Sound of Mull we made great speed while fully reefed with reported Speed Over Ground in excess of 8kn.

In fact as we rounded the Easdale Point we were doing 9kn and had a 35mph gust with 1.5-2m waves.

We were safe and tied up in Craobh before 9am and no worse for wear!

Circa 50 miles over the two days.

Loch Drumbuidh

There are strong winds forecast again for tonight but in the early morning we could see the forecasts changing. We decided to go for it anyway. Loch Drumbuidh is a hurricane hole anyway so it’s a good place to sit it out. At least some of the forecasts were suggesting northerlies at least for part of the night so we didn’t fancy hanging on in Tobermory.

It was pouring all morning. We heard there was even flooding around the town. We had showers, met an otter in the marina and grabbed a few bits of extra food to cover us for the next few days.

It was an easy trip over to the loch. We did a quick survey in 25 mph winds and then anchored in the NE corner in 7m with good leeway in every direction as there is at least a chance of every angle of wind overnight.

Hot chocolates warmed us up. We watched crappy TV and I answered some work emails. The rain keeps coming down and the heater is on and warming the boat up.

Plan is to start south tomorrow and get as far south as we can tomorrow evening.

Kinloch to Tobermory

The weather forecasts were suggesting a ‘weather bomb’ with 30mbar drop in an hour and gale force winds twice in twelve hours. We decided to head into Tobermory and sit it out there. It was interesting, there were changes to the forecast every half hour all day but consistently there were gales coming through from the East. They didn’t happen but we had fun on Tobermory.

We bought whisky. In Mishnish we met the same Doncastrian couple that Martin and I chatted with last September. We ate at Cafe Fish. Linda had Halibut, I had seafood Mac n Cheese. We then went back to McGochans for one and bumped into Kirsty and Chris again.

Then we had a really good night’s sleep. The gales never really materialised. It got up to mid-20s only.

Mallaig to Kinloch, Rum

We had a fun time in Mallaig and enjoyed ourselves. On Easter Monday at around 08:30 we headed out of the harbour and sailed west towards Rum past the southern headland of Skye. It was pretty blowy with gust over 30mph and a weird cross chop that seemed to be coming from everywhere!

The sail over was uneventful and reasonably fun. It stayed dryer than we expected and we were over on Rum in a straight line in 2.5 hours.

We took one of the new visitor’s moorings provided by Rum Bunkhouse. They are big yellow buoys with heavy gauge pick up lines and gave us an excellent night’s sleep.

Late on, another yacht came in, then two MOWI boats moored up in the north of the bay.

We slept like logs.

15 miles 2.6 hours

Mallaig to Isle of Rum

After Easter Sunday off we were up for another sail. The whole of Sunday the weather forecast had been changing with storms moving around, disappearing and popping up. When we planned on Sunday night a sail across to Isle of Rum would be wet but 12-17 mile an hour winds from the south-west.

On Monday morning, it was then forecasting 15-22 mph winds from the south Bering south west around 11-12 noon.

The actual was a base wind around 20 mph with gists all the way up to 32 mph and 35 while we were mooring up.

The sail was a bit rough but we had rigged with a double reef in the main and an extra reefed foresail so it was under control the whole way but we did have waves coming over the bow and foredeck and even significant waves splashing into the cockpit.

The moorings at Kinloch are great; big yellow hippos with stout strops and pick-up buoys. As the wind picked up I managed to loose the blue boathook over the side. I had the rope-chain-rope prepared but we didn’t need it as the strop was so good. Tied up we went inside and had soup for brunch. 

There is a reason I prefer anchoring to mooring in Misha. There is no way to remove the anchor from the bow stem and the mooring strop always knocks against the anchor when the wind gets up. I have roped the mooring strop to the bow stem to reduce swinging but the anchor banging is annoying.

16 miles, 2.5 hours

Tobermory to Mallaig

Saturday 8th April we woke up with the alarm at 05:30 and were off the pontoon with the navigation lights pre-dawn at 06;00.

Off the pontoon we stowed the dock-gear then raised sail with a single reef. 

The dawn was just starting to lighten the north eastern sky as we sailed out of the bay and Ambience cruise liner motored towards us passing the Tobermory lighthouse. 

With the sun peaking over the hills of Ardnamirchan and Morvern we sailed out of the north of the sound into an increasing wind. Before we got to the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse we were on a double reefed main with an extra reefed foresail and still showing in excess of 9 knots over ground as we passed Santa Bay.

It was described as a bit of a sleigh ride as we flew northbound and passing Bo Faskdale we had consistent speed in excess of 8 knots.

Ambiance in the pre-dawn light.

We made it all the way into Mallaig under wind and in the whole day had used less than 30 mins of engine time.

We arrived in Mallaig at 11am and went shopping at the German Bakery, the pharmacy and the Coop (again t=for things we had forgotten)! 

There was a large seal who was being fed by the fisherman from Girl Aimee and she posed for photographs afterwards. Her name is Annabelle!

Dinner was pizzas from the Old Pier Bakehouse and they were great. Linda had goats cheese and I had venison pizza; a first for me. The pizzas were really great and we were soon in bed.

Easter Sunday was forecast to be wet with high winds all day so we had a day in Port. Of course it was dry, blue skied, and the winds didn’t turn up till very late in the afternoon.

We had showers in the marine centre and they were great. Only problem was the temperature of the water was too hot!

We had Charlie Bingham,’s Thai Green Chicken Curry for dinner and then went for an after dinner walk in the pleasant evening with only a light blow happening finding the Clachaign Inn at the hill very accommodating. We would certainly try the food there in the future.

33miles in 5 hours