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.

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