Wet Wet Wet, and fast

It was Wet Wet Wet as I left Ardfern on Saturday morning. There was a heavy mist and torrential rain. I couldn’t see the breakwater from the berth. There was a centimetre of water int he bottom of the cockpit, and it drains directly to the back!

I had a great evening in Ardfern, dinner at Galley of Lorne was tasty. I had chowder, then fried fish. When last I ate there in 2019 it was less than ideal but the quality of the food was very good and I had a pleasant meal. I met the folks who bought Corrie House with their cute spaniels and spoke with the staff and some local folks too.

Lucy’s was doing takeaway on the Friday night and I saw some folks eating the pizzas and they too looked ideal. Must keep that in mind for future visits.

Back to the boat and I slept like a log! I awake a couple of times to the geese on the breakwater island having a gas. But got a good 10 hour sleep and felt good for it Saturday morning.

The Boat Jumble was busy, but wet. I didn’t stay long and decided just to sail back to Croabh. Well, that isn’t totally true. On departure my plan was to sail for Torsa and anchor there overnight but that changed not long after departure.

I shortened and prepped and was ready for departure just before 11am. I had worn my storm suit up to the boat jumble, yes, it was that wet. So I only had to change my shoes to my sailing wellies once on board, shorten lines, detach electricity and run departure checks before I could set off.

The wind was light from the East North East and the departure an easy one. I radioed Ardfern and thanked them for the hospitality as I departed the pontoons. Motoring out from the pontoons I raised sail and was making 7 knots down the Loch before I got tot he entrance to the Lagoon.

But by heck, it was wet! Did I mention that?

There was very little to see through the rain and mist but I was fair moving and very quickly realised I needed to shorten sail again. So I popped in a single reef on the main and a double on the foresail and that seemed to balance her for the gusts but left her a little underpowered on the static wind. But I never dropped below 6 knots the whole trip, so cannot complain at all.

The wind forecast had been for 6-12 mph. The lowest I remember seeing on the way down the Loch was 12 and the highest gust was 18mph. As I approached Dorus Mor, the tide picked up and I did 9.5 knots through the passage and was spat out northbound.

Almost as soon as I was through there was a significant lull in the wind and in associated increase in the rain. We are now talking torrential downpour! So I popped the washboard in to keep the cabin dry (more open why that didn’t work later) and started heading north at 4.5 knots.

Within fifteen minutes I was flying again at over 7 knots with a 22 mph westerly driving me on a near perfect reach northbound towards Croabh. With the low visibility and the rain forecast to continue well into the night I perceived anchoring at Torsa to be useless; I wouldn’t get to see anything. So I rerouted for Craobh. I had two plans now for getting into Croabh.

  1. I needed diesel anyway so I would go alongside the diesel jetty, get filled up and then ask for help with lines into my berth, or
  2. Go nose into my berth directly.

The sail up was fine. It was fast moving and the only thing I actually saw was the wee white and blue creel fisherman who I spotted about 50m off my bow and sailed around. Before I got to the island under sail I had dropped the main and was fore reaching on a single reefed foresail and still getting in excess of 6 knots. I had also set out the fenders and the rear fender, so all I had to do was lines and that was me.

Visibility cleared the further north I travelled and even the rain seemed to go down to just a rain storm.

As I passed the island I rolled in the foresail and then under motor alone, set the lines. Out of habit I set them for a stern in port berthing although I was thinking it would probably be bow in. All the same she was set to both sides just in case.

As I motored into the marina, the big blur catamaran as on the diesel pontoon and didn’t look as though they would be moving soon. In fact I couldn’t see anyone aboard. I was getting prepped for a bow in berthing when the gust died away totally and I was seeing 4 mph breeze from the west which is ideal for berthing. It is always a bit tighter when the catamaran is on the diesel berth but I prepped it knowing I could go right out again if a gust hit me but, first time, I was on the pontoon, stern in, and safely tied in one.

12.2 miles, 2 hours, wet wet wet!

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