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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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Milebuilding opportunity.

November 18th, 2009 alison

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As the sailing season draws to a close for most it is probably time to think about how to make the most of our time on the water next year.

Between Saturday 10th April and Sunday 18th April 2010 why not joinCharter For You on a trip from Kip Marina to Badachro, Gairloch (North of Skye). Aboard “Iona“, our Bavaria 39, it’s the perfect opportunity to gain 250+ miles and Yachtmaster qualifying passages all while experiencing the fantastic sailing waters and beautiful scenery that Scotland has to offer.

Leaving Kip on the Saturday afternoon for the short sail to Lamlash lets you get familiar with the boat before the real milebuilding begins. All stops are, of course, weather dependent, but Gigha, Islay, Oban, Loch Aline, Tobermory, Arisaig, Mallaig, Plockton and Applecross are all possibilities. Arriving at Badachro no later than the next Saturday evening you have plenty of time to make your homeward journey on the Sunday.

Places cost £550 and include all meals on board, berthing, fuel and transport from Badachro to Inverness where there are good connections to Glasgow and elsewhere.

For more information on the trip contact Charter For You using the contact us button, or call 01475 528 825.

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 5)

November 2nd, 2009 alison

Read Part 4

We got up early to catch the tide down the Sound of Mull and make our way to Kerrera for some crew changes. Being close to Oban it has good transport connections and also gave us the opportunity to have a meal ashore in one of the restaurants on the North Pier.

The next day after the crew change over and some provisioning we carried on our way to Puilladobhrain where we were going to anchor for the night. Being not much more than an hours sail from Oban it makes a good stop if you can’t leave until after lunch. There was limited space there as 15 boats were already anchored, but we found a gap and enjoyed what remained of the sun while watching a seal play around the boats in the hope he would get lucky with some food.

Evening at Puilladobhrain

Sunset at Puilladobhrain

The next part of the trip was going to take us south again, although when we left Puilladobhrain we hadn’t actually decided where we were going to stop. We left early and passed Insh Island, Easdale, and retraced our steps through the Cuan Sound. We had decided we wanted a mooring or a berth rather than anchoring and that gave us options of Kilmelford Harbour and Pier, Kilmelford Yacht Haven, Craobh Marina or Crinan boatyard. After deciding that Loch Melfort would probably be more peaceful than Crinan boatyard we headed there and picked up a mooring at Kilmelford Harbour and Pier, just in time to inflate the dinghy before lunch, and to spend a leisurely afternoon on shore.

Fishing boat on the beach at Loch Melfort

Fishing boat on the beach at Loch Melfort

The final part of our trip was to take us to Ardfern where we were leaving the boat. As we got ready to leave the wind picked up and we had one of the best sails of the trip down Loch Shuna, through the Dorus Mor and up Loch Craignish, avoiding the lobster pots as we went. We were tied up in the marina about 4 and a half hours later and cleaned up the boat and ourselves before we treated ourselves to a final night dinner in the Galley of Lorne.

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 4)

October 29th, 2009 alison

Read Part 3

Time for reflection - Loch Drumbuie

Loch Drumbuie

At half 11 we upped anchor and left Loch Aline. We were headed for Loch Drumbuie (Loch na Droma Buidhe), and as we entered the Sound of Mull we put up the mainsail and drifted downwind towards our destination, enjoying a cuppa enroute. At half 1 we were off the entrance to Loch Sunart and being careful to avoid both Little and Big Stirk we turned to see the entrance of Loch Drumbuie ahead of us. We dropped the sail, motored through the gap, wary of the underwater rock just inside the entrance. After deciding on the traditional spot just to the right of the entrance where only 2 other yachts were anchored, we dropped the hook in 6 metres. With the anchor holding first time we settled to a leisurely lunch and kept an eye on whether or not we were going to drag, as the wind was funnelling through the loch and making us swing about quite a bit. There are numerous options for places to anchor in Loch Drumbuie and as the afternoon progressed more boats arrived with another couple anchoring close to us, many up the head of the loch, and the Glen Massan anchoring on the opposite side (near where the fish farm used to be). The weather was warm despite the funnelling wind, and some children off one of the other boats had gone in swimming, but wetsuits were required!

The next morning we were up early and travelling the 5 miles to Tobermory. We thought we would try to meet up with the West Higland Week fleet and enjoy some of the fun of the regatta. At 10.15 we raised the anchor and headed out into a southeasterly 20kt breeze. However, we had no plans to sail for this short hop as the main aim was to get into Tobermory before the race boats and hopefully get a pontoon berth before they were filled.

As the forecasts had been for windy weather we found Tobermory a little busier than expected, with many cruising boats sitting out the worst of the weather, and only one space left on the pontoons. We made use of the new facilties at the harbour and then sat and waited for the pandemonium to begin. As the racing fleet arrived numerous boats came over to try and get a space on the pontoon, only to be turned away by the harbourmaster after a lucky few had been allowed to raft off. The rest had to go and use the moorings, or anchor around the edges of Tobermory Bay, but it didn’t stop them making it to dry land for the evenings entertainment and the Mishnish and Macgochans were bursting at the seams.

A busy Tobermory about to get busier when the West Highland Week fleet arrives         Tobermory about to get busier

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 3)

October 26th, 2009 alison

Read Part 2

The next day we had planned to head to Oban and try to sneak into Kerrera to berth while all the West Highland Week fleet was out racing. However, we had a change of plan and decided to head for Loch Aline instead where we could spend the night at anchor. Having spent the first part of our holidays in marinas and canals we were looking forward to the change.

We left Craobh and headed for the Cuan Sound, a picturesque narrow channel between the islands of Seil and Luing. We passed by Easdale and headed up the Sound of Luing aiming for the Sound of Mull. There was quite a breeze once we got into the open water and having started with one reef in the main and a well reefed genoa we decided we’d be more comfortable with a second reef and further tested our single line reefing (a pleasant change from the  slab reefing which we were used to!).  Feeling more under control we headed again towards the Sound of Mull passing Insh Island to  starboard, and the entrance of Loch Spelve to port. Just as we were reaching Lady Rock we saw the lead boats in the West Highland Week fleet heading past Lismore Light in the Round Lismore Race. This year they had gone anti-clockwise around Lismore Island. Following close on their heels was the rest of the fleet. Being used to being part of the fleet I hadn’t realised how spectacular it could look, and seeing all the yachts reaching along the island side by side was really fantastic.

West Highland Week fleet off Lismore Light

West Highland Week passes Lismore Light

We carried on up the Sound of Mull passing Glas Eilean to port and as we got closer to Loch Aline’s entrance rolled away the genoa, sailing through the entrance under the power of the main. You need to keep an eye on the ferry leaving Loch Aline as the entrance is quite narrow and meeting the ferry on its way out would have made it feel very tight for space. We dropped the main once inside the loch, decided where to anchor, and tested the windlass for the first time this trip. Anchored in 9m just into south of the entrance we found ourselves nicely sheltered from the southerly winds forecast, and although another 5 or 6 boats joined us throughout the rest of the day it remained peaceful. The plan for the next part was to head for Loch Drumbuie, and then to make the short hop to Tobermory to join in some of the shoreside festivities that accompany West Highland Week.

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The great “Dileas” adventure… (Part 2)

October 23rd, 2009 alison

Read Part 1.

The rain from the previous day had gone when we got up, but it didn’t seem far away. We decided to stay above the canal basin and watch all the boats head through the locks - and as the fleet was heading through for West Highland Week there was almost guaranteed to be some entertainment…

As we had our morning coffee the bottleneck began and we were glad to be tucked in out the way against the wall.

A busier Crinan Canal

Crinan bottleneck

As most of the yachts were heading North through the Dorus Mor most had to be away by lunchtime, and with the bottleneck over we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon and evening with coffee and cake outside the Crinan coffee shop, and later some drinks in the Crinan Hotel bar.

Sunday started a bit sunnier, but with strong winds forecast we decided just to head to Craobh marina, which gave us the option of heading to Oban the next day if the forecast was still for strong winds. We thought we might have seen some of the West Highland Week fleet racing from Craobh to Oban, but we were just a bit too late and just caught the tail end of the fleet rounding the bottom of Shuna, heading up the Sound of Luing and past Fladda Light.

As the weather was nice we extended our sail and went past Craobh, into Loch Melfort to investigate the anchorages and moorings there. Then it was back to Craobh to settle for the evening and enjoy the fabulous sunset.

Berthed at Craobh Marina

"Dileas", and the Craobh sunset

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Updates to Photo Album page

October 20th, 2009 alison

Puilladobhrain's entrance

Check out our updated Cruising Scotland 2009 photo album, and our album of a daytrip on the PS Waverley.

Part 2 of The Great “Dileas” adventure coming soon

Read Part 1 here

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The recipe for Langoustines « a la Tara » (best in the world)

October 7th, 2009 alison

Large langoustines

Large langoustines

Go to Coll. Moor in the Arinagour sound, as close as possible from the jetty (less swell and less rowing, please don’t use the engine on your tender…) Have a walk on this beautiful island. Get fresh bread. Get back to your boat and start boiling a large quantity of sea water. By 3 pm if the sea is rough, and by 4 pm if the sea is fair, look for a blue fishing boat. When it’s heading for the jetty, call him and ask for large size langoustine (they are the biggest we have ever see…). Plunge them into boiling water (yes, it’s the tough part of it, especially for them…). Count 2 minutes when water boils again. Remove from water and let cool for half an hour. It’s time for drinks. Then eat with bread and butter with salt, and a bottle of muscadet, while looking at the sunset over the mooring.

There is no restaurant in the world that can serve you a better meal.

Langoustines

Langoustines

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Tara in the Lochs

September 30th, 2009 alison

The magic of the lochs south of cap Wrath

Loch Laxford

Loch Laxford

Tara (known in some places as “TheYellow Boat”…) was lucky enough to sail from Kip to the Orkney’s and back during July/August 09. This was one of the most enjoyable area she has been cruising. The part of the cruise we all remember the most was the week sailing in the lochs just south of cap Wrath (Laxford, Bervie, Badcall, Nedd…): not only the scenery is moving and impressive, but during one week, we saw only one other sailboat: non need to go to Patagonia …go to cap Wrath ! While leaving our mooring early in the morning in the extreme end of loch Laxford, we ear a bell in the profound silence: it’s John Ridgway shaking his harm from his house on top of the hill overhanging his “English Rose” …this is only in north Scotland !

English Rose

English Rose

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Fabulous Milebuilding Opportunity!

September 24th, 2009 alison

p5110019-1

As the sailing season draws to a close for most it is probably time to think about how to make the most of our time on the water next year.

Between Saturday 10th April and Sunday 18th April 2010 why not join Charter For You on a trip from Kip Marina to Badachro, Gairloch (North of Skye). Aboard “Iona“, our Bavaria 39, it’s the perfect opportunity to gain 250+ miles and Yachtmaster qualifying passages all while experiencing the fantastic sailing waters and beautiful scenery that Scotland has to offer.

Leaving Kip on the Saturday afternoon for the short sail to Lamlash lets you get familiar with the boat before the real milebuilding begins. All stops are, of course, weather dependent, but Gigha, Islay, Oban, Loch Aline, Tobermory, Arisaig, Mallaig, Plockton and Applecross are all possibilities. Arriving at Badachro no later than the next Saturday evening you have plenty of time to make your homeward journey on the Sunday.

Places cost £550 and include all meals on board, berthing, fuel and transport from Badachro to Inverness where there are good connections to Glasgow and elsewhere.

For more information on the trip contact Charter For You using the contact us button, or call 01475 528 825.

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The great “Dileas” adventure…

September 10th, 2009 alison

Departure day of the great “Dileas” adventure dawned with rainy weather on the horizon, and we hoped it would improve. We loaded all our kit and food onto the boat between the showers and eventually left Kip (3 hours later than planned!). Thankfully by that time the rain had stopped and we headed for Portavadie. With the wind on the nose and our late departure we decided we would break ourselves gently into our holiday and just motor towards the Kyles of Bute. We passed Toward and Rothesay and headed towards the East Kyle. As we passed Ardmaleish Cardinal the wind was at a better angle for sailing but it was quite light and, as we had to be at Portavadie before the entrance shut at 9pm, we kept motoring. We waved as we passed the Maids of Bute to make sure they would see us safely on the rest of our journey, and we took note of their apparel to forecast the weather for the rest of our holiday. With one dressed in a polka-dot sundress and the other in a macintosh and sowester hat it appeared that they were hedging their bets. Little did we know they were actually deadly accurate and for the rest of our trip it rained every second day. Thankfully on the other days there was usually glorious sunshine which gave us the chance to dry out!

We continued our journey passing Tighnabruaich and Kames before rounding Ardlamont Point and heading for Sgat Mor. The island never seemed to get any closer, but eventually we passed it and made it into Portavadie with 10 minutes to go before the entrance closed. After a late dinner on board we settled for the night in preparation for our canal trip the next day.

Friday began with some sunshine. We left our berth in Portavadie after making use of the showers, hairdryers and hairstraighteners!!, and headed for the Crinan Canal. The wind was from the south so we pulled out the headsail and surfed our way up Loch Fyne to Ardrishaig, and made it into the sealock two hours later. The forecast weather which had stopped us going round the Mull of Kintyre was starting to make an appearance, and as the sealock rose we measured 40kts of wind frequently gusting. Some of the boats in the West Highland Week feeder race from Inverkip to Ardrishaig were surfing their way up the loch as we entered the canal, and we were glad we had made it in before them when we saw how overpowered some of them looked, and some of the extreme berthing manouevres which were going on at the pontoon before the lock.

We managed to work our way through the whole canal, past Cairnbaan, Oakfield Bridge and Bellanoch before arriving at Crinan about 7pm and tying up before the lock which led into the basin. Unfortunately the rain had come on just as we arrived at the canal and it stayed on for the rest of the day. We had never been quite so wet and decided that as the forecast for the next day was still quite windy and wet we would possibly stay in the canal for a day and watch all the boats going through.

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