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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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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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West Highland Yachting Week 2009

July 28th, 2009 alison
Spinnakers heading from Tobermory to Oban

Some yachts taking part in West Highland Week 2008

West Highland Yachting Week starts on Friday for those boats in the Clyde ready to make their way west. With a 9am start from outside Kip Marina the competitors will head down round Garroch Head and make their way up to Ardrishaig, ready to go through the Crinan Canal on the Saturday an dmake thier way to Craobh. Those already on the west coast may take part in a feeder race from Gigha (after some live music the night before in the Gigha Hotel) or Oban to Craobh Marina, where an evening of entertainment awaits them in the Lord of the Isles Bar and Restaurant.

On the Sunday the fleet splits into 10 classes and races to Oban. Passing Shuna,going through the Sound of Luing, leaving Easdale and Seil behind them they finish in the Sound of Kerrera and split for the night. At Oban there is a number of places where the fleet will choose to berth. Some may moor outside Oban Sailing Club, while others will tie up at Oban Marina, Kerrera, or Dunstaffnage Marina. One or two boats may even tie up alongside the North Pier, in the very centre of Oban.

The Monday and Tuesday are spent racing out of Oban, with the whole fleet racing round Lismore in an anticlockwise direction on the Monday. On the Tuesday the fleet splits in two with those yachts flying kites going round the cans in the Firth of Lorn, and those who are in the restricted sail classes sailing a set course away from any out of control spinnaker poles! The late starts will allow for a full appreciation of the social programme, with the Kerrera barn dance on the Sunday evening, a skipper’s reception, Oban Sailing Club barbecue, and “Skerryvore” in the Skipinnish celidh house on the Monday, and the Wide Mouthed Frog at Dunstaffnage getting in on the action on the Tuesday afternoon and evening with entertainment and live music.

Wednesday sees the fleet come together once more for the race to Tobermory. The 1130 start means there’s no excuse for being late to the start line, and after passing Lismore Light, the entrance of Loch Aline, Green Island and Calve Island the fleet will settle in Tobermory Bay for the night. On the Thursday the fleet again splits into two groups for the Round the cans racing in the Sound of Mull. Entertainment in Tobermory will be the usual selection of live music and celidhs. Macgochans Pub has both “Trail West” and “Gunna Sound” playing live, and it would be a surprise if there was not some sort of live music in the Mishnish also.

On the Friday there’s the earliest race start of the week with the race from Tobermory, back down the Sound of Mull, to Oban starting at 08.30am. Hopefully this will give everyone a bit of time to get cleaned up and presentable for the final prizegiving in the Corran Halls on Friday evening.

Best of luck to everyone who’s competing in West Highland Week this year, let’s hope for fair weather and good winds! Anyone who’s interested in seeing more of the sailing instructions will find them here, and there’s lots of additional information in the West Highland Week website.

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Sunny weather and summer holidays

July 15th, 2009 alison

The recent spell of gloriously sunny weather looked set to end this week on the Clyde, but so far at Kip the rain has not managed to make a lasting appearance. Good news for the two sailing courses out! One course was out over the weekend and arrived back in this afternoon having had some rain, but also enough time to dry out before having to pack away their things and head home. The second course departed yesterday after some berthing practise. The weather forecast showed numerous low pressure systems heading their way and it seemed like they were doomed to a damp week, but it turns out that if the weather holds as it has done the last couple of days they may only get rained on in the mornings!

Looking out at Kip Marina at the moment the sun is beating down on the boats, but many of the berths are empty as people have gone on their summer cruises. This weekend the Clyde Cruising Club holds its annual Tobermory Race, a race popular with members who want to go sailing around the west coast for their holidays.  With options to sail Round the Mull to Crinan on the 17th July, or to go from Rothesay to Ardrishaig on the 18th, heading west through the Crinan Canal, to join up with the boats which have gone Round the Mull for the second part of the race from Loch Craignish to Tobermory on the 19th July. This year the tides appear to have been kind to the competitors with a 9am start rather than the 4am start it often can be.

The last Fairlie Yacht Club event was the Holy Loch Race on the 4th July. Light winds meant the racing took most of the day, but the fleet managed to avoid most of the rain showers which were gracing our shores that day. The next Fairlie event is not until the 15th August with a crew race from Largs to Ardlamont, and a muster at Portavadie marina that evening.

With so many boats away, or about to head off on their cruising adventures, the marina is quite quiet, but there was some excitment as the marina’s resident swans hatched their eggs and 4 new signets are now learning to swim in the peaceful waters of Kip.

Proud parents

Proud parents with the new additions to the Kip family

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