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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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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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Sometimes the sun does shine!!…

March 23rd, 2009 alison
Blue skies, whispy clouds, sunshine!

Blue skies, whispy clouds, sunshine!

Wax on, wax off

Wax on, wax off!

…And on Thursday it was doing just that! So we took advantage of the nice weather and started to get all the yachts topsides cleaned and polished ready for the first proper charter of the season at the end of this week. We weren’t the only people making use of the better weather - the marina were stepping masts, boat sales were setting up open weekends, and boat owners were preparing their yachts and motor cruisers for the sailing they’ve been thinking about all winter. Everybody was noticeably happier as the sun had turned their minds to what new places they might explore on their summer cruise round the West Coast of Scotland, and made their winter daydreams seem closer to becoming a reality. Be it a brisk  sail up the Sound of Mull, a circumnavigation of Arran in lighter airs or some serious racing action, there was expectation in the air. Hope that the summer was going to bring good sailing, new places, new challenges and perhaps some new friends along the way.

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