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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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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 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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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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