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Scotland Sailing
Insights into Sailing in Scotland
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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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