Monday, May 31, 2021

Round GB 2021, Day 45. Tobermory to Staffa.


Another cool day as I slipped the mooring at 06:00 heading west around The Isle of Mull. The easterly wind at 8 - 10 knots was welcome as it would take me to the southwest corner of Mull without beating but unfortunately after an hour it veered to SE then it died and by late morning was almost southerly at about 5 knots so I ended up doing a good deal of motoring.
Achilles 9m Sancerre in the Sound of Mull
The sound of Mull is quite narrow further south but that does
not stop some quite big ships using it, mainly caring stone from
a large quarry.
DΓΉn Ara Castle on the NW side of Mull
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Treshnish Isles
Treshnish Isles
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Treshnish Isles
Two chaps cruising a Wayfarer dinghy, almost certainly the
most common dinghy used for cruising, following the example
of Frank and Margaret Dye who in the 1960s took "Wanderer" huge
distances including to Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway.
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Staffa
Staffa
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Staffa
Staffa
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Staffa
Staffa
Unfortunately anchoring off of Staffa is very limited and not being very secure it is not a good idea to leave a boat unattended so I did not go ashore but the area around Fingle's cave is still quite spectacular.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Staffa, Fingle's Cave
Fingle's Cave
Achilles 9 metres Sancerre off Fingle's Cave
Fingle's Cave
Achilles 9m Sancerre off the Staffa, Fingle's Cave
Fingle's Cave

A rather bumpy short video, try not to be seasick πŸ˜‰


Ironically because I had had to motor, I was ahead of schedule so rather than anchor on the north coast of the Ross of Mull, east of Iona I was in time to go through the Sound to anchor on the south side giving me more options to move to a safe haven the next day before bad weather arrived.

Slide show of all my pictures from Tobermory to Staffa, page through by clicking the arrows or click in the centre of the pic to view from Flickr in a new window or full screen:

2021 Tobermory - Staffa (Fingles Cave)

Friday, May 28, 2021

2021 Round GB Days 43 & 44 In Tobermory

 A couple of days in Tobermory to get a shower, use the laundry, refuel and revictual. The laundry took all morning πŸ˜’ and with the dryer not doing a terribly good job the boat has had washing hanging out to dry for a couple of days. 

Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory
A hardy young couple are cruising in this little boat, slower than
Sancerre upwind I suspect but very quick off the wind.
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory
Wednesday and Thursday evening I was actually able to sit out
in the cockpit in the evening. The first time on this trip after 41 days.

Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory

The forecast keeps changing and is a bit iffy over the next week with strong winds at times, mainly from the south or south east - just where I want to go, so I am jiggling the schedule to be in places sheltered from these winds. Hopefully I will be off to Staffa (Fingle's Cave) tomorrow (Saturday) and on to the north side of the Ross of Mull where I will be poised to go down the Sound of Iona on Sunday.
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Tobermory

Slide show of all my pictures at Tobermory, page through by clicking the arrows or click in the centre of the pic to view from Flickr in a new window or full screen:

2021 Tobermory

2021 Round GB Day 42. Loch Na Dal to Tobermory.

Another early start, again I woke early and found there was no wind, the ideal time to get the genoa housed and furled, of course in the few minutes it took to get dressed some wind came along but only a light breeze and the sail went up with no more difficulty than usual - its a pain to do single handed as for the first third or so it needs feeding into the slot on the foil whilst pulling on the halyard at the mast or cockpit which really needs two to do.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off Loch Na Dal
East coast of the Sound of Sleat from just south of Loch Na Dal

As I was up it was worth leaving immediately to get as much favourable tide as possible so I was underway at 06:00 and by 07:00 I was out of the loch and sailing with 10 knots of wind making 4.5 knots. 

The wind was up and down a bit as I went down the Sound of Sleat, largely between 8 and 15 knots, initially on a broad reach then running. 

As I approached Eig the sea and wind was making towing the dinghy a bit iffy, which did not bode well for rounding Ardnamurchen Point where it can be very lumpy, so whilst in the lee of Eig I pulled the dingy up onto the foredeck, not ideal for sail handling, anchoring etc. but less of a worry and there would be smooth water coming onto Tobermory when I would have to put it back in the water, as it happens the wind and sea dropped before I got there but better safe than sorry.

Clearing the Isle of Muck there was a bit of drama with a very broken transmission from another yacht (they had a fault, it turned out I could see the boat but had as much difficulty as the coast guard in understanding what was said) reporting a flooded, unmanned Kayak at sea. 

Achilles 9m Sancerre in the Sound of Sleat
Going down the Sound of Sleat, Eigg on the left, Rum on the right.
Achilles 9m Sancerre in the Sound of Sleat
Eigg.

Only a minor diversion to be on scene
after searching down wind of the area
After a great number of repeats the coastguard got the message and broadcast an all ships "pan pan" priority call alerting shipping and asking for any further information. 

I realised from the Lat & Long (aren't chart plotters great?) I was only a few miles away and the incident was almost on route just north east of Ardnamurchen. The wind by then was light so on went the engine and I headed in to the site at 6 knots keeping a good look out and scanning the shore with binoculars.

I arrived on scene about the same time as the Tobermory Lifeboat which did a sweep up wind to check for people in the water before recovering the Kayak and heading back.

This is becoming a bit of a thing, last year I arrived as the Lifeboat was recovering a grounded yacht just outside of Tobermory harbour

From the RNLI's Facebook postings: 

Tobermory RNLI Lifeboat

John if it happens next year for a 3rd time you might end up on a watch list πŸ˜‰
Safe sailing and welcome back to Sunny Mull.

The flooded Kayak and the yacht "Westbound Adventure"
that found and reported it.
Achilles 9m Sancerre Off Ardnamurchan Point
Ardnamurchan Point

Achilles 9m Sancerre being passed by the Tobermory Lifeboat
RNLI Tobermory Lifeboat returning to base.
42 miles over the ground in 10 hours.

Slide show of all my pictures from Loch Na Dal to Tobermory, page through by clicking the arrows or click in the centre of the pic to view from Flickr in a new window or full screen:

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

2021Round GB Day 41. Plockton - Loch Na Dal

Last night I could not make up my mind if it would be worth leaving early today to head for Eigg or to wait until the afternoon and do a quick hop to Ornsay, the problems were the weather forecast at 19:00 showing probably acceptable winds but rain, the second the need to be at the north end of the Kyle Rhea at 07:00 or about 19:30, the tide runs at up to 8 knots so you need to go through just as the tide sets favourable.

In the end I did not bother setting the alarm and left it to chance, waking up at 04:00 I checked the midnight forecast which was OK and it was calm and dry outside so I was underway in not much more than half an hour, initially under engine but picking up a good northerly breeze half an hour later and I was off towards Sky Bridge at a good pace, making up most of the time from not starting a bit earlier.

Achilles 9m Sancerre at Sky Bridge
Approaching Skye Bridge
Just after taking the above picture the trouble started when the headsail furling jammed. I thought I had fixed this after the incident off Dover by changing the lead angle but it looks like I went to far the other way, this time the sail had been let out completely under control. The riding was deeply buried so the sail had to come down in case there was a sudden squall, a likely possibility as the 06:00 forecast was significantly worse than that at midnight with winds forecast to be F4-6.

Achilles 9m Sancerre at Sky Bridge
Plockton through Skye Bridge.
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Kyle Akin
Kyle Akin, just past the bridge.
The passage through Kyle Rhea was uneventful but wet, despite being half way between spring and neap tides and only just after slack water there was still 4 - 5 knots of tide and occasionally 6.
 
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Kyle Akin
The entrance to Kyle Rhea
The video (best viewed full screen if you have the bandwidth) was taken at the southern end of Kyle Rhea about an hour after the tide turned south and outside of the charted area for the worst of the over-falls, the water was still quite disturbed with the bow sometimes quickly swinging 30-40 degrees of course before the autopilot corrected.


Once I was in the Sound of Sleat the weather turned for the worse with winds of F5 & 6, one particularly strong gust coming off of the mountains flipped over the dinghy I was towing, fortunately the securing points for the bridle held until I could take way off and with some difficulty I righted it and shortened the tow line so the dinghy was snugged up under the transom and sheltered from the wind.

With the wind in the north the Ornsay anchorage looked a bit exposed and would likely become more uncomfortable if, as forecast, the wind veered to the NE, so I turned right into Lock Na Dal. Another yacht was in "position A" and the water ahead of her was a little shallow so I tried to anchor to the left of her. 
Skye Bridge through Kyle Rhea to Loch Na Dal.
In pouring rain that failed as the anchor skidded over weed and it took 3 more attempts to get it to hold by this time well behind the other yacht (which shortly sailed away!). During this kerfuffle the dinghy painter, which had fallen out when the dinghy was inverted, got wrapped around the skeg / rudder making the last attempt tricky. Fortunately I was able to clear it with the boat hook once I was anchored.
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Loch Na Dal
Loch Na Dal anchorage.
Achilles 9m Sancerre at Loch Na Dal
Looking out of the anchorage
Now I have to wait for the wind to drop so I can get the genoa hoisted - a pain to do single handed - and I will hopefully be able to get away tomorrow, probably for Tobermory for fresh food, a shower and a session in the laundry room.

18 miles in 5.5 hours (with all the messing about trying to anchor).

Slide show of all my pictures from Plockton to Loch Na Dal, page through by clicking the arrows or click in the centre of the pic to view from Flickr in a new window or full screen:

Sunday, May 23, 2021

2021 Round GB Day 39-40. Plockton.

The various weather models do not agree, not surprising with a depression going almost overhead, the inshore forecast and the UK model predict up to F7 today (Sunday) which is similar to other models, tomorrow the forecasts start to diverge, the UKMO again suggest F7 gusts for Monday but possibly OK for a Tuesday evening departure which would mean a v late arrival at Ornsay.

UK Met Office model

I'll need to review this at least twice a day, a complication is that I need a safe anchorage in the Sound of Sleat for the night of the day I leave and reasonable conditions to round Ardnamurchan Point the following day - I don't particularly want to go that in one day but that would be possible with a 03:00 start on Tuesday or 04:00 on Wednesday. 

A trip out to one or more of Canna, Rum, Muck or Eigg before going round Ardnamurchan Point would be nice but is probably not going to be an option given the weather, I also want to get a shower sooner rather than later! 

Hoping for an evening meal ashore, its a bit windy to row ashore for (or rather back from) lunch and I suspect with the cold all inside dining paces are going to be full for Sunday lunch. Surprisingly given the popularity of Plockton with cruising sailors and its suitability for hiding from the weather there is only one other visiting boat here, also single handed I think.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off Plockton
Achilles 9m Sancerre off Plockton
Achilles 9m Sancerre off Plockton
Achilles 9m Sancerre off Plockton

Click here for day 41, Plockton - Loch Na Dal.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

2021 Round GB Day 38. Lochcarron to Plockton.

I woke up to silence (no howling wind) and no movement which after the last 36 hours was welcome, what was not so welcome was the cold, by lunch time it had warmed up a bit but not that much.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
Leaving the Lochcarron anchorage, there is fresh show on the
mountains down to about 1,000ft, so if the temperature had been
about 2 degrees lower there would likely have been snow on the deck.
Vancouver 34 "Telo" in the anchorage.

The plan was to make a short hop to Plockton to get better shelter from a forecast short blast of easterly wind and to position to leave after lunch on Sunday for a favourable tide under Skye Bridge and the first of the tide down Kyle Rhea, where at mid tide currents can run at 8 knots, then into the Sound of Sleat to anchor for the night. 

Leaving for the Kyle Rhea directly from Lochcarron would mean passing down the Loch and through the Strome narrows against the tide which in the narrows runs at up to three knots, not a major problem to be at The Kyle early evening but a non starter for the morning tide. 

Achilles 9m Sancerre in Strome Narrows
Achilles 9m Sancerre in Strome Narrows
The Islands in Strome Narrows (leading to upper Loch Carron)
look even more impressive at low water. 
 
Duncraig Castle

Achilles 9m Sancerre off Plocton
Looking out from the Plockton anchorage
The timing of the forecast high wind looked tight but reasonable on Friday evening, rather tighter on Saturday morning but now on Saturday afternoon it almost certainly will not happen as winds will not clear through as previously thought and are now forecast to be stronger at NE 5 - 7 with moderate to rough seas which would almost certainly be untenable at anchor in the Sound of Sleat. 

So I guess I'll be here for a couple of days and that is going to mean either a late start and finish with the tide 50 minutes later each day, or a very early start.

Fortunately the local Hotel did a good lunch today at a sensible price so, if it is not crowded out on Sunday, I'll not need to cook a main meal tomorrow.

8 miles in 2 hours.

Slide show of all my pictures from Upper Loch Carron to Plockton, page through by clicking the arrows or click in the centre of the pic to view from Flickr in a new window or full screen: