Thursday, May 20, 2021

2021 Round GB Day 29. Stromness to Loch Eriboll.

Approaching Hoy Sound from Stromness
A very quite Hoy Sound, things would
be different in an hour or so later.
The best passage out of Scarpa to the west is via Hoy Sound, conveniently located near Stromness, there is however a catch, as the Clyde Cruising Club's pilot notes:

"The tidal streams in Hoy Sound are very strong (8 knots [with over-falls]) and entry should not be attempted in bad weather, nor with wind against tide, nor on the west going tide. Accurate timing is necessary to ensure favourable wind and tidal conditions"

The good news is that the west passage can be made at slack water so I slipped at 05:15 in time to catch the last half hour of  the west going tide and I was able  to motor the couple of miles through the danger area in very benign conditions.

Some wind started to fill in as I passed out of the sound and by 09:00 it was blowing at 17 knots, again from directly astern which, although far preferable than directly ahead, can be very uncomfortable with the boat rolling and on this occasion with the waves coming from the north and abeam made it difficult to steer. 

Achilles 9 metres Sancerre in Hoy Sound, Orkney
Hoy from Hoy Sound.
The NW corner of Hoy
The 500 ft high "Old Man of Hoy", the cliffs are about double that.

Interestingly the simple wind vane steering did a much better job than the high tech autopilot as the latter kept trying to adjust to the sea state and the wind (it has motion sensors and attempts to learn a pattern as well as being reactive), whereas the wind vane steering just keeps the boat as far as possible at a constant angle to the apparent wind and the boat looked after herself with respect to the waves. The wind vane is also quite - the autopilot working hard is very annoying  and uses a lot of electricity. 
Disturbed sea NW of Hoy
The wind dropped during the day and for a couple of hours in the early afternoon I had to use the engine as the boat was rolling so much that the sail - I was using just the head sail - was just crashing about. I arrived off Loch Eriboll shortly before 17:00 and motored for an hour up the loch to the anchorage at Ard Neackie.
Ard Neackie Anchorage, North Side.

I was joined shortly after arrival by the 36ft "Flying Fox",
we would meet again

The "Ard Neackie" anchorages, in Gaelic "ard" means
high or lofty so perhaps this translates to "high neck".
A not very straight course from Hoy Sound to Eriboll due
to the changing wind and choppy sea. 

55.5 miles over the ground in twelve and three-quarter hours.

Slide show all of my pictures from Stromness to Loch Eriboll, 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 Stromness - Loch Eriboll

Click here for day 30, Loch Eriboll to Loch Ned. 

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