Friday, May 21, 2021

2021 Round GB Day 36 - 37 at Lochcarron

I arrived off  Lochcarron half an hour after another single handed sailor, I assumed he was also seeking shelter but he was more sanguine about it, not expecting severe winds inside of Skye, and he left early next morning.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
Looking west from the anchorage.
Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
Unusually the anchorage is protected by an extensive reef
(a central moraine from the last glaciers?) parallel with the shore.
The end of Loch Carron at high water, before the winds arrived.

After a quick shopping expedition it was a quite evening with a nice sunset.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
Lochcarron village
Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
The forecast on Thursday morning was a bit worse than previous with gale force winds expected.

Achilles 9m Sancerre off LochCarron
The wind building after the arrival of a couple in their long
keeled cruiser. Edit: see comments.
My remaining 32 metres of chain should be more than adequate in 5 - 7 metres of water but with increasing winds and a poor forecast I decided to give the anchor a helping hand, one alternate was to use some of the nylon rope already spliced to the chain that has the advantage of being elastic but I decided to back the anchor with additional weight, this will help keep the anchor end of the chain closer to the seabed for two advantages.
  1. The pull on the anchor will be closer to the horizontal reducing the chance of the anchor lifting then dragging.
  2. The weight will help maintain a catenary curve on the chain which reduces "snatch" on the chain which can pull an anchor out, stress the chain and be very uncomfortable on board.
I used the weight intended for my Jordan Series drogue, a 3.2 Kg "Grapnel" folding anchor / grapple with 5 metres of 8mm chain plus some rope attached to one end. On the other end of the "Grapnel" is a large bow shackle running on the anchor chain. I let this down so the top end of the chain was under water and the grapnel just above the seabed when the boat was not pulling hard on the chain.

The rig working with over 20 knots of wind and therefore
under quite heavy load.
This worked very well, I have felt no snatch and the anchor has been rock steady with gusts up to 36 knots (F8) during the evening and judging from the sound and motion quite a bit more overnight.

The plot from the anchor alarm showing the boats position
at 09:11 on Friday (Blue dot) and the track for the previous
24 hours, The anchor shows the approximate position of the
anchor (it is probably c 5m closer to the boat than that). The
pair of lines off to the top right is a glitch caused by me
doing something else on the iPad.

At the time of writing (Friday afternoon) the wind is dropping but is still c 25 knots with rain, I should be able to move on tomorrow. The lunchtime forecast has introduced the possibility of a SE wind of F4 - 6 on Sunday so if I move it will need to be to another sheltered location and probably not down the Sound of Sleat. 

A few miles down Loch Carron to the facilities at Plockton might be a good idea but I will delay a decision until I download the weather maps this evening or early tomorrow although the models are seriously under estimating the wind here, the domestic forecast and inshore forecast has proved more realistic.

Slide show of all my pictures at Upper Loch Carron, 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:


  1. Well done John. Looks like it hasn't been easy for you

    1. Hi John, you must have got through the blog very quickly after our emails or did you cheat and start at the end? :-)

  2. We are on Telo, the Vancouver 34P anchored upwind of you in Loch Carron. The GRIB based forecasts seriously underestimated wind strength, although the Met Office inshore forecast was pretty accurate. Clearing up now, so Fair Winds when you leave in the morning.

    1. Hi there, If the wind looks OK I think I'll make a short hop to Plockton tomorrow then go to the Sound of Sleat on Sundays evening tide. Where are you heading for? John

  3. Hi John, we shall probably be tacking north to Shieldaig Torridon tomorrow for replenishing water and fresh food supplies (not to forget showers if available), possibly heading over to the Western Isles after that. After that? Out until July so most likely we shall explore the anchorages we haven't visited as yet. Just depends on the wind direction.

    We are well impressed by your passages. You seemed to have made very good time since Holy Island. Hope it warms up a bit!

    1. The shop I went to in Shieldaig (I don't know if there is another) had very little, the Spar shop here is far better.

      I was looking as the trip as far as Stornoway as passage making, I am slowing down now and plan to finish back in the Hamble in early July before the school holidays crowd everything out. If the timing works out I plan to incorporate one of this years Jester Challenges starting from Pwllheli mid June going c 250 miles to Milford Haven.

      It darn well better warm up, last years trip up here was also dogged by poor weather although it was not this cold (in July & August).