Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Preparing for launch and the 2022 cruise towards St Kilda.

Spoiler: Unfortunately the weather defeated me, I made it to South Uist in the outer Hebrides before running for shelter behind the Isle of Skye as the first of several gales approached, three weeks later there was no sign of a window opening either on the models or after talking to a forecaster so I headed for home to leave time for a late summer cruise. 

Click here to jump to day 1 of the trip.

As ever there was a number of minor jobs to do on the boat in addition to a good clean, routine maintenance and the more major jobs already on the Blog that were finished a while ago and I also ticked off a good number of things that have been on my list for a while. Now the boat is ready to go in the water and the plan is to launch on the 9th March and to go onto the RAFYC pontoon for a couple of days to fit the running rigging and load heavy and awkward sized items before moving to the mooring.

Then it will be down to the weather and tides, if the former cooperates I plan to be away on the neap tides the weekend before Easter hopefully taking advantage of easterly winds that frequently blow during April and which caused me a lot of grief last year when going the other way. That start date would enable me to break the trip west at Portland leaving there via the inshore route at dawn, it also gives plenty of time to get to Newlyn for a rounding of Lands End with favourable tides. 

The main objective for this cruise is to visit St Kilda and the Outer Hebrides that the weather and time pressures stymied last year.

St Kilda is about 50 miles west of South Harris, with no where
to go in bad weather (except north of the Butt of Lewis, itself not
a nice place in a blow) it will need close to a week of good weather
after getting to Barra or Harris so I could be waiting a long time.
After that  I am not sure, perhaps an extended cruise around the Scottish Islands, a cruise down the west of Ireland, along the Welsh coast and the Bristol Channel, or I might head off to the Shetland Islands, going to the extreme west of UK (if you ignore the small rock of Rockall) and Muckle Flugga the extreme north has a certain attraction and if I came down the east coast for a third round Britain I would have been to the extreme south (The Lizard), west, north and east on one cruise. We shall see.

This year I have had very little planning to do as a combination of the plans for 2021, 2022 and a plan to go round Ireland after the 2021 Jester Baltimore (that didn't happen) covers most of any likely trip. Updating all of my paper charts (14 "small craft" folios plus over 30 individual charts) was a different matter and took several days. 

The one piece of planning that is worth doing is working out the best date to leave, weather permitting, so as to be able to be able to use the Portland inshore route and to get round Land's End. That will be in the next post.

Click here for considerations planning the start date.

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