The weather forecast looked no better, the GFS model was a little better but the UKMO, ECMWF and others were moving closer to the GFS, also the GFS & ECMWF looking 10 days out showed no windows for St Kilda and gales, perhaps severe gales, early next week and I would want to be somewhere very secure for that.
|A gust map for Monday showing steady winds of gale force (34knts)
with gusts of 49 knots in The Minch and more further west.
Getting there would take a day or two, the problem was the tide, there are strong currents around the northern tip of Skye that leads to over-falls there and for several miles down the east coast when the wind is against tide. The tide was due to turn there at about 12:00, that would mean a very early start, but with no moon starting before twilight would make getting out of the anchorage, with the channel only a few boat lengths wide, totally dependant on GPS and even with two independent sources rather risky (the plotter and an iPad with accurate highly detailed, Antares charts - my PC which is a third independent service is in the cabin so not practical manoeuvring in a confined space). Pictures of the entrance are in my previous post.
The Almanac showed:
- 03:34 Start of Nautical Twilight azimuth 032°
- 04:44 Start of Civil Twilight azimuth 047°
So I decide to leave at 04:00, it would still be quite dark but even with a likely overcast I should be able to see the land. That start time meant that I needed to make 4.5 knots through the water all of the way past Skye and accept 30 - 60 minutes of adverse tide down the east coast before clearing the over-falls. If I could not do that without using the engine I would divert into one of the lochs on the west or northern Skye coast, either to stay the night or, more likely, to wait for the start of the next favourable tide starting around 18:30 then anchor just around the corner at Staffin Bay which should be well sheltered from a south westerly.
At about 03:40 I could clearly see the land around the anchorage and the exit, but as I weighed anchor at 03:50 it started to rain, wiping my specs frequently I could just make out the headlands as I went out, but only just.
|Guy Cotten trousers
A rant post on leaking waterproofs may well follow here or on Facebook, especially regarding the trousers which were new for this trip and not cheap.
Update Sept: When in Newlyn later in the trip I got some French made trousers as used by commercial fisherman, they were cheaper than "yachty" ones and although it is easier to sweat up in them and movement is not as easy I have yet to get wet from sitting on a wet seat! And they are tough, repairable, easy to get on and have a working fly.
|Passing through the 3/4 mile wide passage between Eilean
Trodday and Skye and some nice calm water.
|Rather gusty conditions as I approached Plockton as this
boat left, a rather shaky pic due to the weather and blurred with
rain on the camera lens.