Wednesday, June 7, 2023

2023 May 31st, Day 48 St Kilda to Loch Finsbay, Harris.

The return from St Kilda
I left early with a threat of strong winds later which largely did not materialise although there was a stiff breeze as I entered the sound of Harris:
Leaving St Kilda, The main Island Horta on the left, Boray centre.
Passing through the Sound of Shillay,
The wind was up to F5 gusting 6 as I passed Shillay but I had taken down the mainsail just before the worst of it in preparation for the sail in the strong tides of the Sound of Harris, so although a little bumpy it was no big deal. With plenty of wind from astern sailing under headsail alone leaves more time to think about the pilotage and there is no danger from an unintentional and potentially dangerous mainsail gybe whether in error or by a sudden wind shift which is quite likely with mountains close by.

Ensay from the Stomay Channel, a Sea Otter just visible
in the centre of the picture.
Passing the Islet of Stomay (left) and the Red Rock Beacon (right)
Strong tides and broken water here requires care. 3 cables
(600 yards) later the inshore Leverbough channel and the main
Stanton gives 2 options, I took the later. No pictures of the
next section as I was too busy with pilotage in a strong tide
in a twisting channel.
My track (heavy dashed line) through the Stanton Channel.
With a the strong tide you need to be on your toes to make sure you are
not being swept onto the innumerable rocks and Islets. The track on the
west side was me heading north and taking a look at the Ensay anchorage.
I was intending to anchor on the Harris side of the Sound behind the Carminish Islands just past Leverburgh, but just before I reached Leverburgh the Force 5 north-westerly wind abruptly changed to the South-sou-east at 5 knots. That could make the anchorage a little uncomfortable and if the wind increased, untenable. I therefore went through the sound and turned left to Loch Finsbay. 

Carminish where I had planned to anchor.
An hour or so later I was surprised to see the yacht "Slipstream" come in to anchor. An easy name to remember as I sailed on a RAFSA yacht (a S&S 34) called Slipstream of Cowley back in the 70s.

We had first met at Castletown when I took their lines as they arrived the day before I left and we followed much the same route to meet again at Lochboisdale and Loch Maddy and having both stopped off at the Wizards Pool. They had left Loch Maddy the same day as me but went directly to Taransay and onto St Kilda. 

Having left there a little after me they were rather surprised to see me on AIS entering Loch Finsbay which was their planned stop. Ann kindly provided the drone footage below:

The High Res version is 256 M Bytes so may be a bit slow on a mobile connection and is hosted on Flickr as it exceeds the size limit on Blogger, the Low res version (78 Mbyte before loading) is still quite good. 

Sancerre Drone High res
Sancerre in Loch Finsbay, Isle of Harris, High Res version. 

Sancerre in Loch Finsbay, Isle of Harris,
low resolution version  

Sun downers 😎
The Loch is considerably narrower than the very wide angle view from the drone would suggest.

2023 St Kilda to Loch Finsbay, Harris

59 miles in  just under 13 hours.

Click here for Skye and Rum.

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