Our milebuilding trip to Oban was a tale of two halves. A slow first half against the wind and a flying second half with the wind on the quarter. For those that were counting for their log books we totalled 567 miles.
With force 9 headwinds forecast we spent the first day in Plymouth, before heading to Fowey. We were in good company. There is a rally this year of 35 ‘old gaffers’ sailing around Britain. This week they were in Plymouth and due to set off at the same time as we were for their next stop the Scillies but it was not to be. We had a nice night in the pub singing sea shanties with them when it was obvious to all that no one was going sailing.
Sailing is a small world, and whilst singing sea shanties in the pub I discovered that I knew 2 of the crew on one of the old gaffers, Annabel J. Diana – had sailed across the Atlantic with me on a challenge boat in 2006 just when we were conceiving the idea of Velvet Lady and Chris sailed with us in 2009 aboard Velvet Lady. Wow! Lots of catching up to do and this led to an invite to have a look around Annabel J and compare her to Velvet Lady!
After our short sail to Fowey, it then took us 24 hours to beat around Lands End in a fairly brisk south westerly wind with big seas. We rounded Lands End, eased the sheets and flew up the coast towards the Irish Sea. We made our fastest passage yet getting from Lands End to Mull of Kintyre in 45 hours and had some lucky breaks with the tide. We even overtook a ship!
As we approached the Scottish islands the wind finally eased off a bit and the sun shone on the Ardmore islands at the entrance to the sound of Islay, in Nigel’s words ‘making it all worth it’ but not for long, as we pushed the tide entering the Sound of Islay there was one last hail storm, short and sharp, followed by more sunshine.
Despite losing a day at the beginning and a very slow start, we motored the last bit and tied up in a beautiful calm Dunstaffnage marina in time to go out for a celebratory pint and dram – Oban of course!! On our last morning before the guests departed it was finally glorious sunshine and warm – a quick look at the weather told us it was snowing on Dartmoor, so good job we left when we did!
Ready to head off for Norway now, expecting it to be a bit chilly on the way so digging all of our thermals and midlayers out of the bottom of the wardrobe.
A few spaces left in the Lofotens, especially for Midnight Sun week 20th – 30th June
Why not join us!