Friday, 31 July 2015

51. Well, that was nice

Here, I'm still bobbing around in my head as I sit an write this. Is that meant to happen?

The day beckoned as Eve had the day off work and I wasn't working till late. Off we went with a huff and a puff down in the car to Cromor. Tea and chat sorted che William, Gemma and their visiting family and soon we were tootling out to Frejya in the blow-up.

It was a lovely if dull morning. Non of them blighter the midges around and not so much as a ripple in the harbour. Freyja sat there majestically - sort of.

Look at that; a nice breeze as we set off up Loch Erisort for a look-see.

The wind did die from time to time and the engine was used - when it started. Always a pain engines - always recalcitrant when you need them most like when the wind dies and you are drifting towards a reef!

All the same the morning was grand. The sun came out [and the wind died] - at least I think it was the sun. It got warm enough to take off the first two layers anyway. Loch Erisort is lovely - better from the water too. Fishermen to wave at, islands to gaze at, fish to catch oneself, and only a few submarining rocks to worry about.

Time passed quickly again as we edged up the water.

Yes, the fisherman waved.

Some little croft house on the north of the Loch.

Soon it was time to return. Wind behind us, 5 knots over land, coffee in the cup and then the wind quite picked up as we reached the end of the Loch. Gusted and everything so we drew in the genoa a bit, reefed in the main using my diy-rigged slab reef and bounced back to Cromor cursing the strong gusts.

We have left the wee tub Freyja at Cromor again swinging on her anchor. It's a nice spot to sail from for a day or two and you never know, we might have some warm weather soon!

Monday, 27 July 2015

49. Visitors

There's lots of boats in and around The Isle of Lewis this year - despite the indifferent weather. Here's the Wharram cat Tortuga with a line of drying socks. If you click on that second link you can read their blog about the visit. Always liked the notion of these boats I must say and this one looks a beaut!

Then there's this one, next to... and in front of the lifeboat. No idea what this one was [grey]  but it isn't the Atlantica as mentioned by someone on social media. This is Atlantica parked round the corner with a female captn by all accounts..

Well, that was a pleasant stroll this morning after the visit to the harbour master's office!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

48. Please no!

Ah, there she is, skulking in the marina [very briefly Mr Harbour Master Sir] so she could be victualled - or whatever one calls it. I call it loading up.  Was a lovely day - little breeze but no swell or other wavy bits of note so we were looking forward to this. We were I might add,  here at about 8am.

Lovely sailing. Nice 3 knots and dry-ish. Mainly. Apart from when it rained.

See, was lovely sometimes. Eve threw caution to the wind and put a fishing line over the side but think the seals and porpoises must have got there first!

Didn't need the reef in the main but did require the engine from time to time to keep us going. Still, we called in to see Uncle William at his gaff in Cromor. Anchored Freyja and everything. And it stayed where is was meant to be. What a lovely spot this is - even when damp or peeing down as it was when we dropped the anchor. We meant to drop the anchor - it is what one does you know.

After refreshment and chat we took off down Loch Erisort to explore - but the rain came again so we parked nicely again round the back of  Challum Cille island and had tea, wine and a tootle round in the blow-up to explore between the rain showers. What a wonderful place this was. So sheltered and quiet - apart when the birds over-squawked. We slept well too.

Awoke early aware that a little blow was due in and set off back up the Loch. Only, the wind had already created a bit of excess rippling in the water. This got worse as we reached the sea and I didn't like it. I felt doomed or something. The wee boatee wasn't too keen either so we back-tracked to the calm waters of Cromor, dropped an anchor and cadged a lift back to Stornoway with Gemma [Mrs William] when she went to church.
We shall resume the expolorement next week - if the wee boatee is still there!

Friday, 24 July 2015

47. We may go sailing

I say may because the weather is a bit iffy up here. At the moment it's lovely, flat calm and a light breeze in a suitable direction. But, this is the Hebrides and it is due to change soon - like Sunday. So our planned tripette down south of the island may be a little cut short.

Slabbed up at the wavy-about end of the pole thing.

And at the other end.

Today I went out to the wee tub Freyja and rigged up a little slab reefing affair. Granted it is not the real thing but I think it will make things a little easier when the wind blows.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

46. We found some skills

It wasn't quite so gusty or rough but we went out again today and re-did the challenge course without twirls and missed turns. Properly smooth and everything. Reefed.

Eh? How was that?

Ken was impressed, he invited aboard the good ship Rebecca for a cup of coffee. Proper nice.

45. More skills required

This sailing lark is not as easy as it first seems. Took part in the short course sailing challenge in a breezy outer harbour an came rather unstuck. Well, my head came unstuck really.

It was happening round a few buoys in the outer harbour. A bit of changing wind 4-5 and wave things. We shot off from the start with the wind behind us - in the lead and everything. First turn and Ammonite - gaff rigged crabber came past. Second turn - we struggled to make, the sails flapping about, the boat turning this way and that and the buoy refusing to pass us by easily. The water was flopping about most unhelpfully. It did pass in the end but the next leg of the course into the wind was difficult. We kept straying too close to the wind, the wind gusting more and more and our heartbeats raising a tad as the boatee healed over. We managed a few pirouettes too - although I'm told they are frowned upon but it was merely to give people something to look at.

At the next buoy - which we barely reached, the Sgoth skippered by James came close despite their dipping lug sail. We stopped. Not intentionally at this point. I just couldn't fathom how to get round the buoy.  I mean, I knew which way to go but try as I might, I couldn't get round what with the wind, the water and the fact that my head fell off - rolled across the cockpit floor an everything. That was it, I wasn't enjoying it any more and retired disappointed with myself. Sorry and all that. Need more practice me thinks.

And no, I have no snaps, the phone is still on the boat!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

44. another evening, another sail.

Oh joy of joys, sailing with the Sun turned on! Granted it had rained earlier, but one must expect that. At the time of the 'mass' sail in the outer harbour, all was well. Cumbae Lass was there over taking us with style. A few visiting yachts were out too. Jubilee, one of the olde Sgoths was there as were some St Ayles Skiffs.

We sailed back and forth for an hour or more, enjoying the lovely breeze and cracking along at close to 6 knots at times under sail. What a lovely evening it was..

Monday, 13 July 2015

43. The evening sail

Whew! WHat a scorcher. The temp shot up to 12c  this morning and hovered just about there all day. It did rain a tad but by evening high tide the sun was out - albeit behind a bank of thick damp cloud so Eve and I went for a sailette. Eve did all the stuff with the steering stick and I the big string.

Despite the flippin cool breeze about f4, it was a lovely sail in the outer harbour, back and forth making sure we didn't mow down the little creeler boat working there and keeping a wary eye for big fishing boats.
Out for a cool hour or so. Average speed of 3.3knots. Managed a brisk 5knots at one point - that must have been when the breeze took on a f5 for a moment or two.

Not exactly a wild sea there as we took our way back in to the mooring.

Top boat driver Eve on the steering stick.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

42. Yes, we went on board

Mmmm, lovely boat. The wooden one not the heap rust on the right. On second toughts, that's a bit harsh since that is one of the few fishing boats in the harbour that is not a bucket of rust!
Anyway, we, the posse from Sail Stornoway invite ourselves on board the Anna af Sand 1848 cargo vessel from Noway. All the way from Norway. Capt'n warmly welcomed us aboard into the cosy and suprisingly low ceilinged living/sleeping quarters and introduced us to Ole - a crew member / former Captn of 35 years . Wonderful it was too.

We'd just had a Sail Stornoway meeting [it's next week if you are wondering] where we discussed the dinghy training, the parade of sail and the Coronation Cup sail. I shall have to polish my - what ever one polishes in such situations if I am to take part in the latter.

41. Parking

I may not be a very experienced boat parker but I do hope I don't do this; parking a lovely boat on top of another. The top boat was wedged between the harbour steps and the Drascombe lugger [or something like it ] below after it was parked with too short lines - then the tide went out.

The digger thing was rushed down to the harbour and they lifted the thing off - luckily with no damage to either boat - just pride!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

40. Sailing again. Sgoths, Tall ship, cruise liner and two ferries

Capt'n Owen at the tiller, thrashing the wee boatee Freyja back and forth as we attempt to gain some ground into the outer harbour from the Minch. Force 4-5 today, cool wind but a little sunshine too.

We were I might add joined by Sgoths Broadbay and Jubilee in the blustery conditions.

Of course, the Sgoths put us to shame as they get ready for Sail Stornoway.

Eve didn't mind though. The sun was nice, she was warm in her Fladen suit and the Tall Ship 'Leader'  that graced the inner harbour when we went out came out to raise her sails and head out to sea. The Cruise ship Le Soleal sat there waiting for the ferry Seaforth to come in to join  Isle of Lewis that is berthed here.

A grand evening - even if the mast light fell off, the genoa sheet came untied and the depth charge didn't work !

For the technically minded, the type that write things in little yellow-backed books sort of people, it was blowing 4-5, we had the main reefed well down and the genoa like a small hanki! We were out for 2-3 hours and the wind was going North - straight out the harbour. The tide was going out then in sort of thing. Enough?

39. Messing about

Hoping to get out for a wee sail on the tub Freyja this evening - if it is dryish. Some hope here at the moment.

We can still enjoy the memory of last weekend's event in Portsoy with the skiffs though - while the clothes and tent dries out at home !

If you squint a bit, look through your fingers at the reflection of the computer screen in the window you might be able to see what it is! Trust me, it's meant to be like this. It's the sort of snapolgy I do.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

38. On the way home

Yes, this seems a nice place to leave the boat for a day of two - shoul we be on it up this way sometime. Sun and all that! Twas Findhorn which we made a visitation on the way back from a fine if dampish weekend at Portsoy - of which more later.

A nice view whilst coffeeing up.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

37. Waved off by Daniel and Kathy

Whoa! What a difference a day or two makes. Warmth for a change and a little bit of breeze too so, with Kathy and Daniel waving me off from the pontoon [to make sure I go I should imagine ] I set off to Freyja in the little blow-up. In no time I was out the outer harbour heading into the unknown with wind in my blanket things and bananas waiting to be eaten.

Calm waters, boatists out everywhere - including some bod from a boating magazine who had blagged himself a sail and a place to stay.

4 knots speed! 4 I tell you and it was wonderful although my dear Eve had to work so I was persevering on my own with my new bit of stretchy string to stop the steering stick wandering when I let go of it. Works too. You just have to glare at it now and again to stop it going completely off course.

Look, that's somewhere. Near Stornoway beyond Tob or something. Lots of water anyway. Saw the Ammonite with Gerald and the bod following Ken in Scorpio into the little creek but I was too late. Missed the way to go in and with the depth charger being a tad dicky I gave that a miss.

Oh, how lovely it was. Saw,,,,,, saw things out there. Mist and everything. Got tired so set off back to harbour where I pinched the use of Gerald's mooring and awaited the return of the tide whilst sheltering under a badly set up blue thing. Felt great though. And even more so when I saw Ken and Gerald coming back in so went out to meet them under motor before braving the shallow lowish tide waters to our mooring. Great sail all round.
It rained soon after. Really mashed it down in the proper Isle of Lewis way. Summer is over two days after it began!