Murray Caldwell writes: ‘After my little mishap with very inexpensive antifouling “Revelry” was lifted out and washed down. We had known that the bottom had a fair amount of antifouling but had not expected lumps to be falling off! But with no time for any fairing she was quickly antifouled and launched in time for us leaving on the Thursday night. All my crew were meeting us at Crinan so with a 8 hour sail and trip through the canal when Sheena (our local sailing club secretory) said she would like to do the delivery trip, her offer was accepted!!.
We left cove sailing club on Thursday evening with the intent of getting to the “Wreck bay” in the Kyles of Bute. There was a little wind but it was on the nose so we motored having dinner on route. When we got to wreck bay our minimum weight anchor chain and rope were brought out and deployed (at this point I was glad I had brought a heavier second anchor as this would not be suitable for a windy night in tobermory). About ½ an hour later our friends on Leaky roof 2 (a sigma 33) had arrived and it was time for a g and t before a early night as we had decided to head off at 5am so we could get to the canal for 9am.
So next morning we duly set off at 5 am in lovely sunshine and light breeze but with a tight schedule to make sure we got through the canal today we had to press on under engine. The Crinan Canal is great fun to go through and we had plenty of bodies as all leakys family came up to help. The canal turned out to be pretty uneventful apart from the weather!! And we made good time and were parked at Crinan by 4.30. Earlier we had passed my father, sister and nephews on their return from a fortnights cruise on the west coast. Later that night they came back to crinan to hand me our outboard etc incase we needed it. Also the rest of the crew arrived and the all important boom tent was deployed. This is my mark1 version, instead of using an acrylic I used a lighter weight cloth with a waterproof coating (the same cloth sail bags are made of) this proved very useful when 6 are sleeping on board!
By this time Sheena had decided that she would stay till Oban but, at this point we all knew she was going to stay the week!! With a late start the next day the crew enjoyed the boom tent to the full being able to sit outside with typically Scottish weather. We even got to try some polish vodka! So the next day we headed to Crobh for the start of west highland week. On the way the floorboards started floating and after a bit of investigation it was found to be fresh water so it could only be the 1978 water tank which was later put in a skip.
West highland week is a great fun event with a mixture of passage and round the cans racing, It is a travelling event starting at Crobh then going to Oban and eventually mid week going to Tobermory on the Isle of Mull
That evening we never even made it ashore to the opening party instead we ate onboard and started on the wine as the gin had “evaporated” by now .The rig was also adjusted (thanks for the advice Kevin).
The next morning was the passage race to Oban, this started off well but being in a class with a lot of larger boats and a dying breeze we only managed 9th which we were quite disappointed with.
That evening we went to Dunstaffnage marina for the night and a few more shandys!!
The next day was a race round Lismore Island which started with a running start! For us “Covies” this is a normal event for us, Where our clubhouse is situated we do this weekly! We had a good start being in contention at the bottom of Lismore before going on to the beat and ended up 4th
That evening was the skipper’s reception at the Calmac ferry terminal which is always a good evening being slightly marred by the amount of people who had seen me nearly IVT at the finishing line (Race officer included).
Tuesday was the day for two windward/leeward and after feeling the effect of being rolled by a moody 336 we got the first few shifts right we managed to squeeze in on port tack at the weather mark, this small lead was kept over the next 2 rounds and we managed to be first across the line so getting our first win in our new boat.
Unfortunately the second race never started so it was back to the marina to be invaded by the crew of “Spirit” they even brought some Stiffy’s Jaffa vodka, something which will be one of those bottles that stays on the boat for years as now one wants to drink it! If you ever see us please come and try!
On Wednesday was the race to tobermory, the wind was up and with this in mind and a short first beat we opted for the number 3 (we don’t have a no2).
Another good start with the ability to tack off to the right helped us to be just behind the first two Moody’s at the weather mark. A broad reach to Lismore lighthouse followed when the wind started to really blow with us having to drop just to get past the lighthouse but the others had to drop because they had blown their spinnakers!! I saw 5 away just around us!! It remained windy all the way down and we ended up 4th again but after such a quick exciting run we were not bothered.
There is a small pontoon at tobermory but normally with a long race it is full up by the time the smaller boats get there but with us being the 5 th boat across the line it was a nice change to get along side and not have to worry about a dinghy.
That night we went out for dinner then to the “Mishnish” for a drink, this pub has to be experienced to be believed!!
The next day it was another lovely day, and with a good start we got the first couple of shifts right to lead our class round the first mark. The wind then started to get quite shifty and the windward leeward became a leeward/windward and the course was thankfully shortened giving us our second win ahead of a well sailed Gran Solei 34.
This had actually put us in the lead by 1 point and we were looking forward to the second race, but with not much sign of any wind we positioned our self the nearest to tobermory so that when the race officer announced there was no more racing we were the closest to home, this played well as we got the last finger pontoon with only a few larger boats passing us.
With the sun shining and showers had, we were enjoying a quite drink as people passed they were invited onboard and we soon discovered that you can actually fit 18 onboard with some degree of comfort but I have feel sorry for Laura how was sitting in the hatch and had to make all the g and t’s!!! It became easer when we ran out and it was only wine and beer left!!
The final day was a beat back to Oban but this was stopped just at Lismore where we managed 5th but surprisingly was enough to win our class.
We had a great week and it was good to see that the other Cove boat managed to get the overall trophy.
And Yes Sheena never went home and stayed till the end!!!
Normally after west highland week it’s a mad rush home to get to work on the Monday but this year we had decided to take the following week off and head back slowly,
The crew had left and all of a sudden going from 6 to 2 there is an awful lot more room.
We left Dunstaffnage on the Saturday morning with no plans but to head in a homewards direction but with a favourable forecast the decision was made to go round the mull of Kintyre rather than go through the canal. With such a good forecast and no wind we decided to head for Colansay, a small island north of Islay, the anchorage is quite small and has a reputation for being quite rolly. We managed to squeeze into the very small anchorage just north of the pier and had a lovely peaceful evening and lovely meal in the hotel but sadly an early night was needed so the offer of going to the local ceilidh was politely declined.
The next day a 7am start was had to make the tide through the sound of Islay and with 5 knots of tide with us we made quick passage to Port Ellen on Islay. When getting in we saw a rib just like one I had seen in Colansay and on further investigation it was!, They were from Isle of Man and had stayed in Colansay and were in Port Ellen for lunch before heading somewhere else for the evening.
We had a lazy afternoon and got some stocking up done.
The next morning we went for a well earned shower and a short sail to Craig House on Jura to spend the night. Craig house is a beautiful place to spend a night.
The next day with no wind we decided not to go to far again so decided to just nip across the sound of Jura to the Isle of Gigha, one of our favourite places. Here we went for a walk around the lovely Achemore gardens to keep “the wife” happy and had drinks with friends that evening.
With a good forecast we headed off in the morning to head round the mull with the thoughts of going to Sanda island but we thought that with the wind blowing straight in we would give it a miss this year and headed for Cambeltown but when we got there it was looking very full and with a lot of work being done on the pier we decided just to head for Loch Ranza on Arran, this to was busy but with plenty of space to anchor we set anchor and enjoyed a quiet evening. By now we had decided to head home after the next night so set off for Rothsey but later changed our mind and headed for Brodick on the other side of Arran as we had not been there before. Again a lovely evening was had with a lovely meal had in their local Italian restrant.
We had a very relaxing week away and headed home to get back to reality!!
The Impala for us gives us what we want; competitive on the race course but with the ability to accommodate all the crew and more importantly the wife likes it and is talking about our next holiday!! I think I have cracked it!!