Thursday 26 October 2023

End of the season

We have had a very short season on Robinetta this year. We have other sailing commitments, and our personal logs are more than double Robinetta's! She came out of the water on Sunday 22nd , and is being laid up at Craig's yard again. Not in the shed this time though! 

With such a short season there will be no book this year. We have bigger plans for next year, with visiting Shetland on the wish list, but we will have to see what the winter work reveals.

Our totals for the year are 350 nautical miles covered, in 112 hours, with the engine on for 74 hours.

Friday 20 October 2023

Through the storm

We watched anxiously as Storm Babette made its way towards us. Luckily the winds on the West coast were much lower than on the East, and while we had gusts of 40 knots the wind direction meant there was not much fetch to raise the waves and Robinetta came through unscathed. We had put her cockpit cover on after our trip to Holy Loch, and one of the ties did get chaffed through, but the rest of them held the cover safely in place.

Sunday 3 September 2023

A weekend away

 We belong to a facebook sailing group called Sailing Cruising Scotland. This weekend they had a Rally planned at Holy Loch Marina. As this is only 10nm from Robinetta's mooring we decided to go. The forecast was for very light winds, so potentially we would be motoring the whole way, which was not a problem with this length of trip.

Unusually our son Alex decided he would like to come too, so there were three aboard Worm when I rowed us out to Robinetta mid-morning on Saturday. The sea was totally flat (a bit of a difference from my last row out)which was just as well as we did not have much freeboard!

We were at mid flood tide, springs, as we came off the mooring, with not a hope of getting through the Rhu Narrows under sail with the wind we had. Once we were through the Narrows we did try sailing for 15 minutes, but at about 0.7knots we would miss the barbeque, so the engine went back on until we were passing Kilcreggan, with a little more wind. An hour later we had still not reached Cove, so the engine went on for 15 minutes, at which point we finally found a good wind and began sailing properly.

By 14.45 we were just off Holy Loch Marina, and put the engine on to take down the sails.

Most of the Rally boats moored up on the breakwater pontoon. We chose to go on the outside of the breakwater where we would be blown off. There was plenty of room since most of the boats had gone inside to be away from any waves. It was so calm that this was not problem for us. Once settled in we headed for the "cocktail bar" manned by the Cutters and Sloops group before moving on to the Holy Loch Sailing Club for the barbeque. 

The weather was perfect for the event, with bright warm sunshine. Even the midges were kind to us and stayed away! Alex got a little sunburnt as he is not used to being outside as much.

Sunday's sail home was pretty much a repeat of Saturday, although the wind came in earlier. We had a slow sail out of Holy Loch, but the wind came picked up as we passed the Ardmore Cardinal at the entrance, and we had a lovely fast sail home, touching 5 knots at times.

No submarine movements impeded our progress and we headed up the Loch a little to see Hanako on her mooring. We had met them on the rally and it was good to see where they kept the boat.

We got the sails down and Julian helmed us, very slowly, onto our mooring after a lovely weekend away.

Monday 21 August 2023

Checking on Robinetta after strong winds

 As I was driving back from taking a guest to the train station this morning I noticed that Robinetta's mainsail cover was hanging under the sail it was meant to be over. There had been some strong winds in the last couple of days, and there were more expected, so it had to be secured. I rowed Julian over to Robinetta at lunch time, to check on things. The cover was only being held on by the lazy jacks, and could easily have gone over the side if they had not been tight.

I was reminded of heading to Robinetta years ago when she was kept on the moorings at West Mersea. On that occasion I had not being able to see the cover at all. To my relief I found it lying in the cockpit. Later I was told by a friend who had a mooring close by that he had seen the cover was about to go over the side and had rowed over to rescue it. At least now we lived close enough to notice the problem ourselves.

When I opened the cabin the wooden spoons which are kept in a plastic cup were on the floor, so Robinetta's motion had obviously been quite violent at some point, although there was no other sign of distress. The cabin was quite grubby, and our absence of time on board this month was clear.

I put the engine on as it had not been turned over in a month, then Julian and I replaced the cover, tying it down tightly. We really should come out to visit Robinetta more often. Even coming over in the evening for a cup of tea would be a pleasant trip out of the house...

Julian had to get back to work, so we turned off the engine and locked up the cabin, then I rowed us back ashore. 

Saturday 22 July 2023

Local sailing

It felt like a long time since we had gone sailing, given that Robinetta was sitting really close to home. However we had been busy with sailing matters, attending the Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival with our smack boat, and running an OGA60 event in Dundee, so this was our first free weekend since we got back from Oban. I felt quite desperate to get out on the water.

I rowed us out to the mooring in more wind than I was expecting from the forecast, and we hoisted the no2 jib, and reefed down a little as we raised sail, then began the beat out of the Gairloch. Julian has suggested we go over to Loch Goil, but that felt like a long way to me! He was helming and wanted a deeper reef after we got past the Rhu Narrows. 

Once we were out into the Clyde the sea state made Robinetta's motion uncomfortable and we decided to make it a short trip rahter than go anywhere. After a cup of soup lunch we tacked round to head into the Gareloch. As we reached the moorings outside Rhu Marina one of the Navy Patrol vessels approached us and asked if we had heard the radio announcement that the Narrows were closed for a submarine movement. We could honestly say that we had not. There was no sign of anything moving either, but we obeyed instructions and turned off course to beat about through the moorings, well outside the channel. 

Julian had been on the helm the whole trip, and after about five minutes he handed it to me. Tacking through moorings is bad enough, but soon after I had to turn away from the Rhu Spit, and run back through the moorings... We put the engine on just in case the close quarters maneuvering under sail got too difficult. Luckily nothing went wrong and first the accompanying tugs and then the submarine superstructure appeared over the top of the Spit. After about twenty minutes we were free to head up the loch again.

We turned the engine off and had a short sail up the Gareloch before deciding to head home. We were determined not to put the engine back on again, so practiced picking up our mooring under sail. It took three goes, but we did it!

Saturday 24 June 2023

Last day of the trip

We spent Friday visiting Brodick Castle, walking there and back along the Fisherman's Path. We were due a change in the weather, and it was cold, with a fair bit of drizzle off and on. We got back to Robinetta late afternoon, and decided to have a quite evening on the mooring rather than trying to go anywhere.

We wanted to make the most of the tide heading up the Clyde, so warmed up the engine and released the mooring at 06:45. There was a bit of a miscommunication between foredeck and helm on departure. I thought Julian said "Helm to port", while he actually said "Buoy to port". This resulted in Robinetta running over the pick up line, and we did catch on it for a short while. (When I checked astern the mooring buoy was trying to follow us.) Luckily a quick burst of astern before putting the engine in neutral saw the mooring drift towards the bow again, and the pick up buoy reappeared.

The weather was overcast, and the wind very light, but we knew it was due to get up to a force 5 later, so Julian bent on the no 2 jib for the first time this trip. We went head to wind and raised the full main straight after breakfast. The wind was from dead astern, so I set the preventor but the breeze was so light the engine stayed on for another hour. 

At the start of the day Julian had agreed to set a course so we would have an ETA to give our son who was expecting us for dinner. He did not think we really needed it for anything else since we could just head between Bute and the Cumbraes as we left Arran. However I was very glad of it when both our aiming points disappeared into the murk! Visibility was only really bad for about 15 minutes, and as the fog cleared the wind came up and the engine went off at 08:36.

We sailed along happily at just over 4 knots until we were between Bute and Little Cumbrae. Julian was helming, and beginning to find it hard work, and when I glanced behind I could see more white horses than I was expecting. I nipped across the cabin top and took off the preventor while Julian put the engine on, then we went head to wind to reef.

Reefing is normally easy. This was not. The throat halyard got stuck on something, and Julian had to go forward to free it. The problem line turned out to be one of the topping lifts, so he let it off, but the throat halyard was still reluctant to shift. Jiggling the peak halyard can help in this situation, but on this occasion all that happened was that it got free, letting gaff descend more than it should have. Without the topping lift, and in the swell, the end of the gaff fell past the boom and landed in the cockpit.

We gave up on reefing, and lowered the mainsail until the squall passed over. It took nearly half an hour to sort the lines, and when we felt back in control we turned the engine off and sailed just on our headsails at 3-4 knots. After we cleared the Cumbraes and had caught our breath we got the main back up, with a reef, and used the width of the Clyde to very broad reach north, gybing to recross the Clyde as needed. It was a really lovely sail after all that bother!

Just before Cloch Point we noticed a small yacht under motor, heading straight for us. It was bouncing around in the swell and we wondered what it was doing, until we recognised one of the crew who was waving and calling us by name. It turned out to be John Blackie, eager to tell us that his boat, Maid of Lorne, had been launched and was in Rhu Marina.

We carried on past the entrance to Loch Long and sailed into the Gareloch, eager to see our own mooring for the first time. It had been laid just that morning, and we had been sent its lat/long by text message, but we had no idea what it looked like.

The engine went on at 15:24, and as soon as we had the sails down we motored to where we expected the buoy to be. There it was, labelled "RB Marine 5 tons", with a tag on it with the license number. It was an easy pick up, and Robinetta was "back" at her new home with the engine off at 15:42


Thursday 22 June 2023

A place to return to

Being at Sanda, only a long day's sail from home with no tidal gates to worry about, made me feel very relaxed about the rest of the trip home. it was a gorgeous morning, so we had breakfast in the cockpit admiring the view.

 Julian did not start raising the anchor until 09:45, and we motored gently north with the flood tide under us all morning, although we did raise the main sail.

By 12:53 it felt as though there were enough wind to sail, so we stopped the engine 4 miles south of Pladda at the end of Arran, and sailed at 2-3 knots for a while. There was a small boat with two rod and reel fishermen aboard who shouted something at us as we inched past, giving them plenty of space. I did not hear what they said, but according to Julian it was "Get out and push!" Robinetta was doing less than 2 knots at the time... 

By 14:40 the wind was just too light to give us steerage way, and the tide was no longer with us, so the engine went back on for an hour, but then the wind came back, and we ran towards our chosen destination of Brodick. Julian remembered going there as a child, and wanted to visit again, and I had not been there since I was 18 on a university field trip.

As we crossed the entrance to Lamlash Bay we got a wind shift that required us to gybe, but rather than doing that we turned towards Lamlash and sailed inside Holy Island instead of along the eastern side as we had planned. It was a perfect solution as when we did gybe inside the bay we had a fast broad reach towards Hamilton Rock at the northern entrance to the bay.

Once clear of Hamilton Rock at 17:00 we came off the wind and ran towards Brodick. There are 15 free visitor moorings there, and we planned to take one. As we approached I could see that there were plenty of spare moorings, so rather than putting the engine on I sailed Robinetta into the right place to let Julian pick up the mooring line. The maneuver went well, given that I can not remember the last time I sailed onto a mooring!

That evening we were hailed by Jeremy Taylor who rowed over from his boat having seen us sail in. We invited him aboard, and had a lovely evening exchanging sailing experiences.