Who's doing all this sailing?

It's Vince and Malcolm

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Why?

For charity of course

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       Loch Eribol to Kinlochbervie 16 June 2007

After a good nights sleep at anchor and with the wind forecast at F5/6 for today I decide the only option for the day is to stay put. The wind at the head of the loch is F4, but the sun is shining and having the spray hood as a wind break, it's nice and warm, as I sit in the cockpit . I have the problem that I have no radio contact with the Coastguard, and no mobile phone signal, so I decided to inflate the dingy and go ashore. If I take a walk to the top of the hill I might be able to get a mobile signal to let people know I arrived safely. The dingy was soon inflated, it being rather small, and I was soon scrambling ashore, and heading for the nearest summit, which was a waste of time, another hill even higher in  the distance kept the signal out, so with still no signal I return to the shore and collect some shells for Molly and Alfie, before returning to the yacht. I arrived alongside Anita and hooked the painter over the stern cleat before unloading the oars and shells, and climbing on board. Time for the kettle I think so I go below to make a drink. On returning to the cockpit with mug in hand. Shit!! the dingy was heading towards the shore, how did that happen? and I hate cold water too. First things first though finish your hot drink, there's  no rush, and its a long swim. After drinking my tea I decide not to put off retrieving the dingy, so I donned my thin and baggy one piece wetsuit, climbed down the ladder very slowly into the freezing water. Once I had caught my breath, I set off for the shore pushing the oars in front of me. After about five minuets the wetsuit was keeping me warm enough not to worry about the cold and I quite enjoyed the swim, although I wouldn't have done it from choice. I retrieved the dingy, along with a large bunch of mussels, and returned to Anita 'A' where I removed my wetsuit and had a rub down with some hot fresh water to remove the salt, I made another drink and had a couple of sandwiches before relaxing in the sun for the afternoon.

18.00 and I decided to weigh anchor and head for the sea to see for myself what the sea conditions were. Under engine I motored 5nm as far at the light on the east side of the Loch. The swell was still running in, and after another 1nm up the Loch it was clear that the conditions were still not good out at sea, so I came about and returned 3.4nm to another sheltered bay where I anchored and cooked dinner. I still had no radio or telephone signal and was worried that Linda would be wondering where I was and was I OK.

The wind was now dropping and I checked the tide tables to see when my best leaving time was. 23.00 looked good so I decided to have another look near the time. It was 23.30 before I left the anchorage. I motored sailed with two reefs in the main out into the Loch and headed towards the open sea, I passed the light to starboard, and the swell wasn't too high now, and after another 3nm I was out in open water. The wind was F4/5 and the swell about  two metres high. My phone went wild with incoming text messages. I unfurled the genoa set a course for Cape Wrath, and with George at the helm I sent a text to Linda to let her know I was OK and under way again. I had no sooner sent the text when the phone rang and a relieved and tearful Linda was asking where I was, and why hadn't I rung. When I explained the situation she understood and said she knew I would be alright but kept going through all the scenarios of how I had been lost at sea.

01.00 and a big swell was running but there was no problem with the boat handling, the GPS was indicating the speed over the ground up to 8kn at times, so this will be a fast passage. My first instructor and friend David Bradbury with whom I had sailed previously off the west coast a few times, and from the Azores to Liverpool, had told me to be careful going round Cape Wrath as the seas could be big and frightening. I wont be frightened because I can't see too much the sky is black with no stars, so its pretty dark. I am using one of David's charts that has the waypoint already marked, I had a quick check and the waypoint looks good so I will use it.

02.30 and I am passing the Cape Wrath light so I will soon be altering course and heading south. Its very dark and as I said earlier I cant see too much, the waypoint keeps me well clear of Duslic Rock so there isn't too much to worry about. Anita 'A' is rock solid, and sailing brilliantly, "these Contessa 26's are great sea boats "

03.00 and I am closing the waypoint so I go below to check for the next waypoint, I am just checking the GPS when the boat shudders, and I rush on deck to find that we have jibed. Phew that's a relief,  the jibe wasn't a big one as the main was fairly close hauled, so it's down below again to change the waypoint on the GPS, before returning to the cockpit to alter course. The dark night sky is beginning to brighten as the suns bloom is rising astern, it looks like I will see a good sunrise later.

The run down to Kinlochbervie is without incident. A quick picture of the sunrise, and by 06.00 Anita is tied up against the harbour wall, which is steel pile sheets so a plank is required to span the gaps in the wall. I retire to my bunk to catch up on some sleep and doze off right away.

 

Vince