What a trip !
St. Kilda never lets us down, it’s an experience, and a challenge that sits high on many who hear of the UNESCO dual world heritage site and it’s history. Our 2019 trip saw calm days full of motoring, secluded anchorages, champagne sailing in the North Atlantic Ocean, dolphins, whales and storm force winds.
For our team of intrepid explorers after their whisky tour on Islay and an evening of traditional Scottish music it was time for one more weather review and passage plan briefing. With the weather forecast showing increasing wind speeds from the south we needed some careful planning. The good news was that we would have the wind on the beam or off our quarter as it built!
Planning for our tidal gate at the Mull of Kintyre and with light winds at the start of our day it was an early start for the team, well, earlier that most of the trip. With wind speeds at the start of the trip well below 10 Knots it was a motor sail to the Mull.
With the winds turning south and building we set about getting our sail plan ready. Easing the main for our beam reaching section however didn’t seem to be working! A quick check and we discovered that the main sheet had got well and truly stuck in a block at the base of the mast. It was time for our team to use their training to unstick the main sheet. Mission accomplished about 10 minutes later it was back on course and on track to clear the mull before the tidal gate closed.
With some fantastic beam reaching as we sailed around a wet Mull of Kintyre we opted for a mainsail and staysail plan which gave us a comfortable 8-10 Knots of boat speed. Turning to port it wasn’t long before the isle of Arran came into sight and our next waypoint off Pladda was upon us. Now, this was the point at which we were expecting to see the winds easing, however mother nature had one last twist up her sleeve, a force 8.
With a full on gale developing right where the weather models showed winds easing to a nice 10-15 knots we soon had the staysail dropped. With some delicate (albeit bumpy) maneuvers we dropped the main and cruised the last hour back to our berth.
Safely alongside it was time to stow the main one last time, get dinner and head to the pub for a swift half and some last chats about our adventure.
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