2007 (August) “Sun Dog” Bank Holiday Week-End

Sara, Eilidh, and I went through to Sun Dog late on Friday night arriving around 22.30 – stowed the food etc, and then to sleep.

BH Week End 018

Forecast for week-end in SW v NW 3/4 occ 5.

Original pencil plan was to head for Campbeltown this week-end, but with the forecast we decided to head up to Colintraive which would give us a reach pretty much all the way.

When we left the marina around mid-day it was a SW F5, so one roll in the genny and full mainsail we went cracking along at around 6 kts until sadly, but not surprisingly, the wind eased for a time just south of the Cumbraes. Shortly beforehand Hilary had phoned to say that she and Roger were up on Doucier this week-end and invited us to join them and others on Sunday for a BBQ on one of the beaches around the Burnt Isles.

We persevered as we knew the wind would come back and just coming round into the Largs Channel the wind started to pick up again and off we went again, this time on a broad reach running about 5.5 kts and a bit more in the squalls – visibilty was poor. Once round the north of Big Cumbrae we were heading into the wind and it also decided to wain to around a F2/3 so we decided to motorsail and have a spot of lunch as we went along.

En route we saw “The Waverley” exiting the Kyles and heading for Rothesay – beautiful old boat;

The Waverley heading for Rothesay

In heading up the Kyles the sea state was calm, pretty much in line with the forecast, but the squalls off the hills were pretty strong and we had to ease the mainsheet a couple of times. As we neared Colintraive the winds eased and it ended up a lovely peaceful evening with us swinging on a mooring, run today of 31nm and really enjoyable.

Sunday morning and we awoke early to a lovely clear morning, which carried on into the afternoon. We nipped across in the dinghy and went for a walk via the Colintraive Hotel and then down to the Community Centre where there was some kind of festival taking place with live music, food stalls, kids running around having fun with a lot of smiling happy people and all this taking place under a blue sky – terrific.

We went back to the boat and whilst waiting on Roger and Hilary to arrive, what should appear going up the Kyles again but “The Waverley”, and as you can see by the numbers onboard she is still very popular and elegant.

The Waverley

We decided when they came alongside to pick us up, against joining Roger & Hilary for the BBQ, (we felt we might be gatecrashing) but were delighted when they agreed that they would join us when they returned – which they duly did and we had a really good night catching up and enjoying each others company. Hilary is very accomplished and has compiled a number of CD’s – see Celtic Music under Links

“Doucier”; Roger & Hilary’s Nicholson 35

Doucier Nic 35

(L to R )Sara, Roger, Hilary, & Me, taken by Eilidh

L to R: Sara, Roger, Hilary, Me

Eilidh also took this shot of the Moon above the ferry terminal – excellent composition;

Moon over Colintraive Ferry Terminal

Next morning it was up and away by 0800 and we had expected to see Roger fishing as he had promised to Hilary last night that he would be up catching her fresh fish for breakfast! . Guess “Plan B” took over. However we did motor over to say farewell, but there was no sign of life on Doucier only little bubbles containing zzzz zzzzz zzzzz noises emitting from Doucier 🙂

We had a cracking sail on the way back to Troon, but unfortunately Eilidh wasn’t feeling that great and was trying to stop a migraine developing fully. So we closed out as much light as possible and suggested she just lie down and get some rest/sleep and hope it passed. I get these periodically and they can be most debilitating, real shame for Eilidh.

This left Sara and I to sail Sun Dog, and we worked well as a team and I have to say that the macho part of me has to admit failure, as Sara is now the official holder of the (current) boat record of 6.5 kts through the water on a broad reach in a F4/5.

In truth I think we could even have squeezed a bit more out of the sails, but we were heading for a gap in the islands where the wind would have been increasing and possibly becoming a bit “squally” – so we stuck a roll in the genny again just for the sake of prudence.

This breeze stayed with us all the way down our SE course till a few miles out from the marina when it dropped back to around F3/4 which meant our speed dropped significantly, shame really, but we had enjoyed the sail immensely. Sun Dog may be an old motorsailer, but in the right conditions she fairly trots along.

On the way down we had passed a larger yacht that was going along with no main, and a genny that was well furled, just shows the difference from a few weeks ago when we were overtaken by a “Legend” that was using the same sail plan, whilst we had everything aloft. If nothing else we have realised that Sun Dog does need a bit of breeze to sail and she can carry all sail comfortably up to (at least) a F5.

I had also noticed some of the plastic clips that hold the foot of the sail to the boom had burst, they looked really old and had probably just lost out to the ravages of time and UV’s – therefore into the chandlery when we got back for a full compliment of new clips etc and had this all fixed out before leaving for home.

All in all a good week-end and we found out a little bit more about Sun Dog and her abilities, (along with ours for her) and so far I would have to say she is proving a great all rounder; and when she loses in certain areas she gains in others. I suppose it’s no different really to any type of boat – as all boats are a compromise somewhere along the line.