“Jolly Boys” Weekend

This weekend the crew consisted of two of my grandsons, Reyce and Prentice, along with their other Grandad Louis – making it a real jolly boys outing.

Louis had not been out on a boat with sails before, and Reyce and Prentice had to keep him right when it came to us slipping the lines and heading out for a weekend on the Clyde.

We had a super time albeit I have to admit that I cocked up a bit with the food supplies i.e I was a bit light on the “snacks” perhaps a bit light on the “meals” and also a bit light on the “juice” department – so in truth if this was a school report it might have read “could do better” . Lesson learned ,and never to be repeated, or the boys will no doubt have me keelhauled! 🙁

Louis quickly adapted to being on the boat and I’m afraid he had a bit of a baptism of fire in that he had to pick up moorings at different places with and without pick up buoys, and get the lines underneath everything and onto the cleats – a task he did well. He also sailed the boat (with me controlling the sheets) and had us gybing away down the Kyles of Bute.

A sign of the terrible economic situation lies up Loch Striven; where the Maersk Line have five large (container?) ships all rafted/anchored together half way up the Loch, and it’s fair to say that they have been lying here for sometime. Perhaps we just need to keep an eye on them as some kind of economic indicator, in that when they move away from here it would indicate that demand for container traffic has increased due to a more vibrant economy. We have passed by the bottom of this Loch numerous times, but this time we decided to travel up and have a good close look at them, which we did with Reyce controlling the situation admirably from the helm.

Reyce on the helm

Parked up boats

While Reyce was slowly taking us around these boats, Prentice was trawling away to try and catch our supper.

Prentice Trawling away

Strange to think that there are similar ships parked up at various deepwater locations across the UK – hopefully it won’t be too long before they are all busy on the high seas again!

Parked up boats 2

The weather during the weekend was sunny and warm (ish), and we all had a good time together. While playing cards we were taught a new game by the boys, and had a really good laugh. However I will refrain from naming the person who ended up being “Scabby Queen” more times than any other…………………….OK you twisted my arm it was …………Reyce 🙂

You could twist my arm further and I would be forced into telling you how many fish the boys caught between them over the weekend, but that might well be a step too far!

On the way back into the marina late afternoon on Sunday, it was fairly obvious that the wind was going to be blowing us off our pontoon, and I have to say that Louis and Prentice did an excellent job of getting off the boat smartly and getting her tied up quickly alongside the pontoon; all the more impresssive really as Louis had never done this before.

Another bonus over the weekend was that the autopilot seems to be behaving itself since it was recently checked out and reset. Fingers crossed that this has finally cured what has been an irritating problem.

Bank Holiday Weekend – Shakedown cruise

With all the work on Sun Dog pretty much finished we have been really keen to get her out of the marina, and to familiarise ourselves with the new equipment and changes we have made to her since last year.

The work carried out by Chris (of DDZ Marine) was to his usual high standard with no snagging work required. This attention to detail and customer satisfaction should be the norm in the marine industry, but sadly it’s NOT!! Chris is an employee (not director/shareholder) of DDZ, but should he ever set out on his own, he could be pretty confident of receiving the order for any business I could put his way.

By the time we got through to the boat on the Friday night and got everything sorted out, we were running a bit late but decided to set off that night, so Sara took us out of the marina, with our options being to nip into Rothesay (where there has been considerable investment) and on this link you can see the lifting bridge to access the inner harbour – the alternative being to carry on till we reached Colintraive; and we opted for the latter. This is one of our favourite spots, and as we arrived after the ferry had stopped for the night, we had a night of total peace and tranquility in a really beautiful spot.

Next day the forecast was for the wind to go round to the North/North East Force 5/6, but when we set off the sun was shining as we explored down the coastline of the West Kyle, and then we turned the corner at Ardlamont Point, which separates the Kyles of Bute from Loch Fyne, and had a really good sail, (with Sara still on the helm, willing the wind God’s to give us more than the 15-22 kts we were enjoying), down to our planned overnight stop at Portavadie Marina. The development of this marina continues, with the investment being substantial, and it’s fair to say that the marina was the busiest I have ever seen. We took the opportunity to refuel, booked a table for a meal (a “must do” at weekends) and took a berth for the night.

Note: The longest pontoons with the widest turning areas are to be found nearest the entrance/exit. The further in you go the shorter the pontoons.

We enjoyed our night, and had the unexpectant pleasure of bumping into our friend Roger who was up in Scotland for the week sailing with his friend Paul, whilst his better half Hilary, is over in the USA.

The weather forecast was still the same the next morning, but as we exited the marina we were in glorious sunshine, with flat calm conditions, and pretty clear blue skies. Not being a “sailing purist” I simply put up the mainsail, stuck her into gear and motorsailed back down Loch Fyne. Roger on the other hand, who came out at the back of us, hoisted all his sails and must have intended waiting on the breeze to fill in!!

As we were gently meandering back down Loch Fyne, and really enjoying being out on the water, we came across the largest pod (?) of porpoise we have ever seen, and assume they were Harbour Porpoise – I can only image there must have been a sizeable school of fish that they were all hunting – a simply wonderful sight – the sea alive with the tantalising glimpses of their back and fins.

We decided not to go back through the Kyles but instead headed for Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae (big Cumbrae) and pick up a mooring. There are some good photographs on the header within the above link which show the anchorage. I have to say that the wind never filled in at all during the day and we enjoyed a lovely (almost) summers day…….and for all we know Roger is still out there on board Doucier patiently waiting on the wind filling in 😉

From Millport it was back into the marina, where we carried out some further work, re-marking off the chain at 10 metre intervals, giving the boat a good old wash down, and then left for home feeling better after our first trip of the year, and absolutely delighted that everything worked as we had hoped.