“Jolly Girls” Weekend

This weekend it was time for a “Jolly Girls” weekend as opposed to the recent “Jolly Boys” weekend so the crew this time was Sara, Eilidh and little ol’ me. Everyone managed to get finished work mid afternoon on Friday and get through to the boat and away by around 1830.

One of Eilidh’s favourite places is Loch Ranza in Arran so that was where we headed out through The Tan between the “Cumbraes“. On the way over to Loch Ranza we noticed what looked like one of the container ships that had been “parked up” at Loch Striven was heading south – could this be a small indication that there has been an increase in consumer demand?

When we arrived at Loch Ranza I was astonished to find all, and I mean all, the visitors moorings had been taken! I mistakenly thought that with us getting away smartly on the Friday night that we would have been OK for a mooring. Anyhow as light was fading I didn’t think there would be an issue in picking up a “members only buoy” which seemed pretty substantial. For the life of me I cannot remember the letters of the club marked on the buoy but I am due them a suitable donation. I could have asked to raft up to someone using a visitors buoy, but Loch Ranza can get a bit uncomfortable so this was not a good idea. In truth I could have anchored but I suppose I was being a tad lazy in going for the easiest option.

There is now a pontoon for short stop overs, but in reality it’s mainly for tying up ones dinghy to get ashore and you can see this in the shot below to the left of the ferry.

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With the sky having been so clear, the setting sun was simply stunning.

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In the morning we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning with a weather forecast of NE backing NW F4/5 occasional F6……perfect!!

As I was looking around the boats bobbing on moorings I saw a relation of mine with the same name on his boat “Backdraft 2″….you would never know he had spent his working life in the Fire Service would you? Anyhow when Gerry was leaving he called over to say hello which was a lovely start to such a gorgeous day. He was sailing solo along with three other boats doing the same and were heading off to Campbeltown, while we at the time hadn’t even finished breakfast!!

Certain other creatures have found a way of obtaining breakfast before human beings. All you need to do is look cute and hold your head at a jaunty angle…………..

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When we were finally fed and watered, we decided that we would hoist full canvas and head over the the West Kyle. Initially the wind was so slight that we were tickling our way over at 2/3kts – you can see in the shot below just how relaxed the crew were at this point 😉

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The winds duly picked up as forecast to around 15kts, and Sun Dog was loving it (so were we) she was sailing about 40/45 degrees to the wind under full canvas – words cannot express how happy I was. As the wind climbed into the high teens, I left up the full main and took in a reef on the genny, and when it was getting towards and over 20kts she was still balanced with full main and a second reef in he headsail. Perhaps she would have been OK with just one reef in the genny but the wind was steadily climbing and we were approaching the headland so this seemed fairly practical and comfortable. So in essence, we had clear blue skies, good winds from the north in the F5/6 range…….simply hard to beat.

After entering the Kyle we decided to stop for a late lunch about halfway up the Kyle and picked up a mooring courtesy of the Kames Hotel. The sun, it has to be said was baking hot, and while we were having lunch we were treated to a bit of a cabaret. A certain member of the crew was watching some Royal Marines take to their ribs from their mother ship and head for the shore……..and I think it’s fair to say that this “certain member of the crew” was taking a wee bit more than a passing interest…………weren’t you Eilidh?

From there we headed up towards Burnt Isles where we found the anchorage in Wreck Bay absolutely chock a block – something must have been happening this weekend that I don’t know about, because there simply wasn’t room for another boat! Normally there are a few boats anchored at Wreck Bay but I have never seen this many.

We went over to the other side of the Kyle and spent the Saturday night quite comfortably as the wind had died down to almost zero. An early night seemed in order as everyone was yawning away by the time we had finished our evening meal.

Next morning we set off early, and with the wind still from the North it was up with the canvas, and we a lovely sail down towards Rothesay Bay. We looked up Loch Striven to to where the five container ships had been parked, and it looks like there are now only three parked up in the Loch.

We also checked out the new marina at Port Bannatyne and then sailed around for a bit before heading off to Millport on big Cumbrae. The sail down was superb and I think Sun Dog must have been close to hull speed because we were doing steady 6kts + all the way down with Sara achieving 6.2kts in 13kts of apparent wind – fantastic.

We stopped for a long lazy sunny lunch at Millport, and from there it was over to Largs to clean the boat etc and then head for home late afternoon, after what had been a fantastic sailing weekend.

Our overall track for the weekend can be seen below.

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