Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Crinan Canal to Ardrossan

Hi everyone,
On Thursday evening last week we trained north to Glasgow and on Friday morning we coached and taxied to the western end of the Crinan Canal.  There we met Anne and Graham who had been sailing Zen Again for the month since we left her in Oban.  As their track below shows, they got around...

Anne & Graham's Scottish Adventure on Zen Again
We joined Anne and Graham above the Crinan sea lock mid-afternoon.  From there we motored through the western part of the canal with Anne and Graham working the locks while Nicki and I crewed the boat.  It was a bright sunny day with no wind.  It was spectacular motoring along the canal which is much narrower than the Caledonian Canal.

Zen Again above Crinan Sea Lock
Going Up!
Along the canal in dead calm under a sunny sky
We could only get as far as Dunadry Lock since the locks are disabled at 1700 each day.  We secured Zen Again and then walked with Anne, Graham and all their gear to their hotel at Cairnbaan where we had dinner with them.

Zen Again lying above Dunardry Lock 
Dead Calm
On Saturday we were on our own.  Happily the wonderful weather continued and we were assisted through some of the locks by staff.  At others Nicki worked the locks while I single-handed Zen Again in and out of the locks and handled the lines aboard.

Entering another lock
Between locks
Entering Ardrishaig sea lock
We arrived at the eastern sea lock at 1330 and Zen Again was back into sea water by 1400.  Sadly there was only a light breeze and it was blowing directly up Loch Fyne, so we motor-sailed down the loch.  Over time the wind died entirely and the sea glassed out.

It was a long warm motor to Clyde Marina.  Warm enough to expose skin to the sun and acquire just a little sun burn.  Beautiful!  The scenery was great too and there were lots of yachts on the water.

We arrived at Clyde Marina (in Ardrossan) at 2000 after a 6 hour motor.  Twas good to accomplish our mission for the weekend but disappointing not to have had an opportunity to sail.  Here's our track for the weekend.

Zen Again Track
On Sunday morning we tidied up the boat and gave the engine a treat.  She got new oil, oil filter, fuel filters, impeller and V-belt.  The engine is approaching 1000 hours since installation new in Langkawi in November 2013 (see here).

Berthed at Clyde Marina
On Sunday afternoon we left Zen Again in her temporary new home.  We hope to move her further south soon.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Loch Drumbuie to Oban

Hi everyone,
On Friday 25th we sailed from Loch Drumbuie to Oban to complete our brief cruise of W Scotland.  We had a great sail down the Sound of Mull in a nice N-NW breeze.

Initially the wind was quite strong, gusting to 25 knots, but it gradually faded to be very light for our arrival.  We gybed to and fro down the sound in bright sunshine.

Through the race off Lady's Rock
Entering Oban Bay
We berthed Zen Again in Oban Marina for the night.  The marina is actually opposite Oban on Kerrera Island.  Sunderland flying boats were based here during WW2, including an RAAF squadron early in the war.  More recently, the marina has been under new ownership for several years.  We had a very nice dinner at their Bar & Grill.

Zen Again in Oban Marina (off Kerrara Island)
Here is our 28nm track...

Our two week cruise was fantastic fun.  The first week was very, very cold but we got to see at least parts of the Outer Hebrides.  The second week was less cold, sunny and provided little wind.  Here are the overall statistics...

  • Log = 350 nm
  • At Sea = 55 hours
  • Average Speed = 6 knots! (perhaps the new log needs calibrating)
  • Engine = 30 hours
  • Gas = 2 litres (approx, for both cooking and heating)

And here's our overall track...

On Saturday friends Anne and Graham arrived from New Zealand.  They are going to be sailing Zen Again in W Scotland for the next month.  We spent the day briefing them on the boat's systems and then motoring over to Oban town marina for them to load supplies.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Loch Moidart to Loch Drumbuie

Hi everyone,
On Wednesday 23rd we sailed from Loch Moidart to Loch Drumbuie.  Happily we had wind for much of the passage and had a great sail tacking along the N coast of Ardnamurchan.

We spent the morning exploring Castle Tioram.  The weather was perfect.

The castle in calm conditions
Zen Again from the castle
We departed at 1130 and once again slowly motored around Riska Island and down the loch into the open sea.  Always less stressful retracing one's own track.

Once clear of the loch we hoisted sail and were hard on the wind, tacking along the peninsula towards Ardnamurchan Point.  Twas a great sail in a 6-10 knot WNW breeze.  The wind died as we approached the point and we motored for a while before it returned as we approached Loch Drumbuie.

Approaching the point
Motoring E towards Loch Drumbuie
The entrance to Loch Drumbuie is narrow and rocky.  We once again put the Antares Charts to good use.
Approaching the entrance to Loch Drumbuie

We anchored at 1830 in 5m over fine silty mud, very close to where we anchored in 1994.  Tis a very nice location but sadly we only had time for a quick overnight stay.

Here is our 29nm track...