Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Going Dutch!

On 25th June 10.00 Aros More headed south from Granton to explore the low countries. The crew were myself my son Stuart, Graeme and George. A nice day with light winds meant engine on most of the way towards Whitby for an overnight break. The Red Arrows flew overhead but Im sure it was not our departure they were celebrating!

The Crew

Leaving Granton

 A hearty meal previously prepared by Susan was demolished off St Abbs Head. Sunday was a beautiful summers day  as we entered Whitby at 12.00 and went straight through the bridge to the marina. Fantastic showers then a walk round town and the obligatory fish and chips made for a pleasant visit in scorching weather. Whitby is a very interesting historical town although it is always very busy with visitors. We left at 0630 Monday morning for the remaining 220 miles to Ijmuiden.

Whitby Opening Bridge

The course was SE and unfortunately the wind freshened to 25knots from ...yes SE. This made it quite uncomfortable as we motor sailed trying to make as best speed we could. Visibility also left us looking at the electronics for quite some time. The forecast was to go NW 4 or 5 which would be perfect. As night approached the wind fell away to nothing and remained that way until 30 miles from the Dutch coast. The NW 4 to 5 came in and we sailed fast towards the shore. As we approached the coast we were treated to a massive thunderstorm which was around for about 2 hours. Torrential rain showers and both sheet and fork lightning lit up the sky. We entered Ijmuiden about 00.30 and went straight into the North sea canal where we tied up alongside the first boat we saw. A celebratory dram and a long and welcome sleep.

Mid North Sea

One egg or two?

An evening visitor

Our Canal Buddy (thats a raindrop not the sun!)

 Guy Driech
The Noordzeekanaal  connects the sea at Ijmuiden to Amsterdam, the Markermeer, the  Isslemeer and the sea again at Den Ouver. It allows access as far as the city for enormous ships from cruise liners to tankers. they also cater very well for small leisure craft in a very professional manner free of charge. A very wet morning did not dampen the spirits as we made for Sixhaven marina opposite Central station. A strong wind made for very tricky berthing in Sixhaven but the crew made sure we got tied up safely allowing the skippers blood pressure to settle back to a safe level.

A trip out in the city for food sightseeing and soaking up the continental atmosphere was enjoyed by all. Stuart met a friend from work and seemed to soak up more atmosphere than the more senior crew!

The tourists

On Thursday night Stuart headed home to soak up more atmosphere on a stag weekend and Chris flew out to join us for a while. We left Amsterdam for Volendam on the Markermeer. This involves 1 lock and a lift bridge followed by sailing with the echo sounder always around 1 or 2 metres as the whole area is very shallow. You get used to it and we had a good sail all the way. George said farewell and caught a bus to the city.
Into the Markermeer

We had a great few days going to Einkhuizen and Hoorn. Both very pretty towns with lots to see and do ashore. The sailing was also great in warm weather and gentle summer breezes.

Einkhouzen Lock

Lots of traditional boats

Entrance to Hoorn
 Back to Amsterdam on Monday and into a very busy Sixhaven where Aros More was "hemmed" in for 5 nights. Graeme and Chris left on Tuesday and Susan and my daughter Lynda took over.

Goodbye Graeme & Chris

Welcome Susan & Lynda

We spent a very pleasant 3 days with lovely weather taking in the sights and hiring bicycles to tour round the surrounding countryside.

The 7 bridges

The rural bridge

Lunch time

Just relax Lynd

Check out the liner sailing the canal behind

Lynda flew home on Friday and Susan and I left on Saturday morning for home. We locked out into the North sea at 12.00 and no surprises had 25 knots of wind on the nose. We could just lay the course but it was very lumpy and made for a bouncy 9 hours. We did make good speed though and arrived in Whitby at 02.30 Monday morning. A good sleep refreshed us for the next leg. We had decided to stop in Eyemouth to break the journey. We left Whitby at 12.30 Tuesday and no surprises into 20knots of Northerly with a big swell. We made slow progress not getting to Eyemouth until 10.30 next day. A nice meal ashore and a motor to Granton in flat calm next day with glorious sunshine was a relaxed end to the trip. We tied up at 14.00 and were back in Gala by 16.00. 

Homeward bound

Susan chills out in Whitby

A homely headland!
A last word perhaps. A great trip possibly a bit short but gives a good excuse to return again. Holland is very much a boating nation and looks after its sailors very well. It is clean well managed and we were given a friendly welcome everywhere we went. We were unlucky with the wind at times but thats sailing. It was great for friends and family to be able to enjoy the visit. The boat performed amazingly well, so much Im already planning where to go next year! 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Routine Maintenence

Some routine maintenence was required after returning to Edinburgh. High on the list was to slip the boat and anti foul. Along with Joe this was done at 3am and despite some anxiety it went without a hitch.

Safely Slipped

An Early Start

Joe very busy
Safely off on the next tide the focus turned to cleaning decks engine servicing and  when weather permits varnishing the woodwork. All good fun and a big thanks to Joe Ramsey for helping out on many occasions.

Flying over the Forth

All work and no play would be no fun at all so there have been numerous sails as far as Dunbar and around the Forth enjoying a variety of conditions.

A fine crew

As I write Aros More is looking very well indeed and ready for her next trip when we leave for Holland on the 25th June!   

Friday, 29 April 2011

Return from the West

After 6 months in Rhu I had planned to return to the east coast in the spring. The date was set for Susans Easter holidays to start the trip home.
Susan and I left on a windy 4th of April not getting far and waiting a few hours for the wind to ease in Holy Loch. It did ease and we made for the Kyles for a quiet night anchored in the Burnt Islands. The forecast was not promising so we did head south but kept in mind a quick run back to the Crinan canal if required. On a mooring in Lamlash the wind blew hard for 2 days. We did not get off the boat but had DVDs to watch and books to read. Before cabin fever set in we left on a lovely quiet morning at 6am for Sanda Island. We arrived in time for a 2 hour lunch stop before using the good weather and fair tide to go to Islay. We were glad to tie up in Port Ellen and a welcome walk and a meal ashore.

Port Ellen

The sound of Islay and on to West Loch Tarbert in Jura was an easy hop. We spent 2 days anchored with beautiful weather in the Cumhann Mor which is half way up the loch. With only deer for company we explored for miles in the dinghy.

The raised beaches of Jura

Although reluctant to leave Jura we headed to Puilladobhrain where we went ashore and had tea in the "Tigh and Truish".
On next day to Oban where we met Davy Young for lunch then got fuelled and watered up. We headed to Dunstafannage where sadly Susan had to return home to work (poor lassie). I did though exchange her for 4 old salts named Joe, Brian, Peter and George and in no time we were off for Loch Drumbuie. We had a fine sail from the end of the Sound of Mull to the Loch. A dinghy run ashore exploring the only habitation and gathering a bucket of mussels for bait was a good end to the day.

The Old Salts

We left the loch and a short beat had us round Arnamurchan point. We now had the big genny poled out and goosewinged all the way to Loch Nevis at 7 knots. A trip ashore in Inverie to the pub for tea was enjoyed by all.
Next day was another good run up to Glenelg and a motor to Kyle for showers and some supplies. We continued on to Ardban south of Applecross which is a place dear to both Susan and myself with many holidays with the children at the remote cottage. It was always an ambition of mine to sail there so we did indeed. We anchored in the beautiful anchorage and went ashore to the beach for a BBQ. Yes a BBQ which was very successful (I thought) despite it being on the chilly side. Success I must add is due to Bear Grylls alias George MacKay who loved the boyhood challenge of getting the coals going with sheep dung and bits of bracken! A unique flavour to the chicken and burgers for sure.
A bonny spot for a barbie

The Anchorage Ardban

Sunday morning after a great walk by some of the crew we headed off for Gairloch. We stopped for a short while to fish but only managed a tiny Codling.
A good meal ashore in the evening then Peter and George (Bear) left on the bus for Edinburgh. All set to leave then click as we tried to start the engine. After much checking with the multi meter it was obvious we had to remove the starter, not an easy task. We did this and the harbour master kindly gave us a lift to a good engineer who confirmed our thoughts that it was goosed! By great good fortune we had a spare starter(thank you David) which was a modern replacement and required a bit of re routing wires but worked perfectly after 9 hours graft. Well done Joe and Brian for your expertise and perseverence. Another night in Gairloch then we cancelled our stop in Lochinver and headed straight to Kinlochbervie. An interesting entrance to a very secure port. A trip round the fish market to remind us how they look then tea aboard the boat and off for a few beers.
Round Cape Wrath next morning with a big swell and a very dramatic coastline made for a short and interesting trip to Loch Erribol for a stop on the north coast. We anchored off Smoo in a lovely spot with a white sand beach and spectacular views,

Who needs the Caribbean

Brian and I went ashore in the dinghy to try to visit Smoo cave but Joe was keen to try fishing. Smoo cave was very good and better than we both expected it to be. We headed back via the Smoo cave hotel where we were invited to a wedding but concerned the dinghy may float away we had to decline.
  Brian and Smoo Cave

We returned to the boat where Joe had indeed been busy with Dab on the starters menu!

The contented angler

A lovely day but no wind took us to Scrabster and a meal ashore in the Thurso Chinese. We left in morning witha SE 3-4 pos 5 forecast but off Dunnet Head it was make your mind up time and we were getting 30 knts on the nose. This would be bad enough in the tides of the Pentland Firth but heading SE when we left the firth would be very slow. We returned to Scrabster for another night. A bit of winch servicing and a pleasant day in the sun was had by all. Next day was almost calm although it was boistrous in Duncansby race as the tide met the SE swell. I had planned to go to Wick for fuel and some last minute supplies but a phone call confirmed there was no fuel available at weekends. We had plenty so kept going for Edinburgh. A sail for a few hours but mostly motoring we arrived at Rattray Head about 0100 and fog descended. Peterhead was very busy and very foggy. The AIS along with the radar and careful watch keeping ensured our safety past Peterhead and Aberdeen. Light winds on the nose stayed with us all the way home and we arrived in Granton at 10pm 36 hours after leaving Scrabster. 3 weeks and over 650 miles after leaving Rhu!
Duncansby Race

 We were met by Brians wife Linda who caught our ropes and made us fast. We sat and had a celebratory dram or 3.

It was a great 3 weeks made great by having  great company, good weather and a great boat. Bring on the next trip!

Winter Sailing

As Aros More was in Rhu Marina, I had almost weekly trips through to ensure all was ok.
 I also enjoyed some very pleasant trips on mostly very cold and frosty days. Some memorable ones were with Jack, Joe and Ian to Holy Loch where we were frozen in by ice 1/2" thick for a long way out!

Susan and I enjoyed bringing in the New Year at anchor in the Kyles of Bute and then on to the
fantastic facilities at Portavadie.
Some very good sailing took Brian Eddie Joe and myself as far as Arran. Some very strong winds were enjoyed (I think) by Graeme, Chris, Bob and Jim with a pleasant stay at Holy Loch again.
Nigel saw his deer stalking ground from the sea on another trip!

Im frozen

I see no deer

An experienced crew indeed

Eddie concentrates

A Fine Vessel

A very fine vessel

A change of master

It had long been an ambition, when I retired from the Fire Service, that I would buy another boat. The requirements were a boat which was more capable of sailing further afield in greater comfort and safety. After a long search in 2010 I was fortunate to meet the owner of Aros More, Dr David Bushby. He had fitted the Endurance 37 himself with quality materials to a very high standard. Dr Bushby had sailed the boat since 1985 to places as faraway as Iceland, Nordkap, St Petersburg, Caribbean and New York to name but a few. Dr Bushby has cared passionately for his boat over the years and I thank him for his help and making my acquisition of Aros More such a pleasant experience.  
Aros More is a fine vessel which I along with Susan and friends hope to visit many interesting and enjoyable locations.