After Corinna and Philip made it to Oban where the new crew, Cathy, Dan, Ellen and Linda, came on board, the quite creative epoxy job on the diesel return line finally put an end to our engine problems. From Tobermory on we had quite nice weather and enjoyed the amazing landscapes of Western-Scotland. Highlights of this roughly 550nm long leg, include Loch Moidart (with the old castle ruin at the end of a tricky to navigate body of water), Loch Scavaig (impressive views at the southern shore of the Isle of Skye) and the Crinan Canal (where the locks are operated manually by the crew), as well as many beautiful towns, distilleries, breweries, Irish pubs etc.
All this combined with numerous overnight sails and weather changes when we needed them made this a very memorable trip.
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We departed Tobermory without incident. Unless you include the sorry example of crew line handling to approach the fuel dock. Dan was relieved from line handling by an 80 year old woman. She was either a helpful samaritan, or perhaps concerned Tioga would ram her Hinkley picnic boat. We left with all canvas flying. The Captain determined it was time to take the first reef in the main as blue water poured over the rail. He went forward to take the reef and swiftly decided, no the second reef was needed. On further reflection, he struck the main entirely. We still made hull speed to a desolate anchorage. a deserted 2 mile deep inlet afforded over one foot of keel clearance. In a serpentine path among mountain highlands and a deserted, ruined castle. Not Winterfell, but close.
Loch Moidart, just south of Eilean Shona, is the inlet that challenged our depth finding precision. As the captain used his high tech method via the GPS, the cockpit crew confirmed using transducer sounder, yet we relied on Ellen using lead line technology familiar to sailors on the Pequot or the Mayflower. When we arrived safely at our anchorage spot with a front row view of the deserted ruins of a castle, the crew quickly got to work inflating the new dinghy. Unfortunately, the inflator hose was installed incorrectly so the butt burning exercise of inflating the craft to its meager fullness was lost, and had to be repeated once Dan corrected the situation. After a quick romp to the island to explore the castle, captain and crew returned to a delicious dinner of Chicken Korma and nice red wine. All in all a good day, with Linda at the helm and making a late night nightcap cocktail to share. As we discuss late night shifts for anchor watch, the captain determines that “these people” need an alarm wakeup as they all sleep like the dead.
Are we on the set of Game of Thrones, dreary day. cold and rainy in Scotland. Philip and Dan trekked to a local farm on the Island of Kerrera to buy fresh meat. The lonely, but sultry, farmer’s daughter invited them for tea. Alas no time. Her farm was home to cattle, peacocks and, of course, goats. Corinna, Ellen, Linda and Cathy toured the Oban distillery. The diesel continues to vex captain and crew. Westerbeke and dealers no longer offer the failed diesel return line. No worries… The A-Team of Dan, Philip and Linda, rigged a very successful solution using epoxy and granola box. Thought leaders! Corinna, Ellen and Cathy would have provided input, but were engrossed in intelligent discussion and taste testing on whether Jack Daniels Fire is better than Fireball. The epoxy granola box engine fix worked, and we successfully motored sailed through the Sound of Mull to the beautiful port of Tobermory, where the land is colorful and the sea is calm.