Easter Weekend and Shake down.
Shard was launched for the 2017 season from the Forbes boat care Loch Nell winter storage at around 09:00. MIF himself drove the hoist. Helene, Tom and bob motored to the mooring buoy with no major excitement. The course to Linnhe Marine had been punched into the GPS The charts looked out and course plan worked out. The wind was a fresh westerly, so we motored out of Ardmucknish bay, and popped up the foresail once Achnacroish came into view. The wind continued to freshen and Helene took the helm for an exhilerating sail North to the entrance to the channel between Shuna and the Knap. Sail furled, (it was a bit stiff). Engine on, and the channel negotiated. The mooring was acquired and the maiden voyage for 2017 was over.
The following day (Sunday) we put some lubrication into the furlex, and generally cleaned off the "shore muck". Then motored back to Loch Nell picked up the mooring and went ashore so that Helene could pick up the car. Tom motored back up to Linnhe Marine, there was no wind to speak of.
Went to the pub (the old Inn) for a bite to eat, no food on Sunday. A couple of pints then pasta and sauce that old standby.
Monday, took Helene to the train, at Connel, and spent a couple of days cleaning and applying the Danish Oil to the teak. Back down to Airdrie on the Thursday.
26th April.Back to the boat, teak looking good. On Thursday the wind was a fresh Westerly, decided to sail to Loch a' Choire. Good sailing using the foresail with a tack to the North, then down to the entrance to the Loch. The wind was blowing straight out of the Loch. Got passed the fish farms and was scoping out the moorings when the diesel engine just cut out. Wouldn't restart. Sail up, turn east and headed out of the loch. A quick phone call to Linnhe Marine to inform them of my situation. The plan was to sail back and pick up an outer mooring. However Nick and Dave were waiting to escourt me in, but the engine had recovered. Picked up the mooring with no problem. There was no evidence in the filter glass of any muck, air, or water.
Had a good look around the engine and could see no obvious problem, it starts, it runs and stops as normal.
Back down the road on Friday.
1st MayBack to the boat, weather fair, cold but sunny, wind NE - E. On Tuesday the wind was a fresh Easterly, decided to sail to Loch a' Choire (again). Good sailing using the foresail using a lashed tiller Shard sails well. The Auto-tiller seems to use a lot of battery so should only be used for short intervals under sail. Reached the entrance to the Loch and dropped the sail to motor in, even thought the fresh breeze was straight into the Loch. Spied the moorings six of them all vacant. Decided on the mooring to use. My approach was a bit quick, and for some reason decided to apply a bit of reverse, the dinghy, being towed behind caught up with the boat, the painter sunk and wrapped itself round the propeller. Choice language was used. The anchor deployed, in 10m of water, 30m of chain laid and the boat settled.
Into the dinghy, boat hook and knife employed for 5 hours to no avail. At 6:30, I decided to tie together three warps and tie one end to Shard and take the other to the mooring by dinghy. In stages hauling in the anchor and warp to the buoy, to the point where there was about 5m of warp to the bouy, tried to lift the anchor, but it was well held to the bottom. Had to put a warp onto the chain and lead it back to the sheet winch, which did the trick. Safe and secure for the night.
Wednesday, broke clear and sunny a fresher breeze into the loch from the East, no way could I sail out of the entrance just not enough space to tack out. Decided to take Bob ashore for a walk and find a mobile signal. "Where is the dinghy?". Just then the fish farming launch appeared with two dinghys, yes, mine had blown away during the night. The new polypropylene painter doesn't hold a knot. After another hour in worsening conditions, wind freshening, I could not untangle the rope from the prop. I considered donning the wet suit, but being on my own, thought this unwise.
Phoned Linnhe Marine, who (very fortunately) had a diver doing some work on a mooring there. He agreed to come over and untangle my prop. Ian arrived in his RIB, drysuited and ready. Three minutes work and the problem was solved. The engine runs and the propelller turns. A cup of coffee and a chat, and he's off.
Wind still fresh from the East, motor out of the Loch a' Choire, into Loch Linnhe, where there is not a breath of wind, motored across to Linnhe Marine and moored.
Big thanks to Nick of Linnhe Marine, and Ian the diver.
Need to work out a better painter arrangement, it still doesn't hold my knots, (yes I lost the dinghy again) In future the dinghy will be brought forward, before any mooring manouvres, and splices used in the painter.
Beautiful spot Loch a' Choire, porpoise, cuckoo, red deer and lovely scenery. Restaurant open Thu-Sun.
Back down the road (via Glen Coe) on Thursday.
7th MayHelene and I arrived at Linnhe Marine on Sunday night. The wind was Northerly and Dallens Bay was very "bumpy". We watched some poor souls attempting to pick up a mooring for about 30 minutes, they were not having much success and after an hour they left. So as the work boat was not available (it was after 18:00) we decided discretion was the better part of valour and went to look for a room for the night. The Holly Tree Hotel provided refuge. Bob was even included as it allows pets. As you can imagine Helene was gutted at not spending the night on a very bumpy Shard. Highly recommend the hotel, the views were spectacular the staff friendly and great food.
Anyway on Monday we went back to the marina and got onto the boat, it was still a bit rough. We decided to head South to Dunstaffinage and had a brilliant sail down past Port Appin. We moored alongside the outer breakwater, with only a slight hiccup or two.
Tuesday we attempted to leave the pontoon by reversing, but wind and current (I think) prevented us from going astern and we drifted into the next boat along. We bent the stanchion on the port quarter of Shard and cracked the teak on the toe rail. The LochLann (the other boat) was higher than us so we tangled Shard's back stay on her anchor and put some gouges and scratches in her paintwork. The real tragedy was the LochLann from Lewis was down to have her gelcoat and paintwork polished up for the season. The LochLann operates out of Uig on Lewis taking intrepid travellers out to the likes of St Kilda. Its an insurance job and I can only apologise to Murray MacLeod, for the trouble we've caused him. We requested some assistance to get away, but after several hours no-one came to assist us. So we spent another night in Dunstaffinage.
Wednesday, contacted MIF of Forbes Boat Care, as he was passing he came and gave us the once over, and organised a lift out for next week. We again requested some help to get away, but we had to turn the boat using the warps, and made our way out safely under our own "steam". Shard is taking in water from the stern gland at the propeller shaft about 2 pints a day. We sailed for a bit, but the wind died so we ended up motoring back to Linnhe Marine. After an hour or so the engine started spluttering, but judicious use of the throttle kept the engine going. Back at Linnhe marine a close inspection of the filter glass showed some air bubbles in the diesel. Wednesday night we went down to the Old Inn for a steak dinner, superb bit of beef.
Thursday, we tidied up, pumped out the bilges and headed down the road. BB Diplay rehearsal tonight... a different set of problems.
15th MayShard was taken down to the Forbes Boat Care Winter storage facility to get lifted out. This is to re-pack the stern gland and investigate the air leak into the fuel system. Unfortunately the tide (being Neeps) doesn't suit a lift out, there is only a metre and a bit at the end of the slipway. It'll be that way until the Tuesday (23rd) or so next week. That's Helene's birthday! So we'll need to wait and see... Hopefully back in the water in time for our first "customers". Glenn and Lorna Ferguson!
Watch this space.