A diary of events

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 May

Back 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 May

Helene 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 May

Shard 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.

25th May

Shard was lifted out and the stern gland inspected and repacked. I picked her up from the mooring in Loch Nell and sailed and motored back to Linnhe Marine. All seems well. Guests arrive tomorrow here is their story.

2nd June

Arrived on the Friday 2nd June, MIF was at the boat checking the fuel hoses and replacing the pre-filter, which was mucky. Hopefully the engine problems will be sorted. The worry is where is the muck coming from? Old boats, an old diesel tank... well we'll see. Guests, Iona, Meg and Rachel are due this evening. Here is their story.

5th June

Boat seems a bit empty without Bob or the girls, went shopping for dinghy repair stuff, and provisions. Got back and put up the main while on the mooring, adjusted lazy jacks and checked reefing. On Tuesday IT POURED all day, read books and drank tea all day. Wednesday the weather is brighter, but its time to pack up and go down the road.

19th June

Back on the boat after the festivities of Craig's wedding. Helene is in Toronto (ICM). The weather has been warm this week, thundery at times with heavy downpours, however there has been little wind. So just pottering about, cleaning stuff up. I left a loaf on the boat last time... fungus city in the larder cupboard.

23rd June

Packing up to go down the road John (Mingulay) came bearing gifts... about 500g of tobacco of uncertain age. Mostly in tins it'll be fine. A packet of Balkan Sobranie and a packet of Captain Black among the treasure. Down the road just after lunch as Helene should be back this morning.

1st July

Iona, Hamish and Katie arrives at 11:30, went to the boat in two trips. Settled in and briefed we decided to go for a sail with the foresail out. Wind Sourtherly F4 but freshening. Out of the lee of Shuna island I decided to bring in the foresail a bit when... Bang the Furlex Drum split. Attempted to lower the foresail, no joy. Sheets thrashing about somewhat terrible. Lost the port sheet over board. Engine on, turned back East towards Linnhe Marine, with the foresail still out, but partially sheeted on the port side. In the lee of Shuna, Hamish and I managed to hand furl the foresail enough to get proper control of the boat. Sore fore arms !!! Once safe on the mooring, we re-furled the sail neatly and secured it, by 15:00. After a cup of restorative tea, we had a practice hoist of the main sail, ready for tomorrow. Then a nice meal in the Old Inn! Thanks Hamish, we retired for a game of cards and then bed.

2nd July

Wind southerly F3 or F4, sailed using the main to Balnagowan Island anchoring in the sheltered North East bay we had a spot of lunch. Iona and I fancied a nap, but Hamish, Katie and Bob decided to go ashore in the dinghy. However the wind caught them and they were heading for Fort William. Iona and I hastily raised the anchor and set off to the rescue. It was then a long slow slog (1.5 knots at 2000 rpm) back down the loch into the wind and back to Linnhe Marine. Guests departed around 16:00. An event filled weekend.

3rd July

Furlex stripped down to examine the burst drum. New drum required. Owen sails could provide one for £60 + VAT. Contacted Forbes Boat Care for assistance from Magnus to put it all back together. Successfully accomplished on Friday (7th). Back down the road to collect Helene for the next week.

9th - 14th July

Helene paid us a visit, the outboard died, Loch Aline pictures etc. here

21st - 23rd July

Iona and her pals Kirstie and Jen joined Shard for the weekend Their story is here

Week beginning 14th August to 27th August

Nothing much really, the weather is not up to much with a lot of rain. Read books, drink whisky and smoke my pipe, between walks ashore to the pub with Bob. Not bad really! Meanwhile dotting down the road at the weekends to see the wife and start up the BB and church activities for another year. Oh and one other thing... my French pal Jacques deTurenne started a blog here. Have a read in french or put the url into Google translate and try to read it in "english".

Week beginning 28th August

Arrived up on Tuesday, weather showery if not wet. Contemplated my navel on Wednesday (weather wet, if not showery) , but shot down to Port Ramsay on Thursday. Tricky navigation in,, but a great scouting day with little wind and Neep tides making life easy. Spotted the rocks, reefs and hazards and got in safely. Nice big yellow buoy to tie up to (no pick up). Long dinghy trip ashore... another island trod upon! Lismore !... you shine in the sun and covered in flowers! More showers around 14:00 and then a gentle sail on a beam reach back round the top of Shuna. Back at LM by 17:00. A good day. Down the road tomorrow despite the weather forecast, but then its Friday. QuickFlash (landscape) gallery here... .

Week beginning 4th September

Hid from the rain for the most part, although I ate well, with liver and onions, pork chops and pink shop mince. The weather was very wet, however the waterfalls were all running well. Coming down the road on Friday the Glen Coe road was shut, and there were loads of folk going about with canoes on they're roofs. Its an ill wind as thay say.

Week beginning 18th September

Got some "prawns" on order from Belle Isle II, Helene is coming up with her pal Lyz... their story here I stayed on after they left until the Thursday (28th). Planning on taking the boat out at Loch Nell around 18th October. Not long left now.:'o(

Week beginning 16th October

Storm Ophelia , blew through on Monday, went up for what turned out to be (apart from the loss of some whisky) an uneventful lift out. Roll on 2018, here's the video and full story