What happened in 2019


Well that's the middle of October so its time to get the boat out of the water. Took Shard down to the moorings off Loch Nell boat storage in the afternoon to await lift out at first light. Doug (the van) was waiting to give me a lift back up to Linnhe Marine, he'd been at the Pink Shop anyway, very kind of him. Andy's liftout itself was not quite a smooth as Magnus's has been but it was his first solo lift and between us we got the job done. Sails off, boat emptied, dehumidifier on. I'm leaving most stuff on board this year, except for the cushion covers, curtains and bedding which I brought down the road.

It was a great season, new friends made, old acquaintences renewed, new places visited, old places revisited. Good food, good company and as usual tremendous scenery and wild life. The wee video above has some (only some) of the highlights.

Roll on the 2020 season. Come and visit!

Kurt, Glenn and Angus

Kurt, Glenn and Angus arrived and the pipes were brought aboard. A wee dram was taken, but Tom only had the one as someone has to stay sober enough to sail. Off to Loch a'Choire pipes to the fore, where we anchored. More quality whisky was consumed.

The following day, diesel was required so we motored and sailed down to Dunstaffinage. The diesel at Linnhe marine was finished for the season. Good progress was made down the Lynn of Lorn, and it got a bit "fresh" at the entrance to Dunstaffinage, a wild Easterly. Safe on the pontoon a visit to the reception was called for... lovely young french lady on the desk. Arrangements made for re-fuelling next morning. The Wide Mouthed Frog was shut (totally) for a private function. So... we had to return to the boat for refreshments. That evening it was still a bit wild, so much so that Tom and Angus went to assist with the lines for a struggling work boat attempting to tie up on the outside of the pontoon.

The day dawned bright and still, so we refuelled adn accompanied by Glenn we went to settle up with the damsel on the desk. Then it was off back up to Linnhe Marine. The pipes were brought out as we entered the channel, but there was no-one around to hear us as it was lunchtime.

Good company, plenty of drink and bagpipes, what more can a skipper ask? Come back next season guys, you're welcome on Shard any time!

Des and Megan

Friday Des and Megan arrived at 14:30, they came out on the tin boat. After a brief orientation and fitting of life jackets, we motored off to Loch a'Choire. I pondered whether to anchor there for the night, but the weather forecast was against it. Back on our mooring we had pasta for tea cooked by Megan.

Saturday Dismal and wild is the weather... so we're staying put. Its a good book and a pot of tea type day. Megan had a bit of work to submit by the end of August so they both went up to the cafe for a wifi signal, in the afternoon. We'd agreed to meet up in the Old Inn for dinner at 18:30. On the way back we visited the derelict cottage on the Knapp. It was creepy as... it was getting dark.

Sunday Weather a bit better, so we're off down to Loch Aline. We got a good sail with both sails up but I noticed we've lost two battens out of the main, which I think is affecting how well we can tack into the wind. So we tried tacking up the Sound of Mull for a bit, but had to admit defeat and pop the engine on to enter Loch Aline. I used my photo of the ferry timetable to dodge the ferry, and we picked up a visitors mooring off the explosives store. This made it easier to get off with the dogs. Unfortunately the shop had shut at 14:00 for some refurb work. Steak for tea, cooked by Des, with no little interference from Megan! If memory serves she nearly took over!

Monday Wind SSW, and the tide turns at 14:00. So we had a good sail down the SOM, and likewise in the Lynn of Lorn. However its one thing sailing with the wind at your back and entirely different when we motored into Port Ramsay looking for seals. That was HARSH. We turned around and sailed back to the entrance to the channel.

I hope you both enjoyed yourselves, Des and Megan... you were good company, and thanks for the photos, which comprise the video above.

See you next season?

Ferguson clan

Glenn and his two boys (Angus and Thor) paid a visit for a few days. We sailed, both sails up!, we visited Loch Aline, jousting with the ferry and picked up one of their visitor moorings. Fishing took place, the dogs were fussed over. Then Port Ramsay on Lismore was visited, picking up the new mooring as usual, with a lovely walk ashore. The telephone box at the passenger ferry, was raided for cakes and a good time was had by all. Back at Linnhe Marine a lunch of langoustines and brown crab was consumed, thanks to Ryan of "Our Christine" Generally the weather was kind and the company was good.

Andrew and Robert

Friday Andrew and his diving buddy Robert, arrived at about 10:00 hrs. We decided that Loch Spelvie on Mull would be a good target. Not much in the way of wind so engine on and off we went. To get into the Loch we needed the tide to be on the rise at the entrance. This unfortunately meant we were against the current off Castle Duart, where our speed dropped to 1.5 kn. As compensation we were visited by a pod of dolphin, hard to photograph but, Robert managed to snatch some video. We entered Loch Spelvie with the current in our favour, we ended up doing 8 kn as we went in. Difficult to plot a passage through all the mussel ropes, but we found a mooring belonging to Ardlussa estates in the North West corner. A few whiskies were taken, the dogs walked ashore, and stags were roaring in the distance.

Saturday After consulting the "crew" it was decided to head over to Bernera bay and anchor there. Motored over and anchored in the bay in 7.5 m of water. The tidal range is about 4 m and the wind was forecast to come round to the North, which was fine. Andrew and I headed ashore with the dogs to explore the castle (Achadun Castle).

Sunday Wind still in the North, so after leaving the bay we tried tacking up the Lynn of Morven. We ended up motoring a bit as making progress against the wind was difficult. Still we did get some sailing in. Motored in through the channel and back to Linnhe Marine.

On balance a good weekend, with plenty of wild life, some sailiing and the weather was kind!

The Shardettes 2019.

Friday The girls were working poor souls, but they managed to get away and started up the road. Debate ensued as the langoustines were in doubt, could we make the Old Inn or is it mince we're having? The upshot was we'd dine at the Old Inn around 20:00 hours. I'd meet them there. Steaks all round and to the usual very high standard (Thanks Ladies!). Back aboard Shard (2 dinghy trips) it was a bit "wobblety-woo" with a bit of a swell. Poor Rachel lost her steak. The girls bedded down for the night in the saloon

Saturday The day dawned fair and after a leisurely start, Ryan turned up with the prawns. These we cooked straight away and then headed round to Aird's Bay, where we'd be out of the swell. We anchored in about 6m of water with 30m of chain, we increased that to 40m later in the day. We ate the prawns with part baked rolls and some salad. After a walk round to the Pierhouse, via the rock arch, and one lass went for a swim!, we cooked up the mince in the form of Pasta Bolognaise, then chilled for the evening.

Sunday Leisurely start again, weather not so nice threatening rain, waterproofs on and (Sod's law) the rain stayed off. Motored back round to Linnhe Marine as the girls wanted away by lunchtime.

Well that was maybe the highlight of the year? You're welcome back anytime ladies, and maybe for longer next time? There is a video here

Iona and Fiona.

Fiona and Iona arrived at around 14:00 in time for a trip to Balnagowan to see the seals. A nice sail down in lovely weather. Then sailed part of the way back. Then down to the pub for a steak, thanks ladies.

The following day... sun still shining we went across both sails up to Loch a'Choire to anchor off the wee cottage on the South of the loch. Anchored in 8m with 30m of chain. Ashore at the cottage, Iona was caught with the dogs on the lawn by the folk renting the cottage... they were not best pleased. Not much good for walking Bob there, so Tom came back to the boat. Then went across to pick up the girls from the Boathouse. (which was open). Pasta bake for tea (thanks Fiona). The boat is swinging round in all directions, the depth fluctuating from 5.5m to 11m depending on whether we were towards the shore or into the loch. The weather was fairly settled, but the wind fairly swirls in there.

Next day... still lucky with the weather, one sail up only, sailed for a bit, then motored, then sailed round the top of Shuna Island and into the marina for 12:00.

Sarah and Co.

Sarah, Colin and Tek arrived in style with Dougal, all squashed into the wee Peugeot. Yes! We had some langoustines courtesy of Ryan (Our Christine). So after walking Dougal, we concentrated on cooking them up. Part baked rolls, lemon, a drop of mayo and some salad dressing. Went down well.

A trip to Port Ramsay.

A trip to Balanagowan to see the seals. And a visit to the Pub! Thursday: Off they went down the road and passed Iona and Pamela who'd come for a day trip with Bob. Balnagowan in the rain, and then down to the Old Inn early (17:30) for a steak and then they too were off down the road.

Jeff and Karen

Tuesday Jeff and Karen arrived around 18:00, the bad news was that there were no langoustines to be had. So instead we had sausages (Tesco's finest) oh dear! Never mind there was some whisky. The weather is not great, cloudy and wet with poor visibility.

Wednesday Yes ... wet and hard to see the spectacular view. We motored over to Port Ramsay, one or two seals. We used the new mooring as Graphix was away. Went across in the dinghy for a stroll ashore. The rain stopped for a bit and we managed a walk to the passenger ferry pier. The weather improved and a breeze got up enough to allow a wee sail. Back at Linnhe Marine we went down to the Old Inn for a bit of steak and met up with two of Jeff and Karen's travelling companions. The steak was up to the usual high standard. Karen enjoyed a Botanist gin, and Mellissa was pleased to see her name on the bottle. Thanks Jeff for picking up the tab!

Wednesday An early start, at 6am, as they had a ferry to catch to Islay.

Over too soon, and pretty rubbish weather, but I hope you both enjoyed your visit to Shard!


Thursday 27th June In glorious sunshine and a flat calm, Tom, Bob and Dougal motored round to Loch Aline. At the invitaion of Doug and "Honour Bound" Shard was invited to attend a muster of the RHYC at Loch Aline. I took a visitor's mooring (£15 a night, third night free). under the roar of the mine ventilation, which went quiet at 20:00 each night. Rowing ashore to the path, and picking up "Devil's toenails" by the handfull. Bob is having better days.

Saturday The muster of some 40 yachts was at the top of the loch. I took the dinghy up to the wee jetty there. Lots of good anchoring. Stopped in to see Honour Bound for a quick dram, then ashore for a hog roast and copious quantities of red wine. Back to Shard to walk the boys around 20:30. A good time was had by all.

Sunday The weather is not so clever, raining in a cold feeling NW breeze. Off up to Tobermory to meeet up with Helene and Bob (Margaret and Richard's boat) Honourbound is heading that way too. I waited until 10:00 for the slack water then flood in the Sound of Mull. The first 30 minutes or so was bouncy and the wind whistling down the Sound. Reaching the Mull shore the sea was less choppy and better progress was made. Reaching Eileanan Glasa, and cutting to the wesat the wind seemed to have backed a bit. So there was enough angle on the wind for a partial foresail and a respectable 8.2 knots was reached. Got into Tobermory around 13:00. It was very busy. Mags had reserved me a pontoon space, but I managed to pick up a visitors mooring that a chartered boat had abandoned picking up. Ashore with the dogs to be greeted at the top of the pontoon by Helene, Margaret and Richard. McGochan's is in a sad state, burned down. A bit of faffing about, looking for a re-charge kit for my life jacket, but we had no joy in the Chandler's, did get a new weatherboard lock tho'. Dinner in the Indian was adequate, a wee change.

Monday Off to Loch Sunart with Bob. A nice downwind sail, for the most part. The North end of the Sound was "frisky", but once we passed the "Stirks" the sea calmed and we made good time into Salen (Loch Sunart) where we had reserved two moorings. All the way in the Shard's Garmin beeped recognition at the waypoints, New territory for us, not so new for shard! A nice welcome from Jen (harbour-mistress?) we had a private mooring, Bob was on a visitor's Nicely sheltered mooring, but its a bit of a walk to the "dog walks", too much for old Bob (the dog) really. Tried going ashore on the East side of the bay, but difficult to get off the shore line as its very overgrown. Faffing about, killed the outboard. Lasagne for tea.

Tuesday A day trip to Garbh Eilean, lovely downwind sail in showery conditions. Anchored up next to Bob, in 7m of water. Tom went ashore with the dogs, and a seal popped up 10 m or so astern the dinghy. Richard jumped aboard Shard to bring in a couple of meters of chain as Bob and Shard were not playing nicely in the wind and a bump was posible. Richard joined us ashore for a walk on some very civilised paths. Dougal found a dead mole to roll in, and Bob (the dog) was on good form too. Bacon sandwiches for lunch, Tom had an old man's nap, then some serious beating with both sails up, back to Salen. All in all a good day's sailing, Helene did well practicing the tacking. Dinner in the Salen Hotel, highly recommended.

Wednesday A return to Loch Aline for Shard, the possibility of adventure further West for Bob. Shard motored up the Loch towards the Sound, popping the foresail at the Stirks, for a decent sail down to Loch Aline dodging the ferry successfully. An Irish flagged boat next mooring up held a solo sailor who'd sailed from Ireland earlier in the week. Venison burgers from the (well stocked) shop in Salen for dinner.

Thursday Linnhe bound. A superb downwind sail in showery weather, down the rest of the Sound and up the Lynn of Morven. Only dropped below 4 knots for a few minutes. Tom went ashore, with the dogs, ordered langoustines for Monday from Ryan (Oor christine), organised a repair on the outboard, from Paul and spoken to Jeff to sort the details of their arrival on Monday. A trip to Ballahuilish for provisions. Dinner booked in the Old Inn for 7:30. The steak was up to the usual high standard, but the peppercorn sauce was more peppery than last year. There was also table service... a change of staff. as it turns out with a heating failure, Bob (the boat) had gone into Loch na Droma Buidhe for the night. anchored in Ardtornish bay for brunch and chased us back up the Lynn of Morven to Linnhe Marine

Friday Ashore with the dogs first thing, Bob pooped on the "lawn", Nick lifted it with a spade. While I was walking the dogs, Nick nipped out to pick up the outboard from the back of Shard, Paul was on hand to start diagnosis. Back to Shard for breakfast, and by the time we had the boat gutted of laundry etc. the outboard had been repaired (200 ml of water in the fuel). You can see why we love Linnhe Marine !!!

A good trip, thanks to all the lovely people we met for company, advice, help and moral support!

Lucy and Andrew

Saturday Lucy, Andrew and Helene arrived at around noon. We had the usual chat and fitted the life jackets. Then set sail for Loch Aline. To start with the weather was calm, but the breeze picked up as we went down the Lynn of Morven. Sailing along nicely under the foresail, which we had to reef as we rounded Rubha an Ridire into the Sound of Mull. We shot between Glas Eileanan and past the red buoy at Yule Rocks. The wind was in the NW and freshening. We decided to furl the sail and motor into it to enter the channel into Loch Aline. Helene did a splendid job at the helm dicing with death as the ferry came past. We picked up the mooring closest to the pontoon. Some drink was taken, and Tom got a thorough soaking with the dogs on the way back due to the choppy conditions. Thankfully the wind died down during the night.

Sunday The option of Tobermory was vetoed as that would have meant a very long day on Monday to get back to Linnhe Marine. So instead we sailed round the bottom of Lismore and rounded up off the beach between Eilean na Cloiche and Eilean Dubh, where we anchored in 5m of water with a rising tide. Tom and Andrew paddled ashore in the dinghy to explore with the dogs. Wind still in the NW we got some good sailing in up the Lynn of Lorn and visited Port Ramsay, but it was too exposed to moor there, particularly with having to go ashore in the dinghy, so we set off for Linnhe Marine to moor up for the night. Veggie lasagne for tea (thanks Helene!)

Monday Bright and clear but cold. Motored out of Linnhe Marine to the North of Shuna and popped out the foresail to motor across to Loch a'Choire to investigate the possibility of anchoring for lunch. The moorings have been removed all apart from the one for UL210, which he'd reserved by parking his dinghy on it. Checking out the anchorage off the cottage on the South shore... it was 12m deep just a few yards off the shore. Too deep for Shard given the conditions. We decided to head back across the loch for lunch as it was only 11:00. Back at Linnhe, the guests packed up and we went ashore, Lucy and Tom in the dinghy to request a lift off for the rest of the team from the work boat. A wee wander down to view Castle Stalker then back and they were off down the road.

A good weekend with some nice brisk sailing. You are welcome to return anytime Lucy and Andrew!!

Helene and the Dogs

Friday On the way up to the boat we called in at the chandlery at Dunstaffinage, because we need to buy a life jacket for Dougal!!! Lifejacket fitted, we got a lift out to Shard in the work boat. Dougal is not so sure, but we manhandle him aboard. Old Inn for 20:00 and both Bob and Dougal behaved well.

Saturday Nice wee bit of a breeze so after lunch we go for a wee sail. Dougal is confined to the saloon with the perspex sheet in the hatchway. He can manage to clamber up and out on his own, this is not a problem we have with Bob. A nice uneventful sail across the loch and motored back, the wind having died away.

Sunday Helene decides to clean up the block supporting the vents on the coach roof. A bit of sanding and a coat of oil and the portside one came up a treat. I take Helene down to Oban for the afternoon train, and the boys and I have a walk around Sutherland's Grove on the way back. Chicken and Mushroom pie for dinner.

Monday to Thursday Weather mild and warm, real spring weather, but the wind is in the NE which means we all enjoyed the "Linnhe Chop" with the swell coming into the marina. The dogs don't seem too bothered by it, and seem quite settled in the routine of things. Dougal got a tick on his nose and returning to the boat in the dinghy got his first salt water dunking. He fell in between the boat and the dinghy, but was fished out by the handle on his life jacket. He ran around mad after his refreshing dip, I'm sure there were paw prints on the ceiling!!

Well done Dougal!

The "Trip to Islay"

Panorama of Loch Nell Boat Storage

So picked David and Chris up from Connel at about 13:00, they’d been drinking on the train. Stopped at the Pink shop for some more beers. Arrived at the marina and Chris in particular was a bit “unsteady” Paul brought them out in the workboat.
Meaningful glances were exchanged. I’ve decided that Islay is off, but Loch Aline and Tobermory might work. The usual briefing was delivered which Chris insisted on videoing instead of listening. Beer spilled in the cockpit. A trip round Shuna was undertaken, David is handy enough he can pull a rope, follow instructions and hold a course, Chris not so much. The wind is a bit flukey and variable so the boat is heeling even just under a bit of foresail, more beer gets spilled and whisky (good whisky at that) is getting spilled in the saloon. Back in the marina and I get my first (and only) glass of the good Talisker. At about 16:30 the mince goes on it’s chilli and pita bread. Chris is “persuaded” to go for a swim, but he’s so far gone he can’t climb back up the emergency ladder, when his lips start to turn blue and he’s obviously failing I decide to use the dinghy to rescue him, David had his boots off ready to go in after him, but that doesn’t bear thinking about. Once back aboard more whisky is taken and most of it Chris decides to pour over himself, after eating and spilling a fair portion of that on the floor and over the seating he decides to go for a nap. (18:30ish) on awakening more whisky is taken… this is not auguring well! At around 22:00 Chris is passed out on the starboard berth, David settles down on the port berth, Chris is still under “Grannie’s blanket”, but I put his sleeping bag over him too and retire to the man cave. 5 minutes later and the inevitable happens vomit all over the saloon. Using the APB and a sponge I clean it up as best I could to stop it dripping into the bilges, and get most of it scooped up before it is cold. Secondhand chilli and whisky has a thought provoking aroma.
Wash my feet, don’t ask why… then bed again. Slept well.
07:30, up kettle on open the vents and hatch to let some badly needed air through. Coffee. I even found a wee carton of UHT for the guests.
A conversation took place, the upshot of which was that the guests were put ashore and transported down to Oban for the next train home.
Back to the boat for 10:45, and some cleaning was required.
Vicious gusts of wind from the SE F6 or F7 maybe more.
Aftermath: Spattered over Helene’s pillows, (they’ll need a wash) it’s in the bilges, it’s under the floor panels, on the walls. I think scrubbing over with a brush and some Febreeze will do for the saloon cushions if they dry in the wind. Somehow a plate of left over chilli doesn’t appeal for lunch. The bilges definately need flushed through. 6 buckets of salt water with bilge cleaner, and pumped out seems about it.

Ah well, Davie and Chris... what can I say? The route is all planned out and if you want to re-book David with some more responsible company... it could still happen!

4th to 7th April

The day dawned: 07:30, Magnus, with the assistance of Tam, brought the hoist. The tide was nice and high, the impeller connections checked. And we were in, the only drama was Tam alighting from the boat to straddle the very end of the hoist, which was padded, a brave jump! Out to the mooring to catch my breath, some breakfast and make sure there were no obvious leaks. The wind was fresh Easterly, which meant the fore sail was hoisted. Shard made 8 knots rounding Bogha Garbh-aird and we were off up the Lynn of Lorn. On reaching Eilean Dubh we had to drop the sail as the flukey wind made navigating the passge a bit dodgey. Past Port Appin and into the channel and back at a somewhat empty Linnhe Marine. Picked up D4, same mooring as last year and Nick and Davie came out to say hello. Its good to be back!

A lot of shore muck to scrub off, the wind went NE which meant it was somewhat "bumpy", but with plenty of sausages, mince and potatoes, and liver and onions and of course no dogs I didn't have to go ashore that often.


Panorama of Loch Nell Boat Storage

So the week before launch I went up to the Loch Nell Boat Storage to get organised. The foresail had been removed for some small repairs by Owen Sails so it was time to put it back on. Magnus was there to assist. We lubricated the foil and the foil strip with liquid paraffin, and with a bit of jiggling about we got the foresail up. On furling it it was noticed it was furling inside out. So ... off the sail came and we rewound the furling drum the opposite way, hoisted the sail and we were in business. Went to the Creagan Inn for a burger then back to Sutherland's Grove for a night in the car. Point of Information Loch Nell boat storage, have changed their terms, permitting boat owners to stay aboard for a few nights while out on the hard. This includes the upgrading of provisions to include a Porta-loo!!