President and Acting Secretary of the OGA Scotland Area, Julian and Alison Cable organised an excellent event in Oban over the weekend 16 – 19 June 2023. They sailed their boat ‘Robinetta’, a 22′ 6″ tabloid cruiser, built in Birkenhead, 1937, round from Gareloch to join the party. Several other local boats also met the RBC60 fleet in Oban for the weekend including ‘Ferryman’, a Tormentor 5 tonner built after World War 2 in an attempt to reduce the cost of yachts, ‘Macaria’, a beautiful gaff yawl built 1922 by Dickies of Tarbert, sailed by father and son and classic Bermudan sloop ‘Sagan’, built 1965 and sailed from her home port at Loch Melfort by the East Coast OGA President and Secretary. ‘Young Larry’, now based in Oban had the shortest journey. Built in Malta with a steel hull she has cruised the eastern Mediterranean and done the northwest passage.
As boats gathered in Oban, skippers and crews enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the area in unusually sunny conditions with one skipper remarking “Great sailing today are we in the Med.?” The fleet was berthed in Kerrera Marina where they were provided with excellent service by everyone involved from help with technical issues, local knowledge for navigation and places to visit as well as the friendly and reliable berthing arrangements by Marina Manager Gill. There is an excellent water taxi service between the island and Oban North Pier making crew changes and other reasons to visit the town easy to organise.
On Friday evening the Kerrera Marina’s chef, Keith Bermingham and his team at Waypoint provided an outstanding buffet supper for 55 guests, including a delicious full salmon and prawn cocktails complemented by a range of interesting salads blending the best of local produce with a continental twist to some of the recipes. Saturday morning dawned without the sunshine of the past few days and very little wind. This didn’t deter the Gaffers who raised all their sails, with topsails if they had them, to embark on a race. Wind conditions precluded the intended course round the island, but a new course down Kerrera Sound provided some eventful close-quarter racing. This was organised by Oban Sailing Club’s race officer Eric Chapman and in the evening their Commodore Derick Greer and team provided an excellent barbecue at the Club for all participants with live music from some of their junior members. Sadly, turning to the start line, ‘Letty’ discovered her prop had disappeared, so she had to retire from the race having raised nearly all her 2,000 sq. ft. of cloth.
After a visit to Oban Distillery on Sunday and trips into Oban for stocking up with provisions, the fleet once again raised their sails for the final part of the weekend, a Parade of Sail past the harbour. As the tides turned and the Caledonian Macbrayne ferries continued their timetabled crossings, the local boats departed for their home ports whilst the RBC60 fleet continued on passage either ‘over the top’ to Orkney and the Outer Hebrides or through the Caledonian Canal to meet up again for the sail down the east coasts of Scotland and England.