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OGA60 fleet reaches Scotland

With plenty of photos today, including our cover photo of Ailsa Craig in the Firth of Clyde, several of the OGA60 fleet are now in Scotland. Skippers and crews enjoyed exploring the sights of Belfast, including the Titanic Exhibition, ‘Onward of Ito’ will remain in Belfast Marina for a week, ‘Hilda’ is still there and ‘Barbarossa’ intends to leave tomorrow. ‘Letty’, ‘Moon River’, ‘Oystercatcher’, ‘Indian Runner’ and ‘Minstrel’ have left Bangor taking berths in Campbeltown with the weather on passage reported by ‘Moon River’ as “very pleasant here, warm, sunny and some breeze. Yesterday the sea state was smooth.”

‘Susan J’ is exploring the islands “spending a day ashore on Gigha in the lovely, deserted Achamore gardens. Possible swim before shower! Island is community owned, roads and cars, PO and well stocked shop and good phone signal. Lovely weather, little wind, very quiet. Thinking of going through the Sound between Islay & Jura perhaps staying overnight on the west of Jura, before Colonsay/Iona, depending on conditions, which currently are too good to waste.”

As planned, ‘Charlotte Elizabeth’ is back in the water at Largs heading for Lochranza on the north coast of the Isle of Arran. ‘Lahloo’ spent the weekend on Arran after anchoring in Loch Ryan on Saturday: “For anyone having a slow run across to the Clyde and needing an easy stop tonight we’re anchored at The Wig up Loch Ryan. It’s a 5 mile run up the Loch before turning back inside The Spit to The Wig. No facilities at all just peaceful and safe. Ferries are not a big problem. Now at Lamlash Harbour, lovely until a swell rolls in overnight. Anchorage under Holy Island may be calmer, enjoying the shoreside facilities.”

‘Recipe’ has left the Isle of Man on passage to Glenarm, crossing on Tuesday. ‘Step Back in Time’ and ‘Swift II’ reached the Isle of Man after being stormbound in the Menai Strait and stayed to watch the TT for a couple of days. 

“At last! We left the mooring just after 0800. The tide was against us but we wanted to reach the north entrance of the Menai Strait by about 1000, when when the tide would be with us. In the end, due to yet more wind on the nose, it was later. Once we had cleared the lighthouse, we put all of the sails up and had a fabulous sail for around three hours, reaching speeds of up to 6 knots. Unfortunately, yet again, the wind came round on the nose and eventually died away completely. We motored the last 20 miles or so and arrived at Port St Mary at sunset.”

Sally Kiddle, ‘Step Back in Time’

We hear that ‘Bonita’ has reached Scotland, hoping to rejoin the fleet in Campbeltown.

We extricated ‘Bonita’ from the marina berth she had been in for the last ten days. I had been worried about the tides inside Bardsey Island on the southern tip of the Lleyn peninsula. All the guidance agrees this can be a very disturbed piece of water, sometimes dangerously so and is best transited at slack water. There does seem some difference of opinion as to exactly when slack water is. We left Pwllheli about 2.5 hours before local low water and that seemed to work OK. We motor-sailed through the night with a light NE wind and by morning were off the Isle of Man. When we came to Douglas I hadn’t given much thought to the rather complex tides round the Isle of Man. For going up towards the Clyde, it seems its much better to start from Peel on the west side of the island, For us it worked out better to go round the southern tip of the island before heading north. First we had to get out of Douglas inner harbour without enough space to turn ‘Bonita’, so we reversed her rather laboriously out of the inner harbour, under the lifting roadbridge that crosses the harbour entrance. Boat owners emerged from their cabins to cheerfully adjust their fenders when they saw us coming. There wasn’t much wind and much of the time the sea was like glass. We motored overnight to The North Channel and ended up in the miniature harbour of Portpatrick. We are now in Scotland!

Mike Beckett, ‘Bonita’

In our last extract from skippers’ logs for today, we hear from ‘Indian Runner’

With our propellor set free from its plastic prison we set off at a great pace from Ardglass, heading towards Bangor. We got the tides right and at one point hit a speed of 7 knots, very fast for us, to arrive around 1500. There were bands playing and a Royal Navy festival of the sea. We enjoyed a very lively afternoon and evening. We took the train into Belfast to visit the Titanic Exhibition which was tremendous and very, very sad. The trail took visitors through life in Belfast at the start of the 20th century, particularly the industrial life of the city. Then we were shown the story of the design and building of the ‘Titanic’. The level of skill and physical endurance of the shipbuilders was extraordinary. When the ‘Titanic’ was launched 100,000 people from Belfast came to watch and you could sense the pride of the city in this achievement. The portrayal of the tragic and terrible end of the ‘Titanic’ was rather harrowing and very powerfully and sensitively portrayed. The reflections on the cause of the disaster showed how in a disaster, a number of factors come together, none fatal in themselves, but together leading to an inexorable end. The inquiry after the event listed a missing pair of binoculars in the lookout, no radio operator on duty at night in the nearest ship to the sinking ‘Titanic’, not enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew, no training of crew or passengers for an evacuation of the ship. Also underlying it all, was the pressure on the Captain to beat the Cunard speed record for crossing the Atlantic, so he was reluctant to slow down. From the serious to the rather trivial, joy of joys, Bangor Marina has a bath! Today we set sail for Campbeltown, leaving Northern Ireland for Scotland.

Chris Hardman, ‘Indian Runner’