An American, a Canadian and a Scotsman.

As usual, there were a number of maintenance jobs to be done, none of them critical, just ones that you mean to get around to. So, I secured the dodgers, fixed the wobbly floor at the heads, fitted some hooks in the cabins made up the bunks and generally tidied up and readied the boat before Brandon (the American) and his wife Lauren (the Canadian) arrived on Thursday evening.

The plan for the weekend was to spend the first evening in the marina, eating in Scott’s Restaurant and then setting off for Portavadie on Friday morning. Saturday a sail up to Otterferry for lunch, heading to Tarbert for Saturday night and returning to Largs on Sunday. We had a great night in Scott’s Restaurant and Brandon and I consumed large quantities of Punk and Joker IPA back on the boat with Lauren getting stuck into a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

After a leisurely breakfast we set off ┬ásouth past Cumbrae and through Cumbrae pass towards Bute. We motored the first part and once into Cumbrae Pass I put the sails up and we managed to get all the way across the Sound and Inchmarnock Water. We arrived at Portavadie around 1630. We had decided to eat on board and I set about making pasta. After eating we played “Wizard” a whist type card game – great fun.

Saturday’s forecast had always been looking poor, but the reality was worse. It was a grey miserable morning, alternating between drizzle and rain which lasted the entire day. Not relishing the prospect of a slog up Loch Fyne to Otterferry and the unlikelihood of actually crossing to the restaurant, we decided to have a lazy morning and head straight for Tarbert for lunch. It was still raining when we arrived but there were some breaks. During one of these Brandon and Lauren went for a walk to the Castle and on the way booked a table at Starfish, probably my favourite restaurant anywhere. Trabert was quite busy as there was a Traditional Boat Festival on and there was to be some entertainment in the harbour marquee later that night. After a fantastic meal we made our way back to the harbour. The entertainment was a local young guitarist, he was reall very good with a voice a bit like Paolo Nutini. On our way back to the boat I noticed that some of the ┬átraditional boats were lit up.

After Saturday’s terrible weather, we woke to glorious sunshine on Sunday morning.The forecast for the day was good with F4/5 westerly which we give us a great broad reach to the Western Kyle. We made great time across Inchmarnock Water and started on beam reach up the Kyles. We had started off too close to the island of Bute and were forced to make a couple of tacks to get round. I put the engine on as we passed Kames and we had lunch and then a great run down the East Kyle avoiding the ferries. We sailed all the way back to Largs, dropping the sails just outside the marina.

It was a brilliant weekend with some of the best sailing this season. Brandon and Lauren are great company and welcome back any time they wish.