The past couple of months have been a busy time for me and I haven’t been out on Jess as often as I was last year. I managed a couple of outings in May and then for most of June I was on holiday in France.
The great weather that I had enjoyed in France continued when I arrived home and I had arranged a sailing weekend with friends Rob and Mairi. We were joined my Mairi’s teenage daughter, Kirsty. I became friends with Rob a number of years ago when we met at our ukulele group. and took him and Mairi sailing last year. They also met at ukes and they are getting married next year!
We had planned to spend a night in Portavadie and, with the weather being so good, a trip to Otterferry where we could have lunch at the Oystercatcher before heading back down to Tarbert for the night. The following day we would make for Lochranza, picking up a mooring and stopping for lunch before returning to Portavadie for our last night.
The winds were pretty light but we managed a bit of sailing and motor sailing on our trip through Cumbrae Sound and across Inchmarnock Water to Portavadie and we arrived to a glorious warm evening.
I had recently replaced the sail-pack and spray-hood, both of which were looking a wee bit tired. I had the work done by Saturn Sails in Largs and can’t fault the standard of workmanship or the quality of materials used. However, I was less than happy with the way they fitted the sail-pack (which I paid extra for) and with the final spray-hood. I had given them instructions to make direct replacements, exactly the same size and shape as the old ones. They fitted the sail-pack without a bolt rope which meant the main sail was free flying – I was not happy about this at all and it wasn’t how the old one was fitted. Give them their due, they did refit it correctly with a bolt-rope. I have a bimini which requires a zip on the spray-hood which they had not fitted (despite my instructions) to the new one. Had I insisted, I am sure they would have rectified this but it would have meant an extra couple of weeks delay. They did take something off the final bill. To be honest, I’m not that fussed by this as I have fitted a £10 plastic hap from Amazon which does the job and is far easier to store!
Next day we had a great downwind sail to Otterferry. Yesterday, I had spotted a frigate which was on exercise chasing a submarine. In the middle of Inchmarnock Water we could see the frigate on one side of Arran and the submarine, on the surface, on the other side! As we were approaching the narrow(ish) entrance to Upper Loch Fyne between Otter Spit and
Achnaba I could see HMS Northumberland coming toward, clearly making for Upper Loch Fyne as well. We were goosewing sailing and we stuck to our course to round the spit. The frigate changed course and made a huge detour, compromising his entry into Upper Loch Fyne. But the crew waved at us and the captain gave us a cheery hoot!
Oystercatcher is one of my favourite restaurants and Otter Bay is a beautiful, picturesque with good mooring which are quite well sheltered. A few years back there was talk of the restaurant/inn converting an old outbuilding into showers and toilets for visiting sailors but they seem to have abandoned the idea as the building is now self-catering accommodation. After a great lunch we made our way back down to Tarbert for the night.
The following day we decided to sail to Lochranza and pick up a mooring and have lunch before crossing back to Portavadie once again for the night.