Cruising on Diomedea

Diomedea is a Van de Stadt Tasman 48. The name is the species name of the Wandering Albatross of the Southern Ocean.

26 September 2016 | UK
18 September 2016 | UK
07 September 2016 | Crinan Canal
07 September 2016 | Craobh haven
31 August 2016 | Isle of Rum, Scotland
31 August 2016 | North and South Uist, Outer Hebrides
31 August 2016 | Skye, Scotland
31 August 2016 | Sinzig, Germany
31 August 2016 | Plockton, Scotland
31 August 2016 | Outer Hebrides
03 August 2016 | Loch Fionsbaigh, South Harris
30 July 2016 | North Uist island, Scotland
30 July 2016 | Isle of Rum, Scotland
30 July 2016 | Isle of Mull, Scotland
30 July 2016 | Jura Island, Scotland
30 July 2016 | Belfast, Northern Ireland
30 July 2016 | Bangor, northern ireland
21 July 2016 | 55 57.75'N:05 54.55'W
15 July 2016
15 July 2016 | Holyhead, Angelsey

Hull Work

26 September 2016 | UK
David and Andrea
Some chronic rust in the aft of the boat required attention. So the plasma cutter was employed and left this remarkably large hole in the boat. I am pleased to report it has subsequently been welded up with nice new 4mm steel plate and a new rib section.

Packing Up

18 September 2016 | UK
David and Andrea

Our path crossed nicely with Jim and Paula on Freydis at Lochranza on the Island of Arran. We also managed a walk on the famous “Cock of Arran” trail over the ridge but were then repulsed by rainfall.
It was then south for winter storage. A decision had been made to pull the rig and this process went very well indeed. Diomedea was then taken out by travel lift to her hardstand berth for some much-needed hull work. A very busy time for us moving out and stripping and cleaning the boat.

Diomedea Cruises the Forests of Scotland

07 September 2016 | Crinan Canal
David and Andrea
Short cut or the long way? Hmmm. We wanted to get back to the Firth of Clyde and the Mull of Kintyre was in the way. Fortunately the ever clever locals had built a canal that cuts across the lengthy peninsula back in the late 18th century and it is still very much in use today. The Crinan canal is 9 miles long and takes the mariner to the uncommon altitude of 64 feet above sea level, courtesy of a marvellous system of manually operated locks. With some trepidation we opted for the canal and soon found Diomedea being steadily elevated in intervals of 2-3 metres before coming to rest at the “summit” for the evening. One can go through the canal in a day but many people opt to stay a few nights in the canal for the quiet, woodland experience. It is certainly quite strange to be gliding along with lush forest vegetation almost in the rigging, and the tidal mudflats far below outside the canal walls. Going up is much harder work than going down due to the quite dramatic turbulence of water as the lock is filled with you in it. As a lock is emptied there is very little turbulence and the boat just drops quickly and quietly. Opening and closing the locks is done with “man-draulic” power, using the massive lever arms of the gates. The sluices are operated by a geared manual winch. Overall it was a lovely and fascinating venture which we recommend. There is also an excellent bike path along the canal as well as forest walks to various historic places.

More Wild Rides

07 September 2016 | Craobh haven
David and Andrea
The fleshpots of Tobermory beckoned so, after the usual bout of “gardening” that accompanies most up-anchoring procedures (weed and kelp), we had a splendid beat around the now familiar Ardnamurchan Point in 15-20kt SW air. The forecast strong winds of the ensuing day were not really felt in Tobermory at all but larger boats related stories of 4m seas just off Mull so we were glad of the snug haven for a sojourn. We also met a lovely French couple in their motor boat doing extended cruising, having “taken in the mainsail for the final time”. We enjoyed drinks with the young crew of “Shadowfax”, a Seastream 43 identical to “Yindee Plus” owned by good friends Chris and Sue.
Holding a favourable current is a vexxed issue. True, one makes excellent progress in the direction of the tide. But as soon as this is compounded by:
Opposing wind
Narrow channels
Shallows and reefs
Crossing ferries
Other boats in general
Pissing down rain and purr visibility
All of the above
then the equation really starts to change. Thus as we left the Sound of Mull and entered the Firth of Lorn at 9-10kts SOG, poor Diomedea was confronted with many of these factors, especially the 25 kts of headwinds. Suddenly high, steep, breaking seas were everywhere and forward progress became remarkably unpleasant. Nonetheless, we were able to lay across to the SE and anchor in the delightful Puilladohbrain bay near the entrance to Clachan Sound.
The examiner showed up the next day with the very stimulating trip through the 150 metre wide and 1 mile long Cuan Sound. The pilot, in describing spring tidal flows up to 7 kts, states: “No matter the state of tide the brief passage is always full of interest.” With the engine going at 2800rpm to maintain steerage we rocketed in through whirlpools and standing waves, passing under low power lines, and just behind a small ferry before sluicing around Cleit Rock (I think it is a Gaelic name, not a typo) barely in control of Diomedea. There were quite visible drops in the sea levels. After this stint of white-water kayaking, our pulses came down and we were spat out into the next sound before taking a meandering route to the pleasant Craobh (pron. Croove) marina.

Heading South for the Winter

31 August 2016 | Isle of Rum, Scotland
David and Andrea
The weather looked set for steady southerlies so we decided to get ahead of the game and leave the Outer Hebrides. We motored and sailed back across the Minch to the beautiful island of Canna and its excellent harbour. Amazingly we saw an Australian crewed boat, albeit UK registered, and enjoyed a lovely evening on “Red Roo”, a nice interlude after a short hill walk.
With sunny weather predicted for another day it was the short hop over to our favourite, Rum, to finally do the climb up one of its impressive peaks, Hallival, at 720m. Much of it trackless, and a few scrambles, we fought for space on the summit with wild deer and mountain goats. The views were forever. Back at the anchorage it was quite a change from a month ago when there were a dozen yachts - now just us.

Bog FActor 4

31 August 2016 | North and South Uist, Outer Hebrides
David and Andrea
After the Cuillins of the Isle of Skye (Old norse for “cloud island” - with good reason) we went in yet another fruitless search for the mythical basking sharks said to be found in the area of Neist Point before heading into Loch Dunvegan for a visit to the much advertised castle. Our experience of this was something akin to widely promoted premiere movies - the greater the hype, the less compelling the show.
We were abused by a local seal tour boat operator for getting too close to “his” seals in the anchorage. We then went by dinghy to the rusty dock at the castle with the intention of doing the castle tour, only to be told that there would be a 10 pound fee to tie the dinghy to the dock, in addition to the 24 pounds for the castle tour. Interestingly the car park is free, as we discovered after driving the dinghy about one km into town and then walking back along the roads to do the tour. The castle itself is remarkably unattractive and little of it is open to the public. There is really very little sense of the claimed 800 years of continuous habitation by the Macleods and in fact it appeared uninhabited, with no lights on at night. However, the gardens were excellent. I would not bother going out of my way to visit this site if doing a tour of Scotland.
Having not yet learned the above lesson about advertising hype in tourist brochures, we motored around to the the nearby Loch Bay with the “oldest inn on Skye” at Steinn. Not a protected anchorage in SW flow we nonetheless went ashore to be greeted by a monosyllabic and surly barmaid who managed to create the most tasteless and appalling hot chocolates we have had. That was the wind up signal and we took the favourable wind for a fast ride out to Loch Maddy. For this, our second visit, the weather remained excellent.
Squelch, slop, slither, splash, mud, gloop, and water in the boot. The Scottish bog experience. This walk was to the highest peak on the Uist islands, the exquisitely named Beinn Mor, or Big Mountain. (Similarly there are many Eilean Mor and Eilean Beags to be found - that is Big Island and Little Island.) Still it was an attractive peak of 620m, but unfortunately surrounded by low lying boggy land, through which your intrepid authors were required to pass. Hint: avoid the bits where the Bog Cotton plant grows. The summit provided stunning views of the Outer Hebrides and really was the highlight of the week, especially given the sunny days.
Despite quite sore legs, we followed this up with a walk out to Bronze age structures in the machair of the west coast of South Uist. Like many parts of these islands, there was habitation from about 6500 BC or so. Mummies had been unearthed during excavations.
The following day was a lap of North Uist by car, visiting more ancient piles of rocks, stopping at the Hebridean Smokehouse for coffee and local foods, getting remarkably good views of St Kilda island (100km away), and doing a quite nice coastal ramble through a wilderness nature reserve which was populated by domestic animals. The final fun of the tour was the stepping stone approach to the the old fortress of Dun an Sticer, one of the ancient bastions built on islands in either fresh or salt water lochs. Time for a nice meal at Hamersay house - what will I have - Haddock or Hake?
Vessel Name: Diomedea
Vessel Make/Model: Van de Stadt Tasman 48 See Pix here http://www.sailblogs.com/member/diomedea/index.php?show=gallery&aid=7118&p=1
Hailing Port: Sydney
Diomedea's Photos - To Port Cygnet
Photos 1 to 9 of 9 | Main
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Missionary Bay, Bruny island
Missionary Bay Bruny island
Cloudscapes
Classic yacht in Copper alley bay
Sailing in Port Cygnet
Copper Alley Bay
Copper Alley bay homesteads
Patagonian skyscapes
Nightscape
 
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