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.

24 October 2016
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

Frights in the Ocean

24 October 2016
People often ask whether we have dramas on the high seas. Thankfully very few but one recurring drama is the potential to be run down by large ships. To illustrate this point let me make an analogy.
Imagine you are riding a bicycle. For some bizarre reason you have chosen to ride this bicycle on a 6 lane freeway. There is no shoulder at all so you are obliged to ride in the lane. Sensibly you have chosen to ride in the left lane. This particular freeway is quite unusual however as the only other vehicles on it are unbelievably huge trucks each of which weighs 500 tonnes, compared to your 100kg (This is the ratio of our boat to a container ship). They are still travelling at 110kmh compared to your 25 kmh. They have right of way. That is, they are not obliged to manoeuvre away from you. Because of their extreme weight they take about 1-2 kilometres to stop. The freeway is full of these trucks.
You look behind you and see about 2km back in your lane one of these 500 tonne trucks bearing down on you. The lanes beside you are chock a block with trucks. There are no off ramps. Did I mention that it is quite windy and you are being blown around a lot. Oh, its raining as well so visibility is quite poor. You are not even sure that the truck coming your way has seen you. You realise that you are only minutes away from being crushed to death.
Now, make it night time.

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.
Vessel Name: Diomedea
Vessel Make/Model: Van de Stadt Tasman 48 See Pix here
Hailing Port: Sydney
Diomedea's Photos - Heading North
Photos 1 to 17 of 17 | Main
Cape Raoul
Cape Pillar
The Totem pole
Fortescue Bay, Diomedea in top right.
Canoe Bay shipwreck
The Lanterns
The Lanterns, Cape Hauy
Andy on top of 300m rock spike.
Triabunna fishing fleet
Triabunna anchorage
Wineglass bay
Wineglass Bay
The Hazards
Our weather for the Bass strait crossing
Montague island at sunset.
Andrea alert but not alarmed.