Disaster on day one

We travelled up to Troon on the Sunday, so that we were bright and early to catch the morning tide out of Troon. When we got up the sea was as flat as glass and the reflections on the water were beautiful. We got "Salty Lass" ready to slip and Beverley manoeuvred us out of the slip and into the sea.

Reflections in the water

As soon as we were half an hour out, I was mega keen to take over the steering of the Lass. We kept the engine revs down at 2000 revs to start as we didn't want to push her or ourselves as we got to know each other. Just out side of Troon harbour is Lady Isle which we kept on the port side, a long way out as the sea bed is very shallow around the island. Once we had cleared Lady Isle, we turned south towards the Ailsa Craig. It was a great day with light winds and small waves, so as soon as we could, we put our nose into the wind and put our sails up. For me that was such a great feeling because, this was what it was about. Taking the slow road,enjoying the journey and discovering new places as we go.

The wind was coming straight from the Aisla Craig towards us and it would of been a fantastic day to sail between Troon and the Isle of Arran, and we did manage to beat a couple of times into the wind, but it soon became clear that as the winds were so light, to get to our chosen destination, we would have to use the motor. Although that seamed a little bit of a disappointment, I consoled myself with the fact that we would be altering course at the Eisla Craig, and the wind would no longer be straight on the nose.

As the Eisla Craig is a volcanic plug, it has sharp sides, which meant that we could sail, reasonably close in, observing the lighthouse and the two large fog horns that are situated on the island as we went.

Eisla Craig

The Eisla Craig is made of the strongest granite in the UK and the stone that it produces is used for curling stones.

On passing the Eisla Craig, a childish delight swept over me, as we would be getting the sails out once again. While on a delivery run, you are forever mindful of your destination, so we motor sailed for a while. Despite, the weather forecast being for light to moderate winds all day, which we thought would be fantastic for our first day out on the Lass, the winds soon picked up and we tried out our reefing system for the first time. It took a while to suss out all the lines, but we got there.

The winds can be incredibly changeable in the UK, and today was no different, for dispite all weather reports predicting a quite day for the winds, we were soon experiencing winds of force 6 to 7

Of course we dropped the sails, and although we had practiced dropping the sails earlier and finding it quite easy, that was when the sail, was fully up and had a lot of weight. Now however, the sail was reefed, and just didn't have the weight to come down quickly, which meant that the sail was quite messy in and around the mast.

As the winds were quite strong and the seas were mounting, we decided that we would change our destination from Portpatrick and head for Lady Bay in Loch Ryan. It seemed to take us ages to get to Lady Bay as the wind had moved to right on the nose and we felt that we were fighting the weather rather than working with it.

Map of Lady Bay

At Lady Bay we decided to drop the anchor and have a rest, this is when disaster struck. So that we could put the heating on, we needed to drop the dinghy off the back, so we dropped the dinghy and Beverley tied a bowline to secure the dinghy, as she turned to secure the rope to the boat. The dinghy broke free and I shouted

"Beverley, the dinghy"

It was terrible to see the dinghy floating away.

What was going through our heads, I do not know, but we both organised ourselves and lifted the anchor up, so that we could go after the dinghy. Of course, it was futile as although we found the dinghy, it was right on the shore edge and we could not get to it, so we went back to the anchorage and dropped the anchor.

While I was dropping the anchor something went wrong and all of a sudden, the windlass stopped working. so I had to drop the chain by hand. By this time we went inside Beverley and I were exhausted, so we grabbed a bite to eat and had a rest. The rest was short lived as we felt that we needed to keep the engine going just in case we had another disaster, so we took watches and had a rest. Once we had the rest, we were good enough to motor down the lock to Stranrear.

The journey down was quite difficult because although the lock is sheltered, there was still quite high winds and it was very dark at this time. There was also an unlit buoy in the channel which was quite scarry, as the first I knew about it was when I saw it on the Starboard side. Beverley who was lookout at the time, just hadn't seen it at all as it was black, black on a black background.

When we approached the harbour Beverley took over, as we would need to berth on one of the visiting pontoons. While mooring Beverley took at least three approaches, coming in closer to the dock each time. Eventually she realised that she could let the wind take her in, so she put the engine in neutral when she was parallel to the birth and let the wind take her in. So I jumped off the yacht and tied her up, we took a further 1/2 hour before we had got the Lass sorted out.

Then and only then could be come inside and strip off. I was weather beaten and still exhausted, but the lass was in and we were safe.

Why did we loose the dinghy?

The next day, we wondered why we had lost the dinghy, so we looked at the rope we had used which was the only floating rope that we had on the lass and we soon found that the rope had a spring in it and that if the rope bounced for any reason then the knot would undo. Needless to say we ditched the rope

What happened to our windless?

The mystery on this one was soon solved as the circuit breaker had gone. Flip the circuit breaker and the windless was working again.

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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