We get the weather wrong

We were in Canna and the weather forecast was for a motor, so we decided that we would stay in Canna for the day, so I sorted out Beverley’s seat in the cockpit and Beverley put videos together. It’s great making the videos. We have them as our diary and if other people can enjoy them too, then as far as we are concerned that is good. If other people can learn something then, that has got to be good too.

The next day was to be sailable, so we went North around compass hill. The hill deviated our compass by a full 10°, so back in the day of compass navigation that could be quite a problem, but these days we get our position from GPS, so although it was interesting to see, it did not affect our course. Just North of Canna, we had a bit of a rough start as the sea was very confused, but looking at the geography of the sea bed, there were sections that were 100m deep right next to areas 25m deep, so with all that confused sea bed then it was understandable that the sea was confused too. The rough patch was soon over and as we progressed down the coast of Canna, we enjoyed calmer seas.

While we were sailing we reefed Salty Lass, because we were healing over at 20° which means that she was making a lot of leeway, so by reefing, we reduced leeway so that our velocity made good was better, even though we were travelling slower through the water.

As we were sailing along we saw some white caps approaching and we should of reefed at that point, but we did not do that, as we waited, not because we were being tactical but because we did not put two and two together, that white caps approaching also meant an increase in wind speed. When the increase in wind speed approached, we heaved to and put a reef into the sail.

Later on the wind speed increased again to between 25 and 28knots on our beam, the biggest issue was that the swell which was also on our beam so we had to hand steer so that you could ride the waves. Its a difficult job requiring all your concentration but we can both do it which is why we take it in turns. An hour of hand steering in these conditions and your shoulders really start to ache, we also tethered ourselves on, which was the first time we had done that this season.

I hand steered to about an hour out, then it was Beverley’s turn to take over. We were quite close in by this time, but Beverley decided to go North to Boisdale rather than Eriksay which was the easiest passage. So we dropped the sails and motored. We had hoped that some of the headlands would protect us form the wind but because they had no trees, the wind was actually going over the hills and accelerating to where we were, so even close in we had rough water. This meant that we only had a short time in which to put fenders on, so I put the bow fender on, one other fender and that was about it. I also got a rope on which I threw to a man who was on the pontoon, once we had got the boat rammed against the pontoon, we had plenty of time to get more fenders on and our lines. We had learned the ramming the boat at the pontoon from Patrick Lane and it was used utilised in this particular marina entrance.

After we had got all our bits and bobs done, shopping washing etc. It was out through the marina entrance and down to Eriskay. This was a place I really wanted to visit because it was where a ship called the politician went down with thousands of bottles of whiskey on board and was used as the inspiration for the film Whiskey Galore. The place is not that big so there would have been whiskey stashed everywhere. When I got there, the one place that I could anchor has fowled moorings on the sea bed, so I really didn’t fancy that so I took us down to an anchorage just off Lingay island. The entrance getting in was a bit tight but by now I am used to that.

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