Friday, 31 May 2013

Day 27  (31/5/13)  Seaport Marina to Fort Augustus (Caledonian Canal)  (26/647nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive 1700.
Wind SW F4. Motored Loch Ness due to head wind. Cold, cloudy with showers. Lock keepers are very helpful to single handers.
Locks 10.
Day 26  (30/5/13)  Inverness Marina to Seaport Marina (Caledonian Canal)  (2/621nm)
Depart 1330, Arrive 1600.
Sunny and warm 20oC. Off again to the Clachnaharry Inn for a pint of Inveralmond ‘Thrappledouser’ and an entertaining evening of local folk music.
Locks 2.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 25  29/5/13)  Lossiemouth to Inverness  (36/619nm)
Depart 0615, Arrive 1230.
Wind V F1/2. Motored for 6 hours.  The Moray Firth is very beautiful and has a wonderful coconutty smell of gorse.  Saw hundreds of seals basking in the sun on Findhorn beach and a Bottle Nosed Dolphin.  Walked to the excellent Clachnaharry Inn for a couple of pints of ‘Lia Fail’ (a fine malty Inveralmond brew).  Took part in the Pub Quiz and achieved one of their lowest scores ever known.  Off to enter the Caledonian Canal tomorrow (30/5/13).

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Day 24  (28/5/13) Peterhead to Lossiemouth  (64/583nm)
Depart 0530, Arrive 1330.
Wind F6 SE (25Kts most of the way). Averaged 8Kts over ground. Mainly hazy sun.  Off to Inverness tomorrow.  

Monday, 27 May 2013

Day 23 (27/5/13) Peterhead Marina
Decided last night to postpone sail to Lossiemouth until tomorrow due to forecast 20kts with 30kt gusts. Met up with circumnavigator Rob and Kerris and we hired a taxi to Peterhead to the Cross Keys (Wetherspoon’s pub) followed by an excellent curry in the Nazma Tandoori.   

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Day 20  (24/5/13) Arbroath
Met up with my niece Katie for dinner in the Harbour Grill – much reminiscing about times in Southwold with her grandparents.  I have decided to sail to Peterhead today (25/5/13) due to forecast light wind from the south and sun.
Day 21   (25/5/13)  Arbroath to Peterhead   (67/519nm)
Depart 1200 Arrive 2300.
Wind SE 16kts until 1630 Sailed with ‘reaching staysail’ - average boat speed 7kts. Motorsailed  from 1630 to 2200. Fine and sunny.  Raymarine RL70C cockpit chart plotter gave a blank white screen for the first 30 mins and then worked fine for the rest of the passage.  I have seen this once before – it is probably suffering from the cold and damp.  I have a repeater chart plotter above the chart table but this is not much use navigating single handed into a very large harbour like Peterhead.
Day 22  (26/5/13) Peterhead Marina
Met up with another fellow circumnavigator Trevor in Moonbow.  Weather looks good for an early morning start to Whitehills or Lossiemouth tomorrow.  The pilot book warns to keep well clear of Rattray Head – at least four miles off due to highly disturbed tidal water.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Day 17/18/19 (21 to 23/5/13)  Arbroath
Very strong northerly winds keep me in Arbroath for longer than expected.  Met up with a fellow circumnavigator Rob Cowley. We have followed each other from Whitby. Bought a pair of Arbroath Smokies – succulent and flavoursome. Visited the Bell Rock Lighthouse Museum. It was designed by Robert Stevenson and built by John Rennie in two years in 1808 and still stands and is in use today. Arbroath is a very good place to stop and shelter. Off to Peterhead on Monday (27/5/13) when the winds are forecast to change southerly and the dock gates have an early morning opening at 0715.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Day 16 (20/5/13) Eyemouth to Arbroath  (44/452nm)
Wind F3 N. Fog 200m until 1300 then hazy sun. Motored under radar until 1700 then anchored until 1940 to wait for lock opening. Will stay one day here.  Looks a nice place but has a heavy smell of chip fryers.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Day 15  (19/5/13) Eyemouth
Wind F3 N. Fog 150m visibility and large swell from the North. Not too keen on sailing 9 hours to Arbroath in this, I will try again tomorrow.  Time to learn how to operate some of the brain scrambling advanced functions of my new Lumix DMC-G3 camera.  Later perhaps, a visit to The Contented Sole PH for some of their £1.25 whisky and try a conversation or two with the locals - this is not easy as I find the dialect quite difficult.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Day 12  (16/5/13)  Amble to Eyemouth  (42/408nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive1600.
Wind F2/4 SE. Mainly sunny. Sailed last 30nm. Many Puffins on the water close to Farne Islands.  Noticed steam from the exhaust caused by a failed impeller.  Replaced enroute (about 10 mins) – the wonders of the SpeedSeal impeller plate.  Raymarine Auto Pilot switched to Standby again without warning and would subsequently not follow a Track.  Rebooted by unplugging and reconnecting.  This solved the tracking problem – has it also solved the Standby problem?   Time will tell.  Eyemouth is home to a dozen or more very large fishing boats and fish and crustacea processing factories.  No real ale here but a good local whisky (£1.25 per shot).  Wind forecast F5/6/7 N for next two days. 
Day 13 (17/5/13) Eyemouth
Sunny today. No sign of the high wind yet. Replaced cracked casing of the Auto Pilot ST600R remote controller with one sent from Raymarine to the Harbour Master. Walked around the harbour and town. Visited the Eyemouth Maritime Centre ‘Smuggling Exhibition’ – lots of dusty stuffed 18th century  characters sitting in boats.  Dinner in a superb seafood restaurant Churches - figs baked in Parma Ham followed by local langoustine in garlic butter and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, all excellent.
Day 14 (18/5/13) Eyemouth
The F5 N wind arrives today and with it drizzle and fog. If this clears and the wind turns easterly, tomorrow I will sail to Arbroath.



Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Day 11  (15/5/13) Amble Marina
Rain and 25Kts until 1600 today. Tomorrow the wind is forecast F3/4 SE, so I plan to sail to Eyemouth.

Day 10 (14/5/13) Amble Marina

Monday, 13 May 2013

Day 9  (13/5/13) Amble Marina

Bright and sunny, wind 25Kts in marina.  Found a local butcher selling home baked pork pies and lamb pies – very good indeed. I will stock up on these for my trip.  Had a very good pint of Black Sheep Bitter, walked to the pier and back through the harbour to a restaurant (The Old Quay) for razor clams and pan fried local line caught cod.  The clams were excellent but disappointingly the cod was dry and overcooked and the bread was less than fresh.  Tomorrow the wind forecast is SW F6/7 so I will just have to stay another day in this beautiful place.
Day 8  (12/5/13) Hartlepool to Amble  (46/366nm)
Depart 0800, Arrive 1600.
Wind W F6/2. Rain from 1300. Motored from 1400 due to F2.
Raymarine Autopilot switched itself from Track to Standby without warning for the fifth time this trip. I spoke to them about this problem six years ago but they had no answer.  This issue has been reported many times in the yachting press - some leading to disasters while the single handed helm slept.  I will have to be extra vigilant.  Whilst in Hartlepool Marina I heard my first Cuckoo of the year.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Day 7 (11/5/ 13) Hartlepool Marina
Rained all morning. Evening went to the Rat Race Ale House (part of the rail station). Had an excellent pint of stout and then to the Bahn Thai for a Green Curry, also excellent. Tomorrow I plan to sail to Amble.
Day 6  (10/5/13) Whitby to Hartlepool  (28/320nm)
Depart 0645, Arrive 1700.
Wind WNW F6.
Too much chop on the nose, very slow progress, took refuge at anchor in Skinningrove Wick for three hours and then motored to Hartlepool past another vast wind farm.  Excellent curry in Popadom’s at the Marina.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Day 5  (9/5/13) Whitby Marina
Re fuelled 75Ltrs. Wrote this blog. Occasional rain.
Day 4 (8/5/13) Spurn Head to Whitby (69/292nm)
Depart 0445, Arrive 1600 (Pontoon berth).
Wind: F5 E Sailed at 7kts average for 40nm. Wind fell, motored for final 29nm. Overcast.
Excellent facilities and a great welcome. 
Day 3 (7/5/13) Wells on Sea to Spurn Head 48/147nm.
Depart 0600 Arrive 1400 (Anchored in soft mud - very poor holding).
Wind: F3 S. Motored. Sunny.
Past a vast stationary wind farm.
Day 2 (6/5/13) Lowestoft to Wells on Sea (56/99nm)
Crew: John Eastwood. Depart 0530. Arrive 1700 (Pontoon berth).
Wind: F2/4S. Motored to Southwold and then sailed to Lowestoft. Hazy sun.
The neglect of the groynes at Corton, Hopton and Happisburgh is quite shocking.
Great Dutch Pea Soup in the Albatross (a large Dutch sailing vessel moored in the Harbour).
Day 1 (5/5/13) Shotley to Lowestoft (43nm)
Crew: John & Robert Eastwood.
Depart 0730. Arrive1440 (Pontoon berth).
Wind: F3 SSE. Motored. Sunny. Much talk about Global Cooling. 
Took picture of the exposed geotex bags protecting Thorpeness - how long will they last, 3 years?