Showing all posts tagged sailing:

The Joys of Sailing

Back in August I went on a sailing trip with a friend of mine, a guy called Glen Hogg, who owns the yacht “Caledonia". The yacht is moored in Kip Marina on the West Coast of Scotland and the sailing in the area is excellent, though the weather can get pretty mixed.

Whilst on the trip I took the opportunity to shoot some video clips because Glen didn’t really have any video material and as he had been kind enough to invite me I thought it was the least I could do to cart some gear along and make a little record for him to enjoy now and in the future.

I’ve only recently got around to editing some of the material together and today I pulled some clips together from day five of the trip when we sailed from Brodick Bay on the Isle of Arran to Carrick Castle. This was a lovely day of sailing and I thought I’d just post the material here for the record, I may never get the opportunity to go on this kind of trip again!

10 August 2014

Quiet day today. Got up quite late and felt pretty groggy but made a start trying to sort out my photos and video files from the sailing trip. It's a right pain in the backside using two cameras and trying to get the files sorted out and in order.

After much messing about I think I got all the files in the right places, resized and uploaded to Facebook, Flickr and Google+ so that's at least the still photos sorted out, just the video material to go now.

Been looking at the GoPro LCD backpack for the Hero3, looks really neat as a way of aiming the camera accurately. I reckon you could aim the camera and then leave a housing in position for the duration of some shoots and then just take the camera body in or out as required. An arrangement like that would work out really well on something like a sailing holiday so I am going to give buying one of those some serious thought.

Watched some TV this evening, probably the best thing we watched was a dramatisation of the Escape From Sobibor which was very moving. I just can't begin to understand how human beings can do the things they do or how those on the receiving end manage to somehow keep themselves together.

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09 August 2014

Time to go home. Spent what seemed like an age packing stuff into the car from the boat, cleaning out the toilet and fridge, scrubbing the decks down and generally doing all the things that will ensure that the boat is nice when Glen returns in one week's time.

The most exciting thing about getting ready to go home this morning was having to winch Glen up to the top of the mast because he needed to do some maintenance work up there. Have to say I felt a bit anxious about it as there didn't seem to be many safety measures in place. It worked out Ok in the end but I did share my concerns with Glen and he did seem to listen and to feel that my suggestions were perhaps sensible.

Weather windy but bright as there is a big storm on the way according to the weather forecast, I think it is the remnants of a storm called Bertha which is making it's way over the Atlantic Ocean towards us.

Eventually got ready to set off and it was sad to leave the boat behind and yet I was looking forward to be home again.

At the notorious bends on the A1 a lunatic overtaking almost took out the car in front of us but apart from that the journey was pretty uneventful though the scenery was lovely. Found that Glen and I share another interest, we both like using laminators!

All in all this has been an excellent trip and I'm definitely glad I made the effort and went. I feel I have made a good friend in Glen and I have found him to be kind and relaxing company. It would have been easy not to go but if I hadn't I doubt that the opportunity would have come my way again.

08 August 2014

Horrible rainy morning and we are planning now to head for Kip Marina as it doesn't look as if things are going to improve very much so we are going to head for home tomorrow.

Walked along the shore of Loch Goil which is a branch of Loch Long, chatted to some French tourists who were messing about on the shore. Took some video clips with the GoPro which I hope will turn out Ok.

Headed back to the boat and as we were about to launch the dinghy I spotted a small tower close by in the trees and also a sign further up the shore in the opposite direction from our previous wanderings. We decided to investigate and the sign proved to be for the International Institute of Peace Studies which is apparently run here by a Dr Thomas Clough Daffern. Also worth noting that just near the entrance I saw some giant hogweed which I have not seen since a family holiday to Scotland when I was a child, amazing the things you can remember!

Really strange place, a sort of small castle and a guy called Mark from Liverpool met us at the door. Strangely we were invited in to see the place which was one of the weirdest places I have been to, totally unexpected. The place was just stacked with books and papers, a shocking fire hazard, and all kinds of religious symbols and writings. The upper part of the "Castle of The Muses" as it is called contained a chapel where there are prayer meetings and the whole setup was fascinating but crazy in equal measure.

We had a cup of coffee with Mark and I shot some video clips, apparently the Dr taught at Oxford and is currently in Istanbul at some sort of conference. Eccentric just doesn't seem to quite capture the whole setup but I've certainly never been anywhere like it. Mark said that people go there and work for their keep for a while and then just move on, a very "alternative" lifestyle for sure.

Anyway, after an interesting little while we headed back to the boat, hauled up the anchor, and off we went towards Kip Marina. En route we saw seals and porpoises which I liked and it duly poured with rain which I liked far less and it was again freezing cold.

Finally arrived back at Kip having motored all the way as there was no wind at all. Had a nice hot shower, my first since leaving home, and felt better for it. We had the last of the chicken meals that I had brought with me tonight which was nice. After dinner Glen and I struggled to get some video onto his iPad and finally only managed it by sending it to him as an email message. All the farting about meant we didn't get to bed until about 01:00 which didn't matter because we hadn't got to get up in the morning.

All in all a fascinating day. I will look into the details of the "Castle of The Muses" when I get home but in all honesty I reckon people would get quite a shock if they booked in without knowing beforehand what the place is actually like!

Business card of Dr Thomas Clough Daffern

Notes about volunteering for work written by Mark.

07 August 2014

Lovely sunny day when we woke up and we enjoyed breakfast out in the cockpit which was great. Plan today is to sail from Brodick to Carrick Castle in Loch Goil off Loch Long.

Generally excellent sailing today and we made good steady progres with the wind directly behind us for the most part which meant we had to sail with the sails in a gull-wing configuration which required a lot of concentration.

Quite a lot of traffic around which resulted in AIS alarms being triggered at regular intervals and having to be checked and cancelled so up and down the steps many many times!

We passed, and gave a wide berth to, the nuclear submarine arming base of Loch Long. I couldn't help feeling a bit intimidated by the place knowing what it's purpose is. Knowing what destruction could be unleashed from there is actually pretty scary but I suppose it does provide us with a degree of security that we wouldn't otherwise enjoy.

Had an excellent dinner of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on rye bread with sliced tomatoes and followed this with some melon which needed finishing off. All in all an excellent meal which we both enjoyed.

Almost forgot to mention that we saw a small group of seals lying in the sun as we approached our destination this evening, they looked really lovely and very content and happy. We anchored just offshore from Carrick Castle which is a spectacularly beautiful spot, not been anywhere quite like it that I can remember. Planned to go ashore but just before we left a squall came in which put a stop to that plan though in all honestly it was too late to be doing that.

Holiday coming to an end soon and it will be nice to go home but this is and has been a memorable trip. I'm pleased we have a little more sailing to do and I'm very grateful to Glen for giving me this opportunity, it's been great.

06 August 2014

Learned of the existence of a device for reading maps in cars called the Potti Navigator, a sort of light cum magnifier device, not something I had ever heard of.

So, on the sailing front the weather was terrible this morning but it improved slowly but there was no wind to sail so we motored from Lochranza to Brodick Bay further round the coast of Arran, lovely spot. Amused by the name Cock of Arran which we sailed past on the way today, red sandstone cliffs. Saw a seal on the way, I love seeing them.

We moored up at a buoy which I'd not before, had to have a couple of goes at lassoing the buoy but got there in the end, Glen was very patient about it all and all good in the end. I like this way of mooring, no messing about with jetties, no pulling up of anchors and no risk of drifting.

A couple of friends of Glen's visited this evening, David and Lynne which was nice, they brought some Smartie cakes which were lovely, I ate two. The four of us sat out in the cockpit and drank tea, all very civilised but the weather changed quite quickly.

Went ashore in Brodick Bay in the dinghy which was a laugh, went into the shops for provisions.

Glen took his friends back to shore in the dinghy and then picked up fish and chips for supper which was great, really nice not to be cooking for once. So, all dark now and amazing to look out into the bay where the boats are swinging around and rocking about and yet it's lovely and cosy here on the boat, I like it. Not long ago, at about 22:25 saw a yacht setting off under power into the darkness, not sure I'd be brave enough to do that but I supposed if you know what you are doing it's Ok.

Looking forward to what I hope will be another good night's sleep.

05 August 2014

Up a decent time and the loch was a perfectly flat calm with an impressively cloudy sky. Today's plan was to sail from Inveraray to Brodick on Arran but time and the weather were against us so we stopped in a little place called Lochranza.

By the time we arrived here there were no guest buoys available so we had to drop anchor which was a bit of a challenge as we were unsure whether the anchor was holding properly or whether it was dragging. Decided in the end that it was Ok but I guess we will find out in the morning, or before, whether that is correct! Glen has set his GPS anchor watcher for the first time and it's been interesting to see how that operates.

BBQ chicken and vegetable for dinner tonight which was nice and later on I found a stash of biscuits in one of the cupboards which was great, we are saved!

Lovely on the journey this morning to see two porpoises and also later a seal in the loch. I just love seeing this sort of thing and of course as I don't sail I have never seen this sort of thing very much, all part of the experience.

Did shoot some video today which should be Ok but this afternoon the weather was absolutely terrible. Talk about August, the weather here has been like the middle of winter, cold, windy and very very wet. Glen seemed to get a bit down about it today but he seems to have cheered up a bit now which is good.

Nice SMS exchange with Lorena who seems to be having a good time and has been out on her bike. She says the X-Trail has been sorted out with a new battery under the warranty thank God so hopefully that will have resolved one problem. David Hay's estimate for the trees at Mum's Cottage seems very high to me so I will have to get another quote from elsewhere and see what that comes in at.

So, a mixed day in terms of weather but again a day of different experiences and that is what counts. We covered 43 nautical miles in nine hours and 35 minutes so a long old haul in poor weather with winds that were far from favourable, so a job well done.

04 August 2014

Plan today was to sail up to Inveraray up Loch Fyne, the loch itself is around 20 miles long and we will be covering pretty much the whole length of it. No need to leave early as the weather is set to improve later in the day so we hoped to make the most of it by leaving later.

Went out for a walk early on from West Loch Tarbert where we were staying over to East Loch Tarbert. Saw a small reconstruction of a Viking ship in the port, a reminder of days gone by when the Vikings passed this way. On the way saw a hooded crow which is the first time I've ever seen one of those, very impressive birds.

Few dilapidated fishing boats at the head of East Loch Tarbert, some old wrecks and an old jetty from where it seems they used to run nature cruises in years gone by. Sad to see how someone's dreams have gone to the dogs but I guess there is just no longer any demand at all.

Great sailing in the afternoon, much clearer weather and shot some clips which seem to be pretty good and I am sure will come together nicely when edited.

During our voyage this afternoon we saw a couple of seals very close to the boat, lovely creatures they are, also where we anchored a large fish surfaced which was a nice sight, a nicer sight than the massive jellyfish I spotted off the stern of the yacht.

It was 19:50 when we anchored in Inveraray after a good day. We had a imple meal of a baguette with butter, some olives, tinned fish and followed up with some fresh pineapple. Healthy or what?!

It's been a nice day, not sure what we are doing tomorrow but I hope the weather will be kind to us but you just never can tell. This is turning out to be a good trip, I'm enjoying myself.

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Facebook Updated: August 04, 2014 at 08:08AM Very grey morning here but hopefully weather should brighten up later in the day. Just a few rays of sunshine are enough to brighten up a video clip so fingers crossed!

03 August 2014

Set alarm for 07:00 and breakfast all done by around nine, seems to be taking longer for us to get going than I had expected, Glen is very laid back which is great.

Good breakfast of my rye porridge but I do need to get to bed earlier tonight. Having said that I slept very well last night and was warm and comfortable which was good, having some problems stopping eating which I am sure will be the pattern for the week, not likely to be good news on the scales when I get back but never mind.

Weather this morning was pretty mixed to say the least. Very little sun and quite a lot of rain and it's been damned cold. That said things picked up in the afternoon and we did get some short bursts of sun which allowed me to shoot a few trial video clips to see how things will pan out for the rest of the trip, things so far look good.

Left Kip Marina and headed SW passing Great Cumbrae Island and Little Cumbrae Island before passing the southern end of the Isle of Bute and then turning NW. Passed through the Inchmarnock Sound. Apparently Inchmarnock has in the past been used for commando training and is currently a private island run on an organic basis by the owner.

Crossing Inchmarnock Water in a NW direction we headed for East Loch Tarbert where we moored up for the night in the nice little marina. Been a great day, weather very mixed but with some excellent sailing in the afternoon. A quick look at my first trial video clips shows real promise and am hoping to get some memorable shots over the next few days which I hope will make a great record for us both to look back on.

Good dinner of chicken breast and vegetables from the freezer, pineapple for desert and a cup of coffee before bed! EEK! Did do some video conversions to have a look at my trial shots and if I can get some good camera angles sorted out I reckon I will end up with some really good material, whether I will go up the mast is quite another matter!

Earlier to bed tonight, turning in at 22:25, much better.

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Facebook Updated: August 03, 2014 at 10:59PM Well, that's me all bedded down in my bunk on the Caledonia, very warm and comfortable it is too. Have to be a bit careful when I get up that I don't crack my head but that's to be expected and my head is pretty solid anyway :-) I think it's good to be exposed to these different experiences and I'm very grateful to Glen for giving me this opportunity.

Facebook Updated: August 03, 2014 at 11:03PM Peering out of the little window in my aft cabin which looks out into the yacht cockpit I can see the wind generator. It's absolutely flying around, there must be one hell of a wind out there, certainly not what you would think you would get in August!

Here is Glen's log of the day, he sent it to me after he started getting into Evernote!

Hi Quentin, I've decided to transcribe my log from our sailing trip into Evernote. Attached is what I've done for the opening page together with a photo of our track of the first day’s passage. I might add supplementary bits of info that I can recall from memory once I've done the basic transcribing. I've done all the other historic log entries and attached the scans of the paper log to each particular dat and have also created tags for them. I'm guessing that I won't need to tag as many things with the logs I create from scratch on Evernote because the search will search on the words within the log entries. O, I've upgraded to premium too since I had reached my upload limit. I've changed the synch frequency to 15 mins instead of five minutes as I figure that the more frequent synching was contributing to my allocation of free space.

2014 08 03

Sunday Opening Log: 11,745.5 miles Opening Engine Hours: 2131.4 hours Crew: Glen Hogg (Skipper); Quentin Field-Boden Cruise Plan: From Kip towards East Loch Tarbert, towards Inveraray, towards Arran, towards Carrick Castle back to Kip. From: Kip To: Tarbert, east Loch Tarbert Distance: 29.2 miles Estimates time of passage: 5 hrs 50 mins Passage Notes: No tidal restrictions. HM Tel. No. at Tarbert 01880 820344

Forecast: Wind SW 3-4 becoming variable; Showers, Occ heavy rain; Smooth to slight Time of Departure: 1045 hrs ETA: 1700 hrs Phoned H/M for berthing enquiry. Berth available. Use Pontoon A any vacant berth. 1255 hrs - engine on - no wind. Speed back up to 4.9kts. 1410 hrs - sailing again on a beat up Lower Loch Fyne. 1730 hrs - arrived at Tarbert Marina. Wifi details: tha wifi Password: anchor 2018 or 2013 Cracking day's sail. Max speed 7.3 kts. 6hrs 52mins. 40.4 miles. Average speed 4.4kts. Closing Log: 00 miles Closing Engine Hours: 00 hours.

02 August 2014

After delaying our departure Glen and I set off for Kip Marina at 09:00. Good journey, easy conversation but unfortunately the weather has been absolutely terrible.

Stopped off at Tesco to buy some supplies and then to the marina which is lovely, as is Glen's boat, the Caledonia. Comfortable cabin to myself in the stern, Glen is in the bow and it's really very very comfortable indeed.

Generally relaxing time as because of the weather we have decided to stay in the marina rather than going out into the pouring rain and we will set off tomorrow, we intend to head generally North and explore some of the waterways and lochs up in that direction.

Interesting that Glen seems to be very happy to listen to other people's ideas and experiences. He had a very odd arrangement with all these old water bottles stored under one of the seats which he was filling up from a tap and then just using as and when. I suggested to him that this was not a good idea in terms of picking up bugs and it seems that Glen has in the past had tummy troubles after his sailing trips so that may well be the cause. We agreed to ditch the whole lot and go and buy some fresh bottled water and not recycle stuff, the water is dirt cheap and it's crazy to risk picking up an illness which can be easily avoided.

Called in at a theatre in Greenock and looked at a smal art exhibition, also a lovely building which I think was a customs hall, probably a busier place in the past when there was probably a lot of shipping coming in from the USA, that's just a guess!

Back to the yacht, watched some TV, the Commonwealth Games are on in Glasgow just down the road, quite strange to watch rain falling on TV and to be having the same weather here in the boat in the marina.

For dinner we had our BBQ chicken breast with some potatoes and carrots. Unfortunately I managed to leave the green vegetables behind in the fridge at home this morning which was a shame but it's no big deal.