Caledonian Canal Mile Builder.

Picture is of us taking a friends Hanse 47 through the Crinan Canal, a bit tight at times with a stretch with branches touching both sides at once and zero on the depth guage. Our first Scottish Mile Building sailing trip takes us from Corpach through the Caledonian Canal and then North with a few days round Orkneys before finsihing in Kirkwall. Not so many miles on this trip but lots of good experience for those going for RYA YachtMaster including crossing the Pentland Firth.

Scotland Mile Builders, Harris or Lewis?

Picture is of Poll Scrot where we spent a night alongside a fishing boat. Only issue was that it pumped its bilges every hour against our hull and this induced the desire to urinate in one crew member. Solution was to place a Fender to break the flow of the water in both parties! Despite being one Island the characteristics the people of Harris and Lewis are somewhat different with the strong Calvinist, Sabbath observance, Temperance culture of Lewis, contrasting with the more liberal folk of Harris. During our third Scottish Mile building sailing trip we may well visit both and it will depend much more on the weather than the licensing laws. for those working towards RYA YachtMaster qualifications a pilotage into Poll Scrot is a very useful exercise.

Scotland mile builders update

Paul has now booked all his travel in respect of our racing and mile building sailing in Scotland. Judith is also booked on for the trip up to the Shetlands and some of the others are also booked. The mile builder from Troon to Barmouth works well for trains but Kirkwall has to be either flight or make the most of a scenic trip and catch the Ferry. Most of the mile building sailing trips can include Qualifying Passages for RYA YachtMaster, the best ones for this are Lymington to troon, Troon to Barmouth and Kirkwall to Troon. The trip to the Shetlands will probably have just one QP as we intend to stop at Fair Isle one way.

The first Mile Builder

Quite a bit of interest in the first Mile Builder from Lymington to Troon with 2 bookings already. The question of the qualifying course for a YachtMaster ‘Qualifying Passage’ has been raised again. Here is the RYA wording

A passage is a non-stop voyage from a departure port / safe haven to a destination port / safe haven. Where a passage must be of a minimum distance to meet exam pre-requisites, the distance should be taken as the shortest navigable route established when planning a safe and efficient passage.

As ever open to interpretation and I would argue that if the tides and weather forecast make it sensible then leaving Lymington and going east then round the IOW and into Poole is not only a Qualifying Passage but one which really puts navigation theory to the test. But you could argue that the shortest course is less than 20 NM, although if you accept this arguement then starting from Portsmouth and sailing all the way round Britian and Ireland and back into Cowes wouldn’t count either.(I have done this non-stop)

Fortunately our Mile building sailing up to Scotland has lots of non-contentious RYA YachtMaster Qualifying Pasages but if you are going to be Skipper on one of these then that is what you will do. If it has got my name on the bottom of it then it is going to be done right.

Successful RYA

The Day Skipper and Competent Crew courses finishing 17th November were successful but the Northerly winds that gave us such good sailing were also rather cold and we were grateful for the heating system. Both day skippers passed, the competent crews had done some pre-course study and learned their knots, they were a pleasure to have on board. Next course is scheduled for 3rd April After April 2020 our big focus is on RYA Mile building sailing with mile builder trips to Ireland, Scotland and the Shetlands.

3 Peaks Yacht Race and Sailing Scotland

Pic of us on our way to winning 3 PYR in 2018 when we took the Daily Telegraph Cup by just 3 minutes. As well as our Milebuilder sailing around Scotland 2020 will see us competing in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. The finish is at Corpach at the end of the Caledonian Canal so we will re-start our Mile building sailing from there with a trip through the Caledonian Canal then up to Kirkwall in the Orkneys. After the Orkneys we sail North to Fair Ilse and Shetland with sveral Qualifying passages for YachtMaster.

2020–North to Scotland

Pic of us in Fair Isle on previous trip

For 2020 we are back to Troon and as well as the Scottish islands Peaks race we will be attempting to repeat our 2018 success of winning the 3 Peaks yacht Race. We will have milebuilder trips in the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland plus mile building cruises up to Troon suitable for those aspiring to RYA YachtMaster.

2020 sailing

Picture is not our new boat, just one I saw after a Sydney to Hobart. Next year is a Volvo Round Ireland year but it clashes with the 3 Peaks yacht Race which we won in 2018. We are also looking at the Scottish Islands Peaks Race which is in May so it is likely Wild Spirit will be spending time in Scottish waters.

Should have decisions by end of October so if you are interested in any of the 3 above races contact Paul ASAP.

More cruisng later in 2020 possibly up to Shetlands or Round Ireland.

Windy final race

The last JOG race wekend of the year saw a team on Wild Spirit that included several newcomers and racing novices. There were 10 entrants in our class on the first day and we finished 5th on a shortened course plus over 40 knots across the deck on occaisions All racing was cancelled on day 2 due to Gale warnings.