Why sail to Fair Isle?

Picture of Harbour on Fair Isle which is a destination for us on a Milebuilder sailing trip in summer 2020. What is so special about Fair Isle? Probably its remoteness, superb scenery, wildlife and friendly people. It will be my 3rd sail to the Island and I am really looking forward to it. This is on the mile building cruise we have from Kirkwall in Orkney up to the Shetlands and back to Kirkwall. It is a 2 week trip which gives us more options and greater probabilities for finding suitable weather windows so sy go out to Foula the most Westerly of the Shetlands with its dramtic cliffs and vast sea bird colonies. Shetland to Orkney makes a good Qualifying passage for YachtMaster so we will probably only stop at Fair Isle one way and North Haven is a bit exposed to North Easterlies so this will be one factor in our planning.

Climate change and Mile building sailing in Scotland

Not Scotland but we here are on our way to winning divison in Sydney to Hobart in a lot of wind.

Without enetring into a debate on Bush Fires in Australia the statistics show all our weather is becoming more variable, so how do you allow for this when running a Milebuilder sailing trip. Several factors to consider but still basically the planning you need, and are legally obliged, to do for any trip. There are quite few parts of the World which have notoriously difficult conditions and the picture is just in the Bass Strait but there are several places around Scotland where you do need to get the wind and tide right. Fortunately one of the fairly difficult ones in Scotland has a canal as an alternative so if you are running a mile builder trip and are forecast a couple of days of big winds plus tides for the Mull of Kintyre then Crinan Canal with its very pleasant Pub half way through beckons. The other thing to do is to allow a bit more time near the destination so if we are heading back to Troon from the Hebrides we can always get a Qualifying Pasage or 2 for YachtMaster in get round the Mull with a couple of days left the vist Arran or up to Bute before heading south to Troon.

Scotland –planning sailing cruises

Picture of Tayvallich Scotland

Planning our mile builder sailing trips in Scotland is a little more complicated than along the South coast of England as whilst there are lots of safe havens the transport links are further apart, for example if we had a mile building trip from Lymington to Falmouth and we hit bad weather then the train to Falmouth also stops at Plymouth. Like other schools and sailing companies we have to build in some flexibility for variable weather and this is one of the reasons we do 2 week milebuilder courses rather than one in Scotland. So, if we take the milebuilder from Corpach (railway station 100 metres from yacht) up to Kirkwall in the Orkneys we have built in the flexibility of sailing round the Orkneys using the shelter they offer after having comeup through the Caledonian Canal. The number of Qualifying Passages for YachtMaster varies with the trips, plus the aspirations of individuals with some such as the Kirkwall to Troon Mile building trip having more than say Corpach to Kirkwall.

Smalls or Bailies

Actually sunrise in Bermuda after a race from Antigua as I couldn’t find a picture of either the Smalls or the Bailies. Where are they anyway? Well either side of St Georges Channel which is the narrow bit between Wales and the SE of Ireland. It is 40 miles across with sometimes tricky shallows and rocks on bothe sides (Smalls Wales, Bailieys Ireland) and 100 square miles of Traffic Seperation Scheme in the middle. Just the sort of challenge we like on a Mile builder trip and it forms part of the first big one from Lymington to Troon The Mile building sailing up in Scotland will also invlove navigational challenges and give those progressing towards YachtMaster the opportunity to gain Qualifying Passages.

Happy Christmas from Wild Spirit

Greetings from both of us here at Global HQ. We hope you got what you wished for at Xmas but if you didn’t there are 2 things to bear in mind 1) Most people in the World got less 2) You can always treat yourself to a Milebuilder sail on Wild Spirit or if you can’twait till April then there is a place left in our Caribbean 600 team on Juno a Farr 65

For details of our Mile building sailing as far as Shetland, Races to France at Easter and Qualifying Passages for RYA YachtMaster either have a look at the website or give Paul a call on 01823 433813.

Fowey, Why no Moorings in the middle?

Pic of China Clay Ship arriving at Fowey

We may stop at Fowey on our first Milebuilder trip from Lymington to Troon it will depend on the weather, tide and Crew. Fowey is a delightful little Port though in a Southerly of 7 or more a swell can work up the river. The first trip already has 2 regulars booked on though one is just for Dublin to Troon. This is a good trip for mile building sailing with several Qualifying Passages for YachtMaster qualifications plus the chance to stop at some lovely ports and possibly have a bite and a drink.

Ship Inn Fowey, though I prefer the Beer in the Yacht Club

Why Scotland for Milebuilding sailing in 2020?

Our Mile builder sailing for 2020 will be in Scotland for several reasons including 1) The West Coast, Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland offer some of the best cruising grounds in the World. You can find a secluded anchorage with Otters, Seals and Birds as your only company but sail somewhere and get provisions the next day. 2) The scenery is World Class and so is the local sea food. Paul loves cooking with fresh Fish, Scallops and Venison 3) For those progressing towards RYA YachtMaster there are a number of interesting Qualifying Passages available. 4) We will go through the Caledonian Canal on our way up to the Orkneys, you can even trying looking for the Loch Ness Monster but don’t expect a refund if you don’t spot Nessie.

Charity Weekend–Character Building

The Charity weekend in aid of Knoticat with some of the Caribbean 600 team on board turned into a character building return leg after the oil warning sounded on the way to Cowes. Picture is of Sea Start who helped us off the berth at E. Cowes and past the Chain Ferry slipping the tow before we sailed back to Lymington with F7 ,gusting over 40 at times, against the start of the Ebb.

Despite Tacking we covered the distance in under 2 hours and sailed on to the Dan Bran Pontoon before Lymington Yacht Haven helped us alongside.

The sea state was a bit Gnarly at times and when deciding to make the trip the strength of the crew was an important factor. For budding YachtMasters, such as are booked on some of our Milebuilder trips, a quick review of factors to consider when considering a trip may be found on mcanet.mcga.gov.uk/public/c4/solas/solas_v/Annexes/Annex24.htm

The Ups and downs of Portpatrick

Portpatrick is one of my favourite overnight stops but it has a tidal range of 8m on springs. This is partly solved by fenders free to ride up and down on vertical fixed lines. When combined with long warps it is easy to enjoy a comfortable night there and we try and include it on Mile building trips. There are several good places to eat at ashore and great walks from the harbour. The entrance into Portpatrick demands care especially in a strong on shore wind and if you join us on a Milebuilder sailing trip it is a good excercise to undertake as you progress towards YachtMaster qualifications. We may well call in on the trip from Dublin to Troon in late April