Week 24 10 – 16 June 2019 Loch Kanaird, Ullapool – Loch Maddy, North Uist 132 nm
We are getting closer to midsummer according to the calendar, but the weather has lately been going backwards. We need heavy underwear under our foul weather gear in the cold climate we have right now. The temperature is seldom above ten degrees C and with gale force wind added to that it’s really chilly to say the least.
But on the bright side, this week we have been sailing more than since we left Sweden.
10 June Monday Loch Kanaird – Badachro 33 nm
Woke up to a cloudy sky and no wind. Breakfast and then we weigh anchor in spite no wind. The forecast show some wind tomorrow, but that means having straight headwind during the first twelve nm before turning south around a cape. We decided to motor and hope for a breeze out at sea later when the sun has affected the air.
Shortly before four we anchored in Badachro after 33 eventless miles under engine and never more than four knots of wind. The sky improved and after noon we had bright sunshine the rest of the day.
The anchorage was advertised as the sailors meeting place with a “nautical” restaurant ashore. Yes there were fifteen big sailboats moored when we arrived, but all of them were winterised and we did not see a living soul on any of them.
The restaurant ashore was probably good, because we saw many cars outside around dinner time. But the “nautical” touch was only a tarp with two poles shading the veranda from sun and rain. So much for information in ads!
We found a narrow space between the moorings and had a quiet evening.
11 June Tuesday Badachro – Scalpay, Outer Hebrides 34 nm across the Minch.
Quiet night and some sunshine when we woke up. Finally the wind had arrived. North east wind was blowing, perfect to get west to the Outer Hebrides.
We had breakfast before we weigh anchor in between some light showers from above.
Coming out in the big bay, we hoisted a full main and unfurled the Yankee. Before coming out to sea we had to take down to the first reef and leave the cutter furled.
In spite of that we had little too much sails in the now gale force wind.
But an open reach with 80 degrees wind across Moon and the wave’s perpendicular to the hull made her fly across.
The waves were steep and high due to tide against wind, making us have full advantage of Moon’s cruiser friendly shape of the hull.
Moon sailed fast and comfortable across, in spite of increasing wind. But we never took a seconds reef thanks to a bit more easterly wind when the wind increased.
When we approached Scalpay we got some rain. The final was cold and wet, but we came in leeward of Scalpay and could furl the Yankee with no drama on flat water.
The main came down as we turn into the wind and into the south harbour on Scalpay.
Found a protected bay in the harbour, facing south west, completely protected from any swell and most of the wind.
We did not use the north harbour with pontoons for several reasons. There is a bridge across the northern entrance that is too low (19 m), and the pontoons are oriented perpendicular to the coming gale and we don’t want to spend £35 a night only to wait out a gale for two days.
Sitting at anchor, Moon adjust to the wind and there is little forces on both boat and crew compared to be on a pontoon with the wind across.
Lamb casserole was perfect after a windy and somewhat wet crossing.
12 June Wednesday Scalpay
The wind increased during the night and we got some rain too. The morning came with more wind but no rain. We even saw the sun in small gaps in the clouds for a while.
The wind still north east, but stronger than yesterday. We felt quite comfortable as the direction of the wind lined with the direction we dug down the anchor, reversing the engine 70% force. Very nice as we had the leeward shore only thirty meters behind Moon at low tide.
The wind, rain and the steep shoreline made us not use the dinghy to go ashore. Most of the time we spend around the dining table having full access to the surroundings through our windows. Lots of stuff dun including deep studies in the pilots for the coming areas. The planning is more demanding when weather is shifting from no wind to strong wind and then back again.
13 June Thursday Scalpay – Dunvegan, Sky 27 nm
The wind decreased during late night and was almost gone when we woke up, at least in our protected bay. Low clouds but almost no rain. We had some difficulties to analyze the forecast. There was no update since yesterday noon, something we never experienced. But the old one showed a change to southerly tomorrow and for the rest of the week.
To get use of the still northerly today we weigh anchor and left for Sky.
Two reefs in the main, but when we came out of the harbour there was no really strong wind. Let out the second reef and of course half an hour later we had almost gale force. But this time we had following wind with following tide. With wing on wing out poled sails Moon speeded over ground almost as the day before yesterday thanks to the following tide.
No rain but we saw grey curtains across Sky during the whole passage.
Coming into the deep bay, where Dunvegan sits in the bottom, we raced down wind for five miles until we behind an island could furl the headsails and later take down the main. We had intended to anchor in front of the famous castle, but the wind funnelled between some islands, making the anchorage cold and uncomfortable. Instead we grabbed a buoy in front of the hotel further in, much more protected.
After a warm cup of coffee we launched the dinghy and drew into the floating pontoon for visitors. Took a long walk up the hills noting that we had not had a walk since Sunday climbing the hill in Ullapool.
Found a small grocery shop on our way back to Moon.
We left the dinghy behind Moon during the night, prepared to visit the castle tomorrow.
14 June Friday Dunvegan – Berneray, between Harris and North Uist 26 nm
When we woke up in “normal morning time” the wind had already turned to south but very weak. We decided after breakfast to lift up the dinghy and take Moon to the pontoon to get water and then leave her there for a walk to the castle.
Later if the wind increase as forecasted we will sail back to the Outer Hebrides.
Leaving the dinghy in the water over night we have seldom done, and every time this year so far it has ended up with change of plans and the dinghy back on deck.
We have to stop this laciness behaviour. On top of that the dinghy o deck increase the comfort in the bow cabin making it darker, important these bright summer nights, and easier to ventilate during rain.
When dinghy secured on deck and all fenders out we left the buoy and moved to the pontoon.
After some trouble with different hose dimensions we could fill our water tanks. A bit time consuming as we have nearly thousand litres together in the three tanks.
We left Moon at the pontoon and walked to the castle. It was mostly almost sunshine during our walk but also a little drizzle. Big trees in an old forest along the road. We haven’t seen this size of trees since we left Norway.
When we arrived to the castle there were hundreds of cars in the parking place plus some busses.
We didn’t want to pay a lot of money and try to see something in that crowd of people. On top of that this is a modernized castle and not really the stuff we want to see.
Continued along the road to get to the sea and have some photos of the castle.
Close to sea there was a fence with a locked gate and a sign “Be ware of the bull”. We didn’t climb the fence! The photos had to be taken from Moon when passing on our way out.
The return trip was done on a trail up in the forest, a well prepared trail telling us that lots of people walk from the village to the castle.
Annika continued to the store while Björn went down to Moon to prepare lunch.
When we had eaten our lunch salad the wind increased and we left Dunvegan.
Behind the island we yesterday furled our sails, we unfurled and Moon speeded north west out of the big and deep loch on flat water as the wind came over land.
An hour later we were free from land and got the full effect from the southerly wind out on Mich. This time our crossing was very comfortable as the wind and tide both came from south. Faster as the current pushed us to the north, giving us a heading 15 degrees south of our course over ground. Moon got because of that perfect 90 degrees apparent wind. This third crossing of the Minch this week was the most comfortable and as fast as the strong gale crossing we had Tuesday due to wind against tide at the first crossing.
Coming closer to Uist, the wind decreased but still giving us almost full speed.
The final five miles in between islands and in very shallow water was interesting. The wind increased and the direction of the wind allowed us to change course several times to keep in the narrow channel.
Almost no rain during the whole crossing, only some drizzle when we anchored.
Anchored in eight meter at high tide on hard sand, between North Uist and Berneray, connected by a causeway protecting us from westerly winds.
We enjoyed having a dinghy above the bow cabin hatch when we went to sleep in the evening because of heavy rain.
15 June Saturday Berneray – Loch Maddy 12 nm
In the morning we had weak easterly wind and due to high tide we got some chop because the island east of us were almost “flooded” at high tide.
Later having had breakfast we had islands east of us again and the chop was gone.
At noon the wind was back to south. There was too much rain to make a dinghy ride ashore interesting, and when the afternoon ferry arrived, we weigh anchor and left for Loch Maddy.
We had some thought about sailing to St Kilda, but the tide was only high enough in the afternoon and the wind forecast was not favorable. We decided to leave St Kilda for another time.
Coming out on the Minch again the sea was completely flat. But a few miles south there was some disturbed sea state. It turned out to be irregularities in the bottom that made back eddies and created meeting currents, giving almost over falls condition very local. No problem for us, but had we had a smaller boat we had gone further out to sea to avoid the troubled waters. Only minutes later we got following tide as we turned west into Loch Maddy on rising tide.
We drove by the marina and anchored in shallow water.
16 June Sunday Loch Maddy
Woke up to a rainy morning, a rain that started already late last evening.
We had breakfast keeping an eye on the berths in the marina. Soon the boat that was moored in “our” spot left and we weigh anchor and motored two hundred meters to the preferred berth.
Now the challenge was to find 220 AC! The electricity had gone last night, but we manage to find a main switch and problem solved. This was important as the main reason for us being in the marina was tidying up the boat and that is so much easier if we have shore power.
After noon we took along walk north of the village. Lots of birds and of course lots of sheep and almost summer temperature in the sun after the morning rain.
Later before dinner the rain came back.
Had lamb and potatoes in the oven for dinner, delicious!
Annika & Björn