It was an excellent Autumnal weekend for an adventurous cruise on the Ocean Youth Trust yacht Alba Explorer.
Skippered by Cumbrae Instructor Rod Smith the crew were eager to set sail from James Watt Dock and head south making way for Ailsa Craig. This 72ft challenger yacht, had an average speed over the ground of 7kts with a south westerly breeze averaging at 15kts. The first leg of the sail took 8hrs arriving at Ailsa Craig, aka Paddy’s milestone, at 04.30 and gave time for everyone to have a quick sleep before dawn. Having experienced a watch system to reach this destination this was re-established after a quick hike around the island and back on-board for breakfast. Lifting anchor the crew viewed the Gannet Colony from the west side as they hoisted the sails for their passage to Loch Ranza.
Viewing the land from the sea is always a pleasure and gives such a different perspective. In this time of changing seasons and sunny weather the autumn colours looked incredible and really added to the splendour of this journey by sea.
With leg 2 completed there was a brief respite before once again setting sail and really making the most of having this wonderful ocean yacht. The crew onboard included the Centre’s Professional Yachtmaster candidates. Fiona, David & Dominic who are now in week 10 of this 18 week course. The Ocean Racer is one part of a very full programme. Having completed a self sail to Ireland last week on the Salona, 37ft, this was a great contrast and an insight to the world of big boat sailing.
The cruise completed its route with a 6hr sail back to JW Dock flying the spinnaker most of the way and the tired, but exhilarated crew returned to dry land.
This course has been running at Cumbrae for a number years so if you are interested in experiencing an ocean racing yacht then look no further and get your berth booked for 2015.
Tel: 01475 530757