Sailors know the thrill of exploring somewhere different from their usual home cruising ground. The cruising adventure programme at the National Watersports Centre Cumbrae is about just that – giving crew members new experiences and adventures.
With 3500 miles sailed and 25 islands visited by Cumbrae’s yachts during the summer of 2018, the 2019 cruising adventure programme was eagerly awaited by crew members and skippers.
The first crew to embark on Santa Vey, guided by skipper Peter Braidwood, contained a good mix of experience all with the desire to visit and explore new places. Seeking adventure quickly became the theme of the week.
The group’s appetite for adventure and the weather forecast helped shape their journey with the acronym TWIP considered daily: Tides, Weather & Wind, Information and Pilotage.
Blue skies above and a fair westerly wind meant summer had well and truly arrived. The week of adventure would see the crew sail from Largs, to Campbeltown, to Rathlin Island in North Ireland, to Jura, Colonsay, down the Sound of Mull to Oban and Dunstaffnage, with many stops in between!
Exploring the wilderness
Day three of the trip was spent exploring the wonderful inner lochs of West Loch Tarbert on Jura. The opportunity to explore the impressive Cumhann Beag channel was too good to miss and with slack water, Santa Vey cautiously crept through. However, as the tide range was on springs, there was a high probability of getting stuck in the upper pools. Taking on adventures sometimes requires a back track! Loch Tarbert is a true wilderness with many geographical features to explore, something all crew members hope to do again one day.
All crew members took the opportunity to learn new and develop their existing skills. One crew member, experiencing strong downwind sailing for the first time, superbly helmed Santa Vey recording a maximum speed of 12.2 knots whilst surfing down a wave. A real achievement and adventure! Others took the opportunity to navigate from down below using traditional dead reckoning techniques, aided by the depth sounder.
From puffins on Rathlin Island, to otters at Ulva Ferry, the wildlife was out in force to greet the crew on their voyage. While passing through the Sound of Iona, the crew was accompanied by bottlenose dolphins. Luckily a nearby yacht managed to capture Santa Vey alongside one of their new travel companions.
Seek adventure too
The crew explored seven islands and logged 280 miles while onboard Santa Vey. That afternoon a different crew started their own adventure to Saint Kilda, signalling the adventure season at Cumbrae was well and truly underway.
Start planning your next adventure today by visiting the Cumbrae website, www.nationalcentrecumbrae.org.uk.