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Old 06 May 2013, 17:42   #1
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Redbay Stormforce 1050 - when the Irish MUST go to Easdale

The Return of the Beast

Easdale RIB Rendezvous has become a major Date in our calandar. This year (2013) there was a lot of interest from other Ireland boats. donegaldan rose to the occasion and did sterling work on Deep Six. She got the full treatment - engine lift, new charts, new auxilary 9.8hp - the works. The WX looked good, we started to plan the route - second breakfast in Ballykelly, biccies in HQ if Leona hadn't eaten 'em all, first lunch in Harry's, second lunch in Craighou..., well, you get the idea. Then, at the last moment, the weather closed in and one by one our numbers dwindled. On Wednesday evening donegaldan, with a tear in his eye, pinched Deep Six's tubes and pulled the big cover over her for the duration - we were going nowhere. I blamed the Weather.
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Old 06 May 2013, 17:45   #2
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A change in the Luck

The following morning donegaldan was awoken by FLASH traffic from Redbay Boats HQ in Cushendall - "Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is too take the Stormforce 1050, aka The Beast, 77Nm North for three days and try to come back with a reasonable quantity of gas". Naturally he accepted, reasoning that with all those meals planned, there'd be no shortage of gas... We arrived in HQ early on Friday and pulled up the WX on the big screen in Tom's Situation Room. Seasoned skippers were consulted. They looked dubiously at us - "What are you going in lads? Oh, the Beast - you should have said - away with yiz before the tide changes".
The 1050 was loaded, provisioned, hooked up and as the tractor began to haul her out, the Imperial March sounded in the background. It seemed fitting somehow until I realised that it was just Mrs willk's ringtone on my mobile - "Where were the insurance policies and the bank account details again, dear?"
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Old 06 May 2013, 17:52   #3
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The trip North

The route was up to the Torr and then bearing straight to the southern tip of Jura where lunch awaited. We were just ahead of the low tide and made the run over at around 35kts with the rising wind behind us. We were lucky to escape the rest of what was coming in from the west. The visibility was poor and it was plotter/compass most of the way, with only glimpses of Rathlin, the Mull and Islay to reassure us. Still, we weren't out there too long. We hit the hotel in Craighouse for lunch, dining with a good view of the pontoon - the 1050 the only boat in the bay. Replenished, we gave Easdale a headsup that a mooring would be needed (thanks guys) and put to sea into a stiffening breeze with rain and mist. Looking at the photos, I don't appear best pleased - thank God for Geckos. Running north again we ran into fairly lumpy stuff and for a while had to slow to 20kts. However, we veered off and found calmer water inshore, coining the weekend's slogan - "I think it looks calmer over there Danny!" We made good use of the ScotSeats and when the Beast is running over a heavy chop at 30-35kts they make a winning combination - the hull takes the brunt of it and the seats soak up the rest of the punishment. The footstraps are still useful though! On a few occasions over the weekend we found that pushing her on a bit from 20-25kts to 26-35kts resulted in a smoother ride - good excuse to tear on then. We saw very little traffic (we saw very little anything) and shot through the sound of Luing at speed to make Easdale at 1600 and be assisted onto the mooring and ferried ashore by Ted, an excellent specimen of humanity who works with Tony Hill. Beer o'clock then...
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Old 06 May 2013, 17:57   #4
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Easdale - Shelter in the Storm

It's a lovely spot. Pretty, quiet, good safe harbour and visitor's moorings. Nice pub and restaurant. Hard camping
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:02   #5
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Day 2

After a good night in Jambo's accommodation (thanks again dude!) we arose to a very poor day indeed. F4-5 gusting F6 and rising as the day progressed. Tony Hill led the charge out of Easdale and we checked out the Corryvreckan. After a bit of messing about we discovered that it wasn't just diesel that spurred on Redbay 10! Tony decided that the planned route down Jura was a non-runner so we ran east to make a tour of ports and marinas - handy for stops and future plans. I was very taken with Crinan, a lovely spot where we all tied up, mixed and chatted about RIBs and weather. There were some cancellations because of the weather, but I was pleased that the smaller boats had made the effort and showed what RIBs can do in unpleasant conditions. Tony has described the going on the official Easdale Cruise thread. Early back to Easdale.
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:06   #6
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The Players

A few photos of the RIBs and Crews
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:11   #7
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A few more

A good day to exercise your RIB.
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:14   #8
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First Lunch

Crinan makes a good stopover - very pretty. That's the best/last of the photos, there's only so much you can do with a camera phone. Thanks to donegaldan and 9D280 for allowing me use their material. I might manage a video tomorrow.
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:25   #9
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A course for Home

Sunday was our return trip to Cushendall, Antrim. We checked over the tides and forecasts and decided to recover our tracks along the east coast of Jura. We set off in rain and after arriving at the Corryvreckan found visibility rapidly decreasing. Running south beside Halcyon (a very nippy Stormforce 7.4 open diesel) we turned on the Radar and reverted to plotter and compass again. We spotted a familiar outline in Ardlussa Bay and popped in for a look only to find that it was Jenny Wren, a well known Stormforce 11m - smiles and waves all round. Another spell of fast cruising at 35-40kts took us to Craighouse where donegaldan announced that he "wasn't hungry yet". Unfortunately there were no witnesses and I don't think it would stand up in court. In shock, I suggested going to Islay and calling into Port Askaig. So we did, arriving at over 50kts and scaring three yachts and a swan. I felt quite guilty - I like swans. Port Askaig was as deserted as a French laundry so we nailed a speedy and excellent fish and chips in the hotel, had a chat with Marion and fired up the soozies for the final run home. We then considered the consequences and decided to go back to Cushendall instead. By now the sun was out and we could steer by Mark I Eyeball. I had been very impressed with the radar in the bad weather - we were easily painting RIBs, yachts and buoys a couple of miles away so I had to apologise to donegaldan on account of my previous scepticism.

The final run over the North Channel was so-so. Choppy in places, big ground swell in others but we maintained a minimum of around 25kts and when we made Antrim shores finally opened her up to make sure she was as full of gas as we could manage after her 225Nm trip. Tom was waiting at the quay with a tractor and a relieved expression. I'm SURE he has a tracker in her. He looked quite surprised when we reported no breakages or problems of note. We even had all the lifebouys on her this time. During the debrief we reported her handling as good as ever, better now maybe as we had got more confidence throwing her around. I mentioned to Tom how well she handled running along the wakes of the other boats. He looked genuinely shocked and said "you drove her BEHIND other RIBs!?" Oops, only to take pictures I said, honestly, it was for mere moments... Seriously though, this is a stunning craft and I do wish someone would hurry on and buy her. Parting with her each time hurts more and more and I'm not sure donegaldan is going to get over it as he was Skipper of the Beast this time.
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Old 06 May 2013, 18:29   #10
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Thanks everyone!

Thanks as ever to Tony Hill and his Squad for running a smooth show and to Jambo for keeping the home fires burning. Fiona at McGrady Insurance needs a mention too, for accepting the risk...

Special thanks to everyone at Redbay Boats for launching the Flying Test Monkeys one more time on a Magic Carpet ride - where would we have been without you? Well, at home obviously, but you know what I mean
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