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Old 14 June 2015, 13:39   #1
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Scottish SIB outing 2015 by the Gurnard

WARNING... this post is full of SIB porn.. if you are easily offended by inflatable boats..you are best advised to head to the Rib and Ribbing part of the forum immediately ...

After waiting all winter (and spring) ..for winter to end.. I was really looking forward to the Scottish Sib outing 2015 .. but worried in case the strong winds of late.. would turn it into a Scottish Sib outing to the Old Ship Inn in Oban. However my worries didn’t materialise because during the week ...before the arranged date.. summer finally arrived.

It was Saturday 13th when five fearless adventurers (Plus Willk) arrived at Ganavan Bay ..Oban.. to meet for the first time.. to talk SIB and then hopefully ... launch them. It was a grey overcast morning.. with a fresh breeze blowing from the north east..so we felt that anything could happen that day. Every man and his boat was there for 10am ... the pre arranged time.



Although it was not a race.. we all knew we were heading for the tide race around Belnahua.. one of the Slate Islands to the south of Oban. On the word go.. everyone was off.. heading for our first planned pit stop at Easdale...



Kaman immediately took the lead in his Honwave.. but soon lost it as he headed off towards Mull.



A1an in his Rib..acted like sheep dog and pointed him in the right direction..as Kaman tried to race him too.



Now.. Herded together like little sheep.. the three Honwaves didn’t realise they were like lambs to the slaughter



As Poly and pillion Willk danced circles around them ...



Much to the amusement of the local birds...



But it was soon obvious to everyone ... that Poly’s poly SIB could splash its way into the lead ... any time it wanted.




But however hard Poly tried .. he couldn’t shake the determined Honwaves off his tail .. they were closing in fast..as they left the Island of Kerrera in the background....



To be continued... do come back later to find out ...who will win the great tide race
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Old 14 June 2015, 14:32   #2
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brilliant more please (my mrs is sat here saying well if you really wanted to go we would have found the money that's great after the event)
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Old 14 June 2015, 16:00   #3
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Im certain there will be other adventures Beerbelly..so just remind your missus offer ....next time

As we skimmed over the Firth of Lorne...south of Kererra.. I kept humming the tune..

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be winner
Over the sea to Easdale

And it seemed to have a calming effect... because.. as we went.. the waves grew smaller ...



And smaller...




As the sky got brighter and blue’er



That is when the Good Ship Gurnard decided to stop playing games.. opened throttle..passed everyone .. including Poly..and I entered the peaceful Sound of Easdale first....



And if you doubt I was the winner..take a look over my shoulder..every picture tells a story ! Besides..I have to win.. as I am writting the story



But then I thought... hmmm..perhaps first into the bar ...buys the round ... so like the gentleman I am.. I let Poly and Willk pass and enter the little harbour on Easdale Island ..first




Tony Hill and his good wife ..welcomed us at the harbour and showed us where to park our boats..



It truly is a very beautiful and peaceful village....



With a busy Saturday afternoon high street...



After a quick look round..we then all went to the local restaurant ..and because I felt like I was on holiday..treated myself to a very reasonably priced... plate of fresh Lorne Langoustines ..and a pint of tasty ... health drink.




Although Poly and Willk actually won the first leg of the great tide race.. Im certain Rib Rab, Deano, and Kaman.. were like myself..and knew we were all winners.


My apologies to Seaskills of Oban.. I forgot to mention you came to meet us and welcome our arrival to Ganavan Bay


To find out about leg two... do come back tomorrow... to be continued
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Old 15 June 2015, 04:26   #4
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Suitably refreshed from our lunch hour pit stop..it was time to head back to sea.. to see what we could see. One by one..little grey SIBs popped out of Easdale harbour.. into the smooth and silent sound.



Where the four amigos plus Willk posed patiently ..while I took yet another photo



Over lunch ...we had decided the next leg of the great tide race would be through the Cuan Sound .. round the northern tip of Torsa before skimming through the Shuna Sound. ( I will post a map of the route at the end of this adventure)

Poly and Willk reminded me of the rabbit leading the dog race.. as we headed for Cuan Point ..I just wondered if things wouldn’t all go to the dogs ..after such a great start.. it was the thirteenth of the month after all.. and Im very superstitious.



Rab Rib and Deano were also quick off their mark. Like a pair of terriers chasing the rabbit.. they opened throttle fighting the fast flowing water of the Cuan Sound.



But then Kaman..not to be one to be left behind..fired up his aux engine to gain that little bit of extra speed.. and sped past us all .. heading for the kill.



This time..I took the rear .. and laughed aloud at the whoops of joy coming from the four front cowboy SIBs .. plus Willk of course.



Spray flew all ways as we flew down the Sound of Shuna. The Island of Luing lay to the right ..or is that my starboard side? While over the port side..which must be the other side ? .. and towards the mainland.. I could see heavy black rain clouds. Poly had done his bit..and the blue sky he organised for the trip.. followed us all... all the way.



We regrouped at the end of Luing and I pointed to a gap between two island..not far from us. One island being Jura and the other Island being Scarba. The conversation I had with Poly and Willk is still clear in my head..

Gurnard “That is the Gulf of Correvrechan ..just through there.”
Poly “I know.. do you think we should go through it?”
Willk “We wont get a better day for it ?”

I looked at my watch..to time the tides.. then thought to myself...if I must die by drowning ..what better place than the Corryvrechan.. the third biggest whirlpool in the world.

Gurnard “Yup..lets go for it.. but on one condition .. we come back by the Grey Dogs”..the second strongest tidal flow on the west of Scotland
Willk “Bijesus Gurnard .. you drive a hard bargain for a Scotsman...but I think I like you ?”

I didn’t hear Poly’s reply as he opened the throttle of his poly SIB and headed straight for hell and high water.



The remaining three SIBS followed faithfully..like lambs to the slaughter.

I knew that very soon.. every one of us would soon enter the Great Tide Race...and hopefully all will come out winners.


To be continued ...
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Old 15 June 2015, 05:44   #5
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Before I tell of our trip through hell and high water..here is one of the best videos I have seen of the area.. it starts off describing how the whirlpool is formed.. then has beautiful shots of the flows swirls and whirls

It is made by Hebrideanwild.co.uk.. so I give them their credit..its well woth the 10 minutes to watch it..and it will help set the atmosphere for my report..which will be later

" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">
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Old 15 June 2015, 05:55   #6
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Hilarious read.
Keep it coming!
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Old 16 June 2015, 03:55   #7
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DISCLAIMER :-

The Gulf of Corryvrechan is an extremely dangerous place for small boats.. so if you are following this adventure please don’t think that you too may easily pass through. It requires an in depth knowledge of the tides and times in the area. It is perfectly safe under certain circumstances .. but it is not as easy as saying “high water at Oban is xxx time ..so it will be the same at the Corryvrechan” ... it is not! It can be difficult to calculate as even air pressure or wind direction can change the time of the turn.

A Channel 4 TV documentary about the Corryvreckan called Lethal Seas featured an interesting experiment.

Equinox episode guide - Equinox, Channel 4's premier science show in the UK

A weighted dummy wearing a life jacket was dumped into the sea just before the Corryvreckan whirlpool. It disappeared within moments. It was recovered several miles out to sea half an hour later. A dive meter showed that it had been down to at least 200m and the dummy's life jacket had gravel in its pockets and straps.

It was a last minute decision made by Poly, Willk and Myself to go through the Gulf.. based on a lot of experience and knowledge.

Although it is many years since I had been through it in a 24ft yacht .. I has consulted my brother often about this trip. He has kayaked through it many times.. although even then ..sometimes he get it wrong.. as this photo from his web site illustrates...credits to Seakayakphoto...and also thanks for calculating possible times for calm conditions.



With the decision to face hell at high water made.. Poly took the lead in a mad dash to get through the Gulf in the half hour safe time slot.



It was not only the outboard engines that carried us towards the whirlpool.. but a natural force under the water also assisted us forward into the gap.. it was the still flooding tide.



I let the others pass me..under the pretence that I wanted to photograph everyone heading through the greatest tide race in the UK.. but in reality..it was because I wanted to see if they disappeared under water.. before I had to attempt it.



Poly took us over the top of the pinnacle that creates the whirlpool. I watched my fishfinder depth and at one point it read 100ft.. so knew I was in the heart of the whirlpool.

Of course..it wasn’t swirling.. the tides had now stop flowing. I don’t have any photos as it was still a bit choppy..and I had to hang onto tiller as well as the boat... so camera was in its box. I did see a couple of small vortex draw air down into the grey depths..as opposing current flows rubbed each other..but saw nothing spectacular or worrying.

Then moments later.. we broke out the Great Race.. which can continue for over five miles out to the sea.. when the tide is in full flood. Not a place you want your engine to break down.



There was a slight swell on the west coast of Scarba..but it felt like a mill pond after the lumpy pot holes of the ”Vrechan”



The white knuckle SIB ride was only half way through.. the sky ahead looked dark and ominous ..as Poly now headed straight for the Grey Dogs.



I followed from a safe distance .. then my heart stopped.. his boat suddenly disappeared ... had he been sucked under ? No.. he had just turned the dog leg channel in the Grey Dogs tide race.



In truth .. the Grey dogs were like gentle puppies.. there was no teeth to their bite..as it was still slack water. I waited in the calm race for the other guys to pass. The white knuckle SIB ride came to a peaceful end.



Moments later.. five extremely satisfied small SIB skippers (and Willk) landed on Belnahua.. we had all battled with ... and won .. the Great Tide Race !!! It was now time to celebrate....



To be continued ....
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Old 16 June 2015, 05:02   #8
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Loving the story! We were through the Grey Dogs last week in 2 RIBs, was a lot of fun
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Old 16 June 2015, 09:21   #9
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Glad you are enjoying the show Rolfhat..and thanks for dropping by.

It was now just after high tide on Belnahua. Time was around 4pm
It was interesting to see that only Kaman had transom wheels on his SIB.. none of the other boats bothered with them. Perhaps it dispels the myth that transom wheels are a “must have” for SIBS ? To me.. it looked like Kaman used the most energy securing his boat by dragging it up the shore on wheels. However.. I appreciate that is my opinion .. and based on my observation only.

Deano and Rab Rib happily left theirs to dry out in the now dropping tide.. knowing it would be an easy drag on slippery slate ... to re launch in the morning.

Poly and myself kept our heavier boats afloat..then let them dry out at 7pm.. knowing that we would come down to the shore at low tide to re set the rear anchors by hand .. keeping the fore anchors well above high tide. This meant that although the next high tide would be at 5am .. they would still be afloat at 7am.. when we would be up and attend them to keep them afloat.. if that makes sense.

So as not to forget Willk.. he had the easiest launch and recovery of us all.




It didn’t take long to pitch the tents. We chose a good flat spot in front of one of the old cottages. The snorers in the group..pitched their tents behind stone walls..to help muffle their ZZZZzzzz's. At least..that was their excuse for wanting solitude.



Once the camp was up..everyone started preparing their dinners. Another observation that I made was.. some folk eat a huge amount.... even though they are not so huge themselves ?

Me ? I had a can of Guinness and a delicious deer burger..donated by our dear friend A1an... then I wanted some solitude... to explore the island and ruins of Belnahua.



While we slowly digest our dinners.. have a look at the route we took ..its on this map.



I will then show you around the island.. in the next instalment...

To be continued....
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Old 16 June 2015, 14:33   #10
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Cracking read Gurnard:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

While true I did expend a few calories pulling my Sib above the high tide mark it took less than 30 seconds to do so.

Once there it was high and dry and never needed attending until morning when I wheeled her down the slope back into the brine with ease.

On the other hand you's guys returned to the beach to reset anchors and check the sibs hadn't floated off into the horizon.
This gave me ample time to finish off your Gunness lol.

As for an easy drag to return Rab Rib and Deanos Honwave to the water - it took three of us to lift / drag the high and dry Honwaves and return them to the water.

Considerably more effort and back ache required to do this than pulling mine out the water.

Transom wheels have their merits in some occasions.

I will be investing in a bruce anchor shortly as I can see the merits of anchoring too.
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Old 16 June 2015, 14:52   #11
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Thanks for your balanced observation on transom wheels Kaman ..on with the show

Although I like company on my adventures..I also like my solitude. It gives me the peace to look both inwards at myself..and outwards towards ... times gone by.. as I try to find what made me the person I am.

Although the Corryvrechan.. and the Grey dogs were exciting.. the highlight of this adventure.. for me.. was exploring Belnahua.

It was once a very busy Island.. with a population of nearly 200 people. The men folks quarried the slate.. used for roof tiles on many Scottish homes .. the women manned the pumps that kept the sea water out the deep quarry pits their men folks dug.. as well as attending to family needs.

Life was hard..there is no supply of fresh drinking water on the island..it had to come by boat.. across dangerous tide races. I imagined there were many days..the work force went without water. During winter storms..the savage seas would break over the slate built levees and flood the pits..causing the women folks to work long cold hours emptying them again ...so the slate could be quarried.

At the start of World War one.. the men folks left the island to build ships in the Clyde ..or fight in the war. Not long after..the women and children left too. The island has been uninhabited ever since..except for passing adventurers like ourselves who camp the occasional day away.
We had pitched tents in the industrial part of the Island.. among the warehouses and offices.



Not far.. rusting on the beach..was an old boiler..Presumably to produce steam to drive..



The pistons that turned the water pumps that helped keep the sea from the slate pits.



In my mind..I heard the women laughing and joking with each other as they stoked the fire that heated the water ..that made the steam..to turn pistons ..that pumped the water. I thought of their children who helped bring the coals for the fire. I heard the muffled explosions as the men blasted the rock..chiselling it out.. cutting it to shape.. cursing and swearing.. laughing and joking. I could smell the fires.. the steam..oil..and sweat.

But now..it is all but gone..only rusting memories remain... of a hard life gone by. We often complain about work conditions.. but I suspect ..we know little about how hard life was..not so long ago.
I left the industrial area and walked along the slate levee wall. I had to be careful where I stood..as I was not completely alone with my thoughts.



I then clambered onto the highest point on the Island and looked to the north.. up the Firth of Lorne. As I looked at the reefs... semi submerged of the north of the island.. I thought of the Latvian ship.. Helena Faulbaums.. that was driven onto the rocks in a winter storm 1936. Sixteen sailors died there that night. I thought of the four survivors who managed to make land on Belnahua..and the relief as well as grief..they felt for loosing companions..but being saved themselves.



I turned and looked over the southern part of the island.. from my high seagull perch..



I saw ships arriving and men folks leaving crying wives and children.. as they left to help the war effort. I imagine many were killed fighting for Queen and country..never to see their families again.
I then passed the school house where I heard the ghost voice of a teacher and children.. Repeating aloud and in unison ... the two times table. I saw another boiler lying in a pit outside the school playground.



I presume it produced the steam to power the derrick that lifted the heavy lumps of rock from the deep pits. Even the derrick was left where it was last used .. rusting to ruin..in this unattended and abandoned museum of a past life.



I walked between the rows of cottages were the workers lived. I heard meals being served and could smell fish cooking. I heard conversations between family members..and even the odd argument. I heard beds squeek.. moans and groans ..late at night as the children slept in the same small room.



I stood in front of a roaring fire.. while freezing waves and bitter winds fought with each other on the tide races running around the island. I thought of children sending Santa their letters of Xmas wishes .. up the chimney of this fire place. I saw sad faces when their toys didn’t appear.



Then I though.. that was a good tin of Guinness I had.. I better get back to the lads.. light our own fire..enjoy their company.. but most of all..be glad that Im alive .. healthy .. and enjoying life !!!

To be continued...
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Old 16 June 2015, 18:03   #12
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Awesome. I'm so annoyed / jealous / determined to get there by Sib or by Rib.

The puking one seems interested in history, so who knows......

Can't wait for the next instalment.
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Old 17 June 2015, 04:08   #13
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You missed a great time 9D280..but Im sure there will be others.


On my tour of the island.. I noticed that there was no litter.. no ugly fire pits.. and no wood.

I was certainly not going to scar this island of forgotten history by branding the green grass with the shape of a fire..nor leave an unsightly stone ring behind for others to find. I build the fire in a sheltered hollow of the slate levee .



Both the wood that I brought and the logs Poly donated burned brightly and gave a good heat.. but more important.. there were few ashes left in the morning. Half an charcoaled log was all..which I threw in the sea before leaving the island. I took only photographs and left only footprints.. although I do confess ... to using Kaman’s shovel to catapult something I didn’t want to keep... far out to sea. Better an empty house than a bad tenant !!

Once the fire had established itself.. everyone came across and enjoyed both the heat.. and the craic of a good company. I think we all got a little stone faced on the health drinks we brought with us in tins ..and the golden liquid Willk brought in a bottle.



The late evening sun illuminated Fladda lighthouse.. as if to warn incoming ships..of dangerous rocks in the middle of tide races



As the blazing fire turned to glowing embers.. and tinges of colour touched the clouds ... the guys bid each other a good night. Im an older guy..who doesn’t need so much sleep now .. so enjoyed my solitude again.



I went for midnight stroll among the ruins of yesterday.



And watched the kaleidoscopic clouds morph into distant memories of my own past ...



I walked to the west..carefully avoiding the deep dark slate pits..because I wanted to see the last of the days sun.. set behind the Garvellachs



I was looking forward to revisiting them in the morning.. and perhaps meditating in the beehive prayer rooms ..of monks from an even older time. Slowly the sun sank into the dark sea somewhere far behind the islands.



Then I followed the sound of the big ZZZZZzzzzzz.. to guide me safely back to the campsite where everyone was sound asleep. The only other sound I could hear was the call of the sea. I looked over the slate levee before going into my tent. Through the dark..I could see white tops start to appear on the race. I knew the tide had turned and was now flooding against the north breeze.



I slept soundly that night.. but because Im an older guy.. I had to get up once again. I wanted to make sure the fire was out.... by pissing on it. As the embers hissed .. steamed and stank .. I recalled the days when I could go all night without getting up. More memories of a past life.

To be continued...
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Old 17 June 2015, 15:56   #14
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Although I don’t sleep much at night.. I do like to get up early. During the long days of summer I am awake and ready to go.. at 6 am most mornings. Sunday was no different. I got up and went down to the shore to check the boats. I was pleased to see..that despite the Guinness and Whisky dinner ... my calculations of tides was correct. They were still afloat on the falling tide.. by 7 am they would start to dry out.



There was a fresh northerly breeze .. and although it was blowing with the tide.. I could see there was a good deal of confused water over the races.



I took a couple of last photos of the ruins in the golden early morning light... before heading back to camp



I called Poly to let him know his boat would be high and dry in half an hour. Soon everyone was awake and having breakfast. The wind was still freshening .. so we discussed the proposed visit to the Garvellachs.

To get there involved crossing a strong tide race..it looked ok at present..but I knew when the tide turned..and wind was against it.. it could liven up very quickly ... it would be a rough ride back to Oban. No one objected to not going to the exposed Garvellachs..and an hour later all SIBS were loaded and in the water.



There were now quite a few white caps appearing on the waves in the ever freshening wind. I suggested a 75 degree course to the waves and head for the mainland ..then zig zag towards Easdale ..to avoid a head on course into the waves. Poly headed off in a cloud of blown spume. It was the last photo I could take before reaching sheltered waters again.



When we hit mid channel..the size of the waves became “interesting” for lack of a better description. All SIBs managed to kept on the plane.. but there were a number of waves where I had to cut throttle to avoid flying into the air and slamming the boat when hitting water again. I was glad of the spray cover.. not only keeping the spray off.. but for keeping the loose camping gear in the boat.

The waves eased as we eased into the shelter of the Sound of Easdale..but when we left the Sound again..and hit the full force of the wind and full reach of the waves in the exposed Firth of Lorn.. if one or two of the waves were not 2 meters tall..they were not far off it. White caps were now regular occurrences .. horizon to horizon.

All SIBs still kept on the plane ..slowing only to cross the largest waves. .. all boats handled the conditions well... air floors .. aluminium floors ..wooden floors and poly floors.

We made the right decision not to go to the Garvellachs that morning.. conditions were tough enough..but in a couple of hours time..when tides turned to face the wind..travelling would be much worse. However.. the wind dropped as we reached the shelter of Kerrera..and by mid day it was flat calm again... such is the unpredictable wind.

It was still only mid morning ..so we landed at Kerrera Parrot Sanctuary..not to see the birds..but to walk over the hill for a cup of tea. Kaman.. Deano.. and Rab Rib decided to head off for an early start home.. so we said our good byes and parted ways.

Poly ... Willk and myself enjoyed the walk in the warm sun and headed over the hill ...



To the lovely tea cottage of Kerrera.. where we enjoyed homemade Lemon Drizzle cake and a pot of coffee.. and we scoffed every last crumb... delicious



At mid day..I followed the Cal Mac ferry out of Oban bay before landing at Ganavan Sands.



I arrived home at 4pm..a very happy man..and thoroughly enjoyed the first Ribnet Scottish SIB outing. I look forward to the next outing.

To finish this post.. Im going to give another observation..but keep in mind..its only my observation..other’s can add their thoughts if they wish.

Without doubt.. Poly’s poly SIB was the fastest boat.. despite having a smaller 20hp engine than some of the SIBS. This didn’t surprise me as PVC bottoms have much more drag than smooth hard hulled boats.

There appeared to be no significant difference in the performance between any of the SIBs. Air Floors.. Aluminium floors ..and wooden floors.. all handled the conditions very well. There was not a bad boat in the line up.

Thanks to all for reading this drivel..if you have enjoyed it..think of coming on the next one.. real life adventures are fun.

My thanks to Poly..Kaman.. Rab Rib .. Deano.. and last but certainly not least Willk.. it was a great weekend .. and I enjoyed the craic.... I hope we all meet again on another adventure.


Best regards ... The Gurnard


I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
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Old 17 June 2015, 16:24   #15
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Many thanks Gurnard
As always, your stories are great reads accompanied with fantastic photography
Woz
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Old 17 June 2015, 16:36   #16
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Take a bow Gurnard !
Really done the trip justice there.
There will be a few Sibbers salivating whilst reading your account and viewing those magnificent photos - I should know as I'm one of them and I was there.
Looking forward to similar trips in the future.
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Old 17 June 2015, 17:42   #17
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A good read with great pictures, well done to you all.
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Old 17 June 2015, 20:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gurnard View Post
...and hit the full force of the wind and full reach of the waves in the exposed Firth of Lorn.. if one or two of the waves were not 2 meters tall..they were not far off it.
Just under 2m was my guesstimate too - half the length of the boats. The calm that came in late morning was sublime, shame we missed it but you have to call it when you see it, not afterwards. Good cake, but I shared mine with the sparrows...
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Old 18 June 2015, 05:51   #19
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brilliant read gurnard as always, one thing anyone can pick up from this is no matter what your budget is, so long as your boat is safe and fit for where you want to go great fun can be had.
added to a good set of lads, safety in numbers & fair weather perfect
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Old 18 June 2015, 06:43   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffstevens763@g View Post
brilliant read gurnard as always, one thing anyone can pick up from this is no matter what your budget is, so long as your boat is safe and fit for where you want to go great fun can be had.
added to a good set of lads, safety in numbers & fair weather perfect

A lot of the talk on here (understandably) is about which Plotter...Engine...Foul weather gear...Ect Ect Ect.
with a few IMO from time to time getting overly Anal with the minutiae.
Sometimes it seems easy to forget the main thing!
After you've settled on your kit..whatever the Budget..and with the right experience.
It's the LOCATION and MOST of all THE COMPANY that adds most to the Boating experience!...
Go Gurnard!...And Posse..enjoyable Thread.
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