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Old 08 June 2014, 03:31   #1
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Small Sibbing round Gigha by The Gurnard

I didnít get out boating this weekend because I was too busy helping my youngest daughter install a kitchen in her house. Besides... it was rather wet and windy on the water.. so donít feel as if I missed anything.

But fear not... as promised in my last journey around the Arisaig area .. I will post one this week on Small Sibbing around the Island of Gigha... an island off the Kintyre Peninsula.

Perhaps you will soon discover why Sir Paul McCartney fell in love with Kintyre, bought his farm at Campbeltown .. and wrote in his hit song ďMull of KintyreĒ about ďthe sea of desire.Ē

This is a retrospective adventure, but it is also a journey which has stuck in my memory as one of my best small SIB experiences yet.

My vessel of choice for this journey was none other than my 14-15 year old, cheap as chips, Chinese made, slat floor 2.7meter plastic Seago SIB. You may knock them, but you canít ignore them, and you can have a bag of fun with them. It cost approx £300 new and has been used every year since.. so has been great value for money at approx £25 per year. Bang for buck..what could be better value ?

However I would not advise a newbie to rush out and buy one, thinking you can then go round the Island of Gigha on it. There is far more to boating than blowing up a bag of air and then going to sea to enjoy the scenery. Think of it like a car ... you canít expect to drive safely around Scotland having never driven before.So saying... when I see some drivers on our roads at present ..I sometimes wonder if it is such a good comparison ?

This is my trusty Seago SIB. I would like to say it is very seaworthy.. and I guess it could be as it will not sink... as long as it is inflated.. but it is a very wet boat in a small wave. They have a tendency to come over the low sides.. so at times.. it can be like boating in a paddling pool.



Even in this size of SIB, I would never consider going to sea without an auxiliary engine. Modern engines can, and do break down. I try to reduce all risks. On this journey..my main engine was a 2.5HP Suzuki four stroke.. and the aux engine was a 2hp Yamaha 2 stroke. The choice of power was for no other reason than... that is all I had available at that time. It means I could only go at slow displacement speeds of around 5 miles per hour. That was not a problem because I was going on this adventure accompanied by my brother and a friend... who were going ... by sea kayak.



Dont be mistaken and think I was their rescue boat, in truth, it was the reverse. A sea kayak is a very seaworthy boat in experienced hands. In the unlikely event that one is knocked over by a large wave, it can easily be rolled back up with a flip of the paddle, without the occupant getting their feet wet. A spray cover around the cockpit forms an almost waterproof seal. A large wave will wet my feet..and could even wash out my means of propulsion.

Before going round Gigha..I had to make sure there were no strong tides in the area. A 2.5hp outboard couldnít cope with currents of any significance. I checked the admiralty charts of the area and they showed I could cope with the tides in the area with ease.

For anyone who doesnít have charts for Scotland, there are a full set at this link. OK they are almost 300 years old.. but I believe that the main tides and islands wonít have changed much over that period.. although smaller stuff like sandbanks etc will..so donít take them as highly accurate.

Admiralty Charts of Scotland, 1795-1904 - Maps of Scotland

To use them ...click the chart you wish to view.. then you can zoom in almost indefinitely to see the detail. Here is a snapshot of Ardminish Bay on the Island of Gigha. Note that the depths on the charts are in fathoms and not feets.



I also take the OS map for the area Im boating in so I can navigate if the mist comes in. I have most OS maps from my hill walking days so donít want to buy charts too. This is a very small map of my journey.. so you can follow it... once I start telling about it.




But that will be tomorrow.. as this is only a taster for my journey.

Do come back again if you want to see some of the best sandy beaches in Scotland.......
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Old 08 June 2014, 04:53   #2
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Great stuff, I am already looking forward to the article tomorrow..............................
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Old 08 June 2014, 08:47   #3
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Originally Posted by The Gurnard View Post
Before going round Gigha..I had to make sure there were no strong tides in the area. A 2.5hp outboard couldnít cope with currents of any significance. I checked the admiralty charts of the area and they showed I could cope with the tides in the area with ease.
Great little island is Gigha and great for a small boat adventure. The 9m ribs probably shoot past it in 3 minutes!

Don't want to seem Mr Moany - but there has to be better ways to navigate than a OS Map which is only accurate above MHWS and a 300 year old chart. More than just sand banks will have changed. There could be new underwater obstructions (wrecks, newly discovered rocks etc), there could be reasons not to anchor (under water cables), there could be new jetties etc which may not always be marked on an OS Map. A SIB hardly needs a jetty but in terms of passage planning a Jetty is an escape route.

Not to mention any navigational marks.

Plus an OS Map will usually highlight certain land objects visible from the sea that can be used for transits etc. The OS Map gives you them all and you may not know if you should be able to see a church from the sea etc.

You can get free electronic access to charts via Navionics website.
Quote:
Do come back again if you want to see some of the best sandy beaches in Scotland.......
The Scottish Maffia will be on to you. You need to remember the official line is that it rains all the time and is full of midges. Keep showing all these nice scenes and the "Public from Englandshire" will arrive...
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Old 08 June 2014, 10:12   #4
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Many thanks for your comments and feedback Whackywoody and Shinyshoe.. it is appreciated

You are also quite correct Shinyshoe.. there are far better ways to navigate than my way.. especially if you are going round the island, in a fast RIB in 3 minutes.

Please feel free to post the link to the free charts.. so we can all use them. I had a quick look on the site you referred to but it wanted to download stuff onto my computer ?..is that necessary to view the charts ?

However why fly round Gigha and miss the scenery ? There is plenty open ocean without submerged hazards if you want to go fast. Accidents do happen when boats go fast close inshore...and it can be far worse than hitting submerged rocks ..swimmers wonít show on any chart ..regardless the accuracy.



So Relax and enjoy it at 5 miles per hours. To use my car analogy again... drive at a speed dictated by conditions. That way you can see the bottom ..the rocks.. the fish.. the seals and otters. That for me is what boating is about and my eyeball travelling at 5 mph does that better than any electronic wizardry or latest chart topping map.
Would the latest charts help me avoid a rock in this channel. ?




As for OS maps.. ..like my Tesco Value Tent and cheap as chips Seago... they fit my bill Admirably... Which is to putter around the rocks and reefs .. close inshore .. off the coastline of Scotland.. in good conditions. Of course there are more expensive options .. for those that want to use them.
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Old 08 June 2014, 15:18   #5
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Gurnard - do you use the yachting pilot books at all? I find them very helpful for picking my way through that part of the world and finding the safe route in/out of places. I'll happily spend as long working out where to go, pouring over OS and charts, as I will executing the plan. Mrs Poly seems confused by this.
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Old 08 June 2014, 15:44   #6
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Keep'm coming. Always like looking at those old sea charts.

Bit newer link here, if one zooms in.

Charts covering the West Coast of Scotland : by Bryant[Listings of Charts (available for full members)] - VisitMyHarbour articles
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Old 08 June 2014, 16:52   #7
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Hi Poly...I can relate to spending hours pouring over maps ..planning routes..both on land and at sea. I also do that often. In winter I climb the hills of Scotland and in summer..sail the seas.

I have read some of the excellent Clyde Cruising Books in the past. My father had a yacht on the west coast when he was alive..so there was always some sea literature floating about our house.

But I guess Im lucky in that my brother... he is in one of the kayaks on this journey ... is in the process of writing a factual book on sea voyages such as this...detailing tides .. launch points ..places of interest ..etc. He is a regular contributor to one of the major paddling magazines.. and a never ending wealth of knowledge and advice about the Scottish coast. What he doesnít know about it ... he will soon make up.

So if in doubt... I ask him.
I just tag along in his shadow...in that respect.

He is also a good photographer... this is one of his photos ... from a place that I could only dream of taking a SIB



Thanks for posting the link Boatnomad .. Im obviously a bit out of date with free internet charts .. a few years ago ..the old admiralty ones were the only ones I could find.. so glad to see things have progressed ..

Thanks for reading
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Old 08 June 2014, 16:59   #8
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Is that St Kilda ? and your Bro did that in a kayak WOW
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Old 08 June 2014, 17:18   #9
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Yup..its St Kilda..or Stac an Armin to be more exact.

He went as official photographer for a certain commercial venture. The kayaks were taken out by boat.. but it is still something else to paddle around those stacs. Even in the calm the huge swell crashing on cliffs is treacherous.

The photos were something else ... but Im not plugging him.. he does that well enough.

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Old 08 June 2014, 17:31   #10
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You're right it is something else..... you both should do a TV series on your adventures...

"The Gurnard Bros Atlantic ocean Adventures"

I love your posts and I am looking forward to plenty more as I'm sure are a lot of other RIBnet members.

Glad you joined our forum
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