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Old 28 October 2011, 17:50   #1
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St Kilda

Has anyone done the trip to St Kilda in a 5.5m Rib ?

We are after any pointers / advice , like where best to depart from etc ?#

Best Time of year ?

What extras might we need ?

Already have :-
Lifejackets & Waterproofs
Flares
Aux engine
radio
chartplotter + Spare Satnav
Depthsounder
2 anchors
compass
Spare Propellor (Main Engine) + Spanner
Laminated charts of the area
Air Pump + Repair Kit
Engine Spares (Plugs ,Fuel pump Diaphram, Shear pins for aux, Fuses)
Basic Toolkit (Pliers , screwrivers , small socket set , adjustable spanner)

What would the Expected Fuel consumption figures be etc. 75hp 2 stroke.

Or is anyone else planning a trip there next year between May and August.


Alan.
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Old 28 October 2011, 18:42   #2
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Hi if you do a search you will find numerous threads on the subject that may help. It will give you a few folk to contact re the trip.

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Old 28 October 2011, 18:47   #3
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Hi there,
I'm from stornoway on the isle of Lewis.
Best time of year is may or late aug / September in the islands, if the past 5 years is anything to go with.
Quickest way to reach st Kilda is to set off from either north uist, or leverburgh in Harris. It's around 40 miles from uist and 50 from leverburgh in Harris.
To travel to Harris or uist from the south you take the ferry from the isle of Skye, although can be quite expensive (calmac ferries) so you'd have to weigh up fuel costs for rib versus ferry.

As far as equipment is concerned, I'd bring camping equipment as a back up, i.e weather change , boat / engine problem.
I'd also make sure you have a sea anchor or drogue, first aid kit, and some kind of epirb or personal locator beacon (mcmurdo do one for around £200)

The problem with travelling to st Kilda is its remote, and wave heights in that part of the atlantic have been recorded over 10 metres in storms. You need quite a few days flat calm before your trip, and any hint of a northerly wind will create quite a big swell in a short time. The other problem is the water temp, even in summer it is still very cold, so carrying a liferaft or dry suits wouldn't be a bad idea!

The final advice is; fill your fuel tanks on the uk mainland. Fuel on the islands is around £1.50 per litre.

Hope this is of help, Any questions pm me

John
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Old 28 October 2011, 20:17   #4
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I reckon "you're gonna need a bigger boat", personally I'd want at least two ribs preferably twin engined, not to mention a really good break in the weather.

It's a 100 mile round trip from Harris with nothing in between for shelter (and not many boats in the vicinity), should you need it I think an aux would be useless against the swell/distance you'd be looking at.

My Dad and his pals have attempted the trip 3 times on their yachts as part of their annual boys/booze cruise, once they didn't even leave Harris (they sat for 3 days waiting for a break, it didn't come and they had to head back down), they've made it twice, first was about 10 years ago, last was May this year.

The photos of the seas they were in are just huge, when they were in the trough of the waves they couldn't see the other boats masts, not to mention the mist that prevented them seeing St Kilda till they were almost on top of it. It's the first time I've seen all of them using harnesses in the cockpit of the boats.

Their time ashore was quite limited and the swell getting from the dinghy onto the jetty was running 3ft.

I think they got about 2-3 hours ashore, explored a bit, met the locals (first time it was the army, think it was the national trust the last time), went to the pub :-) and took some stunning pictures, before they felt they had to leave due to the weather closing in on them again.

I think you might need permission to land on St Kilda, might be worth checking out, although I'm pretty certain my Dad and his cronies turned up unannounced.

I can't remember exactly what my Dad said about the pub, but I don't think money is used, I think you may have to bring a bottle to exchange for some... Will need to remember and ask the next time I see him.
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Old 29 October 2011, 03:53   #5
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If you search I think you'll find details of a trip jw did in a small boat (might even have been a sib?) So can be done. Bear in mind he is a salty old sea dog and knows what he is doing and could pick his weather window.
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Old 29 October 2011, 04:54   #6
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So long as the wx is ok I can't see a problem myself. It's only 40-50nm; at 30kts that will be under two hours at sea. We do 60-70nm round trips all the time here in the Channel Islands with boats that size so I'd just go for it if I were you.
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Old 29 October 2011, 05:32   #7
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GJ0KYZ, I'm afraid that you're comparing Apples and Pears.

The chances of a 5.5m boat making 30kts average on that run are nil. I'm fairly blasť about those kinds of distances, but when they're out there it's a serious undertaking.

I'd caution the OP about the wisdom of making a solo/single engined trip to St. Kilda. The biggest problem out there is in the event of ANYTHING unexpected, there is no safe haven (often St Kilda isn't safe) and it's beginning to test SAR response, certainly time wise.
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Old 29 October 2011, 06:04   #8
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I have been to Hirta many times and it can be a really tough passage, I would not reccomend it with a small single engined boat.

If you do insist on doing it I would suggest leaving from Levebourgh and perhaps hooking up with Angus (Kilda Cruises) or Seamus (Sea Harris) who run out there in larger boats in the tourist season. I am sure if you speak to them they will keep an eye on you, these guys are the experts when it comes to Kilda. They leave at 8am 3 or 4 days a week and travel out at 18knts. They are good guys who have been doing this trip for years.

The last time I did it on a RIB it was an 11 Delta (Woodys Rib for anyone from out that way) The passage out was fine and we made it in under 2 hours but the way back was awful weather and it took us about 3 1/2 hours to get back.
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Old 29 October 2011, 06:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeg View Post


I think you might need permission to land on St Kilda, might be worth checking out, although I'm pretty certain my Dad and his cronies turned up unannounced.

I can't remember exactly what my Dad said about the pub, but I don't think money is used, I think you may have to bring a bottle to exchange for some... Will need to remember and ask the next time I see him.
No permission required I believe, you just shout the warden when you arrive, also the pub is off limits these days.
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Old 29 October 2011, 07:56   #10
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Wasn't there a lad that kayak'd out there a couple of years ago?

Thats one trip I've had on the to do list for a while but had resigned myself to getting a bigger rib (something akin to 6.5m) first, but 5.5m ribs have crossed the Atlantic before so who knows. Just down to getting the right weather I suppose. If possible I'd team up with at least one more RIB, but watch if you plan a stay over as the 'campsite' is very small.
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