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Old 25 August 2016, 10:47   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: East Anglia
Boat name: Nimrod II
Make: Aerotec 380
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An Aerotec in Scotland 2016

Well we're just about back to normal after a great two weeks in Knapdale with the Aerotec. This will be a family holiday based report rather than a Gurnard style thrilling adventure but hope it's still of interest to some.

I'll do this in sections as the images become available in suitable file sizes.

The first is actually the last on the camera... the minimum kit we feel is required for a sibbing holiday... everything on the garage floor and a very careful pack needed to stow it in the car.

On the way to the cottage we had some time to kill and called in at the local town... where it seemed the locals were trying to kill each other.... we watched until the girl was felled and about to have her hair cut off... then left before further horrors were revealed.

Unsurprisingly we arrived at the cottage as it started to rain... with a force 8 due that night so used the following 24hrs unpacking the car, shopping and settling in.... only inflating the boat lunchtime the following day.

There's an image of our launch location with handy slip and pontoon yards from where we stayed. Unless you trailer launch or stay over 2hrs there are no charges but we did donate each week as it's a great facility. There was a really handy tree next to the slip so we could set the boat up and inflate to pressure then leave it in shade away from the burning Scottish sun until ready to launch so keeping tubes and fuel cool.

The remaining image is of our overnight storage in the cottage rear garden away from public gaze. We still put on an outboard lock and security cable... to the insurance approved washing line post.
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Old 25 August 2016, 12:15   #2
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Country: UK - England
Town: East Anglia
Boat name: Nimrod II
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Posts: 3,148
After the force 8 had subsided to manageable proportions we ventured out for our first few trips. Mainly around the top and margins of the Loch reacquainting ourselves with the area.

After last years nervousness/avoidance we carefully ventured into the shallows of the Fairy Isles for the first time to find it a charming quiet area... much helped by our 4-stroke Suzuki trickling along at 1.86kts on a near silent idle.

During these initial quiet trips around the loch edges we were pleased to see "Gurnard's" osprey nest... with the two parents and one young osprey flying above... sadly not when the camera was out. Also lots of inquisitive seals.
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Old 25 August 2016, 13:59   #3
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Country: UK - England
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The next few trips included me having a longer chance than usual to use the Aerotec one-up. I cut down my old tiller extension a bit at a time until it was long enough to help with solo running but short enough not to be unwieldy with more folks in the boat. An extension of 14" was just right. Note in the image the Suzuki tiller grip is too fat to fit in the extn attachment so a jubilee grip bodge was needed.

It was still a little bumpy after the previous force 8 and my solo experience seemed pretty flighty compared with my usual crew as ballast. Initially I sat on the seat which gave a nice level trim visually but caused a degree of bow steer which felt very twitchy at times. So I swapped to on the starboard tube as far forward as the seat would allow me to sit. To somewhat offset my weight I put the grab bag with my safety gear in the bow and the very heavy anchor/ropes bag offset to port beside the fuel tank under the seat. This removed the tendency for bow steer and was as good as I could get it one-up... still very lively in the gusts though!

At the end of each trip it was a real luxury to tie up on the pontoon and be able to see the boat from the cottage. Despite this for insurance purposes I always fitted my newly purchased Masterlock outboard lock... couldn't leave it on full time though as it rattled as if the engine was shot.
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Old 25 August 2016, 14:58   #4
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Looks like a cracking place to visit.

Thanks for posting
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Old 25 August 2016, 17:48   #5
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Country: UK - England
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>>>cracking place to visit.


Yes it is... however then it rained hard for three solid days!

Thankfully we had loads of rainy day stuff to do so left the boat in the garden to be well rinsed off.

We were also able to observe the frequent visits of the Redbay Stormforce craft that seemed to be attracted to the pontoon. There was the regular Jura Ferry, the Venture West trip boat and a very muted grey version from the Ardfin estate on Jura. I did wonder if I caught a glimpse of the somewhat controversial estate owner who is said to be one of the richest guys to retire from the city at only 41 with a near half billion pound fortune!

The Venture West guy was kind enough to show me over his Stormforce 12... most impressive and enough to make us promise to take a trip the following week. The sight of twin 315HP diesels did lead to a brief inadequate feeling though.

Another wet day activity was a walk to the chapel and old stone slipway at Keills looking towards Jura. Mrs Fenlander of course wanted to know if we could go to Jura in our SIB the next day. Step at a time I said.

There was also a lovely looking open Redbay RIB around 6.5m with bright green tubes... that's the one we should have the Mrs says!

An example of the weather was a forecast by "Norman" who posts his synopsis every morning in the village café... we were very pleased to see his guarantee of a heatwave the following week.

Towards the end of this period we were visited by a traveller from afar. Parlay was undertaken and gifts exchanged... it seemed to go well so we shared a meal... nice to meet The Gurnard at last.... on his way to adventures further north. Sadly various circumstances prevented a FRib & SIB outing so we made do with land based chat looking wistfully out across the bay.
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Old 25 August 2016, 18:40   #6
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As the weather settled we immediately had a very calm morning so set out for a brilliant run to see the chapel and bothy on Eilean Mor (MacCormaig islands) just out into the sound of Jura from Loch Sween. We visited close to slack water but the tidal races around the islands Gurnard had warned of were just starting to show as we left.

For me this is what sibbing is all about... visiting this unique location in a craft that travelled 450mls packed in the car.
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Old 25 August 2016, 18:47   #7
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On the way back we swung across to the sandy Kilmory Bay for a while... a while too long as the prevailing wind onto the beach rose a little meaning I had to commit to powering away and for the first time ever I polished the prop edges as we found sandy shallows briefly reappeared a little way out.

That wasn't the only time we were a bit short of water as we lingered one evening in the Fairy Isles and lost just enough water as the tide dropped to cause the Aerotec V hull at its deepest point about 1m back from the bow to dig in the soft mud.... crew to the stern and I walked the boat out of the shallows jumped in and paddled out of trouble. .. glad of my wetsuit trousers and boots!
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Old 26 August 2016, 01:16   #8
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looks like a great holliday thanks for sharing.( miles better than the 4 days in a tent with 87 mph winds and horizontal rain a rib on a trailer with a busted hub and seas like the surf at bondi beach that our holliday at clachtol turned out to be)
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Old 26 August 2016, 04:26   #9
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Thanks BB. Mrs F commented had all the bad days of our two weeks come in just one week away you'd have never bothered to launch the boat. It's not always possible but we've taken two weeks in Scotland for most recent years and it does give more weather chances.

We were lucky our second week was much better with some lovely sunny days. Mrs F and daughter decided they fancied a trip on Venture West out through Corryvrecken so boarded at Crinan pontoon one morning and had a great 2.5hrs out.... £70 for the two of them though. The sea state was quiet but they still were able to get an impression of the tidal effects. From her picture I now have wake envy too.

Despite much sunnier days initially winds remained 20mph+ and we had a couple of very exciting days with a perfect maximum comfortable sea state for a SIB... hard work being bounced about down the loch into the wind and waves but made up for by an absolute blast on the way back.

Powering home one day we briefly stopped and drifted around a small reef in the middle of the loch which only just shows above water... to watch the very relaxed seals from close quarters. As we motored away we met a party on a RIB slowly approaching and exchanged polite waves. Sometime later back on the pontoon with the same RIB tying up nearby I realised it was Jambo! So we were both able to put boats and faces to names. Nice to have a chat and I'm grateful to Jambo for giving me lots of area/cottage information early last year which resulted in us staying the last two years.
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Old 26 August 2016, 04:41   #10
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As last year a converted fishing boat for cruising visited the bay. From its name I found the website to see they would be pleased to offer 10 days charter for 12 folks at around £44,000. Frankly I thought that money would have more than bought it. Another worrying aspect of their promotion guff was to "spend time with like minded people". I can't think of anything worse than spending 10 days being like minded with others.

SIB wise there wasn't that much action in the area. They were either sub 3m yacht tenders with oars or a 2hp motor... or a jump straight up to a RIB. We were the only SIB operating out of the village and being used for decent trips all week. Well apart from a nice looking Zodiac Classic that turned up for an hour one evening. It was the first chance I've had to get up close to a current model. Looked nice in a classic (?!) Zodiac way but at around £3500 new it even makes an Aerotec look affordable.
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