Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

6 th to 7 th of July 2011 - back to the crowds

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Lerwick.
Distance : 14 miles

We set off for Lerwick to pick up our new battery charger for the outboard. No more rowing! We had a lovely sail south and through the north channel into Lerwick Harbour. Having seen no more that 1 or 2 yachts a day since arriving in Shetland (other than our road trip to Lerwick), we found our selves having to raft up 4 deep on a Polish yacht behind two Navy vessels. The wind gradually filled and the boats were getting blown onto the pontoons. This resulted in rather squashed fenders for the poor boat on the inside, which was a bit small for the heavy boats that had rafted on her. Her owner asked for us to move, so we headed round into the small boat harbour and rafted on a couple of Norwegian boats and the Polish guys moved to another part of the pontoon. We bumped into a couple of guys from Sunderland who said they had counted only 3 British yachts, the rest were predominantly from Norway, picking up ballast in the form of beer and whisky.

The following day we were able to catch up on washing and shopping. After a second shower at the boat club we went into the bar for a pint. Whilst there, a traditional south Shetland rowing boat, called a yoal, was being lowered into the water by a crane and we got chatting to the man who was about to take her out with his family. I clearly appeared very keen to have a go, asking the right questions as, after joining his mottley crew briefly, he returned to the bar again and asked if we would like to have a go. Andy declined, so I borrowed his jacket and went rowing with Rod, his wife Brenda, son Ellis and nephew Sean and his girlfriend Elisa, both from Norway. With me they made even more of a mottley crew. However, having left Andy with my beer, we had a great row along the harbour looking for seals. This explained the strong smell of fish behind me as they had brought a carrier bag of same to coax the seals. Sadly the seals weren't that interested and didn't come very close. However, the fish didn't go to waste as the gulls soon swooped down and hoovered it up. When I got back to the bar after 2 hours Andy had of course drunk my pint.

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