Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

20 th to 24 th of July 2011 - Yell again

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Burravoe.
Distance : 13 miles

The wind was still a cold northerly one. As the tall ships were in Lerwick, we decided to avoid the capital for a few days. We sailed south to Burravoe on the south east corner of Yell. Again we used genoa only and made good time. It is very easy sailing with one sail and Speedwell manages well if there is enough wind. As we past around the skerries at the bottom, we searched the shore for the leading line which we found: Just 3 buildings which were easily recognised. We noticed that the locals have now put beacons on the important rocks, although leading lines are still reassuring. There were a couple of navigation buoys, to take us over the shallow bar, before we found the pier. With the wind blowing us off and my lassoing leaving a lot to be desired, we needed two attempts to get the lines ashore on the pier. We then had to winch the boat in as the wind was getting quite strong. However, we were eventually attached. (A few days later, even the professionals in the fishing boat behind us had to have two goes because of the strong winds). Fortunately we arrived at high water. I suspect we'd have messed it up even more if the pier had been 1.5 metres above our heads. The pier was only built in the late 1990s, before which the boats had to berth on mooring buoys. They welcome people using the pier and ask for payment, providing envelopes for the honesty box. This year they had also built a new shower and toilet block, with a roof made from a life boat from The Canberra, of which the locals are very proud. And so they should be, they were the cleanest and warmest showers we have experienced so far.


Thursday The weather wasn't too bad and we thought we might move to an anchorage nearer to Lerwick the following day, from where we could get a bus to see the tall ships. We explored the area around the harbour of Burravoe. The Old Haa is a 17 th century building which now houses a museum and cafe with fantastic home made cakes. The museum was full of interesting local history and stories. We also found that our harbour was only 10 minutes from cliffs with more bird colonies and got attacked by huge numbers of arctic terns protecting their nests.

The weather forecast was predicting gales of Force 8 for Friday night and Saturday and rough seas for a few days. This was disappointing as we had hoped to get to see the start of the next leg of the tall ship race from Lerwick to Stavanger on the Sunday afternoon. Instead, we decided to try to visit Lerwick by bus and ferry on the Saturday. Unfortunately Burravoe is 6 miles from the ferry and the daily bus seemed to have turned into a dialaride taxi, which needed to be booked in advance and there was no taxi service. After our initial disappointment we remembered that the cafe was open on Saturdays. So we cheered ourselves up with more cake. We were also blessed with a sighting of an otter in the harbour on the walk back to the boat. There was a local shop run by local volunteers and with rather strange opening hours. However, we were able to get some provisions. In addition, a very kind man drove down to ask if we wanted any provisions. Although we were fairly well stocked we accepted some fresh eggs for our supper, for which he refused any payment.

Because of the tide, we moored with long warps which meant we hung out a few feet from the pier. Andy devised a way of being able to pull the boat toward the pier using a combination of blocks and ropes. This meant it was quite easy to get ashore, which turned out to be very welcome and let me get off regularly for a necessary run around. The forecast gales were here for most of Saturday and Sunday, so we were stuck here for a while. The rain had also set in by Sunday with no let up. We were without access to internet and both mobile phones had only intermittent reception. Needless to say we got a lot of reading done and drank lots of tea. The romanticism of an isolated existence, for both of us, has been severely challenged, and we are looking forward to getting back to Lerwick.

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