Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

30 th of May to 4 th of June 2011 - Setting off again

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Ardfern and Loch Craignish.
Distance : 2 miles

Speedwell has been left tucked up in Ardfern for the winter. We came up for a week to get her back in the water at the end of May. The yard at Ardfern were incredibly efficient at putting her in the water with her masts on the day we had specified, despite none of the work we had requested having been completed. Fortunately we had booked into Primrose Cottage B&B just down the road from the Marina for the early part of the week. There was a lot to be done in preparation. Once the masts were secured, Andy and I got the booms and sails on so she started to look more like her old self. Andy got on with the electrics, whilst I went to watch the birds and boats and walked over to Croabh Haven.

Corryvreckan from Craignish Point

The yard put in a new hatch in the forward heads and mended a couple of stanchions that got bent over the winter. The yard also, eventually, welded a piece of stainless steel onto the bow to allow much easier anchor stowage. Last year we had needed all sorts of blocks and ropes to keep it secure. Needless to say there wasn't much room for me on the boat. Anyway, at the end of the week, we left Speedwell tied to a pontoon so that the yard could finish their bits and pieces before taking her to a mooring buoy.

During our time back in Cambridge there were some really bad storms and lots of rain in Ardfern, something we had forgotten all about in the East of England. We had some concerns as the power was out in the marina, but when Andy eventually contacted them all seemed well. It was another day before Andy got the phone call to say Speedwell had suffered some damage. His heart sank. As she was still on the pontoon she had been blown sideways under it so that her stanchions had got badly damaged and their sockets exploded. Her lovely shabby blue stripe had been badly scuffed and become even more shabby. And to top it all, and apparently quite dramatic at the time, her wind generator had exploded. The blades had completely disappeared, the magnet had broken into little pieces and the wires had spilled out. Fortunately no serious damage had occurred to delay our departure. So we were still looking forward to our trip.

On 1 st June we drove North, making good time. We experienced our first heavy rain of the spring as we passed Loch Fyne. Luckily this stopped when we got to Ardfern. The boat was on a mooring buoy about as far from the pontoons as possible without leaving the marina. We used one of the courtesy tenders to take food and clothes without getting wet and, as I prepared a supper of sausage and mash, Andy pumped up our tender and returned the yard's. (I think he thought I was getting spoilt with such luxury).

The last couple of days have been taken up with provisioning the boat (and of course having scallops in Oban) and waiting for the yard to fix the stanchions. Andy also climbed the mast to salvage the wind generator. I left Andy to fettle yesterday whist I took the car to Inverness. I had a fabulous drive up through the Great Glen in beautiful sunshine and back again on the bus. Finally we were nearly ready to go. The stanchions were fixed and Andy had tidied the decks and done other essential jobs.

Today, we had a leisurely start. During the morning we had several unsuccessful attempts to bleed the engine following a change of fuel filters. (The last job to complete). However, the charts were sorted, things were stowed and the engine eventually started (Hurrah). We headed around the corner, under motor, and anchored opposite a fish farm. We had been told by our B&B host that there is an ospreys nest so we are hoping to see them. So far only buzzards, gannets, gulls and oyster catchers.

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