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0023 - Rothesay to Loch Ryan

After the last days high-stakes fun, trying to get up early was a bit more difficult than usual, I seemed to ache in places I didn't know you could actually ache in - but after snoozing the alarm, probably way too many times - I did eventually get up, and performed my daily routine of exercise that if I don't do it daily, I seem to stiffen up...age is beginning to creep in...and my little routine is becoming more important as time rolls on...

In reference to age, there's something that happened to me once I bought this boat. I can't remember if I mentioned this before on the blog or not, but - If I have, please forgive me.

When I was working as I was before I started this living this way, I had noticed a disturbing amount of grey hair that had decided to creep in - for a while I was convinced it was just the light, you know....the denial that occurs as you get older...but looking at my hairbrush one day - there was no denying it - I had grey hairs - and not just a few.

I wasn't super concerned about it, but...well...yea - I can't say I was happy about it....but after giving up the business, job, and the house - and then actually getting and living on the boat full-time, and then after about 3 months, I happened to notice that 99% of the greys were just gone.

I actually found one hair that was half grey and half brown - the grey being on the end of the hair...I suddenly realized that I was in a sort of Benjamin Button type of situation! Not exactly sure what occurred, but perhaps getting rid of all the stress helped. I'm sure they will be back soon enough - probably too soon!

That's right folks - get a boat - and get reclaim your youth!!


This particular morning I was slower to start than usual - a couple of coffees later - and I was back to 90% efficiency. lines were let loose, and we were off again - this time we were going to get to Loch Ryan, our final Scottish stop...

I'm sure at some point I will get used to how nice everything looks in the early morning light, but currently, I don't seem to tire of it - I kinda hope I don't get used to it and take it all for granted.

Just now, I still appreciate it every day, I hope the novelty never wears off - And it doesn't seem to matter how tired I am - I just love it!

Sometimes I see something in the water that just doesn't look right, and at first I thought there was a loose buoy, like a starboard cone or something - the shape just didn't seem right for a pot, or something similar...

I had to go and investigate...I swung the tiller over to take a closer look - and found this fella, just chilling out in the morning sun...I love little moments like this...I really didn't think it was going to be a seal...and a moment later as I tried to get a better picture - he just vanished!

There wasn't much wind on this morning at all, maybe 4-5 knots on and off, we put the sails up to catch what we could but mainly just motored along until we got out and into the Firth of Clyde, and we did get a bit more - but barely - it wouldn't be until we got behind the Island of Arran that we would finally get the winds that were promised by all the reports...

Phoebe decided she was going to have a walkabout on deck - you see, we left Rothesay before she could have her usual morning prowl and my girl is starting to make a habit of this - coming on deck when we're out - she doesn't usually come topside when the engine is running - but yet, here she is...perhaps she is getting used to it!

I used this time to get some things fixed and repaired, I had a few popped sail slugs during the bad weather we had, and the night before I had done my best to epoxy the handrail back together.

It wasn't perfect, but after I had sanded off the excess - I had accidentally made a clean spot - so now I had to do the whole thing...and then the other handrail as well - one job tends to lead to another.

It's not perfect, but at least it doesn't look as awful as it did, and after a couple of coats of oil - meh, it's fine - It'll do until I can replace the entire rail - at some point - whenever...Is it a functioning handrail? Will I be grabbing on to that in a hurry? I don't think so - it just looks better...

Once we got out into the Firth of Clyde and behind the Island of Arran - the winds picked up, 18 knots of beautiful wind - and we finally got moving a bit faster - which was nice!

This boat seems to have a sweet spot of about 20-22 knots of wind in order to get her up to hull speed - The funny thing is - not all that long ago - I was almost scared of 20 knots of wind, now I look for 20 knots of wind! It's interesting how when you're in the marina, 20 knots can feel like a lot of wind, but when you are trying to cover larger distances we really need the higher winds to get her going properly! but we now know that 37 knots is just a tad too much! The scenery was enjoyable also, everything is just so green!! I know I keep saying that in various posts, but I just don't have another way of describing it... But, up North, everything was a lot brown-er and much oscillation in the terrain...

Now, when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and living in Kintyre - I remember this tiny island way off in the distance, I remember asking someone, a chap called Archie, what it was called. I remember being quite perplexed at the fact that this Island was called Ailsa Craig - not sure why, but even as a kid I didn't think I'd ever be this close to it! Since that point in time, I have lived in a few different countries and never thought I'd be back, let alone sail past it on my yacht, on my way to Ireland....go figure...

It's funny how little memories stick and stand out from the background of your past in strange ways that don't make sense at the time, but then seem to fall into place as life plays out in the way it does for all of's things like this that somehow used to make me think that we are on a set path - and that maybe - you don't have as much control as you think you do - and there are little clues throughout life that tell you who you're meant to be, or who you're going to be...some things you are just destined to be or something like that.

Later on, we had plenty of wind and were just flying along at 6.5 knots, no problem. One of my favorite things to do, in these conditions, is just to sit up at the bow and just enjoy the rise and fall as the boat just cuts through the water in that way that yachts are just designed to do.

It's a special feeling - just everything working as it's supposed to, and you really feel the water as the multiplicity of waves are just sliced through and pushed out of the way as the wind forces your boat forward... I really like it.

We were headed to a place in Loch Ryan called The Wig, right down at the bottom of the loch, the loch itself is about 7 miles long. It's a pretty popular and sheltered anchorage, and quite a few people had suggested I go there. There's also a marina nearby where you can go ashore and get to a shop if you need to, they also have facilities, like showers and whatnot...

As we were sailing, I couldn't help but notice the shabby look of our genoa, and after the last bout of weather, it's just not looking that great...but still performs well - The Captain might be looking a bit rough also...both may soon need servicing. We carry a spare Jib and a spare Mainsail - so gonna just use this till it falls apart!

But, it was getting late, and the light was beginning to fade by the time we started to approach the opening to Loch Ryan, perhaps a change of plan was needed...

I made the decision not to go all the way down to the bottom, as those that follow this blog will know that I have a tremendous, almost paranoid fear of pots - not having been here before, I wasn't sure what was waiting for me in the darkness as I knew it would be fully dark by the time we would get to 'The Wig'.

I decided to just anchor out in Lady Bay, and located near the mouth of the loch, it seemed to make a bit more sense anyway, I mean if you go all the way to the bottom of the loch, it's 7 miles in and 7 miles to get out...and the wind seemed about right, as it kept our bow pointed toward the oncoming wakes from the ferries that pass up and down the loch.

Plus, I thought this would be a good place to wait for the right conditions for crossing over to Ireland, and the holding was good - no kelp here! - And in the end, we would live on the hook in Lady Bay for 3 days...and have it all to ourselves!

With no company, other than the odd fishing boat or passing ferry! It would be rainy and foggy for those 3 days, but no bad weather!

For the next few days, the only ladies in this bay would be Chloe and Phoebe.


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