14/5/08 The shakedown sail at Pwllheli went well, with only a broken cleat to change and a fuel end to replace.
There was a record 8 boats on the Friday afternoon of the Bala w'end, with another 3 arriving Saturday morning! Light winds, but very enjoyable.
We aim to launch the boats at Largs Tuesday 20th May, bring the cars & trailers home, & set off Wed 21st.
20/5/08 Arrived Largs & launched Jemima & Rainbow very easily. Only just managed to stow all the gear...! Located a Nardini's ice cream! Bringing the cars & trailers home early Wed, then returning later in the day. Then ready for the off at last.
21/5/08 We are spending the night at Largs marina again -- the plan is to set off early at 7am -- although the wind is f'cast to be a fresh F4/5, it will be behind us, so it looks like an exhilarating start! Heading for the eastern end of the Crinan canal nr Lochgilphead. More tomorrow night ...
22/5/08 Away at last! F'cast this am was a bit iffy, as F6 possible, but we decided to go as the wind was behind us. Had a wonderful sail, setting off at 07:30, covering the 35 miles to the Crinan canal by 16:00. The lock keepers have even sponsored Togo!
Tomorrow we transit the canal.
23/5/08 Successfully negotiated the canal, thanks to the sterling efforts of Ray Morris, who rode ahead to the next locks on his bike, to ready each one. F'cast looks reasonable for tomorrow, so we are heading to Oban. The scenery from here in Crinan is breathtaking as we look out over the islands of Jura & Scarba.
However, we'll miss out the Corryvreckan narrows (Google it to see the whirlpool!)
24/5/08 Sorry no update last night as no phone signal at Crinan... Despite a poor f'cast, we set off with the strong flood tide at 13:00 up to Oban, and had a good sail until the wind died, then motored for a while. Stunning scenery all round, & a beautiful evening in Oban marina. Did 26 miles today. Hopefully on to Tobermory on Mull tomorrow.
25/5/08 Sunday -- up at 4am to set off at 04:45 to catch the tide up the Sound of Mull. A few exciting moments for 200 yds in a strong tidal overfall stirred up by a freshening NE wind at the start of the Sound, but no problems. Arrived Tobermory in glorious sunshine at 10am, covering the 27 miles quite swiftly. So, a quick nap & then the whole day in this lovely small town.
No phone signal here, but hoping to send this from the top of the hill. (Puff puff!) The f'cast for B/Hol Monday is not suitable as it's NE 4 or 5, and we're heading NE to Mallaig -- a hiding to nothing.
However, the couple on the next boat are hiring a car to visit Iona & Fingal's cave on Staffa, and have kindly invited us along. Since we're not doing a Louis Hamilton, another day here is fine.
Now done 97 miles. Next update hopefully Tuesday evening from Mallaig.
27/5/08 Tuesday -- Up at ... 2:30am & off at 3:00am to catch the fair tide north. We had a fine sail to Ardnamurchan Point, watching the beautiful sunrise. Then 20 mile bashing to the NE against a NE wind F3 / 4. A bit of a pain, but it has to be done so you just get on with it & cheer yourself up by clocking the miles off each hour.
Arrived in Mallaig & the Harbour Master has given us a free berth towards the Togo sponsorship. We were met by Ray who had already arrived in his Romahome & sussed the place out.
My outboard is making a strange whining noise sometimes. Not good, so I am getting it checked out locally. A potential problem... next update will be Thurs 29th
28/5/08 Wednesday: Although we didn't travel today, we thought we would give you some idea of the daily routine on the circumnavigation: it all actually starts on the night before when we calculate the tides -- times & direction; nothing is more frustrating than punching into an adverse tide when you could double your speed (at times) if it is behind you. As you will have seen, this means sometimes setting off very early! I like to read a bit of the Bible on a morning, but this has to wait until later when we have a very early start.
Then at 05:20, we listen to the Shipping Forecast on R4 to see if the weather is safe to set off: anything above Force 4 is not really suitable, unless, it's behind you, when the pressure on the boat is much reduced.
We normally make up sandwiches for lunch after breakfast, as it's difficult to prepare a meal when you are single-handed and underway, especially if the wind is lively. The three of ususually eat together at night, pooling different ingredients (camping type food), which we heat up in our mess tins; this saves a lot of washing up! We actually eat like kings, but once or week or so, we treat ourselves to a meal out. Sailing can be tiring, so we often retire to bed quite early to recharge the batteries!
If you have any questions about the trip, please e-mail them to me at: WebMgr® I'll pick it up eventually & post a reply here.
Dave sends his love to Phil, Bec, Lily & Fraser.
BTW, the outboard engine has been fixed, so we set off tomorrow at 8am for the shortish 24 mile sail to Kyle Akin through a very fast tide in the Kyle Rhea narrow channel between the mainland & Skye.
29/5/08 Thursday: The wind has come round to blow from the SW, so we had a fabulous sail all the way to Kyle Akin, just by the Skye road bridge. Saw 2 dolphins as well as a group of seals swimming effortlessly against the powerful tide through the narrow Kyle Rhea passage -- fortunately, the tide was with us, so we romped along at over 9mph. If that doesn't sound too fast, the typical speed is around 5mph in a good wind.
The plan is to stay tonight then head for Gairloch, before crossing to Stornaway on the Outer Hebrides. This will be quite a long passage on open sea, so we need a good, settled f'cast.
Dave's beard has got to the prickly stage, and by next week should be in full bloom!
Have just emptied 2 buckets of water from the bilges under the floor, which shouldn't be there (!), so will have to keep an eye out for the source -- possibly from when we were driving into the seas coming to Mallaig.
30/5/08 Friday -- Arrived in Gairloch, 37 miles north after a mixture of flat calm & gentle northerly headwinds, so motored most of the way. On reaching Loch Torridon, the wind backed with some west in it, so we were able to lay a course for Loch Gairloch under sail. Boiling hot sunshine here!
In the calm we indulged in what's known to Shipmates as "furtling" [Generally pottering about/mending things on the boats!]
F'cast for Sat is light northerly winds, so we are going to explore this beautiful Loch, & spend the night in a lovely anchorage at Badachro.
The weather looks reasonable on Sunday for a crossing over to Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides, but we will get a f'cast nearer the time before we make a decision.
So no update tomorrow.
1/6/08 Sunday -- a change of plan: Rainbow is still taking seawater in the bilges, so a long crossing over open water to Stornaway doesn't sound a bright idea. We are heading to the Summer Isles (Tanera Mor) after lunch today, thence to Lochinver, hopefully on Monday.
I'm sending the update now from Gairloch as there is unlikely to be any phone signal from Tanera Mor!
UPDATE 18:00 Arrived Tanera Mor & the owner kindly offered us a mooring buoy for the night. There is a phone signal as well as a WiFi connection -- not bad for a remote small island!
2/6/08 Monday -- made the short hop round to Lochinver. Now completed 245 miles or 30% of the estimated 800 miles. The winds should be coming round to the SW, so ideal for the next stop at Kinlochbervie, and the passage round Cape Wrath, possibly Wednesday depending on the f'cast.
The folk in western Scotland have been uniformly friendly & helpful, and we have left the boats unlocked without any care.
The water leak is not getting any worse, but I have at last got round to fitting the electric bilge pump I've had for a while!
To answer a query, Dave Etchells is sailing in Jemima, I'm sailing Rainbow, and Ray Morris, another Shipmate owner, is accompanying us shoreside in his Romahome camper van, and has provided great support.
Tony Patrick
3/6/08 Tuesday -- Left Lochinver around 1pm to take the tide north; just as well as the expected front passed over in the morning, with gusts of F6! We arrived at Kinlochbervie a short while ago, to be greeted by Ray with a welcome cuppa! We had some great sailing today, borne along by a good SW'ly.
Kinlochbervie is in a beautiful small inlet off Loch Inchard, and is truly picturesque. It's is hard to describe the stunning scenery of the Scottish west coast: majestic mountains, magnificent sea lochs, teaming with all sorts of wildlife; I saw a dolphin again after setting off.
The weather has been amazing too: we have mostly had glorious sunshine, & as I write, the sky is clear blue. I think it has only rained a couple of times, & then nothing too great, apart from overnight once.
We have now completed over 1/3rd of the journey & tomorrow we expect to round Cape Wrath...
4/6/08 Wednesday -- Rainbow & Jemima rounded Cape Wrath at 17:25, having left Kinlochbervie just after 14:00 to time the turn of the tide off the headland. We arrived at Talmine in the Kyle of Tongue at 21:30, having travelled 40 miles in record time, thanks to the strong Spring tide behind us.
The scenery was quite awesome, & it was strange to turn the top left corner of the UK; it now feels like we are heading home!
Apparently, the name derives from an old Norse word meaning 'turning', although it does sound quite scary (& I can imagine on a day with a strong wind against the tide it would be very turbulent), but it was ok today.
The f'cast looks reasonable for another longish run to Scrabster tomorrow, just below the Orkney islands.
Our journey continues to generate interest, & we have collected some more sponsorship from interested sailors we met.
5/6/08 Thursday -- the inshore f'cast this AM was totally wrong (SE force 3 or 4); it started in the SW for a time, briefly touched SSE, then veered to the NW before going to the NNE for a while, settling back into a steady NWly. However, it made for a wonderful day's sailing as we coasted the 35 miles to Scrabster, with a strong tide underneath us. We have now completed 351 miles: a litle under halfway.
The Harbour Master has kindly offered us a free night towards the Togo sponsorship.
Tomorrow we plan to cross over to Stromness on the Orkneys & spend 2 days there before heading for Wick.
Anyway, we only had 5 hrs sleep last night, so we are about to do the laundry then have a nap; as for ourselves, we have a shower once a week whether we need it or not.. (Just kidding!)
6/6/08 Friday -- Very misty this morning so decided to have another day in Scrabster, as the tides in the Pentland Firth are huge: up to 15 knts, & we thought one major issue was enough.
Hope to cross tomorrow.
Have updated the photos in the Archive showing Cape Wrath & a cute puffin.
More tomorrow!
7/6/08 Saturday -- We have arrived in Stromness on the main Orkney island, & Ray has stayed in Scrabster with his Romahome camper, for their harbour Day festivities. Ray sends his love to Madge, Jane, Rosemary & Greg.
We had an awesome sail here, & great fun negotiating the Pentland Firth: at one stage we were steering due north to achieve our track of 60 deg to reach Scapa Flow, regularly touching 11 mph! We made sure we stayed uptide as we didn't want to end up in Norway!
Once inside the shelter of Scapa, we had a great sail nothwards propelled by a southerly wind & virtually no tide.
The plan is to stay a couple of days in the Orkneys, using a sheltered anchorage near the southern end tomorrow evening, ready for the crossing back to Wick in the Cromarty Firth. Probably no update tomorrow then.
8/6/08 Sunday -- A day not without its drama! As there was a good weather window today before strong winds tomorrow, we left Stromness at 07:30 to catch the favourable tide in the Pentland Firth. We had a fine sail down Scapa Flow in a lively F4 westerly.
We dropped our main sails & opted to motor sail under jib to achieve a track to take us round Duncansby Head. The tides were again awesome, & we touched 13.4 mph several times. Then it happened -- my outboard packed up again, making the earlier whining noise, so I switched it off & Dave picked up my bow line. We resumed our track under tow for half an hour. Quite an excitement as it would not have been possible to sail on the correct heading.
As my German friend Hans says, "What doesn't kill you, does you good..."
Once round Duncansby Head, the tide soon picked up again in our favour & we had a good beam reach to Wick. We may be here a few days waiting for the weather fronts to pass over & also having the outboard checked again.
We have now completed 426 miles -- over half way now, and we switch sea charts again, which will be our last but one.
9/6/08 Mon/Tuesday -- The wind is howling in the rigging & it has rained in the night, but we are quite snug aboard our Shipmates: if it's wet when we aren't sailing, we erect our boom tents which enclose the cockpit & afford complete protection from the rain; they also effectively more than triple our living accomodation - luxury!
[See photo's in Scotland Gallery]
There are a two other yachts taking shelter here: larger boats from Norway & Germany, with friendly crews.
The stormy winds are f'cast to last until tomorrow, when we aim to set off SW for Helmsdale; the wind should be more from the north by then, so even if a little strong, will be ok as it's behind us & reduces the force.
We went for a swim yesterday & visited the Wick hetitage museum: a fascinating record of past times in what was a huge herring port. This morning the Harbour Master has offered to show us round a restored Shetland Fifie double-masted fishing boat, which has a combined petrol/diesel engine. (Technically hard to achieve!)
I've been asked about the water leak: I haven't said much because I suppose I've got a bit blasé about it, as I only sponge out about a litre a day... not enough for the electric bilge pump, which is really for a dire emergency.
No one can fathom the outboard whine, which is now working ok again.
Hopefully, the next update from Helmsdale.
11/6/08 Wednesday -- After a few days port bound by strong winds, I can feel out of rhythm with the sea & a little aprehensive before setting off. However, we quickly settled into a sailing routine & keeping hourly logs.
When we left Wick, the sea had quite a swell of 2 metre long undulating waves, & Rainbow was surfing down them at over 8 mph. As we turned more SW, the land provided some shadow from the NWly F4/5, and the sea became a little flatter. There were a couple of squalls when things got quite lively, but it always felt under control. Because of the fresh winds, we covered the 34 miles in only 6 hrs.
Ray greeted us at Helmsdale, a delightful little harbour & town, with a welcome cuppa. Then it was off to 'La Mirage' for fish & chips dinner -- superb quality & well worth a visit, should the price of petrol fall!
12/6/08 Thursday -- 3 weeks since we set off. We had a rollercoaster of a sail dead downwind across the Moray Firth to Lossiemouth in a fresh F4/5; it was what's known as 'Character Building'! It was a bit of a toss up as to whether we should continue down the coast towards Inverness, or take the short cut across. On balance, with the wind likely to increase again tomorrow, we opted for Lossiemouth.
It means that we will not be able to meet up with John Keast, our UK most northerly Shipmate Owners' member in Fortrose. John has provided helpful advance weather data, which enabled us to pad out the normal Radio 4 Shipping Forecasts.
Depending on the morning f'cast, we may stay here another day, or, if ok, press on towards Fraserburgh, due east and towards our last major headland, Rattray Head, when we turn finally south towards home.
13/11/06 Friday -- the Inshore F'cast was not too good, with winds of F5/6 occasionally 7 predicted. We decide to stay another day & get some rest.
14/6/08 Saturday -- how to beat the fuel tanker drivers' strike: go sailing! We covered the 29 miles to Banff in just 5 1/2 hrs, mostly with only 2/3rds of the jib (foresail), using the engine for only 10 mins to leave Lossiemouth harbour & enter Banff. There was a stiff breeze from the NW, as well as a fair tide.
A few squalls went through, making the sea quite rough & confused, with loads of white caps on the waves, & the wind whistling through the rigging. It reminded me of some verses from Psalm 107:
23 Others went out on the sea in ships; ....
24 They saw the works of the LORD, His wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For He spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; ....
27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men; ....
28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men!
Dave saw a whale 50 metres from Jemima, going the opposite way.
It always amazes me how birds & other sea creatures just carry on with their business, seemingly unperturbed, no matter how stormy the weather!
The Banff Sailing Club has just invited us to their BBQ, so we're off to join them....
16/6/08 Monday -- we left with the tide going east & had a leisurely sail 16 miles to Rosehearty, a tiny harbour before Fraserburgh.
We trailed mackerel lines, & Dave caught two, which we are BBQ'ing for tea tonight!
The reason for the short hop is that the wind is f'cast to be from the SW tomorrow, which is no good for rounding Rattray Head, so we plan to move on to Fraserburgh tomorrow, & then Peterhead Wednesday, when the wind should be better. (Fraserburgh is a busy fishing port, so one night there will be enough.)
Leak update: still some water but getting less -- only 1 litre in 3 days.
17/6/08 Tuesday -- the wind will not be suitable for rounding Rattray Head until Thursday, so the plan is to stay here another day at Rosehearty, before moving on the short distance to Fraserburgh tomorrow; this will place us ideally for reaching the Head at the turn of the tide on Thursday, when the wind should be north west or west.
Been catching up on reading this morning, routine boat maintenance, & a walk this afternoon around a ruined castle.
(The mackerel was delicious!)
18/6/08 Wednesday -- Only 5 miles to sail to Fraserburgh, so a very leisurely start and time for bacon butties for breakfast, cooked onboard!
We had a perfect southerly wind and a clear blue sky.
We will need to be up early tomorrow for a 07:30 start to time the turn of the tide for rounding Rattray Head on the way to Peterhead.
Leak still minimal & outboard hardly used, but seems to be behaving.
19/6/08 Thursday -- the f'cast for later in the day was for quite a blow, but this morning was ok. We had an excellent sail down to Rattray Head, & round to Peterhead, where we are tucked up in the marina. The f'cast for Friday looks grim too, so we may have to stay here another night before the long leg down to Stonehaven.
An alternative is to nip down to a smaller harbour just 8 miles down the coast at Cruden Bay, which keeps us moving, & also places us a little nearer Stonehaven.
Rattray Head was quite a milestone as it can have quite dangerous seas. We are now finally sailing south & the only significant headland is St Abbs Head, which will mark our transit back into England.
20/6/08 Friday -- It is now 4 weeks since we set off.
As the f'cast was for very squally weather, we decided it was not suitable for sailing to Stonehaven, but have opted for a small drying harbour, Cruden Bay, just 8 miles down the coast, placing us better for the long run tomorrow.
My local radio station, BBC Newcastle has phoned to say that they would like to do a live interview Sunday am, but I've said it depends on the weather, for if it's lively, I won't be able to concentrate! (Men can only do one thing at once!) However, it would be good to boost the sponsorship for the Togo village school in Sidq.
21/6/08 Saturday -- a fine sail down to Stonehaven, covering another 35 miles. Ray was already here & had the kettle on!
It looks like we may be here until Tuesday as there is an Atlantic depression due to pass over the UK, with stormy winds.
Next update may be Tuesday, therefore.
Dave has had trouble with his outboard as the casting on his starter recoil mechanism broke last night. However, it's possible to start it another way. Although not really ideal, it can wait until we get home.

23/6/08 Monday -- Gales yesterday so we stayed another night at Stonehaven.
We were making good progress towards Arbroath this morning when the wind suddenly turned from NW to SE, much earlier than predicted, making Arbroath very difficult to reach. So we called in at Johnshaven (a small harbour entered through a narrow rocky channel) for an hour to reassess our options. Having checked the f'cast, & seen the wind change more to the east, we set off again & had a marvellous sail, covering the 19 extra miles to Arbroath in under 4 hrs.
A seal was following me & kept peeking up out of the water behind Rainbow. I also saw an Orca whale & a dolphin. Afterwards Ray said that, from the land, he had seen a group of dolphins following us.
Depending on the weather tomorrow we may make Anstruther, or Dunbar, which is quite a bit further.
The leak is increasing again to about a litre a day, but hoping to reach Amble before I sink!
24/6/06 Tuesday -- this morning's f'cast was grim (variable becoming SE 4 or 5 occasionally 6), but was badly wrong & we could have had a good sail to Anstruther on the Forth estuary; it may be Friday now before we can have a fair wind. However, the HM has generously given us free berths towards the Togo school sponsorship. A local sailor has also asked for a sponsorship form to fill in when the yacht club meet this week. Thank you Clive.
Arbroath is a pleasant town, & a Scots friend from Newcastle upon Tyne, John McIndoe, has highly recommended Arbroath Smokies. As he was right about the Nardini's icecream in Largs, we're off to get some Smokies for tea!
Next update when we move on....
27/6/08 Friday -- 41 miles & arrived in Dunbar, crossing the open mouths of the Tay & Forth estuaries; this means that Rainbow has now done a complete circumnavigation of the UK, as I called in to Dunbar when going round in 2003. Now only about 68 miles to go to Amble.
We had a lively sail down from Arbroath, especially when 2 squalls passed through. Just as we thought we'd had enough excitement, a large Customs cutter made a wide circle round us, then lowered their high-speed rib & caught us up. I think they were just a bit bored & decided to use us as a training excercise. (See photo in Archive) After they'd asked some perfunctory questions, they buzzed off!
All being well, we will head for Eyemouth at 8am tomorrow.
28/06/08 Saturday -- with a good tide a a stiff SWly F4, we sped the 21 miles to Eyemouth, sometimes surfing down waves at over 8mph.
Just as we were rounding St Abb's Head, I turned round to see where the 'orrible noise was coming from. It was the leading competitors of the Round Britain Power Boat race; boy do those guys shift! As they seem to spend more time in the air than on the water, they should be classed as aircraft.
Acksherly, we did overtake one. (Well, he had broken down with engine trouble!)
It looks likely that we can make Holy Island tomorrow, although the wind may be SW top of F4.
29/6/08 Sunday -- We're back in old Blighty! We crossed into England this morning around 9:30 & I lowered my Scottish courtesy flag.
We had a cracking sail down to Holy Island with an almost perfect SSW wind F3 to 4, which meant we could easily point to get here. We had just picked up a mooring buoy in the harbour when it started to rain for a while, but we already had our boom tents up & were eating lunch!
The wind looks good for tomorrow, so we expect to arrive in Amble harbour around 15:00, though there won't be enough water to recover the boats until nearly lunchtime Tuesday.
We have now done 703 miles, with another 27 to go, which will make 730 miles all told.
30/6/08 Monday -- after a pleasant night in Holy Island harbour, we set off this morning with a good wind and the tide running south. However, when we got to North Sunderland, the wind came more round to the south, which meant we had to motorsail the last few miles to Amble. A pleasant trip nonetheless
At Amble we were greeted not only by Ray, but 19 folk from church in Newcastle, all sporting Barclays sponsorship T shirts! Good to be home -- statistics tomorrow when we pull the boats out.
01/07/08 Tuesday -- Thanks to Amble marina for offering us a 2 for 1 berthing fee last night. The boats are recovered, on the road, & heading home a bit faster than normal!.
We completed 730 miles in 5 1/2 weeks, sailing for a total of 159 hrs; we had to use our outboards to motorsail for about half that time.
The longest trips were around 40 miles: from Kinlochbervie round Cape Wrath to Talmine, & Arbroath to Dunbar. In all, we visted 29 harbours or anchorages.
We sailed in conditions ranging from flat calm to gusts of a hairy F6, which is not bad going for small boats.
Thanks too to everyone who contacted us on the way round, & the many harbours who offered us completely free berthing. A special thank you to our good friend, Ray Morris, for his wise advice & companionship on our journey.
Finally, thanks to Eleanor, my wife, for graciously putting up with my enforced absence, cutting the grass and killing spiders & moths all by herself... I'll do a circumnavigation photo gallery when I've caught up with 6 weeks of other jobs!
That's it folks!
In all we raised a little over £2800. The village trustees are overjoyed as it means that they have been able to order 40 benches -- twice the original number envisaged.
The remaining money has been split into 3 parts:
1) Replacement of textbooks -- teachers often had to copy textbook pages to the blackboard for the children to work from
2) Payment of a teacher's salary for one year. This means junior classes of 'only' 40 instead of 100...
3) The start of a well-digging project -- at present, the water supply is some distance away, and is obtained from the place where folk bathe & wash their clothes.

It's quite incredible how such a relatively small amount of targetted money can have such a major impact.
Thank you to everyone who has sponsored the trip.
Tony Patrick July 2008