Arran to Portpatrick

We left Lochranza on Arran at about 10.40. Mainsail fully reefed as the forecast was up to about 28 knots of wind. As it happens we had up to 34 knots, broad/beam reach and averaged 8 knots, which is pretty darn fast, bit scary, but best not to visualise ourselves, out there, a long way from land in a little boat, in a big swell and a lot of wind......singing helps!; we had the radio on all day. It was quite hard work helming and concentrating that hard, it was a cup-a-soup lunch....stand cups in sink, put soup powder in them, when the kettle boils, some water goes in the cups, but a lot goes around them, all done whilst braced against a wall, being flung backwards and forwards. I have so many unaccounted for bruises!

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The island of Ailsa Craig, I don't know about a tomato, it looks like a well-risen fruit cake!

Chris was anxious about getting into Portpatr Harbour, it's narrow, only 35 metres with rocks either side, not recommended in a strong westerly. He spoke to the Harbour Master twice, once before we set off and again when we still had the option of diverting to Stranraer . Harbour Master, ex bosun of Lifeboat was chilled about it and assured us that the wind there was light and we'd have no problem. 35 metres is a VERY narrow entrance. Leading lines, orange stripes painted on harbour wall and on a house above, guided us in, and there was someone there, to catch a line for us and advise about tying up against the wall....at seven o'clock on a Saturday evening, and......would we be needing diesel? Yes actually, but we really weren't expecting to get any on our brief stop there, after all, Campbeltown, the big marina on Kintyre couldn't provide any between 12.30 on Saturday and 9am on Monday, "I'll see what I can do" . Sure enough, 10pm the HM turns up with a 25 litre drum for us, these guys are amazing. Portpatrick is a lovely little town, picturesque, centred around the harbour, would have liked to stay another night, but, being moored against a wall with a 4 metre tidal rise, it wasn't the most comfortable night. Chris was up several times to adjust the warps and fenders, and there was the 5 metre ladder to negotiate for trips ashore.

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Portpatrick Harbour

We had a wander ashore, found a pub for a pint and some supper, watched a bit of the match but couldn't hold out for the final whistle. This trip has given us a taste of some delicious sea-food. Britain is now so good at making the most of it's assets, about time!

We slipped our mooring at 7.30 on Sunday morning and were sailing by 7.45. I have to admit to being a bit alarmed by Chris's priorities, i.e., getting the sails up, leaving warps, fenders, fender board all to be sorted "once we get going", to be fair, it's the sailor in him, chasing the conditions, but, there was still a fair bit of swell, and there was a reasonable chance of me ending up in the water the way things were going, so we had a rethink, headed up to windward again, restored some sort of order on deck and turned south, into the tide, it wasn't long, in the ripping tides down to The Mull of Galloway that we were making 9 - 10 knots.
Once round the Mull, the tide turned, everything calmed down and Chris went below for a nap. The wind now behind us and dropping, tide against and building, it wasn't long before our speed had dropped to three knots. I furled the genoa, started the engine, gybed twice, unintentionally, and got our speed up to four knots. I thought Chris had slept soundly throughout, of course he hadn't, but there was nothing that alarmed him enough, or he was just too tired, to be troubled by.... Yay!
I was feeling a tad frustrated by the same view for two hours when Chris surfaced, he took over, changed course, adjusted the sails; back up to six knots, engine off.. I still have so much to learn!