We severally awoke early and since there was no pressure of time on this day, went back to sleep, tired from the previous day's heartysail, and all finally surfaced at 1000! The target for the day was the Isle of Rum, which as the Manx Shearwaters fly was only some 16M away, straight into the northerly wind (forecast F3/4 occasionally 5, just like every day so far). A sensible plan was adopted, to set a long course east-ish towards Mallaig on the mainland, and then to tack back northwest-ish for Rum, both tacks being close reaches. This could not have worked better, and we had a wonderful day's sailing in pleasant weather and 14-20 knots of wind, making up to 7k over the ground. The tall mountainous shape of Rum grew closer and by 1600 we could put in only our third 'Ready-About : Lee-Oh!' of the day to approach the entrance to Loch Snesort on the island's east coast. As we approached, we could see more than 20 masts already at anchor in the loch. We had a serious struggle with the jammed Genoa furler (not for the first time in Vega's life), some of which was only sorted after we had anchored. The reason
is still unclear, as all had been working well until this time, but possibly related to movement of the spinnaker halyard while hoisting and lowering the ceremonial signal flags. (Yawn! Sorry to the non-sailors for the meaningless detail!) Once sorted, we headed for the Village Hall (by dinghy, carrying it part of the way over the slippery kelp foreshore to a better landing place) for a talk about the island. Some of us were rather sleepy during the talk, which covered the history, archaeology and wildlife of Rum, but finally by 1900 it was time for the BBQ, the fare including venison burger. We ate outside on the terrace, overlooking the boats in the anchorage, then headed back to the dinghy and thence to Vega, Benj rowing rather inexpertly with guidance from the others. It was apparent that our anchor had dragged, and Vega was heading slowly backwards towards the ferry jetty, presumably because of poor holding on a kelp bottom, of which we had been warned at the initial briefing. We re-started the engine, re-positioned the boat, and reset the anchor, with an alarm. A coffee and a couple of glasses of Kilchoman malt in the cockpit, admiring yet another spectacular Hebridean sunset, saw us off to bed, with the anchor alarm set on the GPS. At 0030 Benj heard the alarm and went outside to check, but all seemed well this time: a wide swing of the boat is enough to trigger the alarm, set to detect change of position of more than 0.01nM (about 60ft), so it is quite sensitive, but better safe than sorry. Later, Ian got up when the alarm went off, and reduced the distance to 120ft, and we were not disturbed again. More on the Isle of Rum tomorrow.