Having survived the first day without causing any damage, we today continued on our maiden voyage towards Oban with the plan being to spend our first night at anchor. Today we had two tidal gates to pass through so the state of the tide specified when we had to leave and therefore when we had to get up. A tidal gate is a gap where the water flows fast in one direction or the other depending on the state of the tide. If you arrive at the wrong time in a sailing boat, you will find yourselves going backwards. Arrive at the correct time and you shoot through with wind and current both helping you along.
As soon as we left the lagoon and entered Loch Craignish we had a wind of about 13 knots so it was out with the Genoa and we sailed the rest of the day. We reached the first tidal gate “Dorus Mor” dead on schedule and were helped by the current between the headland and the island. Turning north we headed through the Firth of Luing and cleared the second gate without hitting any of the submerged rocks. By now the wind was gusting beyond 20 knots so we rolled away part of the Genoa. It was warm (for Scotland), not raining and we were doing a good five to six knots. Life was good.
And then the instruments stopped working. No electronic chart, no GPS and no depth display. The first two didn’t matter. We have paper charts and backup GPS but no depth reading was going to make entering a small anchorage fun. Then the VHF radio died. We decided it must be a voltage problem so, even though the gauges said the batteries were good, we decided to start the engine to charge them. But the engine wouldn’t start. The fridge was drawing power from the engine batteries which it shouldn’t do and had flattened it. The boat batteries were also nearly flat but by linking both sets together, there was just enough power to turn the engine and start recharging.
Trying to stow the Genoa was a challenge. We need practice here if we want to look professional in future. It was about as much fun as getting out of the marina yesterday and I sweated just as much.
Luckily by the time we entered the anchorage the depth gauge was working again which was a great relief as we were entering at low tide through an entrance that is shallow, narrow and rock strewn. Once in the pool we set the anchor and watched nervously if it held. Just as we arrived, the wind dropped and the rain started.
Now we are taking battery measurements to try and identify today’s voltage problems.