Repairs (probably just part one)

We have now been on board for two weeks. After all the work we had commissioned over the last year, we were expecting a few teething problems and they came as expected.

The engine runs well but loses various fluids and occasionally refuses to start when needed. This is not a good state for an engine. Three times now we have reached the end of a journey to not be able to start the engine without considerable effort. Sailing backwards and forwards in front of a port instead of entering it is not fun.

First it was losing fresh water coolant. We refilled it twice and both times it lost the refilled amount. This turned out to be an easy problem; the system was overfilled to begin with. Once we stopped topping it up, it stopped losing coolant.

There is also a small diesel leak whch we traced to the fuel filter and is now on the “wait until it gets worse” list.

Heidi in the "engine room"
Heidi in the “engine room”

The strangest problem was that there were occasionally liters of salt water below the engine. These appeared randomly and once they did the engine would no longer start. Yesterday, while sailing up the Sound of Sleat, we saw water dripping out of the air filter. In Mallaig a neighbouring motor boat owner in consultation with the local guru decided that in heavy following seas the water was being rammed back up the exhaust. So now we need a “cat flap” on the back of the boat. Continue reading “Repairs (probably just part one)”

The Sound of Sleet

From the Isle of Rum we sailed due East to Mallaig where we briefly stopped for reprovisioning. We then continued on into Loch Nevis to achieve another of Neill’s childhood dreams by visiting the village of Inverie. The village has a road but it is not joined to the rest of the mainlands road network. You either walk two days across the mountains or go by boat. We took a visitors mooring in front of the pub and went there for dinner. The Old Forge is billed as being mainland UK’s most remote pub. The food was good and the view through the window was stunning and changed every minute. Real Life is so much better than HDTV 🙂

Dinner at the Old Forge on Knoydart
Dinner at the Old Forge on Knoydart

The next day we walked around the village and made good use of the pubs WiFi. Neill also lost our bridle hook (used to secure the anchor) in to the depths of the loch. Continue reading “The Sound of Sleet”

The Small Isles

These are four Islands west of the scottish mainland that are a part of the Inner Hebrides.

We sailed from Tobermory to the Isle of Muck and anchored in a bay on the north side of the island to be sheltered from the prevailing wind. Once the anchor was set, we rowed to the beach and followed the track the two kilometers in to “town”. We passed through a field of highland cattle, met the farmer working with his sheep and lambs and met a hen coming the other way as well as a lost sheep. The village was tiny and closed but we looked at the impressive community center. I was really interested in the solar and wind powered electricity generation but we met no one to ask for details. The only person we met was from the Isle of Mull. After walking back we continued along a barely defined path that led to a lonely bothy with views out to sea. All very “Lord of the Rings”.
In the evening we tackled and solved the problem of how to get the main halyard from round the radar reflector. The solution involved hoisting the spare anchor in to the rigging. Continue reading “The Small Isles”

Once round the Isle of Mull

The work on the boat was finished, the kitchen was equipped and stocked after numerous trips to Aldi and the weather forecast promised good sailing so we left Oban early and motored against the wind through the Firth of Lorn to the south coast of the Isle of Mull. Once there we set the mainsail and jib at which point the wind disappeared not to be seen again that day. We continued along the coast as a motor boat until we reached the Sound of Iona and navigated through the rocks and islets to the stunning anchorage of Tinkers Hole. This is described as probably one of the best anchorages on the west coast and is beautiful. Despite its apparent popularity, we only shared it with one other boat.

McCaig's Tower
McCaig’s Tower above Oban

We pumped up the dinghy and rowed across to the neighbouring island of Eilean Dubh where we climbed through heather and across bare rock to the summit. On the one side Artemis sat in a deep, sheltered, green pool while on the other side the Atlantic swell washed the rocky shoreline. Continue reading “Once round the Isle of Mull”

Day 3 and 4 of the maiden voyage

Once in the night our anchor watch alarm claimed that we were drifting. Jumped out of bed and checked. False alarm. But better one false alarm than no alarms when needed. In the morning the engine batteries were empty again so we needed to jump from the domestic batteries. We need to find a good electrician.

We left the bay in rain, mist and a little wind, both very glad that we have waterproofs from top to bottom and warm dry sailing boots. Once out in to the Firth of Lorn the wind picked up and we were soon sailing under Genoa. It was a great feeling to be sailing amongst barely defined, mist shrouded islands. Almost ghostly. Continue reading “Day 3 and 4 of the maiden voyage”

To Puilladobhrain

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. Continue reading “To Puilladobhrain”

The “first day”

So today we officially “left”. Actually we flew from Germany to Scotland last week and spent the week at Ardfern Yacht Center working on the final preparations to the boat.

In a brisk wind we reversed in to the marina pond and then spent half an hour trying to escape. No matter what I tried the boat would not turn her nose up in to the wind. This was the dreaded “Rustlers won’t go backwards” syndrome that every one warns about. Eventually she was facing to the entrance and we headed for the refuelling jetty to “fill her up” with 111 liters of diesel. After a little bit of being “blown around” we managed to berth to the pontoon. Stuart McDonald came over and thanked us for the entertaining show in the marina and politely asked if we were aiming for the fuel jetty or if we had just taken refuge here. He then congratulated us on achieving our aim without causing any damage. Continue reading “The “first day””

Registering Artemis

When we bought Artemis we were told that she had been deregistered from the British Registry. That fitted well with our plan of registering her in Gibraltar. Little did we know that this was the start of a tragi-comedy that would take months to run its course.

Gibraltar Registry

Our first information was that the Gibraltar Registry “only” needed originals of the bill of sale, the builders certificate and (of course) some money.

The bill of sale wasn’t a problem but we had never seen a builders certificate. The broker and the previous owner also did not have it and we received information that “back then” there wasn’t always a builders certificate. We contacted the first owner and he had a photocopy of the certificate but wasn’t sure if he had ever seen the original. We now knew that it had once existed but it could no longer be found.

Back to the registry.

Registering Artemis
Registering Artemis. Death by paperwork.

Continue reading “Registering Artemis”

Ship radio license and EPIRB registration

After months spent trying to register Artemis, I approached the task of obtaining a radio license and registering the EPIRB with trepidation. I was already stressing about pages of forms and days of work. It turned out to be extremely easy and less than an hours work from beginning to end. Continue reading “Ship radio license and EPIRB registration”

Navigating with Sun and Moon

using a sextant to take a sunsight
using a sextant to take a sunsight

After having learned the theory of fixing my position using celestial objects during my Yachtmaster Ocean theory course, I was keen to try it for real during a trip from Spain to Morocco a few days later. The first two days there was no horizon, no sun, nowhere you could  safely jam yourself in to and no chance of my even thinking about doing calculations of any type. But on the third day the storm abated and the sun came out. Continue reading “Navigating with Sun and Moon”