We had to wait a further three days following fitting of the autopilot (supplied and fitted by Martin Baird, MB Electronics, highly recommended) for conditions to be calm enough for the commissioning procedure to be carried out. A brief window in the weather occurred on the morning of the 9th July for this to be done. Having completed this, dropped Martin and his assistant ashore, and waited over the lunch period for refuelling, we finally departed Ardrossan at 13.50 hours. It is very sheltered at the fuel berth and had we known what it was like outside we probably wouldn’t have gone.
The wind was back up to force six gusting seven and we had an initially rough and wet ride under well reefed sails, plenty of ‘flung spray and blown spume’ (John Masefield would have enjoyed it). The wind had veered however from south west to a bit west of north so that we were able to lay the required course, south about Arran, on a closish reach. The wind decreased as the afternoon progressed and by evening it had died away completely and we made the last few miles into Campbeltown harbour under engine power.
Intending only an overnight stay and not wishing to see the town we anchored off in the bay rather than moor alongside the yacht pontoon. There was plenty of room, with only one other anchored yacht, but as with many anchorages in the lochs on the west coast of Scotland the bottom shelves steeply from the shore and the depth is too great except for a narrow ledge of suitable depth between a shallow inshore shelf and depths of tens of metres further out.
That evening there was an unusually spectacular and lurid sunset.
9: Ardrossan to Campbeltown, 9th July
Shipping forecast, 9th July, 12.01: Malin: W or SW backing E later 3-4 inc 5 at times;
Rain or squally showers; mod or good, occasionally poor.