Monday, October 25, 2010

Missed the gun but not the boat, in Loch Fyne.

As we paddled into Loch Fyne, the view out of the mouth of the loch was completely dominated by the mountains of Arran.

The Clyde Cruising Club were holding their Scottish Series Regatta out of Tarbert on the far side of Loch Fyne. It looked pretty busy over there, as these Sigma 33s tacked down the loch!

Despite the start gun having gone off some time before, the owners of this fine old Moody 346 were still tucked up, down below. At least she was lying at anchor. So many yachts these days just go from marina to marina, or worse, just lie at berth in their home marina all season.

North of Portavadie, the east coast of Loch Fyne has some very attractive reefs and islets. Far from the roads, this is part of Argyll's Secret Coast.

Although I have sailed on Loch Fyne many times, in the 30 years or so I spent yachting, I was always frustrated that we kept well off such interesting coasts. A great joy of sea kayaking is being able to get right in amongst the skerries...

...where the only company is the pipping oyster catchers and the occasional otter.

I am very fortunate to have a well paid job and could afford to own a yacht, if I wished. But do you know what? I saw more of the Scottish west coast in my first two years' sea kayaking than I did in over 30 years' yachting. So I feel no desire to encumber myself and my coastal adventures with a yacht. Sea kayaking is true freedom of the seas.

Not many people know this but, under the waterline, yachts are constructed in an interesting way. Their hulls are a composite material, somewhat akin to a papier mache, made up of £50 and £100 pound notes, which are laminated, with a not entirely waterproof adhesive. Whenever a yacht is in the water, these bank notes steadily break away and drift off in the current. Yachting is an expensive business and no, I don't miss the boat...

...I am still sailing!