Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dropping hints, raising sails in the lee of Ailsa Craig.

 When we arrived back at the lighthouse after our early morning circumnavigation of Ailsa Craig the weather changed. The wind began to pick up and clouds an low level fog obscured the distant...

...coast of Ayrshire. We took a compass bearing and a GPS bearing on a waypoint for Girvan, our destination. The 16km crossing to Girvan is a good bit shorter than the 21km crossing from Arran, which Tony and I had done the previous day. However, Ailsa Craig stands in splendid isolation and it is very exposed to sudden changes in weather.

No sooner had we set off than the wind increased and became very unstable in direction and gusty as we were in the lee of the Craig. Looking back we saw an amazing sight as...

  ...the SE wind whipped a plume of mist to leeward of the rock.

Initially we didn't launch the sails as the gusty wind was all over the place from dead ahead to dead astern.At first Phil and Tony were a bit reluctant to launch the sails. I dropped several hints: "It's steadying.", "It's gone round to the north." and "It's settled to a beam reach." Eventually I tired of hints and launched the sail.

This hint could not be ignored and the others quickly followed suit and we set off on a cracking beam reach towards an unseen Girvan. The bulk of Ailsa Craig rapidly...

...receded in our smiling wakes. Remarkably it was still only 08:38am!

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