Raptor UK canoe sailing

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August 2010

Page 8

Although the Cashel to Ardlui straight-line distance is only 22.1 km (12.0 nm), my actual round-trip distance travelled during the mini-expedition was 71.4 km (38.6 nm). Eddie met me on the beach and told me that other OCSG members were stowing their boats in the boat yard, which now had more space since a large group had just left the site with their boats. I chose instead to paddle km south and to leave my boat on the neighbouring beach, where it remained overnight for the next two nights without incident. Pulling my Raptor up the pebbly beach on my new Solway Dory carts was not easy, but would have been even more difficult without pneumatic tyres.

On Sunday morning the wind strength had increased again, causing a moderate swell to build in the

loch. RobinC didn't own a sailing canoe at the time (but he had his kayak with him), so he'd borrowed DaveS's boat for an early sail. He seemed to be handling the conditions

fine. DaveS and AdamD then went out in Adam's Penobscot canoe, so that Dave could demonstrate the new rig that Solway Dory had fabricated for him. Unfortunately they capsized and Robin followed suit when he went to their rescue, however all three managed to reach shore safely with

their boats intact. Everyone had left the beach by the time I arrived so I had no option but to attempt a solo lee shore launch. By observing the sequence of waves and waiting until the larger waves had passed, I was able finally (at 11:20 a.m.) to paddle away from shore at an oblique angle to the waves, deploy my rudder and foil, and then paddle to a safe distance

where I could finally unfurl my sail. A more elegant departure would be to unfurl some sail, jump onboard, sheet in and sail away at an oblique angle to the beach. I might try that next time. In the process of wading out into chest deep water I managed to flood my video equipment's microphone, so my recording of the day's outing is mostly without sound. Once under way I had an exhilarating ride, beating northwards past Inchlonaig. I reefed a little more after the first three tacks and thereafter felt slightly more in control. Tacking clockwise was no problem but I chose to gybe rather

than attempt to tack anti-clockwise. Having cleared the island I headed across the loch towards Luss, which provided a sheltered, sunny spot for me to eat my lunch. I was in luck as a group vacated their table in a park near the beach just as I approached. The sail from Cashel had taken me 55 minutes.

The benign conditions at Luss didn't deceive me

as I could see a yacht heeled well over as it crossed the loch north of Inchlonaig, while I was eating my lunch. Sure enough, once out of the sheltered bay at Luss, the wind strength quickly increased, as did the swell. I sailed back across the loch close-hauled, heading towards Sallochy, where I arrived at 1:15 p.m. The sail east was fun and on a much easier port tack. I didn't need to deploy my foil, making the Raptor much more lively as it skipped over the waves, rather than ploughing through them. It reminded me of a story JohnS told me about DaveH

whooping with joy while wave hopping onboard his Raptor in Hawaii. The Raptor certainly showed its capabilities, easily coping with the challenging conditions. My only snafu was forgetting to unclip the boom tether (shock-cord) when I left Luss. Fortunately I didn't need to tack until I reached the sheltered waters by Sallochy beach so this didn't cause a problem. I noticed a police van stationed in the Sallochy car park (more on this later). From Sallochy I headed south past Cashel where I spotted Eddie and RolandD chatting on the beach. I tried hailing them as I sailed past, to ask if anyone else had headed out, but they couldn't hear me so I continued heading south, passing

between the islands of Inchcruin and Inchfad, before turning southeast. The wind had moderated markedly but I still reached my maximum speed for the day (10.3 knots) as I approached the gap between Inchcailloch and Torrinch, after which I turned southwest, sailing down the lee side of Torrinch towards the small island of Creinch, where I took a -hour break.

The sail from Luss had taken less than 1 hours.

Leaving Creinch at 2:35 p.m. I continued southwest, keeping to the leeward side of Inchmurrin, the largest of the islands in Loch Lomond. The wind had freshened again and this was noticeable as I

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