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Summer Cruise – 2019

Due to the weather and other circumstances, the new departure date was arranged for Tuesday 18 June.  Comrades and Sara Ann could not make the revised timescales and remained in Conwy.  Two boats, Spray & Phyllis, departed Deganwy with the IOM, Northern Ireland and Scotland in our sights. John Hodson joined as the crew on Phyllis with Jimmy Lamb on Spray.  Taking a slightly different route we sailed towards Point Lynas before turning northerly to the IOM.

Phyllis (skippered by Kevin) and Spray (skippered by Tom) continued to the IOM, Port St Mary, before departing to Peel via Calf Sound.  Jimmy was not well when we arrived in Peel and returned home with John, on the fast ferry Manannan from Douglas to Liverpool.

After a couple of days in Peel, we departed to Northern Ireland with landfall close to Portavogie before sailing along the coast through Donaghadee Sound to transverse Belfast Loch to overnight berth in Carrickfergus Marina.

Our next departure took us along the cliffs of the Antrim coast, hosting a multitude of different nesting sea birds before our arrival in Glenarm. With the Mull of Kintyre insight, we then journeyed north to arrive in Campbeltown after passing Sanda Island to port and Alisa Craig well off to starboard.  Lots of Gannets were seen en route feeding, before going to their breeding ground on Alisa Craig, famous too for the granite used for making curling stones.  Alisa Craig dominates the outer Clyde and can be seen for miles and miles on a clear day.

Campbeltown once refuelled and refreshed, we enjoyed a visit to the local distillery 'Springbank'. We then crossed Killbrannan Sound towards the Isle of Arran passing Lochranza to starboard before crossing Bute Sound to enter the inner Firth of Clyde towards Largs Marina.

Once again refuelled, both with diesel and a good meal we set-off up the Clyde the following morning, with the incoming tide, passing Inverkip, Cloch Point lighthouse and Greenock.  We were met by Douglas to show us the way into Sandpoint Marina (a very little known spot known to locals) in his powerful RIB.  Just on the cusp of the tide, Phyllis lightly touched bottom on the soft sand before immediately lifting again to continue down the short channel to Dumbarton, our final destination, on the first phase. Then treated to a fast RIB ride to get some supper in Holy Loch and catching up with some old friends before returning to Dumbarton. We left the marina the following morning, Thursday 27th June, to catch the train from Glasgow back to home, business and other commitments awaited.

Photos from our Scotland phase I voyage.
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Return to Scotland
Our return to Glasgow was almost two weeks later, Wednesday 10 July.  Joined by Tanya (to crew on Phyllis) who had travelled from North Wales to meet up at Warrington Bank Quay before we picked up Tom at Preston railway station.

We arrived in the afternoon at Dumbarton and were met by Douglas, our host at the marina. Both Phyllis and Spray had been well looked after at Sandpoint Marina.  By the time we got ourselves and the boats sorted we joined Douglas for a beer and something to eat in the town that evening.

The following day saw us breakfast at Denny's, the Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank (the last building remaining from the shipbuilding days) which forms part of the Scottish Maritime Museum.  For those who aren't aware Sandpoint was the place where the Cutty Sark was built.  After breakfast, a must-visit as this was the first commercial ship model testing tank built in the world and it retains many original features today: a water tank as long as a football pitch, clay moulding beds for casting wax model ship hulls and the original Victorian machinery used for shaping models.

Then off to the supermarket for victualling the boats with the afternoon on Douglas's RIB upriver to see the upper Clyde and Titan (a huge crane), the famous paddle steamer Waverley and the new navy ships being built by BAE.

A visit too, for Tanya and Tom to the recently opened Glasgow Distillery - No Whiskey there yet!  While Douglas and Kevin visited the wonderful River Side museum and went aboard the tall ship 'Glenlee'.  That evening we all enjoyed a wonderful meal at the 'Sugarboat', down the line in Helensburgh.  Highly recommended.

Friday 12 July and we said our goodbyes to Douglas and headed down the Clyde.  In harmony with the music played by Tanya on her Penny Whistle, as she did on every departure.  A great sail towards the Isle of Bute with berthing at Port Bannatyne.  A short bus ride to Rothesay for a visit to the famous, not to missed, Victorian toilets. And then an evening meal in a local hostelry prior to catching a taxi back to the marina.

The following day we departed, to Tanya's music, to sail through the Kyles of Bute. What a marvellous passage along the fjord passing by the Burnt Islands before sailing south past Tighnabruaich and Kames in the West Kyle. It's here that a sudden wind shift saw Phyllis's jib part from the end of the bowsprit.  A swift dropping of the halyard and pulling in of the sail sorted it all out in double-quick fashion.

Then around Ardlamont Point and in a northwesterly direction on Loch Fyne brought us to one of the most astonishing marinas on the Clyde, Portavadie. The complex was originally built for the purpose of constructing concrete oil rigs. After an immediate move to steel platforms, the facility became redundant and after a little time, it was developed into a marina complex, opened in 2010. Five-star luxury apartments, private sauna facilities, a restaurant and conference centre.

Never the less the rock blasting at Portavadie and the resulting very deep water intended for building oil platforms has left an excellent and well-sheltered marina. Well worth a visit, a refuel, an evening meal and breakfast.

Sunday 14 July and we started our homeward bound sail. Exceptionally becalmed conditions saw us motor-sail southwards to Troon.  Another well-protected marina and a wonderful seafood meal in a very busy Scott's Restaurant on the marina complex.

Monday and we ventured along the South Ayrshire coastline passing Ayr, Turnberry Lighthouse and the Trump golf course with Alsa Craig always within sight in the far distance. Girvan was our next port of call en route to Port Patrick and then onto Peel (IOM).  Well, that was the plan!  A meal on board before a restful night and an early start.

Time to depart, the engine started and into gear. Phyllis would not budge!  Forward and reverse gears were selected, still, no way would she would go!  The gearbox was suspected. The harbour master contacted as well as the local ship repairers and marine engineers.  Alas, it was the Scottish wake weeks and no one was available to help. Reluctantly Phyllis was left in Girvan and everyone, Tanya, Kevin & Tom started on our way home on Spray.

The plan was now to return to Deganwy as quickly as possible so the next leg saw us landfall in Peel (IOM) in the wee hours and then after some rest and recovery an evening departure directly to Deganwy.  Arriving late afternoon on Thursday 18 July. Two and half days after leaving Phyllis in Girvan.

Photos from our Scotland phase II voyage.
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Phyllis Remains in Scotland
Phyllis was eventually repaired after a couple of trips back and forth to Girvan.  It transpired to be only the Drive Plate which once replaced were fitted on to a newly acquired gearbox.  Everything fitted and ran like a dream.  During our sea trials, we took her to Troon where she stayed for approx six weeks prior to moving Phyllis for overwintering in Largs Marina, where she is now berthed until the spring of 2020.

Photos from our Scotland phase III.
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Watch a short, one minute, video of the boats in Scotland.

Published on Categories Voyages

About Kevin

I've been sailing on the yacht 'Phyllis' since her launch in July 2010. Not a 'rag and stick' sailor originally so I've had to learn new skills during this time. She's a lovely, and cosy, little boat who has taken me all around the Irish Sea and the countries on its shores.

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