Malin Harbour, on the northern tip of the Irish mainland, is not usually quite so tranquil! There are scores of wonderful inlets and islands, although navigation marks are sparse and big swell adds menace by heaving and foaming over submerged shoals. Everything goes to plan and other than another lively discussion on how much clearance we should allow round another significant Scottish headland we arrive in Lochinver and take possession of a northern-facing finger pontoon as instructed by the harbour master. Therefore, when planning a passage through an area with strong tides it is important to be aware of the incident waves and swell, as well as the tide times. Be sure to have the excellent Clyde Cruising Club Pilots and a good set of charts. Having left the Sound of Kerrara we continue to enjoy shelter from the southern end of Mull, then Colonsay until we enter the narrow Sound separating Jura from the island of Islay. This cruise will provide plenty of pilotage practice. He wishes us good luck and signs off. Or to put it another way, if you visit a coastal town by car you are a tourist but if you visit by boat you are a mariner and your reception is likely to be different. Like the Pentland Firth, there is much written about this short stretch of sea. Time to take our leave while we still can but not before letting the local lads have a spin on our scooters. The weather looks like it is taking a turn for the worse over the next few days so we decide to take a second break from our circumnavigation. It looks fairly boring on paper but Mary and I have been going up and down the South Coast for more than 40 years and by last summer had called at every harbour except one. This is part five of Phillip Davies and Nigel Boutwood’s round Britain adventure. Exploring the intricacies of these islands also provides excellent lessons in seamanship, allowing an amateur skipper to acquire experience in all kinds of conditions.

No wonder prehistoric man thrived at Skara Brae. Between this and the magnificent coastal scenery of north Cornwall, the two-and-a-half hours it takes us to reach Land’s End at 20 knots seem to flash by and before long we are rounding Longships Lighthouse on its rocky islet 1.25 miles offthe southernmost tip of mainland Britain. When cruising far from popular yachting areas, self-sufficiency often means having to carry stuff by hand. Their usual drawback is that local sailing conditions are more susceptible to weather because there are fewer headlands or estuaries to create areas of relatively calm water.

There is an impressive brass tap in the middle of the bar for exactly this purpose. We had used just over half a tank (300 litres) since filling up at Kinlochbervie, helped by much of our passage-making being at frugal displacement speed. In the Western Isles, one of the most remote anchorages is in Witches Pool, entered by a tortuous channel between rugged islets. Fifty years on, Bill Brockbank tells Charlie English how he and Frank Dye, 'the madman of the Atlantic', capsized four times, braved gale force winds and survived to tell the incredible tale of their 'holiday' on the high seas, The threat of sharks, wild winds and huge waves is not deterring two Australians from an ambitious plan to become the first in the world to paddle board across the Bass Strait, Queensland adrenaline junkie Jay Phoenix has smashed a world record for bungy jumping, Long-distance swimmer completes 110-mile journey through treacherous waters on fifth attempt, Available for everyone, funded by readers. Whiskey in the Jar by Thin Lizzie is easily the most popular tune of the evening.

I started sailing in 2004 on a Precision 23 that I purchased at an auction. Going through Rhea, however, means avoiding a much longer more exposed route around the west side of Skye with the potential for even more unpleasant sea conditions. We’ll either have to pick up one of the three visitors’ mooring buoys, if available, find a berth in Kyleakin (unlikely) or anchor somewhere.

The views will repay the effort and if you are late in the season there should be sloes, blackberries and wild plums as a bonus. I must also confess to a mild obsession with the commercial sailing craft that once carried goods and materials to every estuary and bay – and even to beaches where there was no natural shelter. Starting Saturday May 31st, two sailors from Thornbury Sailing Club in Gloucestershire, UK, aim to sail an open boat around mainland Britain in record time. Having thanked the moorings officer, Ian Tolchard, for donating our berthing fee to the two charities we are supporting, we slip our buoy and make our way out of the Helford River to the Black Rock and its cardinal buoy, which stands guard at the entrance to the magnificent Fal estuary. This was not simply a matter of admiring great scenery. The British-designed Wayfarer is a popular family day-boat, though its seaworthiness means that it can be trusted to venture out into open waters. The North Sea coast is open to swell from the Arctic Ocean and although these waves are generally smaller than Atlantic rollers they are often more troublesome because there are very few natural features to act as breakwaters and many of the harbour entrances are shallow.

We can hardly wait…. It even has its own gin called The Botanist. Rounding Land's End in the dark and on a "nasty" sea was pretty scary, said Warren. For yachts bound north, Lowestoft is the last deep-water harbour before the Humber. The Isle of Man has gated harbours and pontoons at Douglas and Peel, with several bays and drying harbours on each side. The wind is a moderate southwesterly, due to veer to north in a couple of days, and high water times for the coasts near the Wash are morning and evening. Old timber jetties, gravel hards and houseboats have survived the impact of modern developments and it is still possible to tack gently up rivers such as the Orwell or the Alde, like those old sailing coasters, and anchor in rural surroundings. For a quick sail around, this article will go anticlockwise. Yes, it has rivers serving as boat parks and yes, many moorings are expensive, but we return frequently to our favourite spots and reflect that they are as good as anything we have seen elsewhere.

Wide Scapa Flow, which gives access to Stromness Marina, was an important naval anchorage in two world wars. Rounding Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of the British mainland, they had to time their passage to avoid the possibility of being hit by bombers practising in a military firing range. The weather and sea gods seem to agree and have granted us fair conditions for a swift departure. The diagram suggests one way of rationalising a long-term cruising plan, whether it involves a slow circuit over several summers or a series of separate cruises. Western Scotland may look equally vulnerable but the numerous islands and promontories are effective breakwaters for protecting the inner sounds. That means all electrical items being run or charged from the ship’s 12 or 24 volts – including equipment like shavers, camera batteries, phones and computers. Across the British Isles the prevailing winds are from the south-west, which looks good for sailors on the eastern and northern coasts, in the lee of the land.



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