Day 18 – Corpach to Dunstaffnage, Oban

We locked out at 9am following a large tall ship into the lock. The Flying Dutchman struggled to get off the wall in the wind, but 30mins later we were both in the lock. Out of the lock we tied up on the holding pontoon and I said my goodbyes to Pam. She was catching the train at 11:20 from the station that is actually next to the lock. The train comes from Mallaig and onto Glasgow.

Lock Linnie was flat as I motored, yet again, into 15-20kt winds. The rain started after about 30 mins and then kept up all day. I have so many clothes on I look like the Michelin man. There is no doubt that this is only for masochists. At first I was punching an adverse tide and sometimes making less than 3 kts. But around an hour after my 10:30am departure the tide was in my favour. I made Corpach Narrows at around 12:15 and raced through on the ebb tide. At times doing 7kts. Wind over tide made the South side of the narrows quite lumpy for a mile or so.

The next point of interest was Shuna Island about 8 miles ahead, but with visibility down to 2 miles I was relying on GPS for my direction finding. Thankfully about 90 minutes later I was passing Shuna and so going into the trickiest bit of navigation. For about 15 minutes the wind dropped and visibility improved to 3 or 4 miles. But, inevitably, this was short lived and I was back to 25 kts on the bow and half mile visibility. This is not conducive to a relaxed sail when you are passing between islands in a relatively narrow channel that you have never visited before.

Thankfully the trusty engine and GPS got me through and I could turn slightly East into Dunstaffnage harbour. The turn allowed me a few minutes of actual sailing. The jib adding nearly 2 kts to the boats speed. I was surprised just how quick the sail across the bay was and in a few minutes I was motoring into the harbour.

Dunstaffnage is a natural harbour sheltered on nearly every side by land and an island. A castle overlooks the entrance. I called up the marina and was allocated C11 and moments later I was tied up promising never to put myself into such a risky position ever again. The last two weeks has totally shaken my confidence. I spoke to Hamish, the harbour master, and the boat comes out of the water on Monday, today is Friday, and goes up for sale.

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