Friday, 30 September 2011

Change of plan

The weather window has closed now and fog is forecast for Isle of Man, so taking into account the way Im feeling and the fact that I'm knackered, I think its wise not to try any epic ending and play it safe.
So hopefully a run down to Portpatrick or Bangor tomorrow.
So I won't be getting to Liverpool this weekend :(

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Going for It !!

I am thinking of giving it ago for Liverpool in one go from Girvan, leaving on Saturday morning arriving in Liverpool at approx 1500 hrs Sunday....

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

What next !!

Haven't been feeling too good lately and sores have appeared on my right leg, which are quite painful. So I decided to go to the doctors in Girvan only to find out I've got Shingles and the combination of Crohn's and shingles causes low blood count, which expains a few ailments :(((
Got to go back on Friday to get results from blood tests.
I hope this doesn't affect the challenge as I am so close to home.... Doh

28th September

Sun shining, not a cloud in the sky with 40mph winds :(

Hopefully leaving for Portpatrick on Saturday, providing the winds calm down, the forecast is giving F4 on Saturday with heavy rain and mist... Typical !!!

Beggers can't be choosers !!

Everyone seems to be getting their boats lifted out in Girvan for the winter, is this telling me something.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Girvan ;)

Finally got to Girvan at 2100hrs after a very eventful crossing.
The weather forecast didnt get it quite right and it decided to blow up F6-7 causing a very uncomfortable sea state.
Had to call the life boat out for another boat and stay with the other boat until they arrived.
Getting into Girvan in the pitch black was the scariest time so far, I just had to go for it and pray I got it right as its not the easiest entrance given the conditions.
I was so relieved to get in, I hugged the RNLI coxswain man, he must have thought I was crazy.
So glad have of made progress, however forecast is awful until Sunday :(

Troon 2 Cowdenbeath 4

Went to watch the Troon girls take on Cowdenbeath, fantatstic game in awful conditions.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Red sky at night, sailors delight

Going to try again tomorrow afternoon, for a sail into the early night to Girvan.


After yesterdays disappointment of not getting to Girvan, I decided to drown my sorrows with copious amounts of alcohol. I met man in the pub that is living on his boat and proceeded to get quite drunk with him, John is in 70 but with the humour of a 16 year old,, anyway.......
I went for a shower this morning only to find John's shoes and clothes outside the shower cubical and I thought to myself this is my chance to have a laugh, so I filled a glass with ice cold water and chucked it over the shower door, only to hear very loud scottish schriek, followed by alot of swearing. This was a bit strange as John wasn't Scottish.
Then the shower door opened and a massive bloke stood there (not John) in the nude saying I dont know what happened then but a load of freezing cold water just came over me, as I was the only one in the shower block with him, what was I to do !!!
I first of all said " sorry, I thought you were someone else" but he didnt hear me, then thinking on my feet we both looked up and saw abit of the water that went on the ceiling and I proceeded to say it must of been a burst in the ceiling, to my amazement he agreed and went to tell the staff.
Afterwards we got talking and he made a donation to the charity, now I have guilt !!!! ;)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

24th September

To my disappointment I am back in Troon, the seas were not good and hadn't calmed down from the big winds last night, very uncomfortable.

Gutted..............these left over hurricanes from America are causing me problems.

Friday, 23 September 2011

23rd September

A wee break in the weather has appeared tomorrow afternoon (Saturday), so I am going to try and get to Girvan tomorrow, even though its going to be wind on the nose, but thats nothing new !!

Things to do in Troon when you're waiting for the weather !!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

22nd September

Glasgow was really nice yesterday, felt like a proper tourist on the open top bus in the driving wind and rain.

Weather forecast is still all over the place, however there may be a few small opportunities to run to Girvan over the weekend.

Laundrette today then off for a walk to the RNLI Station to see the coxswain I met at the wind fest on Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Weh hey, on a positive note a very very kind gentlemen has just donated 200 big ones to the charity :))) now thats better than shredded wheat and gin.

Thankyou so much.

£2545 raised to date, thats a gross figure of £3181.25

Thankyou so much to everyone who has gone to the effort to donate, it seriously keeps me going.

20th September

I have heard of harbour fever before and been told that harbours rot boats and sailors and I just thought it was a myth.

Today I think I am having my first harbour fever experience, I feel that I am losing my bottle, I am 'concerned' every time I leave harbour but the thought of the North Channel and the so varied weather reports is causing me big concerns this time.

I went for a walk to the beach today and looked over the seas and thought, jesus that looks so scary and then made the mistake of chatting to a local about these seas, only to be told some of the scariest stories Ive heard so far. (Im sure when he got home he must of told his wife that he had just frightened the life out of a scouser sailing around Britain with a parrot) !!!

Im finding that the longer you stay in a harbour the harder it is to get back out on the seas, I just need to get out there and just do it, instead of trying to find the perfect conditions. I seem to be getting more conservative the closer I get to home, on my first leg of the challenge I was getting 40 mph plus winds and it was ok, Caernarfon To Pwhelli was 33 mph on the nose, now anything more than a 25mph wind and I am staying put.
I know I have got to take Finley into account and that does make a wee difference as the wind can be blowing but the sea state has got to be good.

I think three shredded wheat for me and a large Gin, when I next sail.

Off to Glasgow tomorrow on the train to get away from the harbour and the boat and sea for a day.

Monday, 19 September 2011

19th September

Solitary confinement, comes to mind !!

The weather forecast is not looking good for ages and ages and ages.

Killing time for 5 months in a fibreglass shoe box is taking its toll now, I am taking about an hour in the shower, as long as I can to make breakfast, spending hours studying the weather, trying to find a slot to run for home, I am running out of things to keep me occupied.

Ive even offered a free labour service to Yatch Haven just to keep busy.

I never considered myself as a patient type of guy, however this is pushing any patience I have to the limit.

I could jump a train and go home for a week or two but I would consider that as failing so close to the end.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

17th September

I have decided to stay in Troon after advice from many including the RNLI, due to a deepening low coming in after tomorrow and Girvan and Portpatrick not being safe havens in strong winds.

I'm a little gutted as I was trying to get back for the 25th of this month, but it's not worth taking any risk's at this stage and the North Channel is not the most forgiving stretch of sea.

I have tomorrows entertainment sorted, as there is a wind festival competition on and I have offered a helping hand to the RYA on one of their safety ribs which should be good fun.

So here's to another week or so waiting for another low to pass, ( be patients they tell me) !!!!!!!

Leg 28 Ardrishaig to Troon via Largs

Thursday, 15 September 2011

15th September

Arrived at Troon at 1630 hrs.

This leg of the challenge was beautiful, calm winds and flat seas, dolphins, porpoise and seals.

Only a possible three more stops before Liverpool....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

14th September

Woke to sunshine and calm winds and blue skies this morning.

Hopefully leaving for Troon tomorrow :)

Carried out checks on Zuma, everything looks ok, however the port side shroud has a very little kink in it, just below the spreader, there are no frayed wires so I will monitor it closely and get it looked at in Troon.

Roll on tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

13th September

Hopefully the worst of Katia has now passed, it was quite scary at times but I am pleased to say no major damage to Zuma.

I am going to attach the canopy and main sail tomorrow as I am hoping to go to Troon on Thursday.

I don't know whether it's because the end is insight, but I'm getting very fustrated with the weather at the moment and sitting in the boat is becoming harder and harder, there is not a lot to do in Largs and the length of time I've been out here is taking its toll I think.

Inevitabley it seems to have a knock on effect on the Crohn's as it seems that when I get anxious it flares up, I just need to get sailing me thinks.

Roll on some decent weather .... please.

Leg 26 Oban to Crinan Canal

Monday, 12 September 2011

Leg 25 Caledonian to Oban, Including Parrot Sanctuary.

12th September

Well, we made it through the night with no damage.

Katia is starting to really blow now, there are 0.5m waves in the marina now and a few canopies are being removed. Hopefully the worst will be over in a few hours.

Its amazing to see the strength of Katia, fascinating. Im going for a walk along the beach, just to get the feel for the backend of a Hurricane as these lows are pretty rare.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

11th September

Woke this morning to find myself halfway up the starboard side of Zuma, she's heeled over a almost 30 degrees at times.

I don't think I have ever experienced winds and rain like this, its relentless and they say Monday and now Tuesday are going to get worse.

Zuma's getting an unfair slapping, thankfully I am not on a mooring as two boats have broken free already and are on the beach.

Thankfully I re-sealed the windows so she's keeping me dry, Im going back under the douvet with ear plugs in.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

10th September

Hurricane Katia is definitely on her way through, Zuma's got every rope on her I have,

Its going to get up to 67mph winds and I couldn't sleep last night with 38mph winds, so it looks like its going to be a fun filled few days.

So glad I got to Largs, as I have hidden Zuma behind a bigger boat to protect her, but Im going to be stuffed if the wind changes direction.

Bring it on Katia!!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

8th September

Arrived at Largs at 1700 hrs, the weather was ok, its starting to blow up a bit now.

Its a massive marina with great facilities, unfortunately the weather for the next week is poor to say the least, so I might be stuck here for a week.

Zuma is getting lifted out tomorrow hopefully to get the new anode fitted and give her a rub down.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

7th June

After a lively night getting blown about there seems to be a wee opening in the weather. So I am going to attempt to get to Largs tomorrrow, the local fishing boats are talking of a big storm at the weekend, so I would rather be secure in Largs rather than here in Ardrishaig.

Caledonian Canal

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

6th September

Just got to Ardrishaig, even the Crinan Canal was tricky in 43mph gusts.

Looks like I am going to be stuck here for a while as the weather forecast is unbelievable for the next week or so, its forecasting f6 - f8 for a week. Time to lock down the hatches as its pretty exposed here and I am moored up next to the smelliest fishing boat ever.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

4th September

Just arrived back at Oban Marina after a great weekend taking journalists around the west coast sampling great food and excellent sailing in a Bavaria 42.

Leaving for Crinan in morning before storms hit on Tuesday, bit nervous as I hope the weather forecast is right and the storms hit Tuesday and not tomorrow.

It will be hard leaving Kerrera but hopefully it wont be long before I am back.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

1st September

Four months on Zuma today, the way its going I am going to win the title for slowest circumnavigation of Britain.

The parrot sanctuary was amazing, I helped out there on Wednesday and learnt so much about parrots, Finley stayed over last night and got spoilt to bits, he is now eating chicken bones, chicken, pomegranate, scrambled eggs and seems so happy with the change.

People told me when I took this challenge on that it would change my life and up to Tuesday I hadn't felt that it would until I arrived here, it's an amazing place and I would love to be a part of it.

Not only has the Parrot sanctuary blown me away, so has the island and it's inhabitants, I came across a beautiful property whilst out walking and to my amazement it's owned by the marina and they are looking to sell the property . It has not been inhabited for several years and it is exactly what I have been looking for.

Unfortunately out of the blue a Canadian millionaire called the marina today to say he was sending a surveyor out to survey the property. I was gutted I thought they were winding me up, however they think he might be after buying land with the property and I don't think they want to sell the land, so hopefully it won't go through.

I am delivering a yacht tomorrow to Tobermory, until Sunday to raise some funds as the pot is nearly empty.

Sorry for the delay with the Caledonian video, but it's been a crazy few days.