These are the voyages of the sailing vessel Pétillant. Her original eight-month mission: to sail from Baltimore to France via Florida and the Bahamas, to successfully navigate the shoals of the French douane, to boldly go where few Maine Coon cats have gone before was completed in 2008. Now she is berthed in Port Medoc and sails costal Spain, France, and the UK during the summer months.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dunvegan and first part of Malts Cruise

We are in Loch Dunvegan, at the NW corner of Skye.  It is now about 1 week since the Malt's Cruise started, and we are doing pretty well.


We left Oban on July 8, after a nice parade of sail, and headed up the sound towards Tobermory.  The wind was on the beam, and we held 8 kts (!) for about 1.5 hours, till we entered the straits, and it dies/shifted ahead.  We played with the wind a bit, trying to sail, for another hour before we gave up and moroted about half way.  The slips were all taken by boats that had left the parade of sail early, and were more "racer-equipped" than we are, so we took a mooring and dropped the dinghy for the first time this trip..

The Honda started right away (miracle), and ran fine (serious miracle), and we got to the pub where everyone was watching Andy Murray try to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon.  Unfortunately, he did not succeed (he probably would have been crowned King of Scotland if he had won), but it was a good match, and we got a good meal out of it.

Walked around Tobermory, and then decided to head off the next day, and buy whisky when we come back.


We headed out of Tobermory on July 9 with the thought of going into Lock Moidart that night, but the wind was quite nice, and we could see Arcarius heading west, so we decided to follow.  We managed to reach the SW corner of Run before we had to turn north into the wind, and decided to motor the rest of the way into Canna.  

Last year, we were the only boat in Canna when we stopped there, except for Spray of Wight, so we got a personal whisky-"nosing" demonstration.  This year was a bit different.  Arcarius graciously tucked into the NW corner of the bay, and we into the SW corner, and then 12 other boats from god-knows-where materialized and plowed the bottom real good as they tried to set their anchors.  One large Beneteau 473 tried at least 6 times before finally "setting" very close to us.  We warned him that he was too close, but he accused us of putting out too much chain(!), and taking too much of the anchorage.  Excuse me?!  3.5 times depth is too much scope?!  Where did he learn his anchoring technique?

Well, the winds dies down in the night, so we didn't have to exchange insurance info, and the next day we headed off to Rum.


The trip to Rum was very much like the trip to Canna, but with less wind.  Good sailing for about an hour, then the wind died, and we motored into Loch Scresort.  Part of the fleet was already there, well anchored and spread out.  We had an appointment for the eagle spotting tour at 1:00PM, so we hustled to get into the dingy and on to shore.  We remembered problems with dinghies and low tides last year, so we were more careful about how we left it, and the eagle-spotting walk was quite successful.  Two eagles, several deer, information about local flora, and NO RAIN.

Then we headed back to the town center, and had a nice BBQ of venison burgers and sticky-toffee pudding, and saw another nature slide presentation before it was time to head back to the boat.  No boat to rescue in the rain, this time, thankfully.


We left Loch Scresort on July 11 without much of a plan other than to be in Loch Harport by the 12th, because of a rendevous scheduled for that day.  We thought we would check out Loch Scavaig and Soay, which everyone raves about. 

As we were headed north (sailing, actually), Spray of WIght announced that they would be doing a nosing in Loch Scavaig at lunch, and then another at the head of Locah Harport in the evening, so this got us excited.  Unfortunately, a LOT of other people had similar ideas, and when we got to Scavaig, it was filled with four (!) boats, in a space that was really suited for only about 3.  We motored about for a while, taking photos of the mountains that surround the anchorage (it is quite stunning), and the seals and the birds, and then decided to head north, and go all the way to Harport for the night.

This was a good idea.  We sailed for about 3 hours, till the wind shifted directly NW, and then motored into Harport, and down to a spot right in from of Talisker distillery, where we ran aground trying to snag a mooring.  This caused a delay of 3 hours while we waited for the tide to turn and float us off.  We then proceeded to find an anchorage in 12 meters of water(that should be enough), in good black, sticky mud, before turning in for the night.

Next day, we slept in late, but got ashore to do some walking around the town of Carbost, and try to worm our way into an early tour of Talisker.  No luck.  It is amazing how many people make their way to a place that is so far from anywhere, just to taste whisky they can buy at home.  Damn tourists...

The tour was great, and that night we had a nice meal of stew, haggis, neeps, and tatties, and then a wildlife photo show by a local photographer.  He was quite good at his art.

the morning of Friday the 13th found us sleeping late again, and when we finally roused ourselves, we found most of the fleet already gone.  Not a problem, though, because the north-going current around Neist Point did not start till noon, so we took our time getting underweigh.  Unfortunately, we found that our anchor bouy had disappeared.  Either it was not tied on well enough, or someone ran over it.  We will have to look for another in the next fishing port we come to.

The trip up the west coast of Skye was glorious.  We started sailing halfway out of Loch Harport, and the wind was quite nicely positioned as we turned NW along the coast.  It was only well after we passed Neist Pt that it headed us.  Several other boats that were following the same path continued out into the MInch, and then tacked back into Loch Dunvegan.  We, however, with two captive kitties, decided to motor-up, and we just powered up to the mouth of the loch, where we turned SE, hauled the sails out again, and went like a bat-out-of-hell down the loch at 9 kts.  Too bad the loch was not longer and we could not sail further.  We did an anchor dance when we arrived, and re-anchored after we realized that the original spot was not good for a wind shift, but we then settled in well.

One very interesting development from this leg is that Calypso did very little drooling.  She seems to be getting used to the sailing life.  This is very positive...

Saturday, July 14, we celebrated Bastille Day by getting up early (relatively), and taking a tour of the town of Dunvegan.  It has a respectable grocery, a cake shop, and a really good bakery.  We then put on our fancy clothes and took a taxi to the 3 Chimneys Inn on the other side of the loch, for lunch.  Highly worthwhile and rewarding.

Tommorrow, we will head out the loch and turn NE towards the north tip of Skye.  We hope to make it to Rona tommorrow, and then down to Plockton on Monday for the next BBQ supper.

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