Adventures of a small yacht

Gear - Yachting and Boating

I went into the chandlers to buy a toothbrush and…

…I ended up with an Avon Dinghy! It wasn’t totally spontaneous because I had been looking for one for about three years but my eBay searches only led to a few leads and then we were outbid. Such is the demand for simple old fashioned quality. So when I saw this little beast leaning up against the Chandler’s wall with a £275 price tag on it I simply marched up to the counter and said “I’d like this toothbrush and that dinghy”. You might ask why I was searching so desperately for this particular type of dinghy and was willing

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Scotland

New Vertue Spotted – Tom Thumb V111

August 2021 This is cheating because I haven’t actually seen Tom Thumb – yet. However, I did ask Kevin if he could look out for her as he was sailing from Craobh Marina on an enlarged circumnavigation of Mull. He kindly sent me these photos. Kevin, by the way, looks after the Shackleton Museum in Athy, Co. Kildare, Ireland. I’m looking for an excuse to visit! I’ve been aware of Tom Thumb for a while because Will Stirling came to have a mooch around Sumara to see if he could glean any ideas before embarking on the no-holds-barred restoration. Tom

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Gear - Yachting and Boating

Choosing Camera Equipment for the Boat

2nd August 2021 It is not as easy as it sounds, in fact it rapidly becomes quite complicated. I’m not in any way a professional photographer but I do have the slight advantage in that this is my second time around at purchasing boat camera equipment. Eleven years ago, I selected the equipment to take on our voyage to Jan Mayen, so I now know what worked and what didn’t. I have also just taken about a thousand product shots for my old company, so I am beginning to get the hang of “still life” photography for websites. And finally,

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Iceland

St Kilda 2021 Part Two – Barra to St Kilda and back to Dunstaffnage

Log 10452 I had randomly decided that the Sound of Barra was the route to go, despite it being described as “tortuous” in the pilot books. I then succeeded in muddling up the incoming tide with the outgoing one which I luckily picked up on when John showed me some fancy app on his iPad. In any case, after all the toing and froing it transpires that it doesn’t really matter when you go through the sound because the tide seems to meet in the middle – and thanks to Rob for pointing that out! So in the end it

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Isle of Mull

St Kilda 2021 Part One – Oban to Barra

Log 10360 My friend Ray applied to work on the remote island of St Kilda when he was just 17 year old. He never got a reply, and although he still holds a slight grudge, it didn’t mean his interest in the islands would wane. He has watched all the old film clips and read all the books about this unique archipelago. Indeed when we were returning from Iceland several years ago, we planned to stop off at St Kilda. However, the island’s anchorage is exposed to winds from the North East through to the South, and as we were

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Gear - Yachting and Boating

Fruit Hammocks

I know some people think fruit hammocks are rubbish but I find them really useful onboard Sumara. They are very gentle on soft fruits and everything can be inspected. I use one to store little evil snacks, one for healthy veg and one for fruit. They normally collect a couple of mobile phones, sunglasses and wallets too. You will be surprised how much a small hammock will hold. My old ones were getting a bit aged so I decided to knock up three new ones. I suppose they took about 45 minutes each but I wasn’t rushing.

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Camper Van

Kettles!

In the campervan we aim to keep all the cooking paraphernalia in one storage box under the famous back shelf. However, the kettle that we owned simply swallowed up all the space. I’ve been watching Rodger Barnes’ excellent videos about dinghy cruising. If you haven’t watched them, then I can highly recommend trying a few as an excellent way to lower your blood pressure and just calm down. In one of the videos he gently describes a “Kitchen Box” which he uses on his dinghy and I thought it could be a good concept for the van. The box acts

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Vertues

New Vertue Spotted – Merganser V47

We were launching our little dinghy during the bank holiday weekend that the weather forecasters said would be glorious blue skies with temperatures in the mid-twenties but were surprised to find ourselves wearing our Rab belay jackets and the poor dog started shivering! A nice man who I have met before and completely forgotten his name came to say hello. He owns Merganser which is V47 built in Portsmouth in 1952. According to the “Blue Book” the sail number was 78Y but I am not sure why. She was built from teak with a rock elm keel and lead ballast

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Day Walks

Ben Lora

As Sumara is locked away in the shed and I am not allowed to work on her until Monday it means that I have some time to fill. As I sat in the campervan I could see a lovely hill across the loch, so I decided to climb up it. I say climb, but it is just a walk really. I’ve been up Ben Lora before when I was training for the Scottish Islands Three Peaks Race about ten years ago. Actually I twisted my knee when I was running down which wasn’t too clever. If you are based in

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Vertues

New Vertue Spotted – Outlander Vertue II

Well not quite “newly spotted” as I knew that Ranulph had his Vertue 2 moored at Dunstaffnage. It has a small bowsprit which must add to the marina mooring fees, but as Ranulph is the Marina Manager I suppose that isn’t too much of an issue! There are many different rigs on Vertues. The common slutter rig must have made life tricky for short tacking so the bowsprit is a logical solution if the staysail shroud is to remain fixed to the bow. The boat is called Outlander and is looking very smart with its dark blue hull. The glass

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