Arrived at Lochaber Yacht Club yesterday and met up with the rest of the Sail Caledonia fleet. Launched and sailed to the entrance to the Caledonian Canal at Corpach. The wind was F5/6, so it was quite a sleigh ride under reefed main and no mizzen. Tried out my new boat tent for the first time last night. It stayed up and didn't leak too much in the heavy wind and rain. Bit saggy in middle, could probably do with guy ropes to the top of the hoops. This morning drove the car and trailer to Inverness while the boats went up Neptunes Staircase – a sequence of eight locks. The raid organisers kindly took Scratch through while I was away.
After lunch, a rowing race along the canal. Fast with a strong following wind, but very difficult to keep the boat straight. Apparently a chop on the canal is unusual. Eventually I was unable to keep the boat straight in a gust, touched the bank and leapt out with a line. Safety boat was on hand, and one of the guys offered to come and take the tiller. I decided this was no time to be proud. Having the extra weight at the stern, and most importantly having the rudder down, made a huge difference – like rowing a different boat. Might try lashing the tiller if I'm rowing in those conditions again. Racing on Loch Lochy is scheduled for tomorrow. Hoping the weather improves. This morning Loch Ness had a four foot swell and lots of white horses. Blowing right up the loch.
Photo © Bart Muller