Autumn Muster 16/17 September


There was a light north -easterly when Tulla Mhor, Silverjack and Lollypop gathered off Kip for the race to Rothesay.  Race Officer Don Gillies with Marge on board Black Pepper chose course 2 - (the familiar trek to Hun 1, Buoy B, Toward Bank with the finish at Ardyne.) meaning a downwind start which, using the available in-situ buoys resulted in an extraordinarily long start line and no incidents. As would be expected Tulla Mhor pulled away strongly but Lollypop was able to maintain distance on them as far as Hun 1 after which the wind filled in to a good sailing breeze and Tulla Mhor found her true stride.  Dugald and Val were joined on this occasion by Stewart and Catherine Toy who were just one day away from no longer being boatless.  Silverjack, with Norena crewing for Graham, was by this time some distance behind Lollypop and there was no change in positions before the finish. Given the wind direction it was a somewhat undemanding reachy course but by midday the sun was blazing, the Clyde was sparkling and with a good sailing wind the conditions were to the enjoyment of all involved.  

Parking up in our reserved berths in Rothesay inner harbour was also uneventful, aided by the always helpful shoreside staff.  Most crews eventually went for a stroll about the town which does show some limited but welcome evidence of regeneration and later on all crews gathered on board Lollypop for the Commodore's drinks reception, it being the final opportunity available to the present Commodore for so doing.  The race results seemed so unexpected when I calculated them on the Excel sheet that I had to triple check everything to ensure there were no errors before presenting them to the assembled party.  The elapsed and corrected times are below. There then followed our annual  visit to the Victoria Hotel, where the ambience continues to resemble a benign version of Fawlty Towers, for what was a perfectly acceptable dinner.  After that, a smaller group of salt encrusted would-be party animals were led by Stewart Toy in search of a performance by the legendary Margaret Zavaroni but ended up having a quiet nightcap in the Black Bull.   

Overnight it was wet and so was the dreich Sunday morning when everyone eventually departed on their separate ways, generally satisfied with the latest Serpent outing.   

Lollypop     elapsed 3hr 5m 29s   corrected  131.45 minutes

Silverjack   elapsed 3hr 15m 26s  corrected 140.85 minutes

Tulla Mhor  elapsed  2hr  39m 00s corrected 141.78 minutes



Scandinavian Cruise - Peter Jennett & Marian Borde

Peter and Marian have kindly agreed to give a brief overview of their fascinating summer trip to Denmark, Sweden and the Baltic.  Their full presentation will be the main feature of next year's Annual General meeting so that's one not to be missed.  

Nearly two thousand memorable miles after leaving Ardrossan on 5th May, Exody was lifted and winterised in southern Sweden near Karlshamn in the last week of July and we flew home on 31st July. Our trip was focused around the eighth anniversary World ARC Reunion timed for the Swedish midsummer celebrations at Karlskrona. We met with six other crews for a convivial weekend of socialising, and touring the historic naval city. We were joined by only one other crew arriving by boat from Germany- the rest flew from Iceland, USA and Portugal, with one couple coming from UK by campervan.

The cruise fell into four main legs

Clyde to Peterhead about two weeks via both canals, a brief detour to Corryvreckan anchorage, a beautifully quiet and flat Loch Ness transit and welcomed by the harbourmaster at Whitehills.

                                        transiting a tranquil Loch Ness

                                                 Exody and Ben Nevis

 North Sea Crossing: Peterhead to Limfjord – 400 miles taking two and half days. After a very pleasant two days weaving through wind and oil installations, we took a bit of a close-hauled, triple- reefed dusting in a near onshore gale eventually diverting 30 miles for safe landfall at Hanstholm commercial fishing harbour.


                                                 Leaving Peterhead

                                           North Sea oil installations


Limfjord to Karlskrona – three weeks in all firstly transiting this shallow (less than 10 metres) inland waterway that bisects Jutland, emerging after Aalborg into the Baltic. 


                                                    Baltic Windfarm

We took in several islands (Anholt, Tuno) and harbours (Ebeltoft, Skaelscor) as we threaded our way south through Denmark’s complex geography, dipping down to Glowe on the German island of Rugen (for economic alcohol supplies). 

Onward northeast to Bornholm, then to charming and well preserved fortified island of Christianso before the final 55 mile crossing to Karlskrona. This last leg saw Exody close reaching at 7 knots into dense mist and crossing a busy shipping lane with unseen vessels passing less than a mile away at nearly 20 knots! We dowsed the genny to slow the boat till clear and then saw the floorboards awash! Culprit found to be our electric bilge pump back-siphoning- first time since fitted 35,000 miles ago: antisiphon valve and non-return valve promptly fitted. 

                                           Christianso fortified harbour

                                                    Utklippan Harbour

                                           Dressed overall in Karlskrona

Island and Archipelago Cruise- Following the reunion event we had crew join us for three weeks heading north about 150 miles in short hops to enter the archipelago complex well south of Stockholm. Translating the Swedish cruising guide and with membership of the local cruising association, we found many delightful spots here to anchor or pick up a buoy. There were a variety of interesting towns and harbours to dock before heading south again via the islands of Gotland and Oland to the city of Kalmar and then southwest (and upwind!) to our pre-arranged yard for slipping.

It was a trip of generally great weather, a whole new vocabulary of docking experiences, flat landscapes, huge maritime wind farms, charming cities towns and villages, superbly clean facilities -all so very well organised and civilised! A great combination of intricate remote archipelagoes to navigate and anchor, busy town centre marinas and small harbours on delightful, mostly carless islands.

Nearer to the war on our European doorstep, we also became acutely aware of the geographic significance of this constrained area of the Baltic as the backdrop to the many belligerent events of the last few centuries: museums everywhere and whole fortified towns and islands.

The general setup for cruising and visiting boats is impressive and we reckon is down to the sheer number of vessels owned by the Danes, Swedes, Germans - mostly under 12 metres due as we learnt to the shallow depths and the compact nature of many of the harbours. Larger boats need to choose their ports and anchorages with great care!

So here we are now boatless in the sunshine in Scotland but also realising that not a jot of boat maintenance will need to be tackled until next spring when we head back for the return trip.