Sail fixing and other adventures

Trip Start May 06, 2008
Trip End Sep 30, 2008

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Monday, June 23, 2008

We woke to a better day, with little wind and some intermittent sun. As the wind had abated, this gave us the opportunity to get the mainsail sorted so I had everyone up and about in short order, the idea was to get it fixed before breakfast. Breakfast never happened that day...
As it was my boat and my problem, naturally I felt it only right for me to risk life and limb to get the problem sorted. We used the spinnaker halyard as the main lifting line and the staysail halyard as the backup and I soon found myself struggling to get the recalcitrant sail out of the mast, just below the first spreaders. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, with the joint efforts of everyone pulling the control lines when I asked and my pulling furiously on the sail at the jamming point, we got a bit more sail out. We were then joined by a very kind couple off a nearby Beneteau 42, Dave & Catherine and their Newfoundland, Tinga, who came to offer their assistance. Tinga stayed and slept in the dinghy and for the next hour or so, we succeeded in getting another 20 - 30% of the sail out. At this point, I was covered (still am) with bruises and my hands had lost all strength from the gripping and pulling of the sail, so I had to be relieved by Paul, who was kind enough to volunteer. It took well nigh another hour to free the sail - the jams just travelled further and further up the mast as the sail unfurled, so that Paul was eventually higher than the upper spreaders. However, we finally succeeded and Paul had his camera sent up so that we could have a new view of Celtic Warrior (see photo).

After lunch and having recovered somewhat, we set sail the 10 miles or so to the lovely anchorage of Acarsaid Mhor, on the South West corner of Rona.
Rona has an interesting and long history, at least its' rocks have - they are some of the oldest in Europe, over 2500 million years old. Somewhat more recently, it was the haunt of pirates that used the concealed anchorage at Acarsaid Mhor as their base of operations. Since 1992, the island has belonged to a Danish lady, Mrs Dorte Mette Jensen. Since 1992, she has spent a great deal of money renovating old buildings some of which are available for rent for that unique away-from-it-all holiday) and planting native trees. She has utilised a trust left by her late father 'for worldwide conservation' and this magical island, with no permanent residents has certainly benefited from his benevolence.
We arrived at the anchorage at around 16:30 and anchored close to Dave & Catherine ( & Tinga, of course!). We knew they were going to be here and wanted to thank them properly for their assistance by offering them drinks and canapés. However, they preferred it if we joined them, as it was easier than trying to get 140lbs of dog into our boat, so we did this in the early evening, taking smoked salmon, fizz and some beer with us. Not to be outdone and generous people that they are, they offered us chicken wings, peanuts, cocktail onions etc plus wine or beer, so of course, the conversation soon flowed. They declined the offer of joining us for dinner back on our boat (excellent haggis, mashed potato & neeps and some cabbage) which we consumed with gusto at 9 o'clock, despite the volumes that we had eaten on board the Beneateau.
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