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A 2 day cruise around the Isle of Gigha - west coast of Scotland, July 2013 - Dave Stubbs

Shearwater sailing canoe

In July 2013, on a Friday night, five friends met up at the Point Sands Campsite overlooking the Isle of Gigha. Graham getting ready to sail in his GRP Shearwater Evolution.

Sailing around Gigha

At about 10 the next morning we launched in very quiet conditions. In glorious warm sunshine we set off anticlockwise around the island. I was in my custom built Shearwater without outriggers.

decked sailing canoe

Ramsay in his ketch rigged, plywood decked sailing canoe. Built in 1997 and still performing well.

Shearwater sailing canoes

Andy and Chris were also sailing custom-built Shearwaters.

Custom Shearwater

Chris looking relaxed. The custom-built Shearwaters had a GRP hull with plywood deck and built-in buoyancy tanks.

Shearwater sailing canoe

Andy had his dog with him. Shorts and t-shirt weather, it was a glorious day for sailing.

Sailing around Gigha

We rounded the northern tip of Gigha and then ran down the west side in very light conditions. After about 8 miles we reached Cara Island

Sailing around Gigha

Eventually we rounded the southern tip of Cara Island, just south of Gigha. An impressive rocky headland.

Sailing around Gigha

Lots of seabirds on the rocks.

beach on Gigha

After a big wind shift we found ourselves running north up the east coast of Cara and found a beautiful beach at Poll an Aba.

sailing around Gigha

A visiting motor boat was anchored off the beach but they soon went and left us all alone. It had taken 7 hours to travel about 16 miles but it had been a beautiful sail.

evening light, Cara

We had a fantastic time, getting the camp set up, cooking and drinking the evening away.

Cara in moonlight

We had a campfire out on the sandy spit by Aird Fhada, and weren’t bothered by midges. The moon came out and we had one of the best camps ever.

 

 

Camping on Cara beach

Camping on Cara beach

The next day we woke to grey skies, a strong Force 5 northerly wind and cold temperatures. This hadn’t been forecast but that’s Scottish weather for you. I started to regret not putting my outriggers on and leaving my dry suit in the car. It was a 5 mile beat into wind and waves to get back to Point Sands, so we reefed and headed out. The sailing was challenging – so there was no opportunity for photographs!

An hour later, cold and wet, we reached the cars and my wife, who had stayed behind, went and bought me breakfast. It’s a lesson I won’t forget in a hurry – be prepared for the unexpected.┬áNevertheless, it had been a very worthwhile trip. Shorter than most, but the sailing on Saturday with that idyllic campsite made it worth the drive to get there.