Just come back from an absolute cracker of a sailing holiday with Ben, Fi, baby Ella and resident crew, Lise. This was our first trip with two babies onboard and it was either going to go very well or very badly!
We started off in our home port of Troon and took the 4 hour trip over to Lamlash on the east of Arran. The kids were mostly okay, but in a good Force 5 wind, it was a bit stronger than we had originally hoped. Kyle did get a wee bit seasick, bless him - must take after his daddy! Ben and Fi did really well - it sort of makes sense why Jen and I would take Kyle sailing, but for a couple to entrust themselves and their very young baby with someone else shows a great deal of strength. Likewise, being able to look at the "greater good" and beyond the "right here, right now" ugliness of seasickness etc really says something.
We spent Saturday night on the boat and then on Sunday we blew up our dinghy and motored over to Lamlash bay. There's not a whole lot to do, so we waited until the pub openned, had ourselves a slap up meal and then took a walk along the shoreline. Its amazing how time slips away when there's two young ones to attend to, so before we knew it was time to get the kids back in the dinghy and get back to Honu in time for dinner and bedtime routines!
The next morning we up past the northern tip of Arran and then up Loch Fyne to Tarbert. The weather wasn't kind to us and we soon found ourselves tacking up Loch Fyne in a Force 7 head wind. We were heavily reefed and I was doing my best to keep the boat flat. However, that meant that we were making slow progress and a poor angle to the wind. Both kids were seasick and it was decided that we should abandon the 'slow and gentle' approach and instead focus on getting in. As it turned out, neither the kids or adults really noticed the difference as I hardened up our sails and made for a more direct route. All in all, it was a bit of a bumpy ride and certainly more than we had planned to take the kids out in. However, everyone was happy, we were perfectly safe in Honu as I'd been in much worse before!
Tarbert is picturesque in the extreme, with the busy village circling the naturally formed harbour. We were thrilled to see that the marina had been greatly improved since our last visit many years ago. In the "good" ole days, there was really just one big long pontoon and you were never really sure if you'd get a space. Now, its a proper marina with several finger pontoons, big enough to accomodate Honu. On Tuesday night, Lise was kind enough to offer to babysit both babies to let us parents hit the town! Jen and I found a lovely restaurant and Ben and Fi found a great seafood place. Afterwards, we both met up in the Victoria Hotel for a cheeky drink before returning to the boat.
On Wednesday we made our way up the Kyles of Bute to Colintraive, where someone had told Jen she could find a mooring buoy that would be sturdy enough to hold Honu. We had a good sail up, but needless to say we couldn't find the buoy! We stopped at each bay, carefully motoring round each buoy looking for the right markings. Needless to say it was about this time when the wind picked up and we were hit with driving rain! We spent another hour looking for this buoy until we decided to give up and instead catch one of the visitor buoys of the Colintraive Hotel. They're not really designed for a boat as heavy, long or deep as Honu which made our approach to catch the buoy all that more interesting. However, we caught it on the first attempt and thankfully didn't drag during the night!
We awoke on Thursday to a lovely sunny day. We motored down the eastern Kyle of Bute and then north towards Holy Loch. We were hoping to spend a few days in Holy Loch, but unfortunately there was some severe weather forecast in the coming days and so the decision was made to leave on Friday for Largs, where there's plenty to do on dry land and, if necessary, the kids could be picked up by Jen's mum to save a bumpy trip back down to Troon.
We arrive in Largs on Saturday and spent a day or two browsing the local town. There was still some strong weather forecast so we arranged for Kyle and Ella's grandparents to come and collect them from Largs, leaving the adults to sail the boat back down to Troon. As it turned out, the trip down wasn't too bad - apart from an almighty gust that forced the boat over and then to round up. Jen and I had both spotted the squal coming and I was on my way to our port quarter winch, ready to put a reef in our foresail. Unfortunately, we were just a bit slow and poor Ben, who was on the helm, got quite the fright! Of course, our own fault for having too much sail out! Needless to say we wouln't have been doing that if the kids had been onboard!