• Mark

The best things in life are free

We motored against the current out of Lochaline’s narrow entrance in order to pick up the flood tide heading north. Once through the gap and back in the Sound of Mull the breeze switched on! Lochaline is very sheltered and fortunately I hadn’t allowed testosterone to rule the amount of sail we had up. We had one reef in the main and a lot of the jib rolled away which was good because the wind lurking right outside the loch was blowing up to 26 knots.

I would never talk ill of my previous boat because it was fantastic in so many ways but being a catamaran she wasn’t very good at sailing to windward. She would go but you had to coax her along and not expect too much. This is an area where the Moody excels. She has a pretty long and deep keel which in layman's terms means you point her where you want to go and she goes! No coaxing required. However, this is not the case for my crew-mate! I always knew that Asha and I would sail well together, right from the first time she stepped on the boat and tied a knot that I didn't know, but she has taken a wee while too find her feet. I’m not talking from a competence perspective, I’m talking about confidence. I definitely warrant some of the blame for this simply because of how I am with Altor. I’m not obsessive (stop laughing at the back) but there is a place for everything and to ensure a sound mind everything needs to be in its place! Furthermore, I am pretty insistent on how things should be done onboard from a manoeuvring and sailing point of view. Add that to the fact that I sailed this boat single handed prior to Asha getting on and you can probably see that it would take anyone a fair amount of time to find their own space, their own rhythm and not be too worried about dropping the baby! Asha has had to do all this whilst being under the watchful eye of the PIC (I used t have a t-shirt with PIC on it when I was in my teens and my sister decided that it stood for Prick In Charge)!

What I am saying is that by being me I probably haven't helped this feet finding process but something happened when we left Lochaline! Asha suddenly picked up the ball and ran with it! She was awesome, really awesome. We had several big squalls that came barrelling through where visibility went right down, the heavens opened and the wind blew hard. Altor went to windward beautifully as she does when she is being sailed properly and I believe she was being sailed properly. I was on the helm and Asha was a demon on the winches which is hard work for anyone and we were beating hard to windward for three hours. Asha was also keeping an eye on the chart and was making the calls of when we needed to tack as we got into the shallows. She was properly on it. It wasn’t just the sailing, it was the boat pack down after the sailing too. That day she took full ownership of all she was doing and just did it. I think she surprised herself and whilst I don't want to appear smug, she didn't surprise me at all. I knew that level of competence was there all along, it was just a matter of when she would accept her own capabilities and ‘become’ just like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix! Well done, I’m proud of you.

So here we are in Tobermory! More about that in the next blog I guess but why is this entry called ‘The best things in life are free’? Well, its my guess that that is the mantra of the low life who stole my lifejacket out of the dinghy when it was on the pontoon at Tobermory Marina. No drama though because pricks like that don’t get me down. Life is far too sweet for something like that to spoil my day. Instead, and in the words of B A Baracas, ‘I pity the fool’!


Nice little castle on the shores of Lochaline


Delightful but boisterous sail up the Sound of Mull with beautiful scenery everywhere!


Approaching Tobermory. We picked a spot away from the crowds for the peace we love

We moored next to this beautiful little waterfall at Tobermory


    Track where we are on the Marine Traffic website or the free Marine Traffic app or using AIS. Search for Altor of Down or use the MMSI number: 232 013 438

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