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NEWSLETTER 2019-02 (41)

Greetings Fellow Penguins,


Our Cruising Season has started!

20th May 2019

Since my last scribblings, the sailing season has commenced - we have been blessed with good weather (well - sometimes!) Captain Jonty kindly offered his yacht Aurial for a weekend’s “derustification” practice session in late March for willing skippers who wanted to try and remember what to do when mucking about on big yachts!

All I can say is that three Penguins went down to Nayland Yacht Haven, near Milford Haven and it has been strangely quiet from darkest West Wales. . . .

Penguin Easter Cruise 13th - 20th April


Well - we were certainly blessed with the weather (again) this time! 31 Penguins assembled at Armadale pier on a blustery Saturday - Pugwash was amongst you - to be greeted by Charmian and Mark Entwistle, our charterers - who are retiring at the end of the 2019 season (no takers for the business as a whole - they will be selling off all but one of the yachts and sailing off in Discovery of Sleat for their retirement!)


Penguins had chartered four yachts, with Vice Commodore Hamilton as our commodore afloat. We had strong south-easterly winds for the first three days and then varying strengths for the rest of the week. It only rained for a couple of hours on the Tuesday afternoon. In short, we completed a circumnavigation anti-clock- wise around the Isle of Skye with just a few incidents on the way!


Sunday - we had set off at a leisurely hour to transit the Kyle Rhea and planned a lunch stop at the Crowlin Islands. One yacht suffered a major breakdown in the in- mast furling gear so the approach to Crowlin inlet anchoring was “eventful”! Suffice to say, the fleet of four managed to pass underneath the Skye Bridge THREE TIMES that day to rendezvous with Mark Entwistle to effect repairs.

Cracking day sailing up to Gairloch on Monday - another yacht suffered a failure of their roller reefing gear on the genoa - it was all happening to us Penguins

Tuesday was the day to transit the Little Minch and overnight at the island of Scalpay in the Outer Hebrides - we sailed via the Shiant Islands, an uninhabited spot rich with wildlife and were rewarded with the sight to two sea-eagles performing a courtship dance (until disturbed by a flock of pesky seagulls!)



So far, we had started each day with a leisurely cast-off (due mainly to problems as mentioned before!) and Wednesday was no different - yet another of our yachts found that their holding tank was blocked. . . .


forgot to mention - last year, Penguins were the first visitors to Scalpay and their new pontoon, and Fred the harbourmaster had promised us a bottle of genuine Harris Gin if we returned in 2019. How could our Commodore resist? I don’t think Simon Hamilton had much choice in the matter as we planned the day’s sailing from Gairloch the day before.

The gin was duly presented - a beautiful bottle with a seaweed infused distilled spirit inside - evenly (?) distributed amongst the four crews - a very pleasant evening was had by all!

The wind was light and still from the south east and we knew we had to get as far south as we could before recrossing the Little Minch - so it was a matter of motor- sailing as far as we could - South Uist, Loch Skipport was our destination, and a spot called Wizard Pool was our overnight anchorage. The pilot says “Beware Float Rock, dries 2.3 metres, Linne arm has a narrow entrance, many fish farms and poor holding” - we certainly know how to pick ‘em!

The sun was out, the sky blue and all was well with the world as we set off on Thursday for Loch Brackadale (the Isle of Skye) for lunch and on to our favourite watering hole - Canna for the night. Beautiful weather and Canna was bathed in glorious sunshine as all crews had a chance to stretch their legs and explore (well - the cafe was opened specially for us and they sold beer!)

Friday was a return to Mallaig - via Loch Scavaig - we love the challenge of avoiding the rocks as you go into the inner Loch na Cuilce and anchor in the shadow of the mighty Cuillin hills. Some hardy crew were SWIMMING! The weather was ideal - no wind, sun beating down, there was even a WEDDING PARTY who arrived for their ceremony in the shadow of the hills.

Suffice to say - we made it back to Mallaig for a well-earned beer and meal ashore before returning the yachts to Armadale in time for an 09:00 hand-back.


A great week - blessed with good weather and good company - for those that are wondering what happened to the beautiful Harris Gin bottle - Pugwash has it!


James Raby Memorial Photographic Competition

Mainly due to the success of the Easter Cruise, there have been a plethora of photos taken and posted on the Penguin Facebook page, poor Marian (our brave secretary who has foolishly agreed to collate submissions for the photographic competiton) has only had three entries to date - so send your best ones in! Marian pleads “please please please keep your entries down to “a few” of your best pictures - try to limit it to three!”


2019 Cruises - vacancies!

I know it is short notice, but Charles Howell has a whole cabin (two berths!) available for the second week of his Oban to Malin Waters (8th- 22nd June) cruise.

Come on - you know you want to!! Let Charles know - the details are on the web-site and it’s an ideal opportunity to enjoy the long daylight hours and Irish hospi- tality on the return leg to Dunstaffnage.

Lake Huron (7th-21st September) - A single yacht is chartered for the first week and we have two 38 foot yachts for the second week, the crew list is full!

Tight Halyards






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