Sailing for Fun
Sailing for Fun! Our first event was just that and much more. We called it our Flotilla Day. Seven boats sailed round the loch and congregated as one great raft just offshore near the middle of the village. Lochcarron Sailing Club was saying – “we are here”. A drop to drink, a bite to eat and a bit of a natter made the event a social occasion as well as a statement of our existence.
That first year we were late getting going, it was the 3rd of June. For several years, we opened the season with similar events. In 1990 it was the 19th of May. In 1993, on 22nd May, Stan’s Peggotty and Roger’s Bragela were surrounded by a flotilla consisting of two Mirrors, a canoe, a tender and the rescue boat. In 1994, on the 7th of May, there was again a preponderance of dinghies and small boats – three Toppers and the Carters’ Skipper tying up alongside Peggotty and Elsie Dawn.
Races for the cruisers and other keelboats were more a case of enjoying the sailing, than seeking to win, although the rivalry was part of the fun. Two or three races were on the programme for a few years from 1990 on. There is little record, and memories are weak.
In September 1990 there is a record of David Murray being first across the line in his Flying Fifteen, with Stan second in Peggotty. Roger’s Bragela retired to go to the assistance of Stuart Macleod who had capsized his catamaran. David Murray remembers a case where there was a very close encounter between his Flying Fifteen and Roger’s Bragela as they tacked about just off Rock Villa. There was another occasion when a buoy was laid close inshore near the avalanche shelter. There was not much room between the mark and the rocky shore. Stan remembers Peggotty being in close company with the Flying Fifteen as the two boats slanted into the wind along the Lochcarron shore.
The cruising sailor is an individualist, he wants to get away by himself, and indeed, several members have been quite far from
Lochcarron. Bragela is reported to have been at least as far as Rona. Elsie Dawn has been to Rum and Eigg. Peggotty got into Loch Nevis, and right up the fjord to Kinloch Hourn.
Rob Teago commonly sails round Skye. At our dinner in November 2000, he described his joining up with the Clyde Cruising Club’s Classic Malts Millennium Cruise, when Loch Harport was completely filled with boats. Derrick Allen, as a member of the Ocean Cruising Club, had prompted the trip.
We heard of a phone call to his mother, from Angus MacDowall, who had reached St Kilda in Ceol-na-Mara.
Cruises in company seem a good idea, but actual cruises have been few and far between. In 1995 the Murray and Coppock families took part in a mini-cruise. Elsie Dawn and Bragela visited Plockton, The Crowlins, Raasay and Portree. We have heard of a day cruise in which Dave Sproule in his Wayfarer accompanied David Murray, Rob Teago and Doug Angus to Portneora beyond Plockton. On another occasion Elsie Dawn, Amatory and Moss Rose could not get into the Crowlin Islands but sheltered in Toscaig for lunch.
The series of events, which has been consistently successful, have been the barbecues on Kishorn Island. Commonly fifteen to twenty members have landed on the island to spend the time exploring, lolling in the sun, cooking, eating and drinking. There are records of visits in 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, and 1997.
In 1993, we had a second visit as part of the first Lochcarron Regatta. On that occasion, two Plockton boats joined the fleet, and John Haig came out from Kishorn, in his outboard powered boat. On the 1997 event, intrepid canoeists were encountered on the water. They joined the barbecue, to everyone’s enjoyment.
Dave Sproule’s Wayfarer managed the voyage from Lochcarron on at least one occasion. Another time, the Carters took their Skipper out from Kishorn. On some occasions, a land-based contingent has driven out through the forest, to be ferried across to join the party.