ORCEL bids farewell to Duet

Leg 5 / Day 5 & 6

Duet sails in the misty Scottish IslesLast night we anchored in Loch Fyne, over the water from Tarbet.  The sea was flat calm.  It was a beautiful secluded spot near a stony beach surrounded by natural forest with one large old house peeping through the trees.  It was called ArdmarnockBay, also known as Spooky Haunted Bay.

After tea, Gavin and Francis arranged for us to be ferried to the nearby beach for a treasure hunt.  Our mission was to find the most interesting natural object,  man-made object, a holy stone and the tastiest seaweed.  We travelled in style in Duet’s tender and we didn’t even have to row as we were treated to the use of the outboard motor.

Only after being dropped off did we realise that we’d forgotten to ask when we were being picked back-up. The Port watch found a live crab which they named after our favourite Mate.

Today we upped anchor and travelled down Loch Fyne by sail initially.  The forecast had promised Force 6 wind but this didn’t materialise so we also had the engine on for part of the way.

We passed islands such as Bute and Arran.  We saw Ailsa Craig (aka Paddy’s Milestone) in the distance.  The mists descended and there was more and more rain.  As we turned up the Clyde the rain got heavier until we could no longer see land.  The sea was hopping with raindrops.

We had a wonderful welcome on arrival at the Victoria Dock in Greenock.  The Ocean Youth Club and Jubilee Sailing Trust were there to meet us along with two kilted gentlemen including a bagpiper whose rousing rendition of popular Scottish melodies raised several cheers and toots from passers-by.

We just had time to change into our new Duet ‘Voyage to Success’ T-shirts then we went over the road to a fabulous reception hosted by the Ocean Youth Club.  There were some heartfelt speeches, followed by a wonderful spread of a buffet including the best home-made meringues ever tasted.  We were greeted very warmly and were truly touched by the interest and good wishes of everyone we spoke to.   It was a memorable conclusion to our sailing voyage.

To round off a very special evening, we were treated to showers in the nearby Waterfront leisure centre, courtesy of a special arrangement by Ocean Youth Club.

It was noticeable when on dry land that the ground seemed to be moving – as if we were still at sea.  Starting to feel like true sailors.

We were rocked to sleep by the gentle waves in the dock.  One last night to enjoy the motion of the sea before losing our sea legs and becoming landlubbers once more.

Saskia writes . . .We left Armarnock Bay where we spent the night to continue our journey towards Greenock. We had 30 miles to go in only a short time so it was all hands on deck to get to our desintation.

The weather was mostly cloudy as we motored at a constant speed, going at no more than 4-6 knots. The boat continued to angle sideways, sloping and leaning towards the water. It was very unpleasent when trying to cook a meal. As much as I love this cossy little boat and sailing in general I am very much looking forward to going back to small home comforts. Being on a small yacht out at sea you really learn to appreciate how lucky we are and how much we have.

Thank you Gavin and Francis for teaching us how to sail and being excellent mentors when times got tough. Thank you to Kayleigh, Heather and Shelley for working hard as a team. And thank you to Sophie and Hilda for being such brilliant team leaders. This truly has been an experience of a lifetime and a voyage to success! Great work everyone!

Heather . . . Today we sailed the rest of the way to Greenock. It was fun but it was hard work pulling the anchor up. It felt like I had done adout 100 meters when Shelly came to help.

As we have a lot to do tomorrow like clean the whole boat and pack our stuff. I relly don’t want to go. I quite like being in a small boat. It’s just a bit like a caravan but a tad bit smaller. I still want to go home though. I miss my dog and the microwave and being able to go to the shop when you wan,t plus all the simple pleasures like my bed.

The welcome we got was amazing as there was a bagpipe playing for us. One of the best thing about it was that we got Dominos pizzas. They tasted lush. Everyone was asking questions about how the voyage went.

We went to a leisure center and were treated to very luxurious showers and to be honest we were lucky to get three showers this week and those were the best. They had a TV and every thing. I didn’t want to leave the luxury behind. We have had some free time and me and Sas bought a book to read. Hope they are good.

I would like to thank Christopher Courtauld who owns the boat for letting us use it as she is a beautiful boat. We have looked after her.

Thank you also to Curly and Barbara for being our Champions for the week.

Duet sailing on the west coast of Scotland

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