Passage 26 Puilladobhrain to Craobh Haven

I had to plan this one carefully as it involved going through Cuan Sound which is a notoriously nasty tidal gate. It being the top of Springs (highest tides), the rates in this passage reach 8 knots today and do the swirly swirly thing. I timed my run through the sound when it should be considerably less - but still in my favour.

It was nice light winds, though against me as usual, as I made my way round to the entrance of the sound. Once in the sound, there’s no way out but the opposite end. I had the motor on at almost full throttle to maintain steerage and motion through the nasty moving water. Yikes, this was a real sleigh ride. There were whirlpools and all sorts of disturbances in the water which meant the boat slew from one side to the other and the rudders would jolt and judder this way and that. But it was not difficult to keep the boat on course as the speed built up to 10 knots. It’s a narrow channel and the shoreline was whizzing by at an alarming rate.

Then came the fun bit. A near U-turn in the channel. With rocks on either side. I had to keep to my course very accurately. The water, with me in it, slung round the bend at break-neck speed and after a few more minutes of hectic sleigh riding it was all over and I was in calmer, stiller waters. Phew!

The water must have been going at 5 or 6 knots - rather more than I had anticipated given the timing of my passage. I had expected 3 or 4 knots. Still, no harm done and it was exciting. I was rather surprised to see a little motorboat crossing over the sound just as I was careering down it - clearly a local who knew what he was doing.

I continued my sail to Craobh marina under full sail in a nice breeze and was tied up by 11:30am.

This passage ends a series of 3 smallish hops as I needed to pace myself to get to this marina ready for some repairs on Monday. I had arranged for my masthead windex and arial to be refitted (it blew off in a gale at the end of stage 2). This works in my favour as spending hour after hour sailing to windward is pretty tedious. Plus I get to see more of the West Coast.


A short 15 mile morning hop with light winds and full sail. Made exciting by a speedy passage through Cuan Sound. No rain, but no sun either.

Passage 27, Craobh Marina to Gigha Island