Here’s a beautiful view of the back of the boat this morning…


We’re at Ardfern Yacht Haven at the top Loch Craignish. These guys are apparently the best in the area for fixing boats… just what we need…

Yesterday Gus, our new hero, along with Alec towed us all the way from Port Ellen to Ardfern – a 5 or 6 hour tow, during which we probably averaged about 8.5 knots! All was pretty uneventful – though the ending was a little interesting – working out how to tow a boat into a slip – but we had Toodle-oo! in reverse and everything seemed to settle into place just nicely.

Gus, with Alec at the helm, towing Toodle-oo! up Loch Craignish

Gus, with Alec at the helm, towing Toodle-oo! up Loch Craignish

Towed along the Sound of Jura

Towed along the Sound of Jura

Past the Paps of Jura...

Past the Paps of Jura…

Bonnie Scotland indeed!

Bonnie Scotland indeed!

Gus and Bertie – and the rest of Gus’ crew have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve now towed us twice, dived on us twice – actually three times – and been generally encouraging throughout the rotten ordeal.

Gus owns StormCats where he builds twin hulled power thingys (sorry Gus!) and runs a boatyard to boot. It’s quite clear that everyone on the islands knows Gus – and Bertie – they seem to be the go-to guys. Bertie is Chairman of the Port Ellen Harbour Association – the voluntary group that runs the marina in Port Ellen. They are both involved in developing opportunities for the islanders and Gus provides opportunities for young people entering the workforce. It was a real pleasure to meet these two truly community minded folk – who simply could not do enough to help out. Thanks guys!

We arrived in Ardfern and were immediately greeted by Liz MacInally from the OCC who lives a stone’s throw from the yard with Ju Randall and after an hour or so Simon and Sally Currin (also OCC) showed too. What a welcome!

We are now awaiting a haul-out – delayed a day – to evaluate what’s to be done about the rudder – can it be fixed or is it in need of replacement. Hopes are high that we’ll be able to get a fix in place (perhaps temporary) that will get us across the North Sea and into the Baltic in time for our planned cruise with the OCC. However, with a Trans-Atlantic crossing planned for the end of the year, perhaps we’ll simply opt for the safest route – new rudder.

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