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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    The land of the Medway
    Posts
    1,957

    Default Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    We need a change of scene for a while and are thinking of heading to the Firth of Clyde. I've had a look at the Imray chart C63 and it looks like plenty to do a day sail away along the coast with stunning scenery.

    I'm used to the shallow East Coast and keep our boat on either a swinging mooring or marina, depending on how flush I'm feeling. The mooring is sheltered and I've never felt the need to use chain or anything really HD to keep the boat attached. Also the winters in the South (with the exception of 2 weeks in March this year) are quite tame with a bit of frost first thing and occasional gale being the only hazards.

    Obviously the winters further north are much harsher, what's the realistic situation for keeping a boat in your end of the country? Do people stay in year round, or haul out earlier and launch a bit later, can you leave the rig up etc? You appear to get every storm the just misses our corner.

    The ideal situation for us would be to join a yacht club with swinging mooring and safe storage ashore in the winter, looks like RCYC is the only option? Boat is 36' l and 6'6"d.

    Probably worth mentioning although from the South East we're not snowflakes and the ruggedness of the area appeals, we just don't want to damage the boat overwintering it somewhere the locals know you shouldn't!

    Any comments welcome, many thanks!
    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Me Edinburgh, boat in the west
    Posts
    4,855

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    Most boats vacate their moorings by the end of September. It used to be one could rely on equinoxial gales but that seems to have changed. I have a swinging mooring at Royal Gourock YC - (Royal Clyde merged with Royal Northern quite a few years ago) - from April to September, then 3 months on a pontoon at James Watt Dock followed by 3 months ashore for fettling. JWD are happy for the rig to stay up, other yards, possibly without such substantial cradles, prefer the rig down. Some stay on their moorings but insurance companies tend not to like that.
    Sailing just recently has been a matter of grabbing the good days at very short notice when I can - I live 70 miles from the boat - but definitely worth it.
    If you have more questions feel free to PM me.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    5,213

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    The Firth of Clyde is a great place to sail. It's not getting away from it all the way you would be if further north. Think of it as a bigger, prettier, more relaxed version of the Solent. I would say cheaper but I've not forgiven them for the 5 pint in Portavadie.

    It's relatively sheltered, although the Mull of Kintyre is so fearsome they dug a ditch to avoid it. You do get gales and their stronger cousins but a lot of the time in Summer it is light airs sailing. You can get wind following the line of a Loch (particularly Loch Fyne) so you get more wind than forecast, but except when you head south the fetch isn't usually enough to make the seas too big.

    I sailed a bit around the Medway a good while ago and I remember people being rather casual about the depth under the keel, so you will have to learn to be more cautious there. Scottish rocks don't jump out the way the way Medway mud does. But that said, nav is generally easy 95% of the time. Just avoid the trees and sheep.

    Draught is no problem. I have 2.1m and I think it is only Irvine & Girvan where I've been put off by the depth.

    I keep my boat in NI so can't contribute on storage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Argyll
    Posts
    5,676

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    We tend to make a distinction between 'the West Coast' and 'the Clyde' the latter is less exposed but less indented so there are fewer fully enclosed natural harbours and anchorages, quite a few marinas though where many boats stay afloat all year. The Clyde is fine for two or three seasons after that many folk like to get further west. I am finding it difficult to identify an all year location on the Clyde which has available mooring space, most of the Yacht Clubs like Gourock, Helensburgh etc. bring the boats ashore for the winter and all the best shelter is taken over by marinas. It can be cheapish though, at ABC it costs me 60 for a mast lift, 70 for boat craneage and not much more for 6 months storage in a yard with water and leccy, but to qualify you need to live within a 10 mile radius.
    On the West Coast there are much more choices with good shelter though accessibility becomes an issue, Kilmelford or Dallen's bay have boats afloat on moorings all year.
    Even exposed yards like Kerrera which use travel hoists leave masts up, but if you have been aboard a yacht ashore in a gale with the mast trying to shake the keel bolts out you might decide it is better down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    N of Ardnamurchan, winter Loch Melfort
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    I would say that the Clyde area is not so dissimilar to the south coast in terms of facilities. I'm not familiar with all the moorings availability in the Clyde area (it's a bit too far south for me, except once in a while), and others will know of the availability of swing moorings, but they do exist. Get 'Welcome Anchorages' - www.welcome-anchorages.co.uk (which, despite its name, is actually moorings/marinas) and have a phone around.

    Yes, the season is shorter, when I was on the Hamble my sailing season was defined by the clocks changing. Now, on the NW coast I reckon on sailing from mid/late April to late September; definitely out of the water by the first week of October.

    Storage and mast - depends on the yard and whether you get a cradle. Almost certainly if no cradle - mast out (but don't you want to check fully check the mast once in a while anyway?).

    Winters are not THAT much harsher. The whole area is blessed by the Gulf Stream, and snow is rare near the coast.

    But why limit yourself to chart C63. If you are coming from the south, leave the Mull of Kintyre to starboard, and enjoy the real NW Scotland - that will put hairs on your chest!.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Bricks & mortar: Italy. Me & boat: Aegean
    Posts
    9,972

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    Quote Originally Posted by xyachtdave View Post
    Obviously the winters further north are much harsher
    Very much less than you suppose, Dave. In fact Kent probably gets rather more harsh winter weather than the Clyde. Minchsailor mentioned the Gulf Stream, which benefits the Scottish W coast but the Medway barely at all. The more noticeable effect will probably be the shorter winter days. Typically more sunny in Kent, too.

    As chance would have it, today's isotherm map of the UK is not a bad example of common winter conditions. See here: https://www.carseweather.co.uk/ukisotherm.php
    Note that the 8C isotherm goes through Glasgow and then down to Plymouth. Kent is around 5 colder.
    All epigrams are false

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Glasgow
    Posts
    481

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    Weather is not that cold on the west coast due to the gulf stream ,so frost and snow is less harsh than people think,
    Ardrossan (Clyde Marina Do a great winter package and have cradles so mast stays up , mine did all last winter no issues, the Clyde area has many beautiful places to see and yes 2 to 3 seasons then head up the Crinan or round the Mull and be in Gods country , but you still have Arran , Millport ,Northern Ireland , up the sea lochs on the Upper Clyde, and Nuclear submarine spotting , you will also find it less crowded than down south and there is a large amount of overseas boats that come over from the Atlantic and the Baltic nations to enjoy the scenery and the sailing,
    Head through the Crinan canal and you are in the inner Hebrides were sailing is sublime plenty of safe anchorages and great little towns to explore , you will also receive a very warm welcome.
    auribus teneo lupum

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Port Bannatyne
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    6F779F8C-571C-4AFA-B620-444FB64C9A1A.jpeg

    Aran from the West Kyle.

    Winter sailing on the Clyde can be glorious. Days are short yes, but there are many places you can get to in 2 to 3 hours. The weather is often not much worse than in summer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Clyde
    Posts
    6,914

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    Have a look here. for info.
    http://www.welcome-anchorages.co.uk/
    As said it's a choice thing. Many leave their boats afloat all year round not many get used and many haul out for the winter because they need antifouling etc and just won't be used. It doesn't cost much more for an all year round berth in a marina with winter hard standing than just a summer season would cost. The marinas on the lower Clyde are the most expensive with Largs Topping the list for costs. Ardrossan (Clyde marina) will be around 1500 a year cheaper than Largs for a 36footer but It's a bit more exposed, troon also is. If you want cheaper consider Loch Fyne, Portavadie or Tarbert or Rothesay or Port Bannatyne on Bute but they all take longer to get to if you are driving from Down South.
    The sailing can be stunning and the west coast or Ireland is within easy reach.
    Last edited by Spyro; 03-11-18 at 13:09.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    17,884

    Default Re: Sailing West Coast of Scotland real life experiences please

    Quote Originally Posted by xyachtdave View Post
    Obviously the winters further north are much harsher, what's the realistic situation for keeping a boat in your end of the country? Do people stay in year round, or haul out earlier and launch a bit later, can you leave the rig up etc? You appear to get every storm the just misses our corner.
    What they said, plus ...

    At Port Bannatyne (where my boat is based) everybody is off the swinging moorings by the end of October. About half go ashore and half go into the marina, which fills up completely for the winter. The first few boats appear on moorings again in early May, but they don't really get populated fully until June. That may be a local thing - May often brings some nasty northeasterlies and Kames Bay is rather exposed in that direction.

    The ideal situation for us would be to join a yacht club with swinging mooring and safe storage ashore in the winter, looks like RCYC is the only option? Boat is 36' l and 6'6"d.
    We're not great for yacht clubs in the south coast pink trizers, pink gin and pink face sense. The Royal Northern and Clyde has moorings on the Gareloch, and does a half-price deal for new members, but I think you have to go elsewhere for winter storage. Otherwise it's really roll-your-own. Swinging moorings are generally owned and administered through moorings associations, which makes it very cheap. I pay 45 pa to Port Bannatyne MA and another 100 for an annual inspection. Winters can then be ashore or in marinas.

    Where to base probably depends on how you'll travel. From the south James Watt Dock is probably easiest by car, followed (round the coast) by Kip, Largs, Troon and Ardrossan. If you'd be flying to Glasgow, the airport has a bus link to Paisley Gilmour Street station with direct trains to Greenock (for JWD), Inverkip (for Kip), Largs (1 mile walk/taxi to the marina), Troon and Ardrossan. Rhu, the RNYC (next door) and the Gareloch generally are more of a pain by car or plane, but handy by train and you can get sleepers to and from London from Garelochhead or Helensburgh.

    As Quandary says, the Clyde is fun and, I'd day, good for winters afloat. Scottish winter nights are long and cold, and the Clyde offers lots of short hops, particularly in the northern half. However, you'll probably want to head out to the hairy bits, either round the Mull of Kintyre or through the collapsing remains of the Crinan Canal, and once you're out you may want to stay there. I bring my boat back to the Clyde for winter convenience, as I live 100 miles further south, but I took my last boat through the canal for two weeks the first time, six weeks the second time and five years the third time ...
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

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