Friday, September 01, 2006

Ever had sudden turbulence in your life?

There you are proceeding calmly, your happy nature at peace with the world, perhaps you are revelling in the memory of some recent personal success, and suddenly you see 5 foot standing waves straight ahead, steep sided, wind gusting against the strong tide. The helm is difficult to steer, the boat is thrown about. The waters around you are dangerous, the currents are strong.

After all, the infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool noted by sailors around the world for its ability to suck small boats under is not too far away.

It is amazing at these times how quickly you snap out of the dreams and into action. You quickly power up the engine, the crew snap into position to help the boat through the 100 yards of this boiling mass of water. So far so good. Then, near disaster, the violent motion of the boat forces air instead of diesel fuel from the tank to the fuel feed. With no fuel the engine dies.

The boat is now helpless. The crew quickly get up the big foresail, as the boat yaws about, and they manage to sail the boat slowly through the cauldron of water. Sails are always, always more reliable than engines.

This was David Cooper's experience, with son Chris and friend Christine recently. They were on their way back from racing their Trapper 28 in a long pursuit race from Oban to Craobh Haven to the South. David runs the lovely Glencoe centre, Crafts and Things, but races boats on the side. He is usually successful at it.

They all ended up having a Pizza on the North Pier at Oban none the worse. But it was a nasty
scare at the time.

PS Oh, and they had already won the race, against a fleet of 100 top boats.

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Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
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