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Bill Mills

Relief at Carrick

by  Bill Mills

Our Friday night destination was Carrick Castle in Loch Goil.  The forecast was for northwest winds force 3-4 over the weekend and that suited us well enough.

          We were sailing in a Pioneer 9 that I was looking after for a friend and Duncan was my companion.

          The trip up to Loch Goil from Kip was pleasant.  The clean lines of the Pioneer spreading the water easily from the hull and we were picking out a spot for the anchor by 1930.  There were about half a dozen boats already anchored off the castle.  The bottom drops away quite sharply into deep water, so we took our time to make sure we were well and truly hooked away from the shelf edge.

          We had a staff meeting that ended in a unanimous vote to have a ‘wee libation’ before preparing a meal.  We sat in the cockpit, relaxed and soaked up the scenery and the peace of the place.

           A largish incoming yacht came very close across out stern and was just ready to anchor on top of our tripping-line, when we ‘suggested’ that he would give us a foul anchorage.  Talking loudly to his companions the skipper grudgingly moved his boat away.

          We had just resettled ourselves when we heard raised voices.  Looking over the coachroof  we saw and heard the nasty chappie getting taken to task by one of the other anchored boats for attempting to anchor too close.  That crew didn’t tell him ‘foul anchorage’ but the words they did use also started with ‘f’ and were just as effective as they quickly moved away.  Eventually they anchored, pretty close to the shelf as far as we could judge.

          While we were preparing our meal we could hear loud alcoholic voices and strident female laughter coming from the unpopular boat.

          A sudden squall brought heavy rain that reduced visibility to almost nil.  Duncan and I remarked that one good thing about the squall was that it made the noisy ones sound further away.

          We had finished eating before the squall passed.  Out in the cockpit once again it was with evil satisfaction that we saw, a good distance down the loch – the rogue yacht.  They had dragged their anchor and must have drifted about half a mile.  They then moved away down the loch to another anchorage.

          We took the dinghy ashore and went for a walk and a pint at the hotel.  After the rain it had turned out a lovely clean night with great visibility.  When we rowed back to the boat there wasn’t a ripple on the water.  On board we poured a nightcap and appreciated the dark, warm night.  It was so still – it seemed sacrilege to even speak.  We sat for ages, then, before turning in we both went quietly to the stern to relieve ourselves. 

As beer and whiskey flowed away, it turned into a magnificent phosphorescent display that ran from us to the water and then continued down in a fading cascade of twinkling bubbles.  From a nearby yacht someone clapped.  Others took it up and some cheered.  Seemed that most of the other boats had been enjoying the peaceful night from their cockpits.

          When we got back to the marina we received quite a few waves and smiles from folk that had shared the dark night with us at Carrick Castle.

         Bill Mills