In the summer Beren and I took an overnight trip on Märta to Vementry and yesterday Clare ventured out on Märta for the first time. I wasn't sure if we'd actually get sailing or just go for a motor as the wind was forecast to drop through the day and we were off to a relatively late start, but by the time we were out at the end of Olna Firth we were sailing...
Photo courtesy of briangray.zenfolio.com
Photo courtesy of Sea Kayak Adventures UK
Clare has never sailed before other than a quick whiz around Scalloway harbour in a dinghy with me and she didn't enjoy that, but today she was enjoying her time at the helm...
We headed out past Muckle Ayre on Muckle Roe before the wind finally died off to nothing. The swell coming in from the Atlantic was building and with a mind to the remaining daylight we motored across to Aith Ness and then around the back of Papa Little. Going through the Sound of Houbansetter was all very nice until, while I was busy taking in the scenery instead of watching the chart and had left the helm to those less experienced, we got too close to the Ayre of Papa Little and came to a uneventful stop, stuck on the end of the sand bank!
How embarrassing We were there for a good half hour or so as we tried reversing, throwing the anchor and dragging it in, rocking and pitching the boat and a combination of everything we could think of. Thankfully the tide was still slightly in our favour in terms of direction and the fact there was still a bit of a rise left, but we were wary of not getting caught in the dark. Just as I was close to calling the coast guard a slight wind arrived, we got the sails up and thankfully Märta started to turn around and we sailed away back into the main channel. Phew, what a relief!
As you can see the sand bar comes along way out, a metre or so more to the east and we'd have been fine, but we weren't. There's a saying that' If you've never gone aground you've not been sailing long enough', but that's no excuse. Thankfully it was alright in the end, lesson learnt and I'll certainly be on the ball next time we go through there!
Here's a video of our trip out. No footage of the grounding though; I was a bit too busy to worry about photos and filming then!