Rambo mentioned in passing that his family had a yacht that was moored near Oban and when he offered myself and Iain (another windsurfing friend) the opportunity to spend a long weekend crewing for him we obviously jumped at the chance.
I managed to borrow some sailing waterproofs from another friend and when the weekend arrived we drove round to Oban in Iain's van. After a quick stop to eat lunch we boarded the passenger ferry which took us across Oban bay and out to Kerrera marina where the yacht was berthed.
We loaded all our gear aboard (including Rambo's windsurfing kit) and Rambo gave us a quick tour and safety brief. He's been sailing since he was young and with his family has sailed to and from the Med as well as all over Britain and other parts of Europe so it was no surprise that he seemed to be in his element. Soon we were ready to go so we cast off and Rambo took her out into Oban bay on the engine.
Cap'n Rambo waves at the Cal Mac ferry.
Iain relaxing as we motored out of the bay.
Once we'd cleared the busy area immediately off Oban and got out into the Firth of Lorn Rambo explained and then put us through a "Man Overboard" drill. It's important to know how to do this as anyone could potentially be the man who falls overboard and all the other crew members must know what to do to carry out a rescue.
After that we set off under sail towards the Sound of Mull. I'd been through here a few times before on ferries but it felt very different beating against the wind on Ailsa Bhan.
There was a nice F3 blowing and Iain and I were both surprised and thrilled when Rambo asked us to spell him at the wheel (I never dreamt that I'd be in a position to helm a 42 foot yacht!)
The next morning the weather was cloudy with some rain and a bit of a breeze. Rambo seemed to feel that Iain and I would be desperate to move on to get more sailing in but we were totally happy relaxing in such a great setting so we urged Rambo to get out on his windsurfer. Needless to say Rambo was easily persuaded. We knew that it'd be difficult to rig the windsurfer afloat and briefly toyed with ferrying Rambo ashore in the yachts tender but as I already mentioned he's not one to shirk a challenge so decided to try rigging up in the water! The first step was to inflate the dinghy that served as tender and then get it into the water.
Next Rambo got in the water with his kit.
Sleeving the mast proved quite a challenge!
Iain lends a helping hand.
and he's off!
Up to planing speed.
Quite an unusual location to go windsurfing!
and me on the chase boat.
After a while the wind dropped off to the point where Rambo was struggling to spend any time on the plane so we called it a day and returned to the yacht for lunch.
Once on the western side we found a track leading along the shore towards Lochaline village so we set off along it.
The next morning the weather was much more promising so after breakfast we decided to head for Seil island.
Iain in the saloon shortly before leaving.
Once we'd weighed anchor we set off back up Lochaline towards the narrows. To save time we motored this section so I went and sat on the bow and enjoyed the sunshine and took a few pictures.
I thought I'd better rejoin Iain and Rambo in case there was work to be done as we went through the narrows and turned east back down the Sound of Mull.
Once we got a bit further down the Sound of Mull the wind freshened so we set the sails.
The view out west.
Looking back at Mull.
After dinner we once more boarded the dinghy in the dark and made the short journey ashore before walking for about twenty minutes on a rough footpath over the hills to Clachan Seil next to the famous Bridge over the Atlantic and it's adjacent pub the Tigh an Truish (or House of Trousers where according to legend the islanders used to change from their kilts into trousers before crossing onto the mainland after kilts were outlawed following the Jacobite rebellion). As it was a Sunday night the pub was quiet with just a few locals in but we had a really enjoyable evening in there until closing time brought an end to proceedings. The walk back over the hill seemed to pass very quickly on the return journey for some reason and soon we made it safely back aboard Ailsa Bhan where we enjoyed a final dram before turning in.
The next morning we weighed anchor and set sail for the Sound of Kerrera. Once we reached it Rambo turned the engine on to save time getting back to the marina and we motored up the Sound. Back safely in the marina there was plenty of tidying up and cleaning to do before we finally caught the ferry back into Oban to retrieve Iain's van.
It had been a great trip and unlike anything I've ever done before so thanks to Rambo for his hospitality and to Iain for being great company (as ever) during the course of the weekend.