Leaving Innisfree just north of Oban meant it was impractical to do any jobs over weekends during the winter so we set aside a week at the beginning of April. April in 2008 has been very different from 2007. Last year we had shorts and t-shirts weather for our early April anti-fouling and maintenance jobs. This year we have had snow! Thankfully the first full day of working was reasonably mild so we could apply the anti-foul when the temperature was above the minimum recommended. But since then it has been very cold. As we write this in Oban Marina there are heavy sleet showers outside.
The "out of the water" jobs list diminished very quickly as we got down to work. Fitting the new hose to the heads outlet sea cock was much easier using a heat gun and proper "Fairy" liquid. There were none of the tribulations of last year (see 2007 Winter Refit). It was also beneficial being out of the water because it didn't matter if the sea cock tap was moved during the wrestling match with the hose.
The process for refitting the masts was well organised. They used slings to strap the yacht stand to the boat when she was in the shed, so when they picked her up the stand came too (see above), and they just plonked her down outside next to the crane ready for refitting the mast. The yard was well organised but they did like to change their plans without communicating as such to us.We should have known from haul out last September when the plan was for mid afternoon, but she was out of the water by 11am. This time we had been told late morning, but she was in the slings on the launch ramp as we arrived at 9am. We had intended to put on the main sail before launching - if we'd known we wouldn't have packed up quite so early the day before. As it was there was no problem, the engine worked first time so we could motor off to a mooring buoy and there fit the main and yankee. This gave us plenty of time to catch the favorable tide down to Oban. There was no wind, but it is just nice to be underway again, Innisfree had looked so out of her element mastless in a shed.
As there were no unexpected delays getting through the jobs, we had a couple of days to enjoy the use of the car before it goes back home for the summer. One of the excursions was to see Castle Stalker (left) - a familiar site to Monty Python fans.
Another morning we started working ourselves in gently by climbing up Ben Lora. The view from the summit is out of all proportion to the size of the hill, (just under 1000ft) with a spectacular 360º panorama of Loch Etive, Loch Linnhe, Loch Creran and snow capped mountains. Below is the view looking north from the summit and you can just make out the yacht moorings on the south shore of Loch Creran and the white shed where Innisfree spent the winter.