Winny song line begins in earnest- the story so far…

Garrys Diary

1 May: Shopping for things Rosie and myself all good  jacket/food/incidentals.  Mounting excitement.  In the evening  going through old charts remembering those  journeys when I was young and my parents were old…  now it’s the other way around .  I am old and the children are young.  But many of the charts are still fit for purpose…  with assistance of GPS etc only a few gaps need to be filled   Pit of my stomach tell of tensions.. so many things to go right… so many things to go wrong

2:May   Hectic morning then Were off . early morning had become mid morning becomes just before lunch.  So many things to do..  so much last minute things arranging charts . dozed in the car… must be accumulated tensions… too late for Dunsrtafanage so drop in on Annie and Roger… they too are older in face and movement….. lots to speak about… see garden.. mend fuel leek in Landover… then were off again up into sunshine and highland country

Fish and curry on Oban main street…  then it Balvica on an amazing warm night… have tea with Pat of Kirsty on Winnies amazingly messy cockpit… and then bed.

3 May: what a day, what an early morning mediation… what a moment of attracting blessings asking for blessings.. Vick on wiring, me on painting Brendon arrives and gets on with sewage tank… he brings mattresses they are horrible… decide to get it covered…(if possible) sun beautiful hot.. boatyard crack as we left it… Irish Brian, interesting john,  French Marc  and other characters, … in the afternoon  Brendon and I paint hull Brendon goes for paint perfection. Vick get transponder going on computer but not on chart plotter. We eat supper watching ship and Mull ferry make their way represented on charts

4 May:  Another full on day:  Buffing up the top sides… getting ready for painting…. Brendon and Vick perfectionists… want pure beauty  for painting…. It goes against my mediocre  grain… but I try and up my game but against my gain. Vick trying to get all the new navigational equipment to speak with each other Lee the force 4  technical expert is not coming up  with the goods… but at the end of the day Vic tweeks a mode of operation and there is some communication… not as good as we wished but progress.. Brendon full on with lack water tanks and  fiber glassing the coach roofs… weather perfect cold but sunny… towards the end of the day we repainting the top sides… not perfect but passible

5 May: Full on  day  wiring, water tank, mast, after cabin, glazing the dog house, at the end of the day we put second coat on top side… we are moving forward . put on the antifoul, had   to mix the order both tins  were miraculously  nearly the same  colour..  SeaGo and toll station (tool station £20 cheaper! ) Everyone still full on… mike checked that we were ready for Monday launch. Kirsty was launched  looks so good on that evening sunlight had a meal  and music with Pat and Andy great…

6 May: Another totally hectic full on day  everything is taking longer that expected… but we are inching forward.  Sunshine still

7 May: Launch day…  miraculously the flexi water tank arrives, and the binoculars    … Winny is total tip .. Vick on gas alarm,  the weather begins to  turn… grey, wind, rain…. Chain is put on deck… the mast arrives and is stepped, we get rigging secured… then its on with jobs… we are defiantly behind hand… later in the afternoon when  Mike and Stephen come to lift us in the hoist… things are definitely at sixes and sevens… mad scramble to get everything that should be on bard, to tidy up  underneath boat..  Clare decks… boom on and all  fill up fuel tanks……. As we trundle toward the slip Vik and I bleed engine…it raining its windy and its all untogether… Winny is in the water… we keep bleeding.. no bubbles… the engine seems to be bled… turn engine over… nothing… not fuel in the injector… we try many times… not an anything….  Engine is not going to work… Whinnies reliable Misery compounded!!!  We are pulled out to our mooring on a rope… Brendon leaves… Vik and I try again… bleed fine fuel pure …. It must be the injector pump…. Dark clouds on our mental horizon… this is big the heart of the engine is not working… it will take a while to fix….. is the whole launch off……!!!!!! Tim arrives… its still raining its dark I am wondering feeling disconsolate. He is given a lift with his cousin…. I tell him the news .. we go back to the boat its damp… the miracle of approach to the lauch has evaporated


8May: System is shocked…  head ache… chain of events that lead to this is  reflected on… it tell of weakness  and poor decision making….my life options…  is this a sign.. is  the whole project off. Consultation with Mike… have a few numbers… and wondering around in a dazed way.. reception is not working I walk towards the  boat house trying a mechanical wizard who lives on Luing…I see Mike he is carrying something…. Try this he says… he is holding a possibly compatible injection pump. It could be a miracle…. Its still sunny…We go to Winny… Vik puts on his overall gets out Winny spanners and starts dismantling the old pump….it comes off bit by bit….. and eventually  many hours later the new pump is in… we bleed there are no bubbles… its well after midnight… we turn the engine… it burst into life….. hallelaja!… the possibility of having an on-board mechanic, a pump  that fits and all the bits to make it work to go with it  is massively unlikely….. it is truly a miracle. We sleep deeply…..

9 May… sunny… we start the engine to make sure we were not dreaming….. it fires into healthy life…. Bliss… but suddenly we realise… not charge… Vik takes off his mechanical overalls and put on his electrical suit…., is it the wiring.. is it the alternator….. After lots of investigation it seems to be the alternator… I speed off to Oban with the old one in search of a replacement….One motor factor shakes his head… its an old type…. The next motor factor looks for the alternator number…. No close he shows me a thick book  of possibilities…no clues…. In the chandlery I am getting things… I chance to talk about the alternator… he says try Dunstafanage…. I motor out….. meet a mechanic says try the belt counter in the smart chandlery…. Low and behold it an alternator that looks approximate….. Back to Winny fit alternator…. Fire engine hopeful…. … nothing… back to the starting line…. Vik decides to talk to Irish Brian whose boat is near by… he says get Alisters number from Mike and give him a bell …he’s  good… We go ashore…. I get number from  Morag… no reception   I phone any way…miracle   the man himself answers… He and Vik have a long conversation… could the starter motor be wired up differently?   Off back to the boat… rewire the alternator….its well past midnight.

We fire up engine sort out electrical shorting system…short across…… lo 30 amps charge….. Miracle number 3… there is still lots to  do making  good porthole with sicaflex… mast where it goes into deck…lighting systems…  Tim rows Vik  ashore

10 may:  by 2 pm we are ship shape and ready for our first passage. Consult tide timetables. We can sail from  3pm onwards…  we decide to get up at 5    finish the last bits a pieces, dingy on deck, life raft stepped on.

We slip our mooring at 5.25am  early morning light and clouds… gusting flurries of winds blows through the rigging. We motor past Brian’s boat, he  pokes his head out of his cabin to  give us a friendly wave  off it’s a lovely gesture.

For me and the Winny it’s a massive moment… against all probabilities we have started our pilgrimage journey in sufficient  time to meet all commitments at Ulva Ferry and all our plans for the send off….

We shoot through Cuan sound at over 10knots… mountain skyline of Mull opens out with all its shapely beauty… seas flat… wind gusting 5 from the North East.

Mainsail up jib unfurled, engine off…. Were sailing down the south  of coast of Mull  touching 7 knots with following breeze… it freezing cold but exhilarating…. Tim and I are in a state of dazed delight. GPS and chart plotter are working…..  we are making such good progress. We carry the wind until Erraid.. it drops… we donk through Iona sound and on to Ulva ferry…. Arriving at 3.15. and pick up Ian Morrisons Staff mooring.

Rosie Sarah and mark arrive… plus masses of gear… we bring Winny alongside…. And load. Then its the short motor to Winnies mooring…. We light the fire and snug up for the night… its bitterly cold but we are here and we are well fed and  go to sleep with a deep happiness……

11 May We get things together  Guy and Ness arrive… cottage for a meal… back to the boat Rosie and I quiet after all the manic business….Cold and windy

12 May:  Incredibly still and sunny day….. Rosie goes to pick up Paddy Olive and Mat from the ferry. All safe and  breakfast on board .. Oran and Frayer walk down from the cottage. Big moment… Frayer gets on board…… with  ensign  flag pole… Oran  fixes it on puts it on and we hoist the  United Nations flag…. Its another good moment … We are hailed from the shore by the cottagers… Winny goes along side on a peerless sunny and blue sky day… we form a circle on Ulva Ferry pier and dance the voyage as we sing the sky boat song… then its onto Winny and out to Staffa…. 13 on board. Fantastic atmosphere …. We are met by the Fionnphort rib….with some of the Mull galic choir.

In to Fingals cave…. Incredible and  wonderful hum flute, Gallic singing,  waves, prayers, sunlight sparkling…  echoes…. What a moment of spiritual intensity as we invoked all that is good to support Winies  voyage…….The atmosphere continued out of the cave back to the cottage and into a devotional wonderment in which we sang the entire journey with exquisite rhythms and voice and atmosphere….. what a grace filled send off………. Pure bliss ecstasy wonderment and bliss…..



(sounds and sights to arrive soon)


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