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The GOSSIP

Number 204 / November 2008

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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We had a brainstorming session while at this year's Loch Tummel meet and decided that the best approach was to have a separate leech tensioning line. Dave also thought a stiffer boom would help the Raptor's performance. The standard carbon fiber boom is tapered and surprisingly slender. By using larger diameter tubing, the boom would flex less in gusts, reducing the loss of leech tension and spillage of air from the sail.

The solution that we decided on, after a certain amount of trial and error, was to install a 2" aluminium boom with a leech tensioning line block attached to the boom with a Prusik loop, which allows me to slide it along the boom so that it is at the optimal position (directly under

the sail clew). I can now set the desired draft in my sail and then tighten up the leech. Solway Dory made my new boom and installed an additional cleat for the new leech line. I hope to see my "No-go" zone shrinking in future and to keep up with the rest of you!

 

Loch Lomond Revisited (SueB)

Choosing the last week of August, with Scottish schools in, we have just had a superb week out, sailing and paddling on and ambling around Loch Lomond. Lomond is beautiful as ever!

So - what has happened to Cashel? Well... there are re-vamped shower blocks, including an outside shower for people in wetsuits, and only 15 of those enormous statics on the edge of the beach. The brambles and scrub has been cleared, which has the effect of making the pitches under the trees lighter, and the pitches by the wall bigger. They even still do bacon butties and such-like - morning and late afternoon.

The down-side? Most of the pitches are hard standing, and so are the ones by the wall, although these do not have electric hook-up. So - some things have changed. However, the ground was waterlogged after days of rain, which makes hard standings seem rather desirable!! The area near reception, and the area to the south of the stream, is still as it was - just grass, for tents. Provided a craft is a canoe when it arrives on site, and does not require a launching trolley, there is no charge for launching etc., no matter how many bits and pieces are added to make it a sailing canoe. However, all canoes must be parked next to the owner's tent or van at night, not left on the beach. There was a large group on site - using all the pitches near the wall, with their minibuses, trailers and group tent on the hard standings, and some small tents on the grass between, so they are flexible with groups that prebook.

We were pleasantly surprised really, and the staff were super-friendly (this site is now the flagship site for the Camping and Caravanning Club venture into Forest Holidays sites). And - for those

prepared to pay for the privilege (and what a privilege it is) one can book one of those sites on the shore, six feet from the beach, with all facilities, including a picnic table, and a view to die for! So we all agreed we should be very happy to use the "new" Cashel.

However, we are now spoilt for choice - having sampled the delights of the Milarrochy Bay site (also Camping and Caravanning Club)! Good facilities, extremely good backpacker facilities, including an under cover area, lovely views and friendly staff... and pitches for vans by the shore with the view across the loch to the islands on a first come, first served basis and no extra charge! Downside: no beach, but launching from a concrete slip - not easy in the onshore winds for which Milarrochy Bay is (in)famous! However it would be possible to arrange for a group to camp on a separate area of grass by the shore and one of the slips, where there is also a jetty and probably a little bit of beach when the loch levels are nearer normal than they were when we were there. So - three boats and their owners had a great time.

There are, however, some changes about Loch Lomond that are worth noting. There is now a speed limit around the islands and areas like Milarrochy Bay. There is a brilliant navigation guide to the loch, which is a book of detailed charts on water resistant paper that costs about a fiver from the Tourist Information centre at Balmaha. It is illegal to operate any motor, even a small electric outboard, on the loch unless it is registered. Registration costs a fiver, is for life, includes the sticky numbers etc., and can be done by post or online before you come if you want. My boat now sports the regulation size (i.e. large!) numbers, but for shallower boats they probably won't fit, and would be best stuck onto sheets of thin ply and hung somewhere visible when a motor was actually being used. So there you are - our verdict was unanimous approval. We were glad we came back.

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