25 Aug Ramno, a new home for ou latest Stormforce 11
The guys make a familiar stop whilst taking Ramno home
Attached are the pictures and some editoriual prepared by the guys on there experiences and trip home.
Our first contact with Redbay Boats goes back to January 2007. By a coincidence we heard about the very extreme RIB built by a shipyard on Northern Ireland. With the help of the excellent homepage of Redbay Boats we got interested and mailed them a request for a new boat. In March that year, we made our first trip from Sweden to Cushendall.
We immediately became convinced that the Stormforce 11 was the right boat for our purposes. Tom took us out in the Corrywreckan and it was a rough day, strong wind and rain. We felt confidence about the boat but also about the Redbay Boat team.
On the flight back we decided to buy a boat as soon as possible.
Our company runs a passenger trade from a village, Fjällbacka, on the west coast of Sweden, to an island 8 miles out. Here is a little hotel situated and people come here the whole year around. The conditions can be quite easy in the summer time and tough during the rest of the year. The sea becomes rough quickly, and it happens in winter time that the temperature goes a bit under zero degrees. We also have days with snow during the winter month. The most common wind condition is SW force 5.
However, it took us almost a year before we were able to make the order. In January 2008 our wives joined us and we visited the yard for the second time. Our plans for the boats and the capability had grown to also include the possibility of buying not one, but two boats, one cabin and one canopy version.
The third trip to Cushendall was in June 2008. The hull was completed and we had some discussions about details. The time schedule seemed to be in order.
On the 31st of July as planned, our boat was ready to be launched into the water. Seven lads bought one-way tickets from Gothenburg to Dublin and via bus and taxi ended up in Cushendall on June 30. In the morning, after a first ride, we could establish that the boat fulfilled all our expectations (and more than that). We were very much pleased and felt ready to take the boat from Ireland to Sweden – on the sea (see below).
The “home taking plan”
We had decided to make the trip home in three stages,
- The first 20 hours around Ireland or Scotland and back to Cushendall
- From Cushendall to Inverness via The Caledonian Canal
- From Inverness to Sweden via Norway across the North Sea
- Friday 1 Aug – Sunday 3 Aug “Cushendall – Islay – Gigha – Jura – Kintyre”
We spent almost three days with the boat doing the first 20 hours. We got some suggestions from Gary and Tom and on Friday afternoon we set off for Scotland. Easy wind and calm sea, the boat took us quickly to Port Ellen on Islay. We mourned the boat at the pontoon jetty and went by bus to the hotel. Whiskey and beer in the bar, then a meal in the restaurant, and after that a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast, the bus took us back to the visitor harbor. We met the guy who runs a ferry with a Stormforce Canopy. On the sea, we took an easterly course and decided to see a little of Ardbeg, where we managed to take the boat to an old pier. Immediately two lads came out from the distillery to have a look at the boat and a chat with us. We spent less than an hour at Ardbeg, but most of us came out with one or more bottles.
After Ardbeg we continued to Port Askaig. We were not sure about the tide, but we hoped that our boat was safe outside the pier. Lunch at the hotel and then back to the boat again.
Further up north on the east side of Jura, then westerly towards Colonsay. We took the boat around that island and then easterly again towards Corrywreckan. We hadn’t actually much knowledge about the signs in the chart and the words “The great race”, but it only took us a couple of minutes to understand the meaning of that. It was really great, and the boat was great too. The speed reduced from 25 knots to 17 knots and we were surrounded by whirls and waves, coming from nowhere! Quite an experience (in a safe boat)!
Inside the Corrywreckan we set the course to Kintyre and Crinan. Coffee and beers.
We spent this night at the island Gigha and met a nice guy, Don, who together with his wife Emma runs a B&B in the biggest house on the island. He was also a former owner of a Stormforce Canopy. Dinner at the hotel, it became a late night.
On Sunday we visited Jura, we had lunch at Craighouse and met the Canopy from Islay and another Redbay owner, fun!
After Craighouse we decided to take the boat south along the Kintyre, remember we had to do 20 hours! We passed the Mull of Kintyre and ended up in the town on the east side, Campbeltown. Late lunch in an Indian restaurant. We managed to get diesel and filled up the tanks.
The weather had been nice, most sun and hardly no rain, but this afternoon we got a lot of rain. We put on the radar and set the autopilot to Cushendall. At 7.30 am we were back in Cushendall and Tom met us with the John Deere. Shortly after the boat was out of the water, were we all gathered in the boat club bar for a beer, or two. It was a party in the village, The Heart of Glen. Some day someone will tell us who this Glen was…
- Tuesday 5 Aug – Thursday 7 Aug “Cushendall – Fort Williams – Fort Augustus – Inverness”
After service at the yard and some other matters (we picked up the eight lad in Belfast) we were ready to begin the second stage at Tuesday, after lunch. We said goodbye to all and set off at the now well known trip from Cushendall over to Jura. We wanted to go to Fort Williams this day as we planned to cross Scotland via the Caledonian Canal the next couple of days. The weather was perfect, blue sky and no wind at all. We made good speed and arrived in Fort Williams ten minutes after the locks were closed. However, the canal man opened the lock so we were able to get into the safe basin. Dinner and then accommodation in a nice B&B.
Up early next day to be ready for the lock opening. We spent the day in rain. At 4 o´clock in the afternoon we arrived in Port Augustus. Time for dinner and another B&B, late night…
Thursday was the last day in the canal. First crossing Loch Ness and then we ended up in Caley marina, in Inverness. We had got some trouble with one leg so we had to have some support at the marina. They were most understanding and Gary had been in contact with them by phone. We had difficulties in finding an accommodation in Inverness; there was some kind of a farmer fair in town, so we had to stay in two separate B&B outside town. The taxis had big problems in taking us to the right places. However, we managed to spend a night in the town centre and then finding the way back, late night again…
- Friday 8 Aug – Tuesday 12 Aug “Inverness – Buckie – Peterhead – North Sea – Mandal – Fjällbacka”
This afternoon, the boat was ready for the last stage. We were lucky to be in time for the last locking and at six o´clock we were out of the Caledonia Canal. The marina had advised us to go to Buckie for the night. At the last lock, we met a nice couple in a sail yacht. They invited us to stay at their house near Buckie. We realized that they would be late, making the trip in only 5 knots and we in 25 knots, but we accepted the offer and exchanged our phone numbers.
Buckie had a big fishing harbor and we were surprised of the tide changes. We got a safe place inside the harbour and paid the harbor man for one night. Dinner at the hotel and then a long waiting at a pub for our hosts to arrive. They had their boat at Spey Bay. After midnight we took a taxi to their house and they arrived an hour after us! Nice people and a nice house, we slept well.
The next morning they offered us breakfast, we spent a couple of hours discussing politics and other matters. We learned a lot and we invited them to come to Sweden and to stay at our island. They took us back to the boat and we said goodbye to the nice people we had come to know.
The weather was not good, bad sight and a rather rough wind, some rain. We felt safe in the boat but we weren’t ready to go cross the North Sea this day. Instead we took the time to learn more about the boats behavior in big waves. The lads on the seats in the aft had no problems solving a cross word! However, after the beautiful view of Pennan, we decided to go to Peterhead and stay there over night, hoping that the weather conditions would become better the next day.
Peterhead had a really nice visitor harbor with several pontoons. We paid for one night and asked for diesel, that was no problem. We took a walk into the city and found easily a hotel for the night. We went back to the boat and filled her up with diesel. The forecast seemed to be good for the coming day and we were rather sure that we would cross the North Sea the next day. Dinner at the hotel and then to bed.
Early Sunday morning I checked the weather forecast in my phone. Metoffice had gale warnings for the whole trip home. Back to sleep, no chance to cross the North Sea this day…
We got up later in the morning only to find that the rain had come to Scotland this day. Some of us took the laptop and went to the bigger hotel nearby and bought an internet access. We had to do some more serious investigations about the forecast for the coming days. First it looked dark, it seemed like the wind wasn’t going down for three, four days or so, but later in the afternoon the forecast changed to a better one. It seemed like the next day should be a day “in between” and if we were lucky, the waves were supposed to go down in front of us, from west to east, from Scotland to Norway. We decided to take this chance and went to sleep hoping that the last 420 miles was near to come…
On Monday morning we left Peterhead after permission from the harbor control. The forecast was right, we didn’t have that high waves and the wind wasn’t too strong either, waves and wind came from SW. Blue sky and no one else to see. It was exciting. After 3 hours we started to look for the first oil platform, but we didn’t see any. The paper chart we had had been printed 15 years ago, and a check at the Raymarine chart confirmed that there shouldn’t be any platforms in that position any more. The first real platforms came in sight two hours later north of us, it was the Forties Oil Field. Impressing though we weren’t really near, you aren’t allowed to get close.
The waves became higher but we felt safe and the speed was 20-23 knots. We ate some sandwiches but it was hard to get any coffee. The lads in the aft seats continued solving cross words, no problems on those seats! We had to change course a couple of times due to more oil platforms, but the navigation wasn’t difficult at all. The trip to Norway was planned to take 15 hours if we could go for 20 knots, the distance was almost 300 miles, so we planned to see the Norwegian coastline early in the evening. When we came closer to the coast, the waves became higher. The depth here was over 400 meters. It became darker and we noticed several cargo ships on the radar, going north – south in the traffic system along the Norwegian coast. Suddenly there was a wave higher than any before. We hit the wave in front of us and probably thousands of liters of water streamed to the windows and over the cabin. It made a big noise and we got afraid, just for a short moment. Then we got big smiles in our faces, realizing that the boat is capable of a lot more than that. Later we discovered that the Hella spotlight was totally broken on the outside, but that was all that happened.
It became real dark and the last two hours we had to navigate by radar and GPS only, we saw nothing at all. At one o´clock in the night we mourned the boat inside Mandal, and we all fell asleep inside the boat…
Five hours later all systems where running again, we filled up the tanks with 300 liters (not full tanks) and set off for the final trip, over Skagerack directly to our destination, Väderöarna outside Fjällbacka, another 120 miles.
We did 20 knots in calm waves and exactly six hours later we saw a well known light house on “our” island. 12.30 the boat was moored for the first time at its home harbor and we had lunch at the hotel’s restaurant!
The 650 nautical miles journey from Ireland to Sweden was completed and we were happy to be home with our fantastic boat from Redbay, Cushendall!
Hans and Mikael
Redbay Boats would like to wish Hans and Mikael all the best for all future boating ventures on Ramno