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Scottish Highlands Adventure

Two weeks of tuition taking on the Caledonian Canal and West Coast

· Yachting,Boating,Sailing,Scotland,Adventure

A fortnight aboard a newly purchased Moody 43 Eclipse, with husband and wife owners looking to start their journey into boat ownership on the right foot.

"Taking possession of a boat that was so different and bigger from what we had previously rented could have been a difficult and daunting process, with you at our helm so to speak it wasn't and having you on board was the most sensible thing we could have done."

Pina, Owner Moody43

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White Dot Sailing was recently employed to help a husband and wife couple kick start their journey into boat ownership with a hassle-free trip from Inverness to Oban via the Caledonian Canal and Isle of Mull.

The couple had bought their Moody 43 Eclipse having previously chartered and learnt how to sail on the South Coast, UK. Now looking towards retirement, they wanted the freedom to sail where and when they wanted, as well as get stuck into a project where they could put their own mark on a yacht needing some cosmetic attention.

They employed a local yard to replace; the ageing engine, a leaking fuel tank, one water tank, head lining and some wood panelling as well as checking all the electrics. All the work was carried out unseen, the owners were travelling up to commence their maiden voyage without seeing the results of the yards work beforehand. Understandably they were nervous, the sailing schedule allowed for 2-3 days work on the boat before starting the westbound transit of the Caledonian Canal, where facilities became scarce as you entered further into the Highlands.

Arriving early, I went to the yard to take a quick survey of the boat. Liaising with them, gathering some info on how the work had progressed along with any extra problems that had cropped up, I started to build a picture of what needed to be done and what else could be achieved in those 2-3 days. Once the owners arrived, I gave them a quick brief and we decided on a two-day plan to get the boat ready for departure. This included; getting the safety kit up to scratch, checking all systems, a new dinghy, fuel, water and provisions as well as navigation equipment.

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"Your knowledge and advice throughout your two week stay with us on the boat allowed us to understand the key features of the boat and how to handle her in a variety of conditions. Marcus really appreciated your advice and guidance on developing his sailing skills and knowledge and I simply appreciated your working out my low level of skill and working with me with utmost patience and kindness."

Pina, Moody 43

As is usual we encountered problems along the way; a terminal starter battery, incorrect wiring of the battery monitoring system, two heads needing a good service, a leaking holding tank and the calorifier needing to be bled. This took up most of our time for the first few days of transit, in between the lock gates and bridges. The Caledonian Canal winds itself through 60 land miles Highlands and you transit through; 4 Lochs, 29 locks and 10 swing bridges. The weather was perfect; hot, gentle breeze and no rain. The highlights were Fort Augustus, Loch Lochie and the finally the “Neptunes Staircase”.


Once through to Corpach and “Neptunes Staircase”, a row of 8 locks taking us down 19m vertically to sea level, we headed for Dunstaffnage where we gate crashed the Highlands Sailing Week Regatta. Over the next week we took on the infamous Corryvreckan passage, as well as the equally daunting but not so well known Cuan Sound and living to tell the tale of both. We visited the Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, the Isle of Ulva as well as Iona – famous for it’s abbey and it’s religious and cultural heritage.

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"When Marcus said that he had asked you to join us I was apprehensive. As a complete introvert and aware of my inadequacies on board, when I found out that you were to stay with us for two weeks I admit to being even more so. However one of your greatest skills is in putting people of all skill levels and personality types at ease. Thank you, having you on board was easy and and an absolute pleasure."

Pina, Moody 43

Finally, we arrived in Oban where I departed after two weeks aboard. The owners sailed for a further week down to Kip through the Crinan Canal before the boat would be laid up again for more work, ready for the next season. Sadly, the train route from Oban to Glasgow had been damaged by recent rainfall, this route rivals the Dawlish railway route in Cornwall for it’s scenic beauty. The advantage of the Oban route being the steepness of the hills prolonging the beauty as the train slowly winds its way up to the summit and the bends along the shores of the loch’s preventing the driver from reaching top speed.


I’d recommend Scotland’s sailing as some of the best in the world, whilst some parts are technical and treacherous; the beauty of the places you visit, leave you with a profound sense of achievement.


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"With our thanks for all that you did for us and saying all the right things to our son when he joined us on your departure."

Pina, Moody 43