The race is over, the adventure continues….

The race is over, the adventure continues....

The Old Dogs ran into the Troon marina office at 22:08 last night. Although not eligible for an official time, our overall time was 82hrs and 8 mins.

A well deserved beer or two were swiftly downed in the marina bar, followed by champers and whiskey in the cabin.

The journey isn’t quite over yet. Harry has left us to head back to Newcastle for a meeting later. Rob, Mike, Steve and Dennis will sail Firebird back to Largs and only once cleaning is complete can we start to make journeys back home

It has truly been an adventure. More photos will follow once back in the land of wifi and laptops!

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Monday 12:30, Lamlash Bay, Arran

Having rowed out from Jura at 16:00 Sunday into a flat calm, after completing The Paps and taken their ‘man mountain’ tally to 8, The Old Dogs are on their 3rd Island Peak, Goatfell, Arran.

Rob, Steve, Dennis and Harry set of at 13:00 to bag the final peak, and Mike is anchorman on board Firebird, a race requirement to always have at least one person on board.

However, there has been a significant development overnight. Having eventually rowed out to find wind, we sailed through the night towards the Mull of Kintyre.

We needed to reach the Mull in time to catch the tide, but with the force 5-6 north westerly wind that was forecast, this should have been easily achievable. Sadly it was not to be and having sailed into a westerly wind through the night, at 6am we were becalmed.

Given our proximity to the Mull of Kintyre and it’s strong tides, we had to decide whether to leave ourselves to the will of the wind until the tide turned or to start up the engine and this retire from the race.

At 06:16, we took the decision to motor around the Mull and advise the race organizers that we were removing ourselves from the race, which have since learned that 12 other crews have done also.

Hindsight has shown this to be the right decision as it was a flat calm for the next 6hrs around to Arran.

So although we are out of the official race, we are still going to complete the challenge getting runners on Goatfell and then back to Troon, means we will have completed course, but not under sail for the Mull of Kintyre section.

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We conquer….

Sunday 21.00 hrs, the mountain dogs returned at 14.30 hrs after conquering all three grands Paps in 20m visibility in hill cloud above 250m and very wet & boggy conditions underfoot.
Before setting sail 2 crises had to be addressed – no water, and no GPS. Next attention turned to crisis 3, no wind!
ROWING out of Jura entertained a Russian cruise ship and the game of lasso to free the main sheet must have puzzled them even more, especially the 2 fender hoist & swing alternative to hoisting skipper Rob up the mast. After a good km of rowing we finally found 6 knots of wind, sufficient for about 1.2knots over the water. Spent the next few hours trimming/setting the rigging to optimise speed & direction as we inched towards the Mull of Kintyre.
Good old Firebird is proving to be like an italian car, perhaps not the fastest, best handling or most reliable but issues are fixed in good time and she has bags of character:)
The first night watch is just about to start the first 3 hour shift at 22.00hrs. Eta for the Mull is 01.00 hrs, then its full steam ahead to Aran and Goat Fell. Slowly, slowly catchy monkey or perhaps gorilla 😉

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There’s life in those Old Dogs yet…

Sunday 10.17 Old Dogs Rob, Mike, Dennis & Harry on Ben an oir after a 5am start. Misty day but dry and calm, great for running, but perhaps not for an 80 mile sale. C’mon boys!!! We’re not that old really, well not all of us 🙂

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Tired but happy…

Old dogs claimed 4 man peaks on Mull overnight Friday. Sailed to Jura Saturday and currently poised for an assault on the Paps at first light Sunday.

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An Oar-some performance

An Oar-some performance

Friday 15:00, Rob and Dennis ate up the hilly 4 mile in 35:35 and following a seamless rendezvous with Firebird, crossed the sailing start line under sail into northerly winds. After initially losing ground to the larger boats, but just over 2 hours later, the Sound of Mull is becalmed. Steve and Mike take to the oars and propel the lighter boat past a dozen of the larger ones. A marginal victory though, it’s still 10 miles to Mull and at less than 1 knot, that’s a lot of rowing…fingers crossed for some wind!

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And they’re off…

And they're off...

Rob an Dennis, rowed be able sea dog Steve, leave Firebird and head to the start line for the 4 mile fell run. Meanwhile, Mike and Harry will get Firebird ready for sea and cast off to rendezvous with the start crew in the open channel. Winds have picked up, Force 5-7 forecast, it’s perfect conditions! Go the Old Dogs!!!

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View from the start line in Oban of Ben More, Mull, our 1st island peak of the race

View from the start line in Oban of Ben More, Mull, our 1st island peak of the race

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Friday, 09.30

Race briefing over, kit checks complete, breakfast eaten, we’ll be ready to rock’n’roll in two and a half hours. Glorious blue skies and light northerly winds of 8-10 knots ready for a great day out.

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The old dogs and firebird have landed!
Moored up at Oban yacht club, pasta loaded, signed on at start and just enjoyed one final beer before the start tomorrow at midday.
phone signal dwindling as head North, but we’ll keep you posted by hook or by Crook.

Oban at sunset simply stunning, fitting for team photo.


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