Scottish Open House Weekend 2019

Scottish Open House Weekend 2019

Boats from all directions, as well as members arriving by land, converged with the Celtic Rally at Commodore Simon & Sally Currin's home in Traighuain

By Simon & Sally Currin - 20/05/2019

Our early summer BBQ on the West Coast of Scotland attracted record numbers this year due, in part, to the Celtic Cruise in Company that missed out the Clyde in order to scurry north and enjoy the drought-stricken sunny Hebrides.

With 60+ folk expected and fifteen boats, the hostess felt under a ‘wee bit’ of pressure and so an Amazon party tent was procured to keep the rain off and to provide shelter from the midges. Yes, the drought did break on BBQ day and John Franklin did, once again, brave the drizzle to cook up the hot food.

First to arrive was Bill Strassberg (on US flagged Visions of Johanna) who came sprinting up the Sound of Jura but it was Bill and Laurie Balme who got the speed record (on their US flagged Toodle-oo!) who came screeching in leading the Celtic Cruisers. Single hander, John Passmore (on Samsara) and plucky little Contessina (freshly restored by Chris and Fi Jones) were not far behind.

A few boats were heading north to Scandinavia, two were heading west to Canada via the Viking Route, one was heading south to a new home in Horta and the rest were there to enjoy the Scottish Islands at the best time of year.

Sunday’s weather was more clement and so 13 went off to explore the great tidal races and whirlpools nearby in a motorboat with few hundred horsepower to help them on their way. Between the Gulf of Corryvreckan and the Grey Dogs, they found eagles and even the saltiest of circumnavigators returned enraptured by the experience.

Captain Reverend Bob Shepton relaxed into an armchair to give a beautifully illustrated talk on his lifetime of adventures, a presentation he had first made last year at the Banff Film Festival. He quickly sold out of autographed books and everyone went away inspired and enthused.

The food was fantastic and the company was, as usual, scintillating. The skippers of two Canadian boats who were attending their first OCC event were moved to comment that they had never met such an eclectic and accomplished group of people united by a common theme. That’s the OCC!

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