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The adventure back from the Orkneys - a whale of a time!

After Scarlet Logic's injured crewman was transferred to hospital (he's now back home with his wife), Ross took the decision to abandon racing in light of serious adverse weather ahead, which has resulted in a number of other yachts also retiring.  

The race tracker is still live and shows Scarlet currently in Fort William!  Simon reports on their adventure so far: 

"On our way from Kirkwall, Orkneys to Inverness on Friday, Helen saw a whale spout close to the port side of Scarlet which then showed a long back rolling downwards with finally a curved dorsal fin showing no tail fluke when diving, most likely a Common Minke Whale, our second sighting of Minke whale. 

We reached the start of the Caledonian Canal at 08:15 hours on Sunday at Clachnaharry Sea Lock. The canal is 60 miles long from Inverness to Fort William of which 22 miles are canal, the rest lochs, the wonderfully named Loch Lochy, Loch Oich  and the famous Loch Ness.

Soon we were in a tree lined canal 30 feet wide, however  old habits die hard as Ross said, " I am just going down to check the nav", Barry to Mark on the helm, "you are sailing a bit low", Ross "the average wave height 2 inches", Jess to Barry, "you are meant to be on watch!"

One lock down 28 to go...! The canal rises to 106 feet above sea level. When we reach Loch Ness (after a quick dash to a supermarket by one of the locks for food and the odd can of beer) the depth dramatically increases from 2-3 metres to a staggering 223 metres, two to three times the average depth of the English Channel. See Ross's picture of the monster we saw in Loch Ness!"

Meanwhile in the race, Rare, the two-handed Figaro also racing in IRC2 sought shelter in a cove on the West Coast of the Isle of Lewis and resumed racing this morning and are now in third place, behind Relentless on Jellyfish and British Soldier.  
In IRC1 La Promese and Palpatine both sought shelter behind the Isle of Lewis and both have now retired - leaving just one yacht in Class 1 - Saga, the Hanse 53 from Hamble.  According to RORC, Saga reported that their third reef pennant broke whilst sailing in Force 9 conditions. As a result the dropped their mainsail and have been sailing under headsail ever since - skipper Peter Hopps commented "This is probably a good thing as although we slowed down, we have had a more comfortable sail and put less pressure on everything".  Before racing started, Saga commented that simply getting around the course was their 'Everest' but now they look set to win in class in one of the toughest offshore races as long as they finish!

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