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Extending the comfort zone and a "wee dram"

Many a time I have found the most rewarding moments to be when you realise that you have been operating in your stretch zone ( way outside your own comfort zone, with the adrenaline flowing and the odd crossed fingers behind your back, hoping you haven’t pushed things too far) and then you get this dawning realisation that what was a stretch yesterday is in your comfort zone today. The very reason we came to Scotland to sail.

After a few awesome days in the Clyde up around the Kyles of Bute and Loch Fyne we weathered "Storm Hector" in the lovely fishing village of Tarbet with 40 kts in the sheltered harbour and yet another layer of clothing for Chris. We then set forth around the Mull of Kintyre in fair weather and a favorable tide. A very smooth sail and one of the most tranquil roundings of the Mull I have experienced. We sailed the whole way at an average of nearly 7kts.

After a beautiful night at anchor in Gigha,(picture to left), and some fabulous Langoustines at the little Boat House on the beach,Chris decided that 20 kts was in his comfort zone and that 11 degrees was horrible cold discomfort. Ah ha – a sail to Islay was on the cards: 30 kts with 43kt gusts and a steepening sea was certainly a good stretch for our NZ sailor and a certain test for my own docking skills, but thankfully a walk in the park for the lovley gentle SAORSA who took it all in her stride - what a gem she is.

As you can see from the picture, we were rather larger than the average user of the pontoons and a huge

thank you to Port Ellen community marina – who assured us all would be good and gathered up five strong locals to take our lines in a 25kt wind which was bowing us off the pontoon! Such a great welcome and some very much appreciated help.

Following a lovely day exploring the distilleries and a few "wee drams", we were waved off by the local harbor master and his friends and headed north to Tayvallich in the beautiful Loch Sween in winds of 30 to 35 kts – just a breeze. Chris managed a smile and even discarded one layer of clothing and by the

end of the day the day the comfort zone had doubled - I just love it..