A long day but worth it as Gee encounters some stunning scenery
Round Britain teams are resting up today in Inverness in preparation for the next leg to Edinburgh tomorrow.
Yesterday was spent transiting the Caledonian Canal, and below you can read an exclusive account of the journey from Mike Clark, Gee’s co-driver.
Gee remains at the top of the standings in the Historic Class, with the next closest team, 747, almost two hours behind.
“We got up about 4am yesterday at Oban, feeling a total lack of sleep after all the energy expended over the race so far. One way or another three of us managed to get the ferry from Oban to the island of Kerrera where the boat was moored. When we set off between the islands and the mainland up Loch Linnhe, the dawn just had an amazing aura about it. It was something I had never experienced before. There were hanging mists over the mountains and as it got lighter we saw some very brave or very stupid fishermen on the side of the loch.
As we cruised up the loch, we met up with the other boats in the Historic Class, and it was kind of good to be in among a pack of boats. But sadly we had some unfortunate news – Team 747, our main rivals in the class, hit their shafts on the way out of the marina, and that was a kind of a downer. We spent the rest of the day speculating and awaiting news of their plans. As of now, we understand that the shafts they damaged have been taken away and they’ll work like heaven and earth to get up to Inverness for the start of the next leg to Edinburgh tomorrow morning.
We could have done without the 28 locks on the Caledonian Canal, but the good bits made up for all the time spent in them – especially when we got to the lochs. Loch Lochy was the first fast run and it was exhilarating. It was just nice to play a little. The race photographer joined Gee on the loch and consequently I had a dual role as skipper and running a floating photo studio. We had to chase around and get great video of all the other boats in our pack.
After leaving Loch Lochy we went through Fort Augustus, then into Loch Oich, which was a different ball game with a series of navigation buoys that gave us a great opportunity to slalom under the mist. The much awaited run across Loch Ness was just a complete wow. Everyone was overwhelmed to be skimming across this mass of inland water with boats passing us and crossing over us. It was rather like a waterborne version of the Red Arrows. The 20-mile crossing was over all too quickly but we had to make up time to get through to refuel.
On Gee there’s some leaking from both rudder stocks. An inspection is needed of the stocks and rudders, as we heard a thump coming out of Loch Ness by the weir stream, which I suspect was a piece of waterlogged timber. The other problem we have to address is blown actuators on our trim tabs, and as I speak our engineer chief pilot are addressing this.
All members of the team are resting up today before the next challenge of Inverness to Edinburgh. Fingers crossed we’re coming home.”