Capsizing Campbeltown crews taste briny loch

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Words and pictures Mark Davey

Capsize drill and unintentional Campbeltown loch dips were all part of the fun on Kintyre Seasports Project’s (KSP) second annual sailing course.

Luckily for all, six weeks hot sun had warmed-up the sea and many sailed,  without wetsuits.

No one was immune from experiencing a dunking although, by the last day, the Courier’s reporter thought he had escaped, only to plunge in when a tack went tippy in the final hour.

Helmsman Tony McPhail was well practiced having already taken a few involuntary swims.

He proved an expert at righting the heavy, half-full-of- water Wayfarer and helping his equally weighty crew-member back on-board.

The hapless pair spent 30 minutes bailing-out, with cut-off four pint milk containers  and counting their blessings that it was not a rough day.

In an unofficial race earlier, the pair had been chuffed at beating Flint-Phoenix Barrett and Drew McLellan on both legs of a down and upwind course.

Needless to say they returned to Campbeltown Sailing Club slip somewhat chastened.

The courses were organised and marketed by Sid Gallagher, instructed by Calum Nicol and safety boat cover was provided by Calum, Campbell Fox and Greig Walker who also took the course.

Across the two weekly sessions, Calum 27, on ‘holiday’ from Strathclyde college coached 26 sailors, who had varying degrees of experience.

Calum enjoyed his stay so much he manned the safety boat for a KSP regular sailing evening, at the course’s finish, which saw eight boats out on the water.

Before handing out certificates, on the last day, Calum said how impressed he was with the changes he had seen in the trainees and added if asked he would be delighted to return in 2019.

Calum said: ‘Everyone has made a great start but further regular time on the water will be well rewarded.’

He added: ‘It is quite a jump from stage one to the next level and includes a lot of theory.’

Hardiest learners were Heather and Tony McPhail who drove from Grogport and back everyday for both weeks of the 10-day course.

Calum followed his two weeks in Kintyre with a two further fortnights’ instructing, firstly on the Isle of Barra and lastly at Oban Sailing Club.

Regular club sailing continues on Wednesdays from 7pm at Campbeltown Sailing Club.

The next big watersports event, the KSP Regatta is  on Saturday August 4, with something for all, includes beach games, paddle-boarding, canoeing, sailing and sub-aqua diving.

Instructor Calum Nicol, in the rescue boat, explains one of the finer points of sail to Drew McLellan and Caius Walker who has his back to the camera. 25_c29sailing15_CalumNicol_Drew_McLellan_Caius_Walker

The end of a day for Flint-Phoenix Barrett and Tony McPhail. 25_c29sailing01_end_of_Day

Wanderer sailors Caius Walker and Drew McLellan race along. 25_c29sailing20_Drew_Caius

Heather McPhail and Alison Fox. 25_c29sailing24_HeatherMcPhail_AlisonFox

The way it used to be, square rigger training clipper Pelican of London. Unfortunately when it left Campbeltown loch, on Wednesday, under power it trailed a huge oil slick. 25_c29sailing03_Pelican