New partners, 11/11/2016

It’s official, Scot Free lll has selected her new owners, Mr & Mrs Cheshire of the Isle of Arran opposite Troon on the Clyde Estuary. See…

About Us

Scot Free sold yesterday and money is now ready to be transferred. I’m watching the exchange rate to choose the best moment but it’s so volatile I’m getting nervous! And they say that the two happiest days in a sailor’s life are when he buys his boat then when he sells it. I just watched my slide show of the trip and had tears in my eyes, absolutely no happiness here!


Co-incidentally I receive the first proof copies of the book of the adventure. Rights.. Rites.. Writes of Passage. I’m doing the final edit and already I’ve sold two copies (to Mum ) This is going to be lucrative, not.

Here’s the synopsis.

‘An adventure story should be planned. The plot should be laid out meticulously with plenty of forethought about how envisaged twists and turns should be tackled in order to avoid literary impasses, or worse, boring prose. Characters need careful consideration. They should be engaging, larger than life personalities but not so that they become unbelievable. The adventure should be scripted carefully with allowances made for unforeseen contingencies.
The following is NOT an adventure story. It is the story of an adventure.

My planning consisted of a lot of escapist daydreaming before setting a more or less arbitrary date for departure, feeling physically sick when all of a sudden said day arrives and I am NOT ready but still everyone turns up to wave me goodbye. They are ready for me to go, I am not!

You can never be truly ready.

Characters, not carefully considered yet considerate appeared as if on cue and the adventure unfolded with no scripting and little ongoing planning from me. Once under-way it was like falling off a ladder. You know the end is inevitable, there is no way back and you are in free fall with nothing but pain and gore at the bottom.

Thinking about it some time afterwards I think I was lucky, inordinately lucky. I make mention in the story several times of a sense of ‘magic’ permeating Scot Free, of a sense of a living, breathing presence on board, this presence taking the form of an invisible benign protector. This sense of a presence increased during the voyage and I was not the only one who travelled on board to sense it. Re-reading some diary entries I can still recall this feeling vividly today.



It’s been a blast! And I think it’s something we all should be forced to do.

The people you meet seem to form more intense friendships, possibly because the friendship means something more than just acquaintance. You are forced to rely on them from time to time and they to rely on you. Not that you meet them in life threatening situations but certainly where they bail you out, or you them, it can often prove to be very important. It can be as important as throwing a line to a becalmed boat in the Indian Ocean to tow them into Salalah or it can be a passing comment like when Scot Free’s hydraulic tiller lost all fluid. I had reserves on board but as Jim said on the radio. “Just remember if all else fails you are floating on the biggest supply of hydraulic fluid on the planet”. Or when Ian refused to take the offer of leaving Scot free in Salalah, “I signed on for the duration, I’m not abandoning you now!


If anyone wants a copy of the book, let me know at

Oh, and there are another two in the making;

Death Wish and MissAdventure.


Scot Free definitely over it and Out!




Sad days

UnderWayThis will be the penultimate blog from me for Scot Free.
It’s been a blast! The finding, the preparation the setting off and the adventure. The friends, the tales, the sights and the cultures….. we should all go look for it.  The world would be a less troubled place when we all realise that most peoples’ hopes and ambitions are remarkably similar. Oh yes, there’s that troubled minority. Usually exhibiting a trace of greed along the lines ‘I only need this but it’s more important that I have more than you’. On a boat, ‘more’ equals less room for you, more weight, slower, sloppier handling and more maintenance. There’s a real argument for the minimalist boat.
Enough philosophising. The reason for the blog is…


When I was sailing the Kyles of Bute a couple of years ago I ran into (not literally) a sailor. I won’t name for reasons which will become apparent but in the event he helped me off a mooring and said he was admiring Scot free… ‘Was she for sale’?
I huffed and puffed, how could you sell something which was like a second daughter to you?

Last year I bumped into him again and once more he asked if she was for sale. Of course she wasn’t
The circumstances changed as circumstances do and I was talked into sharing a country property with Adrienne.  I hummed and I hawed and went hot and cold before finally writing an email to this sailor who won’t be named and, letting my subconscious take over I wrote the email outlined below.

It’s with a heavy heart I’m writing this email.
I’ve been agonising for the past month whether I should part company with Scot Free or not. Circumstances (a more important woman) mean that I can’t reasonably continue the pattern of summer cruising in Scotland and I know that leaving a boat unused is the worst thing you can do to them and I now see sailing her home as unlikely . I have not as yet advertised or listed her with any broker but I know you half seriously asked me if I would sell her. If you are still interested can you let me know?
I’m putting together a complete listing of all her features but the essential items are listed below.

Sale Includes
Sound hull, designed by Bob Perry, professionally built 1975
All weather centre cockpit.
Suite of sails, main, genoa, staysail, gennaker all new 2009.
All standing and running rigging new 2009, including mast.
Some running rigging just replaced.
77hp 4 cylinder turbo-charged Yanmar diesel. Twinned alternators and battery banks.
AutoStream feathering prop.
DSS shaft seal.
Quicksilver RIB
8hp Yamaha
HF, VHF (2) UHF radios.
Water maker
Gas stove/oven
Taylor diesel space heater, water heater.
Heads with incorporated shower.
Instruments. Complete, all good order, mostly new, all Raymarine including Chartplotter (complete set of world charts) Integrated AIS and 12 mile radar.
Raymarine Autohelm (electric over hydraulic)
Aries wind gear Autopilot plus Aries helm clutch.
ParaAnchor (sea anchor), unused
Drogue, unused.

Fridge, Solar array. Wind generator

3 anchors. Manson Supreme, CQR and dinghy grapnel.
90 metres 3/8″ short link, 60m new.
Powered Muir ‘Cougar’ winch

4 man canister life-raft.

I knew if I couldn’t string two words together and my subconscious disagreed I would struggle with the words but it flowed, the muse was upon me.

In short he was VERY interested and on the basis of a gentlemens’ agreement Scot Free was on her way to a new owner last September. All I had to do was wait for him to sell his boat and she was his.

To cut a long story short he informed me ten months later that he was going to stick with his present boat. I wasn’t happy.

I immediately contacted the marina and now Scot Free is in the hands of the brokers in Troon and for sale for their valuation of £45,000 (VAT included).

So if anyone out there is interested in an Australian registered, comfortable and fast passage-maker based in Europe or knows someone who is, there is a fully equipped, outstanding blue-water cruiser going for a very good price lying on the West Coast of Scotland in the middle of some of the finest cruising grounds in the world. I’ll vouch for that.

End of Summer

Getting ready for return to Oz and if I do this backward and forward thing much more I’ll end up schizophrenic. I don’t know whether I’m Arthur or Martha, Australian or Scottish. Is it summer or winter, or even day or night.
I can fully sympathise with Ted’s confusion last year lying awake in full daylight at 10.30 at night and then again the full sun, dawn chorus at 3 am next morning. Plays havoc with your sleeping patterns. I left Melbourne mid-June just as winter was kicking in and arrived here just as summer (sic) was setting in. My phone showed Melbourne’s winter temperature and weather consistently better than Scotland’s summer weather. Until Stuart and I went sailing that is. We had wonderful weather, serene, warm days which turned the Highland scenery into spectacular post card shots day after day. The best summer Scotland has had for years they say.
I left the last blog with Philippe fitting the new uplift pump before declaring the Yanmar ‘as good as a new one’. Stuart returned to help me sail back to Troon and we decided to leave early next morning to catch the tides… remember we pass the gates of Hell.. Corryvreckan! Do NOT get it wrong. We had a lovely meal and avoided getting ensnared by Bob off ‘Highwayman’, a Troon boat and Ken and Kath from ‘Morag Mhor’ another Troon boat. I nearly got sucked into the whirlpool that night with a glass of Famous Grouse thrust into my hand by Bob. Hearing about Ken’s acrobatic flop into the dinghy later that night convinced me that I was correct in recognising a train wreck in the making.
Tobermorey was chock a block with boats. The Highland Race Week gathering sponsored by Tunnocks.
Dawn next day we started engines… sweet, first time start. We backed out and stalled! surrounded by several million dollars worth of these fancy Highland Race Week yachts. Stuart fended off frantically while I pressed ‘start’ again. OK, no damage, into gear and outta here.
We motor-sailed to Crinan and arrived early enough to get half way through but that was before we negotiated the inefficiency of the lock keepers. Frustrated at lock after lock we were still a mile short of the pub before we were lock bound at closing time. Nonetheless we kitted up and walked to Cairnbaan for a repeat of the lovely meal on our way North. Walked back and collapsed into bed.
Next day we managed to make it to the sea lock at Ardrishaig and were assured we would be first out at 8-30 next morning. The wind had got up through the previous night and the seas were topping the sea wall that afternoon. The couple of yachts who ventured out were taking it green over the bow and it all looked a tad uncivilised. That day one of the Highland Race Week yachts lost their mast so looks like we got out of Tobermorey just in time. We decided to spend the night with our new friends in the sea lock and check out the morning weather.
The morning weather was still a bit brisk but tolerable so we left, finally leaving Ardrishaig at 10-30! So much for a first thing 8-30 start. You need to get your act together guys. Some simple time and motion studies would pay off handsomely. Ignoring time, the Crinan however is lovely, a 200 year old engineering masterpiece which has matured into a pretty garden setting and where little clumps of boaties end up welded into a batch of close friends all pitching in to help each other.
The trip to Troon was a ‘brisk’ sail. At one stage I recorded 42 knots over the starboard bow and managed to sail the whole way with the only unpleasant spot being the messy seas funnelling through Kilbrennan Sound at the top of Arran. Stuart coped well with only a couple of “Ooo-er’s!” when Scot Free heeled over to 30 degrees. (Yes I know I should have reefed the sails.)
I didn’t do much sailing apart from the trip to Ullapool and a weekend with Stuart’s son Ivor and grandson Sam. Lovely sail up to Rothesay where Sam festooned the cockpit with all the sailor knots he was learning then astounded us by tying a bowline behind his back… twice. It was a bit of a test getting into Troon when the wind piped up just a bit earlier than I hoped but smart work at the dock on Ivor’s part saw us safe back.
The other lovely surprise was managing to catch up with ‘Doit’ and crew Angus and Ruth who have just completed their circumnavigation. They had arrived in Oban to meet some friends so I drove up to meet them for a lovely reminiscence dinner followed by another lovely reminiscence night at Kathryn and Billy’s with dad Tom.
This year was all about getting Scot Free shipshape and fully maintained ready for the canals of Europe next year and she now is. I’ve now got a definitive ruling from UK Customs re. Scot Free’s visa status and it all looks promising. All in all a lovely laid back summer and I’m primed and looking forward to Melbourne.

Crinan Song

I’m not too sure who to credit for this yet but I’ll find out and make sure they receive it.
The origin is of course ‘The tales of Para Handy’ by Neil Munroe. If you follow the You Tube links be prepared to lose several hours!

Oh! The Crinan Canal for me,
I don’t like the wild raging sea,
It would be too terrific to cross the Pacific,
Or sail to Japan or Fiji.
A life on the Spanish Main,
I think it would drive me insane,
The big foaming breakers would give me the shakers,
The Crinan Canal for me.

Oh! The Crinan Canal for me,
I don’t like the wild raging sea,
The big foaming breakers would give me the shakers,
The Crinan Canal for me.

It’s the Crinan Canal for me,
From sea terrors there you are free,
There’s no shark or whale that would make you turn pale,
Or shiver or shake at the knee.
I would nae like leavin’ ma bones,
In a locker beside Davy Jones,
From Ardrishaig to Crinan’s the best trip A’hve bin in,
The Crinan Canal for me.


Aye the Crinan Canal for me,
It’s neither too big nor too wee,
Oh! It’s lovely and calm when you’re frying your ham,
Or makin’ a nice cup of tea.
You can go for a stroll on its banks,
To loosen your muscle bound shanks,
You can darn your socks while you’re still in its locks,
The Crinan Canal for me.