The Scottish Polynesian Catamaran Meet 1998 took place on Loch Dunvegan, Isle of Skye over 7-9 August. This was the first meet of its kind in Scotland and was run on an informal basis, but turned out to be very successful, with over 40 people attending. Most of these were from Scotland, but Bertrand and Marie-Helene Fercot and their family had travelled all the way from Brittany via JWD and Bristol (to see a Tiki 46). Dave Charles (Tanenui) sailed in from Findhorn, through Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal. He had an excellent "reach" up most of the West Coast from Fort William, and a particularly exciting run into Loch Dunvegan; unfortunately he had to return home by road for family reasons, leaving his Tane moored at Dunvegan.
Peter Richardson's Toroa (Pahi 42) slipped serenely into the loch on Friday evening after his journey from the Clyde, and Stuart Whatley, another member living on Skye, also came round to Dunvegan with his trimaran. More PCA members arrived and met up at Dunvegan campsite on the Friday evening. Pictured are Deirdre Cooke, John Cooke, David Gillespie, Roger Nadin, Penn Nadin. The 14 foot Aoraki is on the car roof rack. This photo was taken before everyone was driven under cover by the midges. By all accounts there was a record set for the number of PCA members in one tent for the evening chat, just to get away from the dreaded insects. Note PCA sweatshirts proudly worn!
Saturday started with the weather looking more promising than it had for some time, and after a quick investigation of the rocks and boulders on the beach at the campsite, the two 14s were taken round to Dunvegan pier where there was a promising looking, if steep, slip. After assembly we saw the assorted rocks, seaweed and concrete blocks as the tide dropped, but were able to get both the 14s in to the water easily enough (the seaweed was nice and slippy, helping us slide the hulls over the boulders!). David Gillespie (Hitia 14 Rock Steady) headed off first with a crew of two youngsters, beating up out of the loch towards the coral beaches.
Peter Richardson's Toroa (Pahi 42) next left the pier with quite a few enthusiastic additions to his crew, followed by the Cooke family on a well-laden (2 adults plus two youngsters) Aoraki (Sea People no. 35). Some glorious sailing in rapidly improving weather under glorious blue skies followed, including views of porpoises and many seals. Later Rock Steady and Aoraki and their crews met up at the warm coral beaches with others who had taken cars round to the end of the road and walked out to the beaches, where the two small cats were taken out several times to look at the seals basking on the rocks. Eventually they had to set off back up the Loch, as on Saturday evening we had the promised get-together at the Dunvegan Castle restaurant. There, some 35 polycat people enjoyed some excellent food, good company and a lot of lively chat.
On Sunday the wind had changed direction completely and the weather looked less than promising - though at least it wasn't raining! Peter had offered to tow the two small cats round to Loch Bay, but looking at the conditions their skippers declined the offer and decided to car-top their boats round to the village of Stein in nearby Loch Bay. Aoraki was part assembled before everyone arrived for lunch in the Stein Inn, but over lunch the wind shifted and visibly increased (as seen from inside the inn) enough to dissuade the '14' skippers from going out. However, following some pretty impressive ferry work over the waves with Peter's small tender, Toroa set sail back for Dunvegan, again with a greatly increased crew.
All good things come to an end, unfortunately, and the meeting gradually disbanded over Sunday. We'd had a fantastic time and many thanks must go to Roger Nadin for suggesting the meet in the first place, and then for the follow-through of organising it. Hopefully there will be another next year, with maybe one or two more polycats out on the water. Even with only three boats sailing, the opportunity to meet and talk with other members, and to see other boats (especially Peter's beautifully finished Toroa), regenerates enthusiasm for those building or dreaming. See you all again next year!