I had a short sail to Portmahomack and back, anchoring off for part of Monday. I left Findhorn about high tide (16:30) Sunday.
The trip over started with a flat calm, apart from a few promising zephyrs. I ended motoring more than half way before the promised Easterlies appeared later in the evening. The forecast was for 4-5.
This appeared the next day, along with a shift to the SE. I'd been planning to stop in at Balintore and then head over to Burghead Bay to anchor overnight and wait for the early tide. This looked less attractive as the wind started to build, making the trip from Balintore to Burghead a damp windward slog in failing light and mist...
Instead, I headed straight for Findhorn from Tarbat Ness. I think I did it in about two hours flat, on a beam reach.
Between Portmahomack and Tarbat Ness I had a very close reach into about 15-16 knots of wind, followed by a tack as I reached the lighthouse. There was a small chop from the E or SE running. It was a good opportunity to check the tacking angle in a breeze with a bit of sea.
Surprisingly, the boat tacked through 80-85 degrees of wind, and about 95-100* degrees over the ground. I was sailing as close as it would go, with the luff of the main just lifting slightly, but keeping the speed up (a steady five and a half knots). Once I got round the lighthouse and eased away a bit, speed increased to about six and a half, rising towards seven out in the firth.
My impressions of the boat were that it was reasonably close winded so it was nice to have these confirmed. I guess the 'D' helps. And I think Raasay's sails are pretty good, although a bit long in the tooth. I guess I'll have to replace up to the same quality when the crunch comes ... it would be painful to slip back.
I don't think any timely wind shift off the headland would have been in my favour, either - rather against, in fact.
*I printed off the GPS plot and checked it with a protractor later, and got 101 degrees. I'm not sure whether this is more accurate than the GPS headings from the day, mind you.