The weather forecast is set fair for this weekend. Easdale Island hosts the second Easdale RIB Rendezvous with boats travelling from as far afield as the Midlands to enjoy the best of Argyll cruising.
RIBs (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats) are increasingly popular on our seas. Whilst many larger RIBs operate in a commercial market, smaller RIBs are popular as safe small family day boats.
In the correct hands, small RIBs have undertaken some extended cruises. In 2012 Andy Warrender from Easdale Island was a member of the Goretex Challenge which saw two standard Humber 6.3m Ocean Pro RIBs depart Wick for Arctic Norway. The passage was completed safely and without incident in 10 days.
The Easdale RIB Rendezvous is not so adventurous in its aims.
This cruise in company event is gaining in popularity. Whilst the 2011 event saw the fleet head for Colonsay in a North Westerly F4/5, due to the uncertainties of Scotland’s weather this year’s event will depart Easdale for Salen, Loch Sunart. Whilst some of the RIBs will no doubt head on to Ardnamurchan Peninsula or even circumnavigate Mull the aim of the event is to allow like minded people to cruise safely and to broaden their skills and knowledge of the fantastic cruising opportunities that are available in Argyll.
Salen has new pontoon facilities, the Salen Hotel offers food and of course there are the Oak woodlands to visit. For those wishing a navigational challenge RIBs will head into Loch Teacuis.
The event was the inspiration of Seafari Adventures based at Easdale. Local accommodation providers, pubs and the general community support Seafari throughout the year so they looked at ways of trying to put something back into the area. By attracting a section of the boating community during a relatively quiet time of the tourist season the tourist industry in the area benefits. Many who attend return later and bring friends.
As of 1st May, 39 RIBs have registered and a few more are expected. RIBs range in size from 4m to 10m. All RIBs are welcome – register here on the event website.
The focus for the event is Easdale’s community owned well sheltered harbour. Boats will start to gather on Friday 4th May. Saturday evening is entertainment includes a ‘Best of the West’ BBQ at The Puffer Bar, promoting Argyll’s music from String Driven in the Easdale Island Hall.
A later start on Sunday, many RIBs undertake a sorter cruise. The main group are heading for The Garvellachs.
Seafari Adventures based at Easdale operate a fleet of 5 large commercial RIBs. They were a major influence in developing marine wildlife tourism in Argyll. Unable to purchase RIBs fitted out to their requirements, Seafari have their own extensive workshops in North Ballachulish where they fit out RIBs for both commercial and leisure users.