The Sound of Luing?

Quandary

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We came down today on a spring tide and negligible wind. Motoring at 6kts. had 13.8 over the ground. There was an impressive white standing wave in the Grey Dogs but the Sound was flat as glass if a bit swirly. I have never ever seen it kick up or get uncomfortable unlike the Dorus Mohr or Cuan Sound. The bottom is up and down with humps all over the place so why can it shift so much water so quickly and smoothly in all weather conditions, yesterday Corran Narrows was running at only about 4.5 knots but was kicking waves all over the deck.
It is so reliably smooth that it is where my wife chooses to go below to pack the bags and sweep the floor.
 

pagoda

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We came down today on a spring tide and negligible wind. Motoring at 6kts. had 13.8 over the ground. There was an impressive white standing wave in the Grey Dogs but the Sound was flat as glass if a bit swirly. I have never ever seen it kick up or get uncomfortable unlike the Dorus Mohr or Cuan Sound. The bottom is up and down with humps all over the place so why can it shift so much water so quickly and smoothly in all weather conditions, yesterday Corran Narrows was running at only about 4.5 knots but was kicking waves all over the deck.
It is so reliably smooth that it is where my wife chooses to go below to pack the bags and sweep the floor.

I don't think the amount of disturbance you meet on a yacht is purely down to rate of tidal flow. Most ugly disturbances of water I have met seem down to cutting the timing too neat. IE you come across fragments of the old tide still running, and evil water where that meets the new tide just starting. That I've seen off Kintyre. and a little off Antrim. In Hoy sound in Orkney I have motored against 6 Kts, but basically flat water . No comment on the Pentland Firth, since we got the timing correct! Luing has always been plenty swirly, but rarely worse?
If you are on a limited time schedule, you will probably meet the ugly conditions on more occasions than others, due to tight timing? I do my best to avoid the combination of lumpy seas and tides!
 

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Like you, I have never seen the Sound of Luing wild, but on the other hand I have never attempted to go through it wind-over-tide. Perhaps its length means that we only use it in benign conditions, unlike the Dorus Mor which is worth some brief unpleasantness?

Also ... last time I went north up the Sound of Luing I turned left near the top to head for Easdale. Still smooth, but much, much more whirly than the middle of the channel. Easier to stay away from the wilder bits?
 

Martin&Rene

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I think it is because the main stream runs basically in just one direction in the Sound. In Ken Endeans's book "Coastal Turmoil" he says that a strong current will stop the waves, so you will only get waves at the windward end of the sound. The charts show that you can expect outfalls to the west of Belnahua, which is where a westerly wind would meet the flood stream, but most people head North after Fladda and so miss out on that area. If you are going East on an East wind, then the trouble will be nearer the Dorus Mor rather than in the Sound of Luing.
In all the other places mentioned, part of the streams are changing direction which adds to the chaos.
 

JumbleDuck

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I think it is because the main stream runs basically in just one direction in the Sound. In Ken Endeans's book "Coastal Turmoil" he says that a strong current will stop the waves, so you will only get waves at the windward end of the sound. The charts show that you can expect outfalls to the west of Belnahua, which is where a westerly wind would meet the flood stream, but most people head North after Fladda and so miss out on that area.

Yes indeed. I have also headed up there and turned left for Iona, and it bounces around there just as it does to the east.
 

Quandary

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Like you, I have never seen the Sound of Luing wild, but on the other hand I have never attempted to go through it wind-over-tide. Perhaps its length means that we only use it in benign conditions, unlike the Dorus Mor which is worth some brief unpleasantness?

Also ... last time I went north up the Sound of Luing I turned left near the top to head for Easdale. Still smooth, but much, much more whirly than the middle of the channel. Easier to stay away from the wilder bits?

I keep the boat at Crinan so it is our main exit, it is fantastic in wind over tide, though the Dorus Mohr puts me off if the wind is above 20 kts. still smooth but each tack takes you miles forward, one place where beating is just so satisfying. In the years when West Highland Yachting Week are able to time a start when the tide is under you it is much more fun if the wind is in the North but you have to be careful crossing as your course is very different from where you are pointing.
 

richardsn9

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In calm conditions I have shot the Grey Dogs a few times - the flow of water keeps you clear of obstacles, although a moment's carelessness resulted in a 360 spin as we shot out the other side!
 

agurney

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We came down today on a spring tide and negligible wind. Motoring at 6kts. had 13.8 over the ground. There was an impressive white standing wave in the Grey Dogs but the Sound was flat as glass if a bit swirly. I have never ever seen it kick up or get uncomfortable unlike the Dorus Mohr or Cuan Sound. The bottom is up and down with humps all over the place so why can it shift so much water so quickly and smoothly in all weather conditions, yesterday Corran Narrows was running at only about 4.5 knots but was kicking waves all over the deck.
It is so reliably smooth that it is where my wife chooses to go below to pack the bags and sweep the floor.

Although the current can be strong, it's very shallow so there's nowhere near the same volume of water as some of the more turbulent areas, and I'm not aware of any abrupt changes in depth that would trigger standing waves or overfalls.
 

CFarr

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I came through on Sunday whilst beating South back to Crinan. First time I've managed to sail through with no engine on.
The tracks of my tacks, which were roughly 90 deg North of the sound, became flattened out to about 140 deg as we went through at 10 knots :)
That was wind against tide with an F3/4 SW blowing - still flat through the Sound though
 

wully1

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Although the current can be strong, it's very shallow so there's nowhere near the same volume of water as some of the more turbulent areas, and I'm not aware of any abrupt changes in depth that would trigger standing waves or overfalls.

Thats what I believed. The Dorus also has some weird directions of flow that can make it downright nasty at the south western end.
 

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I keep the boat at Crinan so it is our main exit, it is fantastic in wind over tide, though the Dorus Mohr puts me off if the wind is above 20 kts. still smooth but each tack takes you miles forward, one place where beating is just so satisfying. In the years when West Highland Yachting Week are able to time a start when the tide is under you it is much more fun if the wind is in the North but you have to be careful crossing as your course is very different from where you are pointing.

You da man, Crinan-wise, and I bow to your experience. I reckon the shallow-but-fast-irons-everything-out explanation is the best so far, though I think the fairly consistent direction of flow in the many part of the Sound must help.
 

MM5AHO

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I've been through each many times, and never seen the sound all that rough. Even with wind against tide not too bad.
But Dorus Mor can be rough. Last transit was week before last against the tide, hugging the north side managed through.
The place for spectacular waves with wind against tide is Hoy sound. Check out the videos of the ferry going out (Youtube)
 

markhomer

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Theres a crackin photo in one of the old ccc pilot books of a large motorsailor being tossed about in a south westerly wind over tide in sound of luing , advice was over certain wind strength and springs , dont or not for faint hearted , will photo it next time aboard , has always been flat for me , but thats because ive avoided the bad conditions , folks can miss most of luing out by going through cuan sound and up loch shuna instead when luing treacherous .
 

bikedaft

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reading the OP again - it is a bit odd cos there are several pretty shallow spots, yet no standing waves etc. must be smooth domes of rock instead of abrupt depth changes?
 

Aja

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Theres a crackin photo in one of the old ccc pilot books of a large motorsailor being tossed about in a south westerly wind over tide in sound of luing , advice was over certain wind strength and springs , dont or not for faint hearted , will photo it next time aboard , has always been flat for me , but thats because ive avoided the bad conditions , folks can miss most of luing out by going through cuan sound and up loch shuna instead when luing treacherous .

Laurent Giles Ketch Dorus Mhor?
images

She is actually pictured from Craignish Point going through the Dorus Mhor in a bit of a wind over/against tide situation as I remember.
Regards

Donald
 
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Quandary

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Seems to be some confusion here? I have always regarded the Sound of Luing as the channel west of that Island. The Dorus Mohr is further south off Craignish and North of Fladda off Easdale surely is the southern end of Loch Linnhe? and I agree that both can be bouncy. My chart shows a very uneven bottom in the Sound but the flow is fast and the water invariably smooth, it seems to have most of the characteristics of a fast flowing river. By contrast coming out of Cuan Sound in a fresh westerly can rattle your teeth. I thought perhaps its smoothness was because the Sound of Luing was almost closed at the N end but it is similar on flood and ebb. I can not recall anywhere with a 9 knot tide and a glass smooth surface with just the occasional flat topped whirlpool.
 

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I can't remember experiencing any chop in the Sound of Luing either. It's invariably interesting though, some times more interesting than others.

I took advantage of the flat water to put a reef in the main as we approached Fladda at the beginning of August, we were not going as fast through the water as I would have liked with just the genoa deployed.

It was a cracking sail to Loch Aline after that, hull speed most of the way, who says you can't have fun in a Centaur. The Firth of Lorne was quite lumpy until we were well behind Mull but that was wind with tide.
 
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