United by a passion for sailing, scenery and single malt whisky, the crews who signed up for the annual Classic Malts Cruise organised by World Cruising Club, have now embarked on a 200-mile voyage through the Inner Hebrides, choosing their own route from Oban to Skye, and back south to Islay. Hospitality is offered by the coastal Classic Malts distilleries of Oban, Talisker and Lagavulin, all of whom are providing the social focus for a relaxed fortnight of cruising.
The 2009 Classic Malts Cruise officially began on Saturday in glorious evening sunshine with the Oban Pipe Band leading over 430 cruisers from Oban Distillery down to the North Pier after a wonderful opening party in the distillery courtyard.
This year yachts are entered from 12 countries, including Canada and Iceland. Scandinavia is again well represented with crews from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany, many of whom have sailed their own yachts across the North Sea then either around the north coast of Scotland or are travelling though the Caledonian Canal to join up.
While the yachts enjoy a relaxed cruise north to Skye, the team at Talisker are working hard on their final preparations and are looking forward to welcoming everyone. For the last six weeks no whisky has been made at Talisker because of the lack of rain. We can only hope that this prolonged dry spell lasts until after the Classic Malts ceilidh on today!