19 July 2017 | Saint George's Channel
17 July 2017 | Carnsore Point
15 July 2017 | Kilmore Quay
09 July 2017 | Engine bay
08 July 2017 | Milford Haven
07 July 2017 | Milford Haven
06 July 2017 | Milford Haven
05 July 2017 | Engine Bay
01 July 2017 | Mostly under the duvet
27 June 2017 | Bristol Channel
25 June 2017 | Bude canal basin
24 June 2017 | Bude sea lock
23 June 2017 | Bude Harbour lock
Really from Wexford
19 July 2017 | Saint George's Channel
A number of people and weather forecasts warned of strong winds on Wednesday. I studied XC weather and Windguru carefully and it looked like the front would not arrive until about 7 in the evening. If I could get away soon after low water there should be time to make Arklow before then. Marica had grounded in the soft mud by the quay on Tuesday night, about two hours before low water. So I needed to move her along the quay, either after 10pm or about 6:30 in the morning.
I was up at 6, moved the boat and walked to the petrol station for a couple of cans of fuel. I cast off just after low water at 9 and followed the channel out to the Safe Water Mark. With just the Honka driving us, apart from a bit of extra grunt from the Volvo at the harbour mouth, it took about 90 minutes at a steady 4 knots.
The wind was lightish North East, rain arriving just as I was getting the mainsail up. During the day the wind veered West, then South West, South and eventually South Easterly. The tidal streams were against until around 2 pm. The boat speed varied from about 3.5 to 6 knots over the ground, and was bowling along at times.
The Irish coast guard issued a strong weather warning of East or South East winds of Force 6 at 11 am. I kept the Honka running slowly and took the inside Rusk Channel as a short cut to try and outrun the weather. The Reeds guide states that strong Easterly winds make the entrance to Arklow unsafe. The two minor harbours to the South, Courtown and Polduff Pier also appeared unfavourable.
I got to Arklow about 5:30 just as the winds were starting to build and swinging South East. I could see the front approaching. Sails down and motored slowly into the Avoca River through the narrow entrance. I went past the Marina entrance and headed for the yacht club. Reeds (the bible) advises they have one visitor alongside mooring. I could not spot it and there were private signs and no obvious vacancies. I pulled in on the long pontoon in the river outside the marina. Soon a man (Ian) turned up with a receipt book and request for 30 Euros. Kilmore quay was only 25, with good facilities and a central location. Wexford don't charge for the use of their quay and the Harbour Master's facilities! Anyhow Ian said he would do me a deal if I stayed more than one night. He gave lots of information on the town and advised Christie's as a good place to eat, drink and use their wifi.
The local sailing club have yacht racing on a Wednesday night. About 10 boats with large crews aboard set off from the pontoon or moorings in the river. They headed out into the strong winds I had avoided. I wandered down to the sailing club about nine. It was all shut up so headed over the bridge into town. I could see the racing boats heading in. I went to the pub and caught up on emails, facebrag and news. There was a fantastic photo of the Spinnaker tower in Portsmouth being hit by lightning, as well as other places and some flooding.
I called in at the Yacht club on the way back to the boat. It was emptying out but there were some great tales of the race in the strong winds. I chatted to Murph and Noleen for a couple of hours. Noleen had come to open the bar just after 8 but as no one was around had headed back home again. Murph had to be hauled up the mast during the race to free a halyard and there was a fair bit of banter about it. Back to the boat a little after two and prepared for a lie in as the forecast is not great for Thursday.
Today's picture is a screenshot of the Windguru forecast.
18 July 2017 | Wexford
Sunny, NE Force 5
We got up at six to have a cup of tea and walk to what we hoped was the right bus stop. When the bus hadn't arrived by 7, it seemed a bit odd to be 15 minutes late on the second stop of the day. The bus did turn up, the driver explained that he, or someone, had lost the keys.
So goodbye to Richard, the hardworking galley slave, for now. I had a much needed shower at the harbour office. I set out just after low tide. The ground is soft mud so no problems if I ran aground. The wind was much more North than East which was not great and a bit stronger than I was expecting.
A slow meander out of the harbour to the Safe Water Buoy and time to get the mainsail up if I wanted to get to Arklow with the tide. I was up by the mast and found a bit of a knot with the main halyard. Undoing it I let the other end go. It disappeared up the mast and the sail then started to disappear over the side. I pulled the sail on board and lashed it down. The end of the halyard had wrapped around the Slipper burgee and curtesy Irish tricolour. I tried pulling them down to recover the end. No joy.
Options were to continue to Arklow on the headsail and Honka, try to climb the mast to recover the halyard or return to Wexford and sort things out. I choose the sensible option and headed back in. The navigation was easier this time. I moored a little further away from the fishing boats and in shallower water.
Sorting the halyard was a bit tricky. I climbed the mast to grab the end but it was still threaded around the shrouds and the wrong side of the spreaders. I tied a monkey's fist in a bit of rope and managed to throw it through the triangle between the top of the mast and the spreaders. I could then pull the halyard back to the correct side and untangle it.
A number of onlookers had come and asked questions or offered advice such as 'you should always have a dummy rope in case you lose one'.
I decided today I would change the oil in the Honka, it probably needs it. A lady watched me struggle getting it on board. She said I should visit the local sailing club up the road that was very friendly and had a bar. I thought I ought to go and pay my respects.
The boat and tennis club was super. Friendly people and some kids courses going on all week. They offered showers (maybe I do smell) and some friendly banter. They also suggested a couple of pubs in town worth visiting: Maggie May's and The Crown. I'm now in Maggie May's. Getting my last pint of Guinness the barman offered his, already poured but without the wait, good man!
Wexford is such a welcoming place, the harbour is right in the centre of town and they are trying to build a big Marina. A lovely stop I'd recommend to any sailors. Contact Phil the harbour master if you need any advice on coming in, where to moor, or anything else.
From Kilmore Quay
17 July 2017 | Carnsore Point
Sunny and some wind
We were going to set off from Kilmore on Sunday morning. We lost our old mooring on Monday while we were anti fouling so pulled up alongside another Westerly boat. The owner told us he might be leaving at 6 in the morning if the weather looked favourable. We took our chances rather than move.
Sure enough at 6 there was a knock and we had to get up to let them go. We went back to bed and surfaced about eight to pay up I found the harbour master and he advised that we needed to be at Wexford on the flood tide, not two hours after as we were planning. A review of our options led to the conclusion that we should wait until Monday to depart. Richard and I took a local walking trail and enjoyed the good weather.
So Monday we tried again. I'd paid the night before, but I wanted to top up the diesel from the fuel berth. It's a self service pump with a credit card machine. Motoring over there I suddenly found I had no response from the throttle in either forward or reverse. We moved very slowly and got there. Filled the tank and two cans and repaired the throttle linkage.
We set out of Kilmore a bit later than planned, but on calm seas towards the Saltee Islands and took the short cut through St Patrick's Bridge, where the tide was less against us. The prop linkage was still overheating so we use the Honka and sails. So much nicer than on our journey in.
Progress was slow so we used the outboard a fair bit even when the tide and sails were giving us 6 knots to add another couple to try and get to Wexford by high tide. I also cut inside Tusker Rock and took a course close to Carnsore Point, the SE corner of Ireland.
We arrived at the harbour mouth, which is about five miles in a straight line to the town, about an hour after high tide and took down the mainsail. I'd downloaded an app to show the positions of the shifting buoys into the harbour. However, it kept trying to load via a slow network, so we followed nearly 30 buoys in a twisting course rather slowly. There was a sandbank with hundreds is seals on it and lots swimming around us. I think Richard enjoyed them more, I was concentrating on not running aground. We arrived at the quay side about three hours after high water. I tried to then move the boat into an enclosed area, but it was too shallow.
We were just enjoying a G&T when captain Phil Murphy, the harbour master, came along and introduced himself and offered the use of a shower in his office. He said that we were in a fishing boat spot and might get disturbed later and suggested pulling alongside another big fishing vessel that would not be moving. A quick recce showed this to be unsuitable as the sides were too high to get on and off. We moved behind her. A phone call to Phil and he suggested we move back a couple of boat lengths to allow other fishing boats in, which we did.
Finally moored up we went to explore the town and sort out transport for Richard to the Roslaire ferry port the following morning. The railway ticket office advised that there were no trains or busses that would get there in time in the morning. Information was very hard to find, but it looked like the local link bus left at 6:45 from the station so that was the plan. A nice Thai meal, thank you Richard, and then a local pub for a few Guinness, with two hours of almost non stop Steely Dan. Another good day sailing.
The photo is of the huge wind turbines on Carnsore Point.
15 July 2017 | Kilmore Quay
Windy but dry
It was quite windy Saturday and the boat needed anti fouling. We parked her on the slipway just after high tide and started to scrub the bottom. Richard stripped down to his shorts and got stuck in. He was soon streaked with light blue from the old paint over his hair and body. He found some material wrapped around the prop. I identified it as the lobster pot flag I had hit coming out of St Ives! So maybe that is why the old Volvo seized and the replacement has been struggling at times. We shall have to wait and see.
We borrowed a pressure washer to rinse off from a motor boat owner that had brought his boat out to clean her.
The tide was out enough to start anti fouling. We selected Uno as a suitable paint to dry before the tide returned. The boat looked good, me and Richard less so. A shower then a bit of a wait until the boat was afloat again to return to her berth. To get back on board with the tide in we rigged a rope from the top of the quay. We then retired to the pub to wait for the tide. It was a well earned drink.
From Milford Haven
13 July 2017 | Irish Sea
Force 1 to 6, dry
On Tuesday I fitted the fuel return to the diesel tank. I had the engine running, but not well and with little water flow. I sorted this out on Wednesday and was joined late in the evening by Richard. We had a few beers with John, Nicky, Sarah, Pete and dog Wilson. Richard and I decided to set off early the following morning and I paid my Marina bill and checked the lock times and fuelling arrangements. For the 5 o'clock lock we needed to get fuel at 4 am. Given that it was close to 2 am at this time I opted for a 6 am lock out and 5 am fuelling.
In the morning the engine started kicking over then nothing. I found the main fuse had blown and replaced with some fuse wire. We missed our fuelling spot, but would have been OK but another boat took forever. So we missed the lock time and had to wait until 7:30 for free flow into and out of the harbour.
The engine appeared fine manoeuvring around the marina. I had to remember the forward and reverse had swapped round from the previous Volvo. Out in the Milford Harbour channel the engine died. Richard deployed the jib, while I got out the fuel and got the faithful Honka started. We tried the Volvo again later and it appeared fine. We decided to head out for 30 minutes to see if it behaved. It did so we pressed on.
No wind for the first couple of hours and the Volvo died again. The prop shaft housing was very hot. We packed the stern gland with grease and continued under sail and outboard for an hour.
The wind picked up a bit and we were making good progress. We saw dolphins, puffins and a large seal. About 4 pm we crossed into Irish waters. The sea had been smooth and wind SW Force 4. We had been doing between 5 and 6 knots most of the way. About 15 miles off Ireland the tide was against us. Progress became extremely slow by sail. Then we had a wind shift and it picked up to around Force 6 for about half an hour. We were fighting wind and tide to make slow progress into Kilmore Quay. The sun went down, the lights and charts were a little confusing. We eventually headed closer to shore to try and get out of the strong wind and tide. We opted for the less favourable route to the leading lights for the harbour through some fairly rough waters, rather than go out again and use Salty Sound between two islands. Getting the sails down was difficult in the strong winds.
The engine faltered and we had to keep the revs up for it not to stall. Richard did a magnificent job following the leading lights into the harbour with a strong cross tide. We crabbed in to the entrance. The engine would only run at high speed so we spent about 30 minutes trying to manoeuvre around and glide into a berth, forwards, backward or sideways. We eventually grabbed onto another boat and rafted alongside around 4:30 am. Time for a whisky. Shortly after, with the light returning, a Plymouth Cutter came alongside us. They were from Dublin down for a rally, they had opted for the Jack Sound passage after seeing the rough water on the St Patrick's Bridge route we took.
We got to bed about 6:30 only to be woken at 9 by the boat on the inside wanting to leave. It had been Richard's birthday, so one he'll remember.
Fuel tank struggles
09 July 2017 | Engine bay
I spent most of today getting the fuel tank back in. I've also connected the gear selector, engine stop and throttle linkage. I tried using a rope to rub the hull as their has been a huge build up of weed. Some success until I got to the keels. I shall try again tomorrow.
John and his partner from Cygnus, the Konsort next to me turned up to head over to Dale, a popular destination with a nice pub. This evening Centaur Tom called by, he'd taken the boat out singlehanded for the first time. We discussed water tanks, as his has a leak, and other boaty stuff.
I headed for Martha's Vineyard just before 10. I had an interesting chat with Kevin and Tina from a Westerly Tempest. They are planning on sailing all around Ireland this summer.
No interesting photos today, so here is one from yesterday.
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