In his life in business, when trying to sell value, Iain often used the adage 'Cheap does not mean value'. This was definitely the case with our very cheap, read free, mooring in the outer harbour in Dun Laoghaire. The mooring had many qualities but principle amongst them were not access to shore in a F9 and most importantly stability. It was a mooring that would be great to visit, for very short periods, but not to live on. We had however gratefully grabbed the offer of a free mooring with both hands and it was all was good until the breeze really picked up. The met office issued a severe gale warning situated exactly where we were sat and in transit with the centre of the gale and the harbour wall was us. Not ideal.
The mooring was so rolly that Iain was actually feeling sea sick even though we were not underway and poor Ruffian was feeling each set of waves as they were running across seas to the wind. Ruffian did find a sort of rhythm but each bar ended with a snatch of lines loading on cleats and a sharp inhalation of breath by both Fiona and Iain. Ultimately this was not fun, not part of the plan and certainly not in the brochure. We also had our home to consider and an expensive marina for a couple of nights is cheaper than picking bits of you home off a breakwater after she's broken loose. It was just a pity that we only really realised this after a night of no sleep, massive stress and having to endure sleeping in the saloon as the forepeak was too noisy and bouncy to even get into.
We were supposed to be on 'holiday' after all and living on a boat is not supposed to be some sort of endurance test. We therefore succumbed to the sheltered accommodation of the marina, even after all the disparaging remarks that were made in the blog previously. So we went to slip lines in 40knots+ of wind. This is not an easy task when the wire mooring line is welded around the windless and sets of waves are coming crashing in through the harbour wall. Once off the mooring things didn't get any more fun or easier. Fiona had to manoeuvre Ruffian across the breeze and waves, put in 2 gybes and park downwind, whilst Iain clambered around the deck getting fenders and warps ready for the impending parking. Fiona excelled and Ruffian came to a happy halt alongside a finger pontoon where the waves and swell are abated but the breeze is still howling at gale force at the top of the mast.
The wind is set to be at gale force strength, and in the north for the next few days and the waves seen from both Ruffian and the harbour wall are enormous and scary. We will therefore not be going anywhere by boat in the short term.
That'll be quite windy then.
and scarily wavey.
Arklow, although not the centre of yachting for the east coast of Ireland, proved to be full of really friendly people and most importantly a really, really friendly assistant harbour master. The assistant harbour master was so friendly in fact that after chewing the fat with him and telling him our story, he let us stay for free for the weekend on his pontoon and we even managed to plug into shore power for the first time in nearly a month.
Just imagine life without things with 3 pin plugs and where every piece of electricity that you use is monitored and needs to be replaced by some means. This really makes you think about what you use and if you really need to use it, we have therefore, for the past month been very green and have had a very low carbon footprint. That was all to change when we had free run of the magic of electricity. We charged batteries, laptops, camera's, phones, created hot water and plugged in the most luxurious appliance, a heater. Wow what a difference having a dry warm boat makes.
Arklow also provided us with a pontoon to help get the leaks fixed that we had in the calorfier, the diesel leak and holding tank and also sort the steering. All the jobs were pretty easy but every job requires lockers to be emptied and the boat being taken to bits. We seem to spend our lives filling and emptying lockers. Whilst on the pontoon we also found and fettled a barge board so we are now able to go alongside remote harbour walls in Scotland. Somewhat of a relief.
We have found, as we go north that the architecture of the towns is reflected in their showering facilities. In the south coast it's all glass frontages and clean lines, ditto the showers; in Dartmouth the buildings are twee and sweet, ditto the showers; so what happens when the town seems to be covered in pebbledash? Yep you guessed it, peddledash inside the showers. This is one place you don't want to have a shower and lean against the wall by accident. Imagine explaining those graze marks to the doctor?
The comfort of Arklow had to end at some point and ended abruptly at midnight on Sunday when we had to get up when lots of people were still up and partying. We seem to be driven not by the clock anymore, like those at work or play, but by the ever relenting tide and weather that we either need to catch or miss. And so it was that we rose at midnight out of our warm and comfy bed to make it to Dun Laoghaire before the big north east winds set in tomorrow afternoon. We motored throughout the night in flat seas with no breeze and arrived happily in a very sheltered and welcoming harbour.
What then followed was a day of moving the boat. We tied up at some pontoons in a corner of the harbour and within minutes were told by marina staff to move into marina; we were also informed that they would charge €40 per day for the privilege of sitting in this soulless haven of unfulfilled dreams. Instead we moved to the National Irish Yacht Club, which had more convivial surrounding but was still really expensive. This is when lady luck struck. As is our way now, we started chatting to a chap who owned a Nicholson 32 called Zuben'ubi. After talking about our friends within the Nicholson Association, ie Jason Poole the class secretary and our experience sailing them, he invited us to stay on a mooring behind his boat. After a couple of phone calls we were confirmed as Honorary Yacht Club Members for the duration and dispatched to a free sheltered mooring in the harbour.
Ireland's people again never cease to amaze us with the friendly manner and their willingness to help with no recompense requested. We are both big believers in good Karma and think we must start giving back soon.
There are some pretty big winds forecasted for the next couple of days so we'll hold out here and be amused by the entertainments found in southern Ireland's capital, Dublin until it's time again to push north.
Its not all play
Fishing boatrs at sunset.
Racheal, the autopilot, doing her business.
Thanks for Raphe on Zuben'ubi.