Heading for the Sun

18 September 2016 | Bangor Co. Down Northern Ireland
15 September 2016 | Albert Dock Liverpool
14 September 2016 | Liverpool
14 September 2016 | Douglas Isle of Man
07 September 2016 | Port St Mary Isle of Man
04 September 2016 | Holyhead
03 September 2016 | Holyhead
03 September 2016 | Holyhead
03 September 2016 | Holyhead
01 September 2016 | Holyhead
30 August 2016 | Isle of Man
29 August 2016 | Isle of Man
29 August 2016 | Isle of Man
28 August 2016 | Isle of Man
22 August 2016 | Peel, Isle of Man
17 August 2016 | Gigha
16 August 2016
16 August 2016
15 August 2016
14 August 2016 | Portpatrick Scotland

Heading FROM The Sun!!

18 September 2016 | Bangor Co. Down Northern Ireland

We left Peel at 1100 once the flap gate dropped and the harbour master Mike opened the swing bridge for us.
It was a lovely sunny morning and we had a great sail towards Donaghadee in a south westerly force 4 gusting 5.
We were going great at between 6 and 7 knots with a bit of tide helping us.
As the day went on it got cloudy and then the drizzle started.
As we got within 5 miles of Donaghadee the wind suddenly went to the west and dropped so we started the engine and motored in the drizzle and rain with the visibility down to only a few miles.

It was just like the day I had left on the 12th July 2014.

We motored through the Donaghadee sound with the last of the tide and then on up to Bangor.
As we entered Bangor harbour the rain had stopped and the sun made a brief appearance and my mum and dad were waving from the harbour wall.
We motored round to my old berth in the marina which Mo had kindly vacated for me and were helped to tie up by Tim.
We had a brief catch up and then my mum and dad came aboard for a chat.
We then spent a few hours on the phone talking to friends and relatives.

We had very mixed emotions about being home.
It was great to catch up with everyone but we still wish we were still out in the Caribbean.

We will spend the next few days onboard and catching up with friends and relatives in Bangor before going home to our house and tackling 2 years of grass cutting!!

We are home for at least a year but who knows where we will go next there are still so much to see and do.

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog and I hoped I have managed to entertain you with our travels.

Day Trip to Liverpool

15 September 2016 | Albert Dock Liverpool

It was a beautiful warm and sunny morning but the forecast Easterly force 3 had turned into a northerly force 5 to 6 and the waves were rolling into Peel bay as we walked up to get the 0815 bus to Douglas.
We had agreed to help David and Norma take there beautiful 48 foot motor-yacht Albaquila, which was built in 1947 and David had just spent 8 years restoring back to its home berth in Liverpool.

When we arrived in Douglas there wasn't a breath of wind in the marina and it was really warm as we got ready to leave on the 1015 bridge swing.
We motored out into a choppy sea which as we left Douglas got rougher and we were getting thrown about quite a bit and had to alter course to the south to run with the waves.
The forecast was for the wind and seas to ease down as the day went on so we continued on. Eventually after a few hours the wind eased and so did the seas and we managed to get back on course.

It was a totally different experience for us standing in a wheel house totally enclosed and sweating with only a t shirt on in the sun blazing through the windows.
It was also the first time in 2 years that I have been wishing for light or no wind!!

We had a pretty good trip apart form one stage in the middle when the seas got choppy again and suddenly the port engine started to rev up and then stopped.
We continued on with the starboard engine for 15 minutes still maintaining near to our 7 knot cruising speed.
David started the port engine again and after a few goes it started up and eventually ran okay again. We think it had sucked in air as at one stage we were rolling quite badly.

The rest of the trip was quite uneventful apart from being called up by a guard ship and asked to alter course as we were about to enter a restricted area.
As we got closer to Liverpool we started to see Gas platforms and then the offshore wind farms.
We picked up the buoyage at the entrance to Liverpool just as it was getting dark and still had over 10 miles to go up the river Mersey.

We had arrived in perfect time and the tide took us up and we tied up to the dock wall to await high water to enter the locks.
We only had to wait for an hour and then David got a call to say they would open the first bridge for us at 2130.
We moved out off the wall into the channel and waited for the flap to drop and the bridge to swing.

The height of tide here is amazing as it is one of the largest tidal ranges in Britain at up to 10 metres.

It was a beautiful barmy night with no wind and really warm, we were still only wearing t shirts.
We went though the first bridge into Canning Dock and then waited while the second bridge was opened and finally after 2 months away Albaquila was back on her berth in the beautifully restored Albert Dock.
It had been a long day and stressful at a few times but it had also been a great experience and as we relaxed and enjoyed a lovely dinner made by Norma we were very glad to have made the trip with them and the craic continued well into the wee hours.

We awoke to a very warm still morning and I went for a walk around the bustling iconic buildings and docks of Liverpool.
After a late breakfast we went to the Liverpool Maritime Museum which was free to enter and covered 4 floors.
It had a very interesting exhibition all about the Titanic as the headquarters of the White Star line were based in Liverpool and the building was just across the street.
After spending over 3 hours looking at exhibits we enjoyed a few hours sitting and walking about in the glorious warm sunshine, it is hard to believe it is September as the weather for the last few days has been fantastic.

Soon it was time to say goodbye to our new friends David and Norma and walk the short distance to get the fast ferry back to Douglas on the Isle of Man.
The trip back was flat calm and took only 2 ½ hours.
It was like coming home when we got off the ferry.
We very luckily walked up to the bus station and got straight onto a bus for Peel.

It had been a terrific 2 days and a surprisingly different end to our 2 years away.
as we only have a few days left before we return to Bangor.

Liverpool at night

14 September 2016 | Liverpool

Leaving Douglas

14 September 2016 | Douglas Isle of Man

Things That Go Bump In The Night

07 September 2016 | Port St Mary Isle of Man

On Tuesday we were up at 0700 and the wind had dropped a bit but it was still very foggy and visibility was only 300metres.
We left Holyhead at 0800 and I checked with Port Control to make sure no ferries were due.
The fog lifted to about 1.5 miles and again I was very glad for AIS.
We had a pretty good sail up to Port St Mary.
When we got in Albraquila the motor-yacht we had befriended in Peel were there and we tied up outside them.
We had a great nights craic with Dave and Norma coming over for an impromptu curry.
We had a fairly early night as they were leaving at 0400 for Liverpool.

On Wednesday we were awakened at 0340 by the fishing boats leaving in front of us and then we helped Albraquila leave.
It was a beautiful still morning with no fog and quite warm.
I found it hard to get back to sleep and had just dozed over when I heard an engine and Albraquila was back it was 0500.
We helped them tie up outside of us and had a cup of tea with them before going back to bed. Again I had trouble sleeping and eventually gave up and got up at 0730.
The fog was back in and the visibility was only 200 metres.
I went for a walk around the town and it was very warm even in the damp fog.

The forecast is for big winds the next few days and for 45kts gusting 60 kts on Sunday so we wanted to be well tucked up in Peel before then so we left Port St Mary at 1230 still in the dense fog to get to the sound of calf for slack water.
The visibility was only 200 metres and I was going slow so as to avoid anything and especially the lobster pot buoys.
It was really scary and I would not have attempted it if it had not been our last chance to get to Peel before the big winds came in.
After lightening for me the scariest thing at sea is fog.
I had my lights on and the chartplotter and laptop and radar and AIS all on.
Thankfully as we neared the sound of calf the fog lifted and we had great visibility and warm sunshine the whole way to Peel.
There was no wind so we had to motor but it was only 13.5 miles.
We got in to the inner harbour on the 1600 bridge swing and Mark the harbour master put us outside Pelagos Venture again which meant that no one could go outside of us and we would have a quiet berth.
We got showers and after tea had an early night to try and catch up on some sleep.
Our 2 year adventure is coming to an end and we are nearly home but still have a few weeks to enjoy.

Holyhead Traditional Sailing Weekend

04 September 2016 | Holyhead

We had a lazy Friday morning and after registration we moved Granuaile onto the long pontoon with all the other gaffers.
It was still very windy blowing up to a SW6 but a few more boats arrived and it was sunny.
We met a few old friends including Doug and Carol who own Moya and who I crewed for in the Antigan Classics in 2007.
There was a reception at 1900 and after the speeches we had a nice meal.
We all then went to the sailing club for music and a lot of catching up although it was hard to hear with the music.
We left at 1230 with the party still in full swing.

On Saturday it was a miserable morning with rain but not too much wind.
The Skippers briefing was at 1000 and Pete cancelled the racing due to the forecast which was for 40kt gusts.
Some boats went out for a quick sail in the harbour and I got to go out on Vilma a top sail schooner. It was brilliant but had an amazing amount of ropes on it.
The light rain became torrential and the wind went into the east.
We came back in after an hour and I returned to Granuaile for lunch.

The wind got up a bit and I moved a few fenders about as we were getting pushed onto the pontoon but I wasnt to worried as the wind was to go back into the south west again soon which was pushing us off the pontoon.
I went below to get another fender and by the time I got back on the pontoon the sea and waves had really got up and Granuaile was being thrown onto the pontoon and the fenders were being threw out.
People arrived from every where to help push her off and the heavy wooden fender board on the pontoon was smashed off so I decided to get out of there.
I started the engine and luckily the yacht that had been in front of me had moved so I had a bit of space and with lots of people pushing I managed to get off, just missing the yacht in front.
I motored to the inside pontoon of the marina and managed with the help of another crew get tied up but even then we were still jumping all over the place and the pontoons which are held by chains were moving all over the place.
John came round and told me about a free berth further in the marina so I set off again and managed to reverse into a calm berth with about 10 people watching.
It all went perfect and we got tied up.

30 minutes later the wind had dropped and gone back to the south west and all was calm again.
I checked for damage and luckily there were only a few light scratches but some of these were above the rubbing strip which just shows how far Granuaile was being flung over on to the pontoon. We went to the sailing club for tea and had another great nights craic listening to a live band and chatting to new friends until after 0100.

Jerry and Gerwin who we had met the night before came around for coffee. We then went to the skippers briefing at 1030 thankfully it was a sunny morning with Westerly force 3.
We then all went out on a parade of sail around the harbour.
As we passed the sailing club Hussars had set up cannons and were firing blanks at us but the noise and smoke was very impressive.
Vilma as she sailed past returned fire with her cannons and the was also a cannon on Moya.
We sailed by 3 times and managed to avoid being soaked by the fire hose on the lifeboat and the various water bombs being thrown about.

It was a fantastic spectacle and great fun and very different from any traditional sailing event we had done before with lots of people dressed in period costumes as sailors , soldiers and pirates.

At 1500 there was the prize giving at the sea cadets and as there was no racing the prizes were at Pete and Sues discretion.
We were given a prize along with Robinatti ( who had sailed around Ireland) for further travelled boat.
Later a 1700 we all assembled on Vilma for goodbye drinks and we had great craic.
We then went for dinner with Doug and Carol from Moya and Scott and Ruth from Vilma at the sailing club.
We had a great meal and craic and then went to the sailing club bar were the craic and singing continued until we left at 0330 with the party was still going on.

It has been a fantastic weekend despite the weather and a massive thanks goes to Pete and Sue who organised it and never stopped all weekend .
Vessel Name: Yacht Granuaile
Vessel Make/Model: Wylo II Home built
Hailing Port: Bangor Northern Ireland
Crew: Richard and Eilish
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Yacht Granuaile's Photos -

Who: Richard and Eilish
Port: Bangor Northern Ireland