Henry and Marina Lupton
Sun 20 Sep 2009 11:35
We brought Beoga (which is Irish for 'lively') home to Galway on the week of the Volvo race in April this year. Preparations have been furious since our first Arc meeting in and we prematurely departed Galway on Friday night 11th Sept making use of a weather window following weeks of lousy conditions. We had originally planned to leave late in Septemeber but given the summer of 09 we chose to go early. Apologies to all those missing wednesday and sunday racing with our departure.
Crew was Pascal, Lara, Dermot and Michael. Marina, Joan and Cormac made their way to the Southampton boat show to pick up outstanding bits at bargain prices leaving Miriam on the dock with Harry to wave us off.
We motored down the west coast of Ireland in a beautiful still starry night in the company of bottlenosed and common dolphins. We chose to top up with Diesel in Dingle marina such was the lack of wind. Michael and Dermot slowly poured and Syphoned from the local tanks while Pascal ordered Cappachinos and read the two day old Irish Times. I productively hopped between the two offering useful advice. Perhaps thats why Lara stayed on board.
We managed some spinnaker sailing across dingle bay and past the dramatic Skellig rocks but once we turned left to our 'La Coruna' waypoint the wind came abeam and we used the main and #3. By nightfall we used a reef and over the following 3 days progressed to 3 reefs and #3 but still making over 7 knots consistently.
The sea built over the passage but wind direction remained favourable. Marina provided weather updates with the newly christened sat phone. We had left ahead of schedule due to the favourable weather conditions and while we experienced over 25kts frequently over the last 24hrs the direction made for a fast passage.
Pascal frightened the bejazus outa me at one point on the 2nd day with a huge roar as he spoted an enormous turtle swimming along the surface about 15m beside us heading north.
Another roar from him on day 4 was for a Marlin that leaped high out of the water as we approached the Spanish coast. Dermot was lucky to see this too.
We had dolphins join us for long periods on most days and nights. Michael had his first enounter of phosphoresense enveloped dolphins approaching the boat at night. Without doubt one of the most amazing sights at sea.
I have never been more than 50 miles offshore without having a small land bird discover us. Memories of bringing Michael Donohue's boat back from Holland returned when the young finch like bird appreared and hopped on Pascals head for a rest. It never ceases to amaze how they survive so far from land with tiny wings designed for short hops.
We ate well with Lara and Pascal excelling in the bumpy conditions. The battle to convert us all to veggie-ism may yet win out.....
Shipping traffic was frequent and dense and Dermot seemed to pull the short straw each night.
The installation of AIS and Radar was confirmed as good decisions. Fishing boats however never switch on their AIS and at one occasion I appeared on deck to a sea full of lights. Dermot had to check that it wasnt land such was the size of the fishing fleet.
The following night I glanced at the radar and spotted an enormous ship almost beside us. It had stopped in the middle of a shipping lane awaiting orders (we discovered when it finally turned on its AIS). Every light was switched on making it visible for over 20 miles and ships dodged around it from all sides! Dermot had great fun sailing by the lee for hours wondering why it wasnt going anywhere.
A small hole high and deep in the anchor locker squirted water over MIke and Pascal as the slept in the fore cabin. The anchor locker filled with water in the lively conditions and the pressure drove it aft since the chain and warp had slowed drainage from the low scupper.We packed it with goop and later put a pipe in to speed up drainage. Otherwise equipment issues were minor.
Many thanks to all those who have helped us along the way! We have had fantastic support from many club members and friends in our preparations and we appreciate it very much. A party will be in order in the new year!!