Crew change on Sunday, with Alan returning home and fellow Sirius owner Gordon joining Moondog, to see what the Irish Coast is like. So today it is off to Kilmore Quay ( 52:10.25N, 0065:35.15W), a run of about 55 miles.
We left Arklow at 0800 to catch the favourable south going tide down the coast to Kinsale. This worked a treat, with us being able to sail for a few hours in a F3/4, making up to 8 kts over the ground on the south going tide conveyor. After a few hours it was on with the engine and motorsailing as the wind came round more from the south, but we maintained our speed.
As we approached Carnsore Point and the Tuskar Rock, it quickly became apparent that we were going to pay our dues for this drag race. Despite having taken into account the tidal stream in our passage plan, I had underestimated the flow, meaning that we were now early at the headland. This was a problem since we really wanted to be in the Tuskar Rock area around slack tide, but we actually had 2 kts of south going tide and a wind from the south = wind against tide = v bumpy. It was difficult to decide the best way around the headland ; close inland, way out to sea or between the Tuskar and the land ? The pilot books were divided in advice, and we elected to stay in safe water between the Tuskar and the shallows off the land.
This turned out to be very rough, with Moondog falling off some waves to bang in the trough of the next, but she kept pushing through with water and spray everywhere....quite impressive. The only damage was a galley draw flying open as a retaining catch sheared in one jarring bash into a wave trough. This caused a few minutes less than ideal messing about below, jamming the draw shut with tape and lots of cushions in front of it filling the ‘corridor’ of the galley. A point noted for the future is to replace all draw catches with more robust steel ones.
At some point in all this the tide turned and we had wind with tide, which was good, but they were both on the nose, which meant our speed over the ground dropped to around 4 kts, but the seas gradually subsided, as we left Tuskar behind. The next challenge was getting to Kilmore across St Patrick’s Bridge, which is basically a narrow channel excavated out of a shingle and gravel causeway linking the land to the island of Little Saltee. I had been worried about this, having been told by one local yachtsman further up the coast that this route was best left to St Patrick himself. However, all the pilot books said it was OK , and so it turned out to be, with clear marker bouys. Once through the ‘bridge’ it was a hard right to the harbour, with the final twist being the need to go worryingly close to the breakwater to keep the approved channel, and then hard left before hitting the beach ahead.
Kilmore Quay turned out to be worth the effort. Very friendly and helpful people, and we got the full history of the sad recent demise of the local pub ; this must be the only village in Ireland without a pub. It was all the fault of the tax man, who quite unreasonably challenged the landlord on his lack of tax payments, and thus deprived Kilmore Quay of a valuable social service...at least that was the version we got ! With no pub, we collapsed in the Silver Fox seafood restaurant ( why a fox for seafood was not clear), and had a great meal.
Early night for an early start tomorrow for the trip to Cork.
Mob (44) 07721 849213