This was to be just under 60 miles, and the first part of the trip involved getting around Carnsore Point and the Tuskar Rock area, where Gordon and me had taken a bit of a pounding on the way down. I knew that this leg was a 100% weather dependant and it would be neither fair or safe to expect my crew, new to sailing, to do this leg in anything other than good conditions.
The other issue here was that the trip is also only really possible with a favourable north going tide, which at this time of the tidal cycle was running very fast. All of this meant that we would have to leave at 1300, but no earlier, to get to Carnsore Point just at the end of the adverse tide,and then ready to catch the good tide from there all the way to Arklow. Over the course of the trip the total ‘good tide’ was going to be equivalent to 9 miles...in other words we moved 9 miles for free . Put another way, at an average boat speed of 6 kts through the water, this reduced our journey time by 1 and half hours.
We were also fortunate that the wind was from the SW and would be blowing in the same direction as the tide, which tends to smooth the waters around headlands.
So, everything was working for us, with one possible little problem. If we could not maintain decent boat speed, or had got the tides wrong, we would be arriving in Arklow in the dark and it is not the easiest river entrance to navigate at night, plus the added risk of getting the prop tangled in a lobster pot in the dark.
Our passage plan was to go close inshore round Carnsore point ( just half a mile off ), in the hope that this would give us sheltered water , as well as being the shortest route. On this basis we had an ETA for Arklow of 2100, which gave about 90 minutes leeway before it got seriously dark in Arklow. With a good SW F4/5 forecast we decided to go, partly because the tides would be about an hour later next day, and the risk of a night time arrival would increase.
The trip turned out to be easy and enjoyable. Phil helmed us through the narrow passage in St Patrick’s Bridge just outside Kilmore, in some quite lumpy seas, which immediately smoothed out once through the ‘bridge’, which is in fact a shingle bank with a channel cut through it for boats to pass through. We hit the tides perfectly at Carnsore Point and the smoothest waters we had were actually passing this headland...what a contrast to the trip down ! Then it was just up the coast between the sandbanks, retracing our waypoints which we set on the trip down earlier. The sailing was similar to the previous day, with a following sea and wind for some of the time, but not on a dead run this time. Under sail alone we were making a steady 5.5 kts as we passed Rosslare , and the tides kicked in as predicted to boost our speed over the ground. However, we had a long way to go and I was still concerned at the risk of a night time arrival, so we ran the engine for some of the time to maintain a boat speed of just under 6.5 kts. irrespective of wind speed and direction, which was somewhat variable. Phil and the girls got a real taste of sailing for a short while in a rain squall with 25 kts true wind and the full monty of boat heeled under full sail, with water and spray flying......and then the sense of calm as the rain passes and we are back into sunshine and lighter winds. All of this meant that for much of the trip we were making 8.5 kts over the ground, and were able to hold the good tide all the way to Arklow, were we arrived in full light in the early evening, just as the local sailing club was ending its mid week race.
After mooring up we joined the local sailors for a drink in the clubhouse, found a chippy, and then collapsed into bed, agreeing that tomorrow was to be a rest day. Since the marina is next to a big shopping mall the girls are happy ! The photos show the first time Moondog has seen hair straighteners in action before said shopping expedition....
Mob (44) 07721 849213