The Last Ocean Leg

Or Azores to Kinsale and Dublin

On 30th June, it was comings and goings at Ponta Delgada airport, with Elaine departing (see Amazing Azores post) on the same flight on which Martin Goodchild arrived.  It’s not the first time we have experienced a situation like that, and there was enough time for us all to meet briefly, before Elaine had to go through passport control.

We came by Martin through the Gerrard’s Cross Sailing Association.  Many thanks to Stuart Gaunt for sending out a detailed email to members explaining we were looking for crew.  Unfortunately for Martin there was a weather window to leave the next day, 1st July, but maybe there will be an opportunity in future for us all to explore and enjoy the Azores to the full.

After final provisioning at the market, we set sail after lunch and headed to the western end of Sao Miguel where we altered course for the Emerald Isle and Kinsale.  As if by magic the breeze filled in, we were able to turn off the engine and sail.

The wind lasted all night, but eased in time for breakfast, so we were then back to motoring.  We then enjoyed 3 days of good sailing accompanied by dolphins that we both enjoyed watching.  The wind continued to vary, so we did have to resort to motoring every now and again.  But the big plus factor was enjoying the company of whales for three days in succession, one of them was a sperm whale, one unidentified, and then pilot whales, but we also enjoyed dolphins that swam with us for a considerable time, and also performed with some spectacular jumps clear of the waves.

We arrived at Kinsale at 03.45 on 10th July, and anchored in the river, before catching up on sleep.  The passage was 1152nm in 8 days and 11 hours.

Later that morning we prepared Pipistrelle for berthing alongside in the marina, and then visiting Kinsale YC, who were very welcoming and helpful.  Since our last visit in 2008 the clubhouse has been extensively modernised, and while we were there, cadets were being taught to sail their Toppers on a daily basis.

We were delighted to find that the craic had returned to Kinsale in the form of live music, singing and dancing, which we enjoyed on two nights ashore, along with some excellent food.  Alas, all good things have to come to an end, and with another favourable weather window we prepared to leave on 13th July.  Customs finally caught up with us as we refuelled, and wanted to inspect down below with a dog.  Big reminder for next time.  Dog wears covers over its paws.  Handler sweeps up all hairs left by dog!

We had great sailing towards the Irish Sea, and were astonished to watch humpback whales perform close to us.  After 18 hours we were able to round Carnsore Point and inside Tuskar Rock, to anchor off Rosslare Harbour at 06.40.  We stayed on board, had a relaxing day and a good night’s sleep.

We left the next morning at 06.00 for Howth, just to the north of the entrance to Dublin Harbour.  We chose to take the inshore passage which is buoyed the whole way, and anchored off the yacht club at 13.30, before then waiting for the tide the next morning and taking Pipistrelle alongside in the marina.

We were incredibly impressed with the yacht club which is managed superbly well, and the facilities are excellent.  They were also running a cadet fortnight, but here the kids were under control, no mess in the changing rooms, boats were left neatly so that one barely noticed them, and the emphasis was on fun, and not just sailing!  Well done Howth YC.

Immediately outside the YC there is a fabulous cliff walk to the south and east as far as the Baily Lighthouse, marking the headland and entrance to Dublin Harbour, where one is walking along a narrow footpath and in many places a sheer drop of over a hundred feet to the clear waters of the Irish Sea below.  We shared this with a large number of tourists, including many Poles who make up a big community in and around Dublin.  In a way it was lovely to return to the private oasis of the YC, and to peace and quiet!

We managed an evening in Dublin, and here the craic scene had changed, so we finished up getting in a taxi and being taken to the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Dublin, where the music and singing started just as we arrived.  Another good night out, which left one evening on board with home cooked food before sadly Martin had to leave for home.

Bob was left with 6 hours to clean and tidy Pipistrelle before welcoming Elaine at the airport!!

Many thanks Martin for sharing this passage with Bob, and we look forward to welcoming you on board again in the not too distant future!

See also Gaelic Greetings!



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