Castlepark Marina claims (archive) to be a 4 Gold Anchor marina, based on the rating system (archive) operated by the Yacht Harbour Association. However, it turns out that rating system is self-assessment based, and while it’s reviewed by the YHA, I doubt they visit every marina. So, even accounting for COVID-19 issues causing them to close the toilets, showers, and laundry facilities (which, again, other marinas are operating just fine in August 2021), I don’t see how a 4 Gold Anchor marina can have non-potable water on the pontoons, and broken equipment on the pontoons.
We had two options available to us today – push the 30 miles to Glandore (into headwinds), or turn around and go back to Crosshaven. There’s a F6/F7 low moving in tomorrow, and we need to be somewhere sheltered and safe while it goes through. Forecast is wind out of the south, and wet. I trust my anchor (and would run out the second anchor for this), but would much prefer a visitor mooring or marina pontoon so I don’t have to do an anchor watch (admittedly with electronics).
Also need petrol for the dinghy; with none at Kilmore Quay, Helvick or Ringabella, we’re getting a bit low on the original stock I brought with us (I could have filled at Arklow, and should have – lesson learned, get fuel when you can). It looks like Glandore/Union Hall doesn’t have petrol either, but it’s a short 3 km walk (each way) to Leap to get petrol there.
So, the decision making question is “Are the visitor moorings available at Glandore?”, and the answer is no. Well, they’re available, but have not been serviced since 2017. I’m unhappy about trusting Blue Opal to a mooring that hasn’t been serviced in 4 years when the forecast is a F6/F7 out of the south (rolling right into Glandore). So the destination is Crosshaven, and hopefully the Royal Cork Yacht Club.
We left Kinsale around 11 am, using a warp to hold the stern on and rotate Blue Opal into the channel between two pontoons, and stuck our nose into the bay behind Sandy Cove Island to see what was there, and then sailed over to Oyster Haven to see what was there. Decided to drop the hook in Oyster Haven to have lunch, and perhaps a swim. Jellyfish and cold water put paid to the swim, but it was a nice sunny spot for lunch.
Out of Oyster Haven around 1500, and running with the SW wind towards Crosshaven. About half way along, K noticed a plethora of birds on the water and diving, and then said she could see fins. 30 seconds later, a pod of dolphins came over to surf our bow wave and generally frolic around the boat. They left all too soon.
K was feeling a bit under the weather as we rounded into Cork approach, but this went away as the roll eased. Received a reply to my request for a berth at the Royal Cork about 2 minutes before I was going to call Crosshaven Marine, so Royal Cork it was. Sped up the channel, turned to port, and slowed as we entered the Owenboy tidal channel. Called the club, and got allocated to W15.
Turns out W15 was a port side to berth (which I prefer due to Blue Opal’s prop walk) facing downriver, with a whack of tide coming down the river; I had to swing wide to get a measure of the tide, then do a variant of a ferry glide to make the turn past the hammer head pontoon end, sliding in with the barest of steerage into the berth. Thankfully, one of the club staff and another sailor were there to take our lines, and a burst astern helped stop Blue Opal before she piled her bow into the pontoon (and shoved her stern over to the pontoon finger).
Dinner ashore, lasagna with chips (and tea for me, Murphy’s for K). The fog has settled in, and rain will follow later tonight. We’re here for 3 nights, shore power is hooked up (included in the berth rate), I can tank potable water tomorrow or Saturday, and diesel and petrol are available. We might even go to Cork on Saturday.
Average speed: 3.76 knots
Total time: 08:05:41