The passage plan for today called for us to slip from the dock at 0730, and catch the eddy tide along the shore to Carnsore Point so that we arrive by about 0940 for the flood tide. We want as much flood as we can get, so that we can get to Arklow quickly.
About an hour in to the passage, K called out “Whale!”, as the fin of a whale slid past to the south. Definitely a whale, not a dolphin. Maybe even a few whales. Only saw the fin though, so couldn’t identify it with any accuracy.
As we approached Carnsore Point, the sea developed a chop, but 50 meters to starboard was just a smooth swell, so I moved us there for a nicer ride. Still doing 6 knots on revs for 4 – in to wind. Around Carnsore was pretty flat, all things considered, and we continued to motor into wind for a bit, before deciding that the wind was sufficiently broad to put the main up.
At Splaugh, we bent to port, unfurled the yankee, and started to make 7+ knots through the Rosslare channel. They never responded to my hails on VHF 12, but we crossed at right angles before bearing away. This is where we diverged from the other two boats. Talking to the skipper of Mary Kate the day before, his plan had been to do the same, but I guess he changed his mind.
Once we had gone past the entrance for the Long Bank/Lucifer Bank channel, we turned north, hardened up, and shot along at 6 – 7 knots over ground, constantly seeking lifts and pinching a bit – having the steel donkey on helped with this, as we didn’t lose much speed when I pinched too much.
The rest of the journey north past Cahore Point and beyond was all pointing and pinching, with the occasional tack to handle the swells better – especially when we got wind and sea on the nose. Sea state varied from small swells with wind-blown chop to 1.5 metre waves that were breaking. However, looking out at the Risk Channel as we went up the Sluice, and I think we had the better sea for longer. Yes, the Sluice was bumpy, but it was 15 minutes instead of an hour.
As we go towards Arklow, we made the call to poke our nose up to Wicklow Head. We were are Arklow almost an hour before we intended to be there, and while the tide might be turning soon at Wicklow Head, I felt that it might be weak enough that we could slip round and keep going. If it wasn’t, we’ll, we could turn around, and we’d do 8+ knots back to Arklow and tie up there.
We reached Wicklow Head at 1824 (just ahead of our self-imposed 1830 deadline to deal with opposing tide), and agreed that there was enough light left to push north for Dun Laoghaire. It’d be 2200 or later into Dun Laoghaire, but we would be there.
However, we didn’t make it to Dun Laoghaire – with light fading, and tiredness getting stronger, we decided to head in to Greystones. I really don’t like the Greystones entrance, and I like it even less in the dark with a swell rolling in from the NE, as it faces NE and is only about 30 or so metres wide (or looks and feels that way at least).
Called Greystones and got a hammerhead for the night, dropped the main outside the harbour entrance, and then proceeded in. Had to have K shine a torch on the two sets of pillars that are at the entrance, so I could accurately judge distances – once you get close enough, you must commit and have steerage, or it’ll all end in tears. Plus, once you’re through the pier heads, you have to avoid running aground on the beach and slip that faces the entrance…
We were tied up by 2200, had a light dinner, and collapsed into the bunk. Kilmore Quay to Greystones in under 14 hours. Goodnight.
Average speed: 5.40 knots
Total time: 13:13:22