It was an interesting, and at times stressful, 21 days of sailing holiday. A few cases of “is the anchor dragging?”, with varying answers; some cases of the anchor refusing to bed, and breaking out when put under back-down engine load; a couple of early starts, some that we chose to make, others that the weather chose to make for us; some utterly wet days, and some lovely sunny days. Nothing ever happened that scared me, though a few worrying moments. Learned more about manoeuvring in confined marina spaces, and how it helps to have a crew member with a runner fender. Learned again that the boat is much more resilient than either of us, and that I can do 6 knots hull speed with a reefed main and partially furled yankee!

We sailed nearly 400 miles (and probably over 400, but I don’t have GPS logs for things like the Rosslare North to Rosslare South part of the trip), with anywhere up to 9 knots over the ground with tide assistance. We didn’t get to Glandore due to time and weather constraints, so the next time we do this perhaps we’ll be in a position to push through the night further offshore. Wind-vane steering by then would probably be a good idea, as the autohelm can chew a good number of amps.

The trip, courtesy of

Need to work out if I’ve got a slightly broken battery. Will take them off this winter, and put a testing load on them for a defined period of time to see if one battery is behaving out of spec or not – we’d have the batteries fully charged from several days of shore power, and one night at anchor with just my CPAP and the fridge running, and the battery voltage would be 12.3 come morning. The solar panel can’t provide enough power to run the fridge, so another panel might be a good idea too.

Got to see dolphins playing on the bow, a whale in the near distance, and caught several mackerel. The table worked (but needs refining), and the awning worked better than expected (but needs reinforcement at the rings) given the improvised nature of the rigging for it. The flopper stopper didn’t work at all; 33 EUR of zinc anode was not enough to weigh it down properly, so I’ll need some diver’s weights instead.

The seawater leak under the stove still hasn’t been traced to a source, but Victoria 34s are known to get a toe-rail leak at the teak cap, so that’s probably it. I’m arranging a programme of works at Malahide Marina this winter, so I’ll have the cap off and re-bedded over winter.

  • A Sailing Holiday – Dun Laoghaire to Arklow

    The planned holiday this year was for K and I to take Blue Opal to Ireland’s south coast. Initial passage planning had us going Dun Laoghaire, Greystones, Arklow, Kilmore Quay, and day-hopping west along the coast. After asking around about

  • A Sailing Holiday – Arklow

    We spent several days in Arklow, weather-constrained. It’s a small town, with a very busy shopping centre (at least on rainy days). The Kynoch’s walk (archive) is quite nice – starts at the shopping centre, goes past the marina, and

  • A Sailing Holiday – Arklow to Rosslare

    The original intent of this leg was Arklow to Kilmore Quay, but the forecast wind didn’t go as far into the west as expected, and the sea running up the coast was not pleasant. We left Arklow around 10 am,

  • A Sailing Holiday – Rosslare to Kilmore Quay

    We’ve made it to the south coast! Only two days after we planned to be here, due to weather conditions. Up at 0600, leaving K to snooze some more; up anchor and motored over to South Bay to drop the

  • A Sailing Holiday – Kilmore Quay

    Saturday Weather has helped us decide to stay in Kilmore Quay over the weekend; we’ll tank water and diesel before moving onwards, and onwards is currently aimed at Glandore (may as well get as far down as we can, if

  • A Sailing Holiday – Kilmore Quay to Helvick

    After a few days of pottering around in Kilmore Quay, we decided to push on for Helvick, en-route to the Crosshaven area. We wanted to be outside of Kilmore Quay by about 1300, but needed to visit the local hardware

  • A Sailing Holiday – Helvick to Ringabella

    Up at sparrow-fart time after a creaky night at anchor; left K sleeping in the berth while I enjoyed the sunrise and the early morning light (but not the chill). The wind had died off nicely, and it was a

  • A Sailing Holiday – Ringabella to Kinsale

    Not up at sparrow-fart time today; indeed a lazy start to the day with scrambled egg and fresh rolls, followed by getting the dinghy inflated and set up so that we could go explore the small estuary of Rinagabella. K

  • A Sailing Holiday – Kinsale to Crosshaven

    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,

  • A Sailing Holiday – Crosshaven

    Friday The wet and windy weather has arrived in Crosshaven, and I’m grateful that we’re on a safe berth. The wind is not strong here, but the rain … well, we need to go grocery shopping, and we will have

  • A Sailing Holiday – Crosshaven to Ardmore Bay

    Awake at 0530, drowsing in the bunk until 0615. Slack water was around 0600, and as forecast not a breath of wind was around. Made a cuppa for K and I, disconnected shore power and the springs, and made ready

  • A Sailing Holiday – Ardmore Bay

    The anchor held well overnight, nary a peep from the anchor watch in OpenCPN. I was up at 0530 because I was awake, and watched the sunrise while trying to hook up a flopper stopper. Alas, while the wood is

  • A Sailing Holiday – Ardmore Bay to Dunmore East

    The forecast easterly came in on schedule, but stronger than was in the forecast. Awake at 0400 from the bouncing of the bow; the kedge which had been holding us straight on to the easy swells before midnight now held

  • A Sailing Holiday – Dunmore East to Little Island

    We discovered this morning, while checking out the shower facilities, that Dunmore East also has two Speed Queen washers and driers; 2 euro per machine per cycle. So for 8 euro, we washed and dried a whole IKEA bag worth

  • A Sailing Holiday – Little Island

    Our stay by little island did not get off to an auspicious start. Around midnight, as the ebb current got stronger, I woke to hear the sound of chain grinding. Worrying that we were dragging somehow, I went up on

  • A Sailing Holiday – Little Island to Kilmore Quay

    Well, this is the leg that says “yes, the sailing holiday is drawing to a close”. Scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, and then away with the ebb tide down the Suir and Barrow to the estuary. Clocked 9 knots

  • A Sailing Holiday – Kilmore Quay (Again)

    Saturday Slept in today, 0730 wake up call from harbour noise and bright sunshine through the hatch. Tea brewed up, and a batch of K’s biscuits in the oven just gone 0800. Showed our neighbour in the Degero (called Tom

  • A Sailing Holiday – Kilmore Quay to Arklow (but actually Greystones)

    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

  • A Sailing Holiday – Greystones to Dun Laoghaire

    Late start to the morning, but we had no great urgency since it’s less than two hours from Greystones to Blue Opal’s mooring. We went ashore, paid for the berth, had hot showers, and went over to La Creperie for

A Sailing Holiday – Wrap-up
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