HSC offshore cruise 27th to 29th August.
The mystery cruise destination of Howth and Malahide was revealed in the 7:00pm Friday briefing at HSC and much to my relief we filled the committee room with 11 yachts represented.
With the prospect of fine weather everyone set about checking facts and making plans and checking fuel tanks for what looked like extended engine use. The prospect of light winds and concerns over his engine Hopco 2 elected to sail closer to home.
So bright and early on Saturday morning we had a line-up of Invictor, Incantation, Jura Haze, Mirandae, myself on Madam Wen, Cristal, Palias, Elandra, Day Light Robbery and Explore. Many thanks to the HSC launch crew who turned out at 06:30 to help ferry skippers and crew to boats, helping us get the boats away early. With Hierro meeting the group at Howth this still represented 11 boats from HSC taking part.
As predicted, it turned out to be, for the most part a motor-sail across to Ireland in light variable winds of mainly 3 to 8kn. No “drama” on the crossing all the boats keeping in contact on Channel 06 and making steady progress of 5 to 6kn through the water with a little tide helping as well. The fleet arrived between 16:00 and 17:00 nearly all within sight of each other. Paul and Cath off Hierro having arrived earlier that day. As we all arrived, Howth Marina allocated berths over VHF and we all helped each other with berthing and lines. We all met in the very well-appointed Howth Yacht Club for our first Guinness (which always tastes better in Ireland) and a chance to catch up and discuss the days “sailing”. A big thank you to Howth Yacht Club and their staff for accommodating us all, on a busy weekend.
An 08:30 Sunday morning start for the fleet (less two boats who stayed in Howth) on its short, 5 mile passage North to Malahide Inlet in a stiff Northerly Headwind. A precision up the well-marked, if shallow channel and into the marina entrance. A very helpful man named Jim, waved us into 9 adjacent berths at the North end of the marina; he couldn’t have made it any easier. The consensus of the fleet was that Malahide was the highlight with a very well appointed marina offering views of the estuary and beaches in the distance, excellent facilities, helpful staff and the village only a short walk from the boats, offering everything a visiting yachtie could want. (Within reason). Most crews did their “own thing” during the day, with a number of us meeting up in the evening for what ended up as a sing-song in one of the towns very popular bars with Ken as choir master.
Monday morning dawned bright and sunny, but flat calm; with High Water at about 10:00 many boats elected to leave for home between 8:00 and 09:00 but we all had left by 10:00. So a spread out fleet, chugged home to Holyhead, picking up our two boats from Howth on the way. The wind did, eventually play ball and from about halfway we all had a chance to sail a very comfortable force 4 from the South. A few stronger gusts near the Stacks gave one boat a very exciting ride of 9kn through the water for a short time. A great end to a very enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend.
Many thanks to Malahide Marina and their Staff; and we all will post back the swipe cards we forgot to return, promise!
Many thanks to: - (not in any particular order) John and Chris Whitaker of Invictor; Ken, Sue, Fenton and Andy off Incantation; Gordon and Jacquie off Jura Haze; Chris and Lesley off Mirandae; My crew, Huw, Simon and Gwynfor (joined later by partners, Susan Helen and Llio, courtesy of Irish Ferries!) off Madam Wen; Paul and Cath off Hierro; Bob and Brian off Crystal; Gareth and crew Ronny off Piljas; Peter with crew Steve, John and Jack off Elandra; Steve and Sandra off Explore; Clair, Peter and dogs off Day Light Robbery, who all made this such an enjoyable weekend.
Regards John Jones