Antipole cruises

Fáilte go dtí Éire

Guest blog by Tony’s son David…

A nine-hour odyssey by air, rail and road brought me from a rainy Frankfurt to a rainy Neyland Marina near Milford Haven on Wednesday evening.  The next morning however was greeted by sunshine and endless blue skies.  Because of the strong winds we had planned to limit the day’s passage to a short hop down to Dale in the Milford estuary whence we would set out across the Irish Sea the following day.
 IMG_1552At lunchtime on Thursday we departed, taking the opportunity to test out the storm jib, sailing downstream in gusts up to Force 7, going as far as to take in a third reef.  Antipole seemed more than up to the task.  We moored in Dale Bay and enjoyed a fine afternoon tea accompanied by a visit from a seagull alarmingly eager to share its breakfast of shellfish with us.  Supper was enjoyed as the sun set with a fine display of lenticular clouds.
On Friday we set out for Ireland at 8.30am, amid forecasts of winds force 3 to 4, but a dispiriting contrary NW or W wind.  The weather was again perfectly sunny and cloudless.  The tide would take us out northward around the Pembrokeshire Coast after which we would seek to steer clear of shipping lanes and head across for our planned passage to Waterford in Ireland.  At first progress was excellent, but around the lunchtime the wind completely lulled and this was followed by three hours calm, cloud, and the inevitable debate about turning the engine on.
After a tack northwards, we resorted to the latter around tea-time.  As we motored across we were joined by yet more playful dolphins against the sunset – truly magical.
A swift also repeatedly took refuge in our sails.  At 10pm we implemented watches, but just as Dad emerged from his time below, the wind obediently returned and we enjoyed a fine night sail in Force 3-4 under amazing starry skies and with a rising moon behind us.  A perfectly timed tack brought us into our anchorage close to Dunmore East  at 4am, after 90nm and nearly 20 hours underway.
At 10am on Friday morning I was awakened by movement and we had already departed upstream to Waterford.  A fine passage, mixed motoring and river sailing right to our marina in the middle of Waterford, interrupted only to be boarded by an Irish Customs officer who looked through our passports and papers – no common travel area here.
Waterford has a certain grandeur and cosmopolitan feel, however as much of the expected local friendliness and cheeriness as anywhere.  The marina manager was generous with skipping formalities and dispensing advice.  In the evening we had a very special meal in a Spanish bodega-styled restaurant in Waterford, sampling excellent local food and beer.
As I write on Sunday the sun is shining again and I need not run the gauntlet of irony when I report back to my German colleagues about my excellent sunshine break to Wales and Ireland.


2 thoughts on “Fáilte go dtí Éire

  1. Liz Pill

    It sounds absolute wonderful. What a bonus to have the dolphins with you too. After a strenuous start – a third reef!- it looks idyllic in the video. I am glad it went well and you no doubt will have stories to tell to colleagues. Mum x

  2. Rick and Annabelle

    Hi Guys – It sounds like an amazing crossing! Loved the video footage too. Looking forward to speaking about it soon. Rick and Annabelle.

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