Antipole cruises

Strangford Lough southwards to Dún Laoghaire with Sarah

We were holed up in Portaferry for two days with strong winds, before we sailed up the lough and picked our way between the maze of islands and pladdies where there is a lot of sailing activity.  There are eleven yacht clubs on the lough.  We visited the Down Cruising Club in their converted lightship headquarters and also The Strangford Lough Yacht Club in White Rock Bay, where we were made very welcome and spent a pleasant evening.

On Sunday Tony’s daughter Sarah arrived, having flown in to Belfast.  She writes:  I arrived at Strangford Lough Yacht Club just in time for lunch. (I have worked out during my time aboard Antipole that days are punctuated by meals rather than hours).  I was welcomed aboard and we had a lovely lunch after which I was shown the ropes (and all the safety equipment which Dad assured me was purely precautionary).

The first sail was down Strangford Lough. It all felt strangely familiar to me even though I could not remember the last time I sailed a boat – it was probably 20 years ago or even more…

Tony notes: Our sail down the lough on Sunday positioned us ready for the exit the next morning.  Leaving Strangford Lough can be somewhat tricky as the very strong south-flowing ebb tide out of the lough can meet the north-going ebb outside and create turmoil.  I had taken advice on timing and determined we needed to leave on the last of the ebb, which was early in the morning.   Sarah: On emerging from my cabin the next morning (at 5:30 am) I noted with mild alarm that Dad was wearing a full waterproof jacket and sailing boots.  This was rather different from the shirt and sandals he was wearing for the sail down the lough.  At this point I vaguely wondered about what the day had in store but I was too sleepy to worry too much.

We had planned a couple of easy passages so as not to over-stretch Sarah.  But after leaving Strangford Lough we were going very well and it was still early, so Sarah was invited to choose whether to push on towards Howth.   Sarah:  I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge and voted to go for it. Sea sickness did kick in though and I found myself gripping my seat and staring fixedly on a point on the horizon which seemed to take an awful lot of concentration.  I did notice at one point that even though I couldn’t actually stand and Dad and I were being thrown from side to side in the cockpit, Ynskje was pottering about down below boiling the kettle and cutting cake as if she was in her kitchen at home – that was a surreal moment!

Sarah helmingThe sail next day from our overnight anchorage in Loughshinny to Dún Laoghaire was fantastic and I really got into it.  Although I had been a bit worried to start off with, by this point in time I was actually trying to get the boat to heel over as far as I dared and get the waves to break over the bow and was really pleased when we were going over 8 knots.  I had a fantastic time on board; I’m already booking my stay for 2014.

Dún Laoghaire (pronounced something like Dunleary) has a vast marina, and it was strange to be in such a place after all the wild places.  It is close to Dublin and was convenient for Sarah to get the train back to Belfast.  Ynskje and Tony took the train into Dublin to sightsee.  Dublin is a lovely city and we had a great time exploring.  But by the afternoon we  were feeling rather overwhelmed by it all and were grateful to get back to the quiet of the boat.

From here we shall head further south to Arklow and then need to get across to Aberdyfi in Wales, but we are not yet sure how to work it with the tides, etc.

That’s the news for now
Tony, Ynskje & Sarah

One thought on “Strangford Lough southwards to Dún Laoghaire with Sarah

  1. Lucas Voss

    Sounds like you all had a great time! Looking forward to coming on board in Aberdyfi. Safe crossing from Ireland to Wales.

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