Plymouth to Oban – downwind in the Irish Sea

 

on watch

What a great trip although very challenging at times.  550 miles in 7 days including a night in Fowey, a night in Dunlaoghaire, a night at anchor at the east end of Mull and a bonus circumnavigation of Lismore Island on the last day!

The weather seemed forever in our favour and we kept one step ahead of the gales.  With a south easterly wind to begin with it was a close reach from Fowey to the Lizard, the wind shifted to the south for a great reach to Lands End and then shifted again to the south west.  Downwind from Lands End to Mull of Kintyre – must be a first!

We quickly slipped into our watch routine of 6 hours during the day and 4 hours during the night.  This is probably the ‘busiest’ trip we do, passage making but in coastal waters.  On deck there is plenty of navigation to do and tides to work out as well as keeping watch for the many ships, fishing boats and fast ferries.  Below decks life quickly becomes one long round of eating, sleeping, washing up and wondering what is for the next meal!

happy washing up

Our most challenging times were sailing downwind in the gusty winds off southern Ireland and then crossing Belfast Lough in the dark and negotiating the traffic.  Lots of navigation lights to identify and lighthouses to take bearings of.

We are going to the Lofoten Islands for the summer because they are stunningly beautiful, but we should never forget that the Scottish islands, just on our doorstep, are almost as scenic.  We saw an example of this on the last day as we negotiated the narrow gaps at the north end of Lismore Island before heading to Dunstaffnage

lismore

Our guests left this morning and now it is time to prep for the big one – 1000 miles north to the Arctic Circle and Norway, better find those thermals!