Friday night briefing with 7 skippers, looking at a very confusing weather forecast, showing a “thundery complex low” coming through the Irish Sea on Saturday morning. It was decided to go for an early, 04:00 start and try to make it across before the worst of the weather came through.
Six boats decided to brave the elements, we awoke to a completely windless pre-dawn in Holyhead harbour! Assembling in the inner harbour where old friends “Cristal” with Bob Pink and Brian, “Hierro” with Paul and Cath, “Paljas” with Gareth Hughes and crew Ronnie and Ray, and new members “Jibity” with John and Jan Ibbotson with crew Philip, “Annabella” with David Uhlar and crew and “Madam Wen” with my crew Richard, Simon, Will and Olivia. With still, very little wind we motored out of the harbour to be presented with a line of cloud showing the oncoming front, stretching across from one horizon to the other, ominously red, lit by the as yet, unrisen sun.
We had an even more spectacular red sky at the 05:00 sun rise, but were still on engine’s wondering if our luck was in and we could cross in flat sea and light wind. At about 08:00 we thought all the warnings are going to be proved correct as a heavy shower started and the wind picked up to 15kt - 18kt then 20kt and veered round to a close reach. Just as we had the sails set, and had settled back down to shelter under the spray hood the rain stopped and wind dropped right back down, - engine back on! I’m not sure if I was disappointed or relieved. This was the pattern for the rest of the crossing, flat sea, light wind, engine droning in the background. It was only when we were in sight of Dun-Laoghaire that the rain started again and became increasingly heavy. By the time we had all tied up on the National Yacht Club pontoons (about 14:00) we’d had a good soaking but not the forecasted thunder storm and strong winds which had concerned us all the previous evening.
Many thanks to the Commodore and staff of National Yacht Club for hosting us over the weekend. The combination of excellent facilities, very accommodating staff and, of course, the Guinness, made it all very memorable. Many of us explored the delights of the town on the Saturday night. So much so, one crew arrived back at midnight. Knocked on the front door, were let in by the staff, asked for a Guinness each, from the long closed bar and requested accesses to the pontoons, only to be told, by the slightly bemused staff that this was the Royal St. George and that they were, probably in the wrong yacht club!! A great story told to us on the Sunday morning. Next day, David and Crew of Annabella opted to leave on the Sunday, hope you had a good journey home.
Thirteen of us sat down, in the very grand dining room of the NYC for Sunday Lunch and very good it was too. A chance for us all to get together and talk / discuss the trip across and our plans for the return journey. Two yachts decided to leave early on Monday the other 3 of us opted for a leisurely breakfast and a 10:00 start. Again no wind and sea mist which very soon became thick fog. Radars on, and full use of plotters and AIS. Hierro had a close shave with a small fishing boat who only switched on their AIS at the last moment. Anyway, all home safely by 20:00.
Again, many thanks to the NYC for their hospitality.
Next cruise August Bank Holiday