The story of the cruise has been well covered in Alan Fulton’s articles on the club website: here are Julian and Diana's impressions from our own point of view as the crew of our Southerly 32 Roshanak.First, the beauty of the Scillies and the rewards for getting away from St Mary’s into other anchorages such as New Grimsby Sound. We spent time there on the outward and return journeys. Though apparently open to the north and north west, New Grimsby provided reasonably good shelter in the strong north west winds on the day after our return crossing from Ireland. On our two visits we explored Tresco and Bryher, where we bought delicious vegetables from path side stalls with an ‘honesty box’ for payments. We now have a local Scilly Islands pilot book with a lot more detail than the Channel Pilot, and look forward to going back.
A night on the Celtic Sea a few years ago with a F6 on the nose and turbulent seas sweeping over the decks was an experience we did not want to repeat, so we were pleased that the forecast became favourable on the Tuesday and enjoyed the outward crossing in VHF contact with other LSC boats. With just two of us on a relatively small boat we did not want to return from Kinsale to the Scillies with Fioreun and Lazy Life. Alan Fulton’s account of their crossing suggests that this was the right decision but it did mean a week’s wait for a good weather window. We tucked ourselves up into the small Trident Marina in Kinsale, flew home for a couple of days and spent a couple of days exploring the local area. James Lyons, who runs the Trident marina, is very helpful. In addition to giving us two nights free of charge , he helped solve a minor engine problem and even drove out to a service station to bring us a large container of diesel when the diesel berth at Castlepark marina was closed unexpectedly in the middle of the day. We would recommend club members heading for Kinsale to contact James- details here, or email him here. When the weather window arrived we sailed all the way back to the Scillies on a reach at an average of over 6 knots. A couple of heavy rain squalls and the usual lumpy Celtic Sea as we approached the Scillies, otherwise good conditions – moonlight and stars for at least part of the night- and a great sail. At 6.00am, about 30 miles out of the Scillies, we were joined by perhaps 40 small dolphins who seemed to be herding a large shoal of fish and to believe we were a particularly large and appetising specimen. They stayed with us for 15 magical minutes .
West Cork itself provided excellent sailing- even if the rain spoiled some of the plans for the cruise. We took part in all but one of the timed passages and were pleased with Roshanak’s performance- our verdict on our own was ‘could do better’ particularly if we had cut in closer to headlands. The sail around the Fastnet Rock was memorable, with a big swell and the sea pounding into the rock even in the relatively light winds. We were delighted to receive the timed passage prize for the under 10 metre monohull class-( we were the only entrant ). We knew something of West Cork from a previous visit: it lived up to its reputation as a lovely cruising area with friendly and helpful people.
Other memories that will remain include:
A Day at the Races fishing for her supper in the gloom off Baltimore.
Alan Fulton greeting us in a very Irish downpour in KInsale after an exhilarating but wet sail up from Castletownsend with the words ‘welcome to Paradise’.
A conversation with two local men on Cape Clear Island who were concerned about the state of the Irish economy and scandalised when we told them that a pint of Murphy’s was cheaper in Brighton than Baltimore,
Tacking round at anchor in a short lived blow in Castletownsend . Southerlies seem prone to swing a lot because of their high freeboard and hull volume. With the help of Chris Smart, who joined us for a few days when Yola returned to Waterford, we raised our previously untried anchor riding sail, which tamed the swing. We were pleased that we had replaced the standard anchor with a slightly heavier Kobra anchor which digs in well and feels secure. Our expensive anchor chum was less satisfactory: on this occasion its recovery line wrapped itself round the anchor chain and it took determined work by Chris to free it. Diana was all for consigning it to the deep but I hope to get it modified in due course.
The rest of the return journey to the Solent was largely uneventful. Sailing out of New Grimsby Sound and round the north eastern end of the Scillies in a moderate North /North Westerly was lovely. We didn’t succeed in finding the pool by the entrance to Frenchman’s Creek on the Helford recommended for anchoring by Tom Cunliffe : no doubt it’s there but it wasn’t obvious and we were put off by the gathering dusk and signs forbidding anchoring much west of the overcrowded moorings. Instead we anchored at Durgan (well away from the eel grass!). We reached Lymington, our home port, at midnight on Monday 26th July.
The Scillies and Ireland cruise was a great experience for us. Good to get outside our comfort zone, as we did occasionally, and good to have supportive company while doing it. Our thanks to David Roache for organising and leading the Scillies rally, and to Alan Fulton and Hunter Peace for the Ireland extension.