Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Sailing to Ireland

We've completed a couple more, fairly major, boat jobs before heading off to remind ourselves that boats are for sailing, not just mending. The first was to replace the Lewmar hatch at the forward end of the pilothouse; after 21 years it had become pretty crazed through UV degradation of the Perspex.


The old hatch. Of course the new hatch had the mounting screw holes in different places than the old, just to add to the fun. But we can now see clearly through it.
The second, more complex job was to replace the holding tank for the aft heads (toilet) - the tank allows us to avoid pumping sewage into harbours or coastal water so we take it with us until we can pump it out at sea (or at a pump-out station in a marina). We first had problems with the original stainless steel tank in Martinique six years ago when we discovered it was leaking (not good!) and Graham wrestled it out to have a new base welded into it - the story of that hot and unpleasant job is here: https://maunieofardwall.blogspot.com/2013/01/sacrificial-anodes-bilge-ratting-and.html

Anyway. we knew this was only a temporary fix as the tank was pretty corroded at the top end as well so we've now replaced it with a custom-made tank made of HDPE polymer by a company called Tek-Tanks. Luckily for us, Duncan and Elisabeth on Quahog had already done the same job so we were able to order an identical tank. More serious bilge-ratting was involved but the new tank fits perfectly.


New vs old

A perfect fit, just needs the pipes fitting and the locker rebuilding
All done (a full day's work but at least no mosquitoes this time!) - a slightly different layout of the pipe positions required the bilge pump to be moved and a new hole drilled for the pump-out hose 
So now we can go and play for a little while! We thought we'd try for Ireland and, with a few days of cold but favourable NE winds forecast, we decided to travel to the Isles of Scilly first then do a long hop up to SE Ireland.

The 121nm, 17-hour overnight sail to Scilly from Dartmouth was fast and surprisingly bumpy with a lot of fishing vessels and cargo ships to avoid, so neither of us got much off-watch sleep. However a large pod of dolphins (whose squeaks we could hear through the hull) kept us entertained for a while. We were glad to reach Scilly and had a perfect, calm and sunny day there on Sunday to walk around the island of Bryher.


Approaching the northern side of Tresco - quite a sporting entrance with big waves and unfriendly rocks to concentrate the mind of the helmsman whilst the first mate focused on the plotter

On a mooring in New Grimsby Sound - Cromwell's Castle still guards the entrance

The left-over swell caused us to roll a bit so we deployed the 'flopper-stopper' anti-roll system

The beach on Bryher

Looking towards Tresco over New Grimsby Sound. Maunie is the furthest boat to the left

The entrance in much calmer conditions
Suitably recharged and rested, we were looking at weather windows to sail the 220nm up to Dingle. Monday's chart looked promising:



It looked as though we'd get a gentle start, with some motoring, then a nice wind-behind-us spinnaker run followed by quite a sporting arrival into SW Ireland so off we went and that's pretty much exactly what we got:


Sailing into the sunset. After 5 hours with the Parasailor we decided it was prudent to take it down just after midnight and this proved to be a good call as the wind increased in the early hours of Tuesday morning

Di updating the hourly log after lunch, warm inside the pilothouse while the increasing wind was pretty cold (hairstyle by Seasalt, courtesy of a large wave!)
Rounding Bull Rock and turning right to head up the west coast. The wind began to increase and the rain arrived.
The pilothouse is a good place in this kind of weather......

….. especially when you get big waves crashing over the bow!
We no longer have our expensive satellite phone on board so can't access emails or, more importantly, weather updates once we leave land. However we do have some very old technology which is still brilliantly useful: a system called Navtex. We can receive weather and safety updates broadcast by the coastguard from user-selected stations (we set up Niton in the Isle of Wight and Valentia in West Ireland); the system has a range of up to about 250 miles. Our receiver is very old-school as it prints, very slowly, the messages on thermal paper.



It was reassuring to have these twice-daily updates but they reminded us that we needed to keep our speed up to avoid stronger winds on Tuesday night. We had a couple of alternative ports of refuge in mind if things got very wild but we confident enough to carry on.

So, after 33 hours at sea we arrived into Dingle with the wind howling in the rigging - it felt very good to be securely moored up in the little, well-sheltered marina just before nightfall. However, we were delighted with the way the passage had gone, pretty much to plan, and how well Maunie had sailed. It's a credit to her design that, on arrival, we didn't run straight to the local pub but, instead, put the heating on, cooked a pasta supper and had a couple of glasses of red wine. We both slept solidly for 12 hours that night!

So today has been a recovery day - showers, boat-tidying, fish 'n' chips at the local pub and a little explore of town. As evening fell the wind has calmed and the sun made a brief appearance.


Sunset reflected on a fishing boat
Tomorrow will see us hitting a laundry and shopping for fresh provisions before we head out to explore some new anchorages along the coast. The weather forecast promises some sunshine but a return to unseasonable easterly winds which won't be too helpful as we try to sail back south and along the south coast. However we aren't rushing so we will spend a few days exploring the Kenmare River and Bantry Bay, both of which look really interesting and will, of course, be well sheltered in an easterly.



We will continue to update our location, with a few photos, on https://www.yit.nz/yacht/maunieofardwall

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