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The South-West

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - The South-West
Lawrence Cove to Dingle

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Dingle - Smerwick
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Sat 17th July - Tues 20th July Lawrence Cove to Dingle

Saturday 17th July Lawrence Cove

The elusive John Murphy, alleged mechano-electrical genius but apparently notoriously unreliable, could not be traced and his brother Dominic was in hospital. Unbolted the broken dynastart and backpacked it across on the ferry and into Castletownbere, which is a very busy fishing port. Got a lift from the main road up from the ferry straight to O' Donaghue's garage, where we learned that Marnie would be back at about half past two.

The marina, with Hungry Hill in the background

Evenutally after going away and coming back a couple of times and finally standing over Marnie while he did the welding we left with 45 minutes to get to Pontoon for the 5 0'clock ferry back to Bere Island.

Various people had assured us this could be walked in 40 minutes, easily. It was the hottest day of the trip so far, and a forced march at top speed carryng fifteen kilos of dynastart plus some sockets I had bought took us 55 minutes, but luckily the ferry was not on time and we arrived back in Lawrence Cove at about six and refitted the dynastart it worked perfectly. I was, justifiably as it turned out, a little concerned as to whether or not it would break again.

Kathy on the Bere Island Ferry

Fixed the problem of the leak from the anchor locker and restowed the rode, then tidied up all ready for an early departure for Derrynane or maybe Dingle, in good shape with the bedding now all dried off. Delicious meal of lamb chops bought from one of the three butchers in Castletownbere.

Sunday 18th July Lawrence Cove Castletownbere Lawrence Cove

Left at five minutes to eight for a passage through the Dursey Sound to Derrynane. No wind so drifted slowly down the sound towards Castletown while eating breakfast. After breakfast started the engine and motored down to opposite Castletown. Some instinct made me check the dynastart the lug had broken again just above the new weld. Motored back to Lawrence Cove.

En route back up the Sound I phoned Jackie he might be able to bring another dynastart, but not before Tuesday at the earliest. Also checked my e-mail while at sea, as there is no mobile signal in L.C. unless you climb a hill.

On our return to this very pretty marina a further search for the elusive John Murphy proved fruitless, so we chilled out for the rest of the day.

Lawrence Cove - A Stunning Setting

Monday 19th July Lawrence Cove

John Murphy turned up unexpectedly just after nine when we were in the middle of breakfast! I removed the dynastart for him, and he removed the rocker cover to see why the engine would not decompress. Turns out the decompressor lever was snapped and only one cylinder was decompressing, so no cure short of building / getting a new rocker cover.

John came back just before twelve with a new lug welded on to the case of the dynastart a beautiful job and I refitted it and actually got the belts tight. John was every bit as good as we had been led to believe, and he also told me a way of hand-starting an engine with no decompressor block off the air filter and turn the engine over half a dozen times. Apparently this creates a vacuum and the engine can then be swung readily. Your helper then removes the blockage allowing air into the cylinders and voila!

Too late to get to Dingle now and the weather (strong South-Westerlies forecast) might not be suitable for getting in and out of Derrynane, so we went for a walk. It was not quite as hot as the previous day, but warm enough for shorts. Climbed to the Martello Tower on the hill overlooking the strait. It has been restored, but sadly was locked so we couldn't see inside. The views made the climb worth it though. Took the mobile phone up the hill to phone a couple of clients as there is no signal on Bere Island.

Skipper in shorts - the only time! Note lack of tan.

Tuesday 20th July Lawrence Cove Dingle

Left Lawrence Cove at 8:30 and had the engine off and the kettle on twenty minutes later. A very pleasant sail down as far as Castletownbere, then a dead beat in very heavy swell to get out past the lighthouse and bear away for Crow Head and Dursey Sound. It is quite narrow in the entrance to Castletown, with big surf on rocks either side and a big lumpy sea, so it was interesting . . . another yacht motoring out took a photo of us short-tacking here, which I would very much like a copy of if they read this.

Close hauled all the way to Crow Head - had to tack once after going inshore near Black Ball Head to clear a salmon net. Once we turned in towards Dursey Sound sailing became impossible as we were dead downwind in light airs, rolling wildly in the big swell. Sheeted the main in hard and motored through, and as we came under the cable car wires and out the other side Kathy pulled in a fine big Mackerel. Now we were on a reach, the swell had dropped and we were making six knots in the sunshine but of course it was not to last.

Dursey Sound.

Gradually the wind came round to head us again now NW, definitely not as forecast and increased in strength. Rolled the genoa away to 100% jib size and sat through a heavy shower or two, but still making good progress.

However, once we reached Bolus Head the seas grew truly horrible very steep swell with extra lumps, and the speed dropped off as we clawed our way round Puffin Island and Bray Head in increasingly gusty conditions, making up to twenty degrees of leeway much of which must have been accounted for by the set of the swell. Showed Kathy how to watch the track and take bearings to make a realistic estimate of our leeway. Gloomy weather with the Skelligs and Bray Head looking menacing in the murk.

The Skelligs

Once we cleared Bray Head we could bear away onto what was still only a close reach, but immediately our speed picked up and we covered the remaining fifteen miles to Dingle in fine style, maintaining over six knots. We followed the pointing arm of the strange Dalek-like beacon on the cliff and surfed wildly into the entrance in under two and a half hours. Fungie the Dingle Dolphin greeted us as we entered the welcome shelter of Dingle Harbour and what was to be our last marina for a few hundred miles.

Kathy helming across Dingle Bay

Tied up to an empty berth on a hammerhead and had just finished tidying up when Johnny Murphy the marina manager came down and asked us to move. I pointed out that we had called him up on 16 and 80, and he replied that they didn't answer calls. We were both shattered after a very wet and tiring twelve hour passage, so weren't amused it was late, there were empty berths everywhere and we had seen no yachts follwong us, so this seemed very unnecessary. I undid the knitting and asked him to take the ropes as we motored round into a small berth that was stern to wind and difficult to get in and out of. Threw Johnny the bow rope and then had to go hard astern as he prepared to let the boat blow right into the pontoon, even apparently encouraging it with some tugs on the warp I had foolishly given him. Obviously not a sailor! Our initial impression of Johnny was not improved when he told us that the security code was two digit number and that he locked the toilets at night because it was too easy for people to guess the number!

I have to say though that over the next couple of days we decided that there was no malice in Johnny, he was very friendly and keen that we liked Dingle. I just don't think he knows anything about sailing which seems to be a problem with harbour-run marinas. Dingle is a much better set-up than Kilmore Quay however, and at just E15 a night much more reasonably priced. It's a beautiful place to rest and prepare to turn the corner and head for home up the Wild West Coast.

Fairwinds and Jonika in Dingle Marina
From Kilmore Quay Ballycotton Kinsale Glandore Baltimore Schull Crookhaven Lawrence Cove Dingle Smerwick Harbour