Finally – high pressure has arrived. We left at ten after the weather and headed North towards Frenchport on Kim's recommendation. There was a big swell left overand not enough wind to overcome it, so we motor-sailed all day with various combinations of sail.
Headlands are a big problem in these conditions – frequently they involve a change of direction and therefore a change of sail plan, but equally frequently sea conditions off these big headlands are atrocious and deckwork is almost impossible on a small boat. Planning is required – and one day we will do some! As it was, off Achill Head our course turned downwind and it was impossible to stop the main crashing backwards and forwards, even severely prevented. Taking it down and lashing it involved me clinging to the boom while I was thrashed backwards and forwards with accelerations normally ony found on fairground rides. Needless to say I was harnessed on – in fact, it is fair to say that harnesses were worn more on this trip than in all our previous sailing.
Once clear of Achill Head (a most impressive eminence, featuring the highest cliffs in Ireland) our course took us North outside the Belmullet peninsula, where we were partially sheletered from the swell by a chain of small islets. Frenchport has a slightly intimidating entrance, but it was high water and there were no breakers in the middle of the entrance. Of course, breakers can be hard to see from the back, so we followed the approved entrance plan by heading for the North point and coming in that side of the entrance. There was a lot of froth on the water and it is easy to see how breakers must form here with even a moderate swell.
We anchored just inshore of the local fishing boats.