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The North

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - The North
Portrush to Craighouse to Balvicar

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Friday 6th August Portrush - Craighouse

Cirrus left for Craighouse at about nine o'clock we stuck with the ICC's recommendation to leave at HW Dover 4 for a passage from Portrush, mainly so we could have a bit of a lie in and a leisurely breakfast. Before they left Andrew gave me a navtex printout which included a hurricane warning for 46N 41W and, rather more relevant, a prediction of gales in the NW by Sunday. We decided to make sure we got home on Saturday.

We said goodbye to Praxis and set off across the tide towards Otter Rock. We motor-sailed in light winds quite successfully for several hours, making six knots plus over the ground. We met no less than three small tankers or bulk carriers in the TSS, and had to alter twice. At slack water a few miles South of Otter Rock the wind dropped, and progress slowed considerably. It was a grey day, but there was no rain.

Close encouter in the TSS

As we passed the distilleries N. of Port Ellen Cirrus called up on the VHF they had decided to press on to Carsaig. By now, along with most of the other Brits going round Ireland we had met, Andrew and Gerry were fed up with this Summer's weather and wanted to press on home to Fort William before the promised gales. We wished them bon voyage and promised to keep in touch.

We had planned to go into Lowlandmans Bay, but by the time we were abeam Craighouse we were bored with motoring it had been flat calm interspersed with a light Northerly since Ardmore and we decided to stop at Craighouse for the night, thus crossing our outward track. The mooring buoys were all taken again, so we anchored in our normal spot North of the pier head. Mackerel in cheese sauce for tea Kathy caught four on the way into Craighouse. We had an early night - for once the delights of the Jura Hotel were insufficient to tempt us ashore.

Saturday 7th August Craighouse - Balvicar

I got the anchor just before six o'clock, leaving the crew in bed. Very little wind we motorsailed under autohelm up the Sound of Jura with a fair tide all the way while the crew lay in her bunk relaxing. As the waters became ever more familiar the sun came out to welcome us home. We saw more yachts at sea on this passage than we had all the way from Inishbofin to Portrush. We arrived back on our mooring in Balvicar Bay at five past twelve having completed 1100 miles in the course of this very satisying and challenging cruise.

Back on her mooring in Balvicar
Teelin Aranmore Burtonport Tory Island Portsalon Portrush Home to Scotland