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The East coast - down the Irish Sea

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Fairwinds Round Ireland - Ardglass to Howth (Dublin)

Saturday 3rd July Ardglass Howth

Leaving Ardglass the tide is slack S. of St. John's Point, as the N-going flood meets the S-going flood in this area.,so tide is less of a consideration. However, if possible you should plan a passage to pick up a fair tide once you get to Rockabill, your first landfall in the South.

Slipped Ardglass at 07:30 and went out for a look the forecast had promised more SW or W winds force 4 to 5, so we decided that if we could sail without tacking we would go and if not we would return to Ardglass. Outside the sea was unpleasant but the wind had quite a lot of West in it and we could sail with sheets very slightly freed and about 20 knots over the deck. The main went up with two reefs, and the genoa was rolled down to about working jib size any smaller and it is useless to windward. By eight o'clock we had 24-27 knots over the deck and considered turning back to Ardglass. We held on however, and by 09:30 the wind had eased, we only had 18-20 knots over the deck and a bowl of muesli was consumed. I phoned our friends Trevor and Caroline on Balchis to find out what progress they were making they had left Gigha and were on their way down to the Mull, hoping for a quick run to the Scillies.

Soon after lunch we fetched Rockabill, our first Southern Irish landfall, and hoisted the Irish courtesy flag. We had a very pleasant sail past the lighthouse and island with the ebb tide in our favour, but the wind continued to die away and for half an hour between Rockabill and Lanby Island we had the engine on. The wind freshened again however, and we had a very pleasant run in to Howth, only dropping sail as we came through the sound to the W. of Ireland's Eye.


It was local low water and there was less water here than I expected from the ICC directions we only had about a meter under the keel at some points so there was mild concern as I took down the sails while running dead downwind with a Swedish yacht apparently following us in only a few boat lengths behind. He appeared to think I knew where I was going, while I was expecting to run aground at any minute! However, the marina was gained without incident and we tied up at 19:30 after a passage where the sailing had got steadily better as the day wore on always better than the other way round!

Entering Howth marina

We decided to treat ourselves to a meal out to celebrate our arrival in the Irish Republic, and found an excellent place called Portofinos just across from the Yacht Club. The entrance is very unprepossessing, even offputting, but venture upstairs and you find a restaurant full of character specialising in seafood and char-grilled meats. Kathy had a steak and I had lamb cutlets huge portions and delicious, not the tenderest lamb but full of flavour, which is more important. With it we had a bottle of delicious and again very reasonably priced house red. Quite a memorable meal for about half what you would pay at one of the more expensive eating establishments in the same street.

Leaving Scotland Glenarm Bangor Ardglass Howth Kilmore Quay