Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire, as most of you will probably know, is actually pronounced ‘Dun Leery’, in the way that the Irish playfully confuse us Brits with their peculiar spellings. My daughter and her family live in Blackrock which is just inland from Dun Laoghaire, in fact you can see the sea from their upstairs windows. Her daughters were born in Ireland to her Irish husband and when I first proudly circulated their names having just been told at their birth, I managed to spell their middle names completely wrong, on both occasions. Orla and Neeve are actually spelt Orlaith and Niamh, what an idiot, I should have known to check! Their proximity is why I chose Dun Laoghaire Marina as my cruising base this season and the location in the heart of the vibrant town, together with the excellent links to the city, the Airport and Blackrock, should prove a winner with the various crew. Darcey, the eldest grandchild at just 5, is doing a sailing course in August (under no pressure from me – honest!) and I sincerely hope she takes to it.

Our short ‘stop over’ in Plymouth was ideal. We managed to chill and do the essential jobs, replace the gas and a broken block on the jib furler among other things.

It was good to have all 4 of us together for a day, before Richard returned home on the train, but not before catching our departure on his camera.

Hejira leaving Queen Anne’s Battery Marina, Plymouth. Picture courtesy of Richard Cracknell.

Our weather window was tight, and we needed to arrive by Monday morning before the winds were forecast to pick up again from the north. Unfortunately, the window would not enable sailing all the way, so after enjoying a fine sail to Lands End, we had to resort to mechanical help to achieve the deadline, motor sailing north with the Brunton’s Autoprop efficiently proving it’s worth.

Peter and John had not known each other before, and it was pleasing to observe them bonding and seemingly enjoying each other’s company. They are both experienced sailors and previously yacht owners and three crew is actually ideal, and it makes the watch keeping less of a chore. The provision of sustenance has largely defaulted to me and after my suggestion of a steak curry was met with their approval, it was disappointing to catch Peter surreptitiously dumping his over the side, but I caught him doing it – his explanation was “it was just too much”…

Peter embarrassed at throwing his lovely meal away – and so he should be.

Another meal included a Waitrose bacon & onion potato saute which escaped Paula’s extensive ‘use by date’ cull of the yacht stores, it was concealed in the recess of an undiscovered locker – she won’t be pleased with the publication of this photo but, the rosti may have even improved with age!

Escaped the cull !

During the extensive (and extended!) refit, the instrumentation was enhanced and updated with the addition of another screen in the cockpit. The amount of information available nowadays is quite staggering when you contrast it with the guesswork of ‘dead reckoning’ and the short-range weather forecasts when I started adventuring. The ability to carry out a watch from ‘down below’ with the panoramic windows of Hejira’s deck saloon layout, the plotters with AIS, radar set up with collision alarms, AND the heating system, is a real bonus when it is so cold on deck.

Red light at night – it helpfully, does not spoil night vision.

At least 25 miles off the tip of Pembrokeshire, we had a visitor which spent some time seemingly resting before continuing its flight to wherever. Knowing that we have at least one bird expert in the readership (Nigel), we would appreciate an identification to settle our debate.

A tired visiting bird, but what species?

(I had this subsequent response from Nigel Scott:-  “I tried to post a reply on the blog but I think I failed the human check! The bird is a wheatear, an annual migrant from Africa to upland areas in Britain and Ireland. She is taking a break before heading on to Ireland or Wales”.) So it was a female then ?… that must have been what confused our identification efforts…

The persistent cough which I think I caught from Richard during our Cowes shakedown, shows no sign of abating and he helpfully suggested that it lasts as long as five weeks! During the day it is no worse than an irritation but as soon as I lie down to sleep, it seems to become almost continuous. I had asked Peter to bring some more cough medicine with him, which he did, but he claims that Fisherman’s Friends are a ‘cure all’ and the elixir of life. Accordingly, he has brought along enough for all of us.

So, our passage to Dun Laoghaire was successfully completed before the stronger northerly winds arrived and we refuelled and took our allocated berth without any noteworthy incidents, logging 287 miles since leaving Plymouth. I have a couple of days of jobs and catching up with family, then it’s a flight back to normality.

Subsequent clarification:- We were told in the marina office on arrival that it was not necessary to have flown the yellow ‘Q’ flag on entry to Ireland from the UK when I asked if we needed official clearance. I was condescendingly told that ‘we have lots of visitors from the UK and no-one bothers’… The following day, we were boarded by Tax & Customs officials. They had seen the ‘Q’ flag on our arrival. They inspected our documents and passports, took copious notes and pictures saying that it IS necessary and the advice was spurious. Thankfully, we had done everything right and we had all the correct documentation. Post Brexit confusion (particularly regarding Ireland) persists!

John writes:

As the junior member of the crew being still in my sixties, the skipper has given me time off from cleaning duties to write a few words.

Stugeron: The over-the-counter remedy for sea-sickness. So having OD’d on the tablets to make absolutely sure I wasn’t going to be the green-faced wimp sitting in the aft seat waiting to “sort myself out” every hour or so, I thought I would read the instructions.

Good, I hadn’t really popped too many pills and they were certainly doing the job.

Not so good, “May cause drowsiness” it says in big red letters. Let me assure you, there is no “May” about it…

Luckily by the time it came for me to do the  1 – 4am watch last night, I’d had so many cat-naps and sleeps that I was able to stay awake quite happily.

Which brings me on to my next mistake. On my little yacht “Selkie”, there really was nowhere else to see out one’s watch except in the cockpit, so automatically that’s what I did last night.

Now, possibly, had I read the skipper’s entry about “the ability to carry out a watch from down below”, I could have had a warm, cosy few hours in which to wisely gaze at the instruments and dream about warm, sunny blue-water jaunts.  I can only put that lack of knowledge down to me being stupefied by Stugeron and not being able to drag myself to the laptop to read this particular blog entry…

On a good note, it must be said that due to my forty years of hard labour at British Airways (I’m now retired), the magnificence of Staff Travel has again helped me. £22 for a seat on the same flight back to Blighty as the skipper, hopefully with an upgrade to Club Class means I could be sitting next to him all the way home.

Or I might get bumped onto the next flight…

John (Cabin Boy)

Explanation:- There is no blog offering from Peter as he is still serving a ‘blogging ban’, partly because his offerings were mostly just rambling drivel, but this was compounded by him irretrievably deleting a long, heartfelt valedictory posting at the end of my Atlantic circuit before it could be published – unforgiveable!

2 thoughts on “Dun Laoghaire

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  1. I am not retyping my reply but will simply say thanks for the update enjoy your next passage

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