August 24, 2009
Monday 24th August. Portaferry to Port St. Mary, Isle of Man. 32 miles, 6.5 hrs
Left 0730 about 2 hours before slack water locally. Made a bigger pig’s ear of departing than arriving
We had helped move a motor sailer “Dawn Bird” into the vacant berth next to us
In my morning befuddlement I had allowed for the strong ebb through the marina and the opposing SW breeze of 15 knots or so but alas, not enough allowance for the tide. We gave Dawn Bird’s davits a healthy clout and bounced gently off the end of the pontoon. No real damage and the owner of Dawn Bird was kind to us in his reaction
We then whistled down the Narrows at 3 knots through the water c/o engine and 8/9 knots over the ground c/o tide.
When all this water pouring at speed out of Strangford Loch meets the rest of the Irish Sea large and dangerous standing waves are created. If like us you are being swept towards them by a 6 knot flow of water there is little you can do to avoid them other than do what we did which was to go close in to Bar Pladdy rocks where the standing waves are less as the main flow is in the centre of the channel.
The sailing from Strangford to Calf Sound was an enjoyable reach in a variable F4 SW, although the sea state reflected the previous days stronger winds. We averaged 6 or more knots and went through Calf Sound (under engine) at 1308, 8 minutes after my calculations estimated that the flow there turned from S to N. I was pleased with our luck!
The mile or two to PSM from the Sound was rough and I had great fun getting the main down outside the harbour. How I love grimly clinging on to the boom with a mouth full of sail ties gently explaining to Jan how I would be tickled pink if she were to perhaps consider pointing Soay a little more into the wind (she already was!). Although I think boom stacker bags and lazy jacks spoil the appearance of good looking yachts (like Sadler 32s), one is high on our winter shopping list along with a motorised winch and a cockpit tent
We were the only yacht in the outer harbour when we tied up at 1400. Tying up to a harbour wall was a new trauma for Jan. She doesn’t do ladders. She did today and scowled at me for hours. Once tied up I had to inflate the dinghy to take Jan and Oscar ashore. Oscar doesn’t do ladders either. (Jan doesn’t do 20ft ladders, Jan does 10ft at best – Oscar confirmed to me (Jan) that he doesn’t even do 10ft!)
We were joined later by 2 other yachts who rafted up behind us. All 3 skippers got together for a chat on deck between 0200 and 0400. The wind had strengthened and gone into the SE and put a very strong scend into the harbour. It was HW and we were all adjusting mooring lines and fenders. Sadly Soay’s pulpit and aft port side sustained some minor damage from the wall before I was able to address the problem. Problem addressed mostly with four letter words.