August 14, 2009
On Friday 7 August Doris, John, Andy and Paddy commenced our journey. we flew to Santiago in Spain via City of Derry and Stansted. Before leaving Derry we had a celebateary meal at Halos and we were taxied there in style in Jonathin’s vintage Jaguar. This set the tone for our holiday. Everything after that was measured by that.
We arrived in Santago and set foot on the boat which was moored at Sada Marina, at lunchtime, in N.W.Spain. First drink of the day to celebrate our onward journey, then off for provisions. Commenced a spread sheet indicating our wine preference, price and name, regular grocerices as of home.
Sailed short journey from Sada to La Coruna. Fabulous city. well worth going into. Everyone very friendly. We had the fish of the day and wine recommmended to us. Andy’s spanish is very impressive. The last time i was in spain , which was three wks previous, i ordered fish and got the speciality which was black Black Pudding.
Left La Corunia for Corme. Arrived at 16.30. after a pleasent sail in bright sunshine and a light northly breeze. Ancored in the bay and tryed fishing for our supper. No luck. Cooked on board. Very pleasent. Updated our spread sheet on the wine to date.
Departed Cormie 11am. arrivwed Camarinas at 13.30 .Moored in thre marina and lunched on board. Evening, eat on shore and people watched, very entertaining.
May 13, 2009
Brendan Breen’s log -13 May 2009
The next morning I got up feeling not the best to say the least, because it was a new experience waking up onboard a yacht with the fresh smell of the sea air I found the will to go on! I heard the frying pan sizzling away and the sound of Paddy and Johnny chatting while cooking up breakfast. I wasn’t too sure if that was a good idea or not. I went out to the kitchen and sat down. I looked around the table at the other lads and they looked the way I felt. Breakfast was served up and I have to say I think we all forgot about our troubles as breakfast was lovely and the crack had started again. Paddy and Fergus had some sort of matrimonial tiff, things didn’t go too well in the honeymoon suite last night. .. but we never got the full details of the tiff. Noel wasn’t all that happy with me either as I do tend to take up Trombone lessons during the night with my nostrils. Mind you I awoke during the night and I thought there was an earthquake next door with someone snoring, and at some point there was what sounded like a person being strangled. I think that was coming from the matrimonial suite. All the repercussions of a night on the beer. .. we had a great laugh about it at breakfast.
Up on deck it was a very different day, the sea was choppy the sky was grey. There were rain-showers during the day, it was cold and most of all:; Mother Nature fell out with us.
We were facing a southerly wind of up to 35mph we were sailing straight into it. This didn’t leave us many options. We could stay on course as we were and make an average of 4 to 5 knots which meant that we wouldn’t make it to Galway docks until the next day, or we could tack way out west for a few hours and tack back in, south of the Aran Islands in line with the channel running up Galway Bay, but that also meant that we wouldn’t get to Galway docks until the next day. Johnny estimated that we had to average 9 knots or better if we were to come in on schedule so he made a decision. He switched on the engine and fine tuned the sail. We were making 9 knots again heading into the wind and we now had a chance to reach our destination tonight sometime.
Even though the sea was quite choppy, up on deck this was quite satisfying, refreshing in a way, sort of like we found ourselves in a scene from the Oneidon Line but just that we weren’t written into the script. Down below it was a nightmare. Going to the toilet or trying to carry out any kind of activity proved to be quite a task. Navigating, that was Johnny job. At one point he stuck his head up from below and commented on the weather and said that his doctor recommended that he shouldn’t be out in this kind of weather. I commented back that my doctor recommended that I should, as Paddy Meagher was my doctor and I had to take some unexpected time off work at a moments notice to be able to go on this trip. It was agreed that I had come down with some kind of stomach bug and had to get a sick note.
We all wore adequate clothing, I had on a pair of water resistant pullover-the-shoulders leggings, a warm fleece and a proper sailing jacket and lifejacket, and going to the toilet in these choppy conditions was not easy, the boat was going up and down, over and back, falling over was always a possibility not to mention peeing on yourself. Undoing the buckles and zips to get at the main release valve and keeping your-self upright during the process was something of a challenge.
Now that we were running on engine power there was not a lot for us to do other than chat amongst ourselves and take in our surroundings which were quite scenic. We had never seen this part of the coastline from the sea before and probably would not be doing this trip again, well at least not in the foreseeable future.
Our plan was to make it to the Aran Islands. Inis Mar for lunch. From the GPS system Johnny picked out a little bay in a cove that we would head for, take shelter in, drop anchor and have lunch around 4 pm. We still had quite a distance to go. Back on deck we were lying around scratching ourselves with the leaden grey sky bearing down on us. The morale was low amongst the crew and the threat of mutiny was never far away. In an attempt to boost the morale, the good doctor Paddy started to dispense fire water to the troops for medicinal purposes only of course.
I guess The Motley Crew realized something interesting that day, how well modern technology has been integrated with the world of sailing in terms of how possible it is to do a solo sailing voyage. Basically Johnny could have sailed Santana from the Loch Swilly to Galway docks as a solo voyage if he felt that he needed to do so. Having said that, it is always an advantage to have help on board for putting up and taking down the sails and getting in and out of harbours. Between his knoll age and experience combined with engine power, the GPS Sat Nav and auto pilot, he could have stayed down below where it’s dry and warm drinking coffee and plotting the course for himself. Fortunately for us, Johnny is the kind of guy that likes company and good crack. He is fond of telling a good story. There is something certain about an adventure, no matter how fantastic it can be to the individual, it is always so much better when you share it with friends. The banter of what each person gets out of the same story can be hilarious. This is the reason The Motley Crew were so privileged to be accepted on board such a beautiful yacht and to be welcomed to the warm hospitality of John Harkin.
Time passed slowly as we crawled southwards down the coast to the Aran Islands. The good doctor couldn’t help himself serving up fire water to the troops. His fire water was a raw version of a hot whiskey without the cloves sugar or lemon, served up in plastic mugs. Basically speaking, the fire water was made up of whiskey and luke warm water. Man, it tasted foul, but when at sea where there are no rules. Anything goes. Fergus, Noel and I threw back the first few, thinking that he would stop serving us whiskey but no! They kept coming. Man, they were hard going. They were giving us heart burn and not one of us had the heart to tell Paddy as he was acting from the goodness of his heart.
I remember looking over at Noel and Fergus thinking ‘oh God this is going to kill us!’ Fergus had this mischievous look on his face. He raised his plastic mug as though he was going to drink it and he threw it over his shoulder into the sea. We could only laugh at him as he had this hilarious look on his face that read ‘OK I’ve been busted but prove it!’ He confessed that it was killing him and that he had drunk as much as he could of it. We had to agree so I passed him mine and over the side it went. Noel on the other hand, is not one to give up a beverage too easily without a fight, but even he confessed it wasn’t called firewater for nothing and it had burnt his insides out, so Fergus did the honors once again and over it went.
Each one of us will walk away from this trip with our own personal memories and there will be certain memories that we will have in common. For instance, we were sitting up on deck very quiet, I think that everyone found their own space for their own thoughts for a moment or two. All of a sudden we were brought back to reality with a bang by this loud music that came from out of the blue. Johnny’s favorite band Santana, who he named the yacht after, released a version of Black Magic Woman written by Peter Green from Fleetwood Mac. They were rocking up the blues with their version of the song, Johnny was pumping it out at full blast on the yacht’s stereo system and then he started playing the air guitar to the lead break in the song. It was, to say the least, uplifting to our spirits.
At this stage we were no more than a few hours from the Aran Islands. Paddy and Fergus went down stairs to prepare for dinner now that their relationship was ok again. They say that Marriage can be tough.
The sea was as choppy as ever and we were still facing into 35mph winds. I stuck my head down the hatch, just for a look and the two boys were like a pair of sneakers going round in a washing machine. They were down there for quite a while. Eventually Fergus landed back up on deck. He very quietly sat down and said nothing. Noel and I were keeping an eye on him as he was as pale as a ghost.
I asked Fergus if he was ok. He said that he nearly puked so he came up on deck for some fresh air. He explained that he had been fine until he tasted a cutting of one of the peppers
he was chopping up for dinner. I didn’t hang around down there much myself as it made me feel a bit queasy. After a while up on deck Paddy braved it again he went back down and got stuck in-to making dinner. Fergus and Noel went down to keep him company. I sat up with lames for a while but it got a bit chilly and the lads sounded like they were having a bit of crack downstairs so I decided to join them. We sat around the table winding each other up while we rocked over and back. Fergus and Noel sat across from me with their backs to the wall. I looked across at them and wondered what was wrong with this picture. I could see out the window behind them. One minute I could see the sky in the window, the next time I looked I could see the roaring sea. It was very strange to see the sea in the window behind them. We were rocking that much it was like being in an airplane one minute and in a submarine the next. We had reached Inis Mar and Paddy had dinner ready bang on time.
We went up on deck as Johnny brought us into the bay. At first, the plan was to drop anchor but when he spied a mooring buoy in the bay he decided that he would like to take a closer look as it may be an option for us to tie up to it while we were having lunch. He nice and slowly made his way to the mooring buoy. I went up to the bow with the gaff rod to catch the mooring buoy rope on his command. As it turned out he decided not to tie up to it as he could see that it had a small rope attached to it which meant that it was for a small boat and the good ship Santana was probably too big for it to hold us in place so he didn’t give the command. I stood down as he was reversing us away from the mooring buoy, but the rope from the mooring buoy got caught in the bow – thruster at the front of the boat. He attempted to reverse us off the rope but nothing doing the rope was jammed. Johnny tried a few more maneuvers until he came to the conclusion that the only way out was to cut the Yacht free from the mooring buoy.
On the night we boarded the yacht in Broad haven when we were bringing our stuff on board, Johnny noticed that I had brought a dry suit with me. I brought it because in a previous conversation with Paddy at a Tuesday Club Convention in Sheridan’s, Paddy suggested that it might come in handy if the sea got rough and the rain came pouring down, it would be perfect to wear on deck against the elements so I brought it along, just in case. Johnny asked me without using too many words – I knew what he meant – if I would stick it on and go in to the water and free the good ship Santana. I did, knowing fine well that the only purpose it would serve me was to keep me dry and warm.
A dry suit without weights or fins is so buoyant you have no control. I was going to be a sitting duck in the choppy sea. All I could do was to swim against it, and trust me you don’t take long to become exhausted struggling against the power of the Ocean. I jumped into the water up at the bow directly over the orange buoy, armed with a sharp knife which the good doctor provided from his stash of kitchen utensils. I was hoping that when I landed on it my body weight might push it down far enough in the water to loosen it and maybe I could pull the rest free by hand, but no deal. I made no impact at all on it. I tried holding my breath and pulling myself down the rope in an attempt to reach where the rope was caught in the bow thruster but my dry suit was too buoyant and the water pressure just kept forcing me back to the surface like a balloon. There was nothing left for it now but to cut the yacht free from the buoy. This course of action had implications because this was a mooring that belonged to some Islander and his fishing boat that we were messing with. The chances are he was probably somewhere out there on his boat trying to earn his crust while we are about to cut his mooring.
The command came to cut the rope. I reached down along the rope and cut it. Santana still did not break free, the rope was jammed in the bow thruster on the other side as well. I made my way around to the other side and cut the rope.
Santana was now adrift and Noel had thrown me a rope from the deck to keep me connected to the yacht. He dragged me to the stern. Because Santana was now free from the mooring, the wind was driving her towards the rocks. Onboard, Johnny was watching the depth finder and when it was reading 1.5 meters below us he hit the engine and drove Santana out of danger.
Meanwhile, I was still in the water holding on to the rope, getting pulled along like a water skier only without the skies. I have to say, up to a point it was fun, but the sea was choppy and it can get quite sore on the hands, holding on to a rope being towed behind a boat. He dragged me along until Santana was safe again and it was then that my good shipmates helped me back on board. I must say after hours of grey skies and sitting there drinking fire water, this little bit of excitement is exactly what we needed to add to yet another burst of spirits into The Motley Crew’s great adventure.
We had so much fun on the rest of the journey. None of us were happy about cutting someone’s mooring, I mean, just imagine if you were a small time fisherman’s wife and family looking out of your cottage window and seeing this beautiful big yacht sailing into the bay, sail up to your husband’s or father’s mooring while he is out on his boat trying to earn a living, some lug in a black scuba suit jumps over the side and cuts the family mooring, gets back on board and then sails off out of the bay in a hurry. Charming, don’t you think. Pirates or thugs, it would be hard to decide, but no, it was us The Motley Crew.
Paddy felt very guilty about the whole ordeal. Johnny plotted a course and put Santana on autopilot and there we held court. Paddy took the role of perhaps a Barrister as he cross-questioned every detail.
Johnny was the defense lawyer. Noel is a solicitor by profession anyway so he took the role of prosecutor, Fergus James and I had a ball of a time throwing spanners in the works. The hearing went on and it was concluded that there was little that could be done to decide which was to be sacrificed, the yacht Santana, or the mooring. Seeing as we were on board Santana it didn’t make much sense to sacrifice her, and we had the cutting knife supplied by the good doctor, chosen by his own hand from his kitchen, there was no question which it was to be. It all comes down to survival of the fittest in the end.
We learned later that Paddy, through his practice as a GP, through his patients, found out who on the Island owned the mooring, and being the good Christian that he is and a fair minded gentleman he paid for the mooring to be replaced.
It was long past dinnertime and at this stage we were starving. Like pirates we had to have dinner on the run. We decided that we would make sure that there was someone on watch up on deck to keep an eye out for any obstacles in our path, such as lobster pots, and interestingly enough, we saw what looked like a drift net, they are now illegal. Paddy was full on in the kitchen and to this day I will never cease to be amazed at how he managed to cook up such an edible tasty Indian Chicken curry in such impossible conditions. He served each of us a plate of chicken curry, put it on the table and as soon as he let go the plate went flying across the table. I can still see Fergus reaching out and saving my plate from landing on the floor like a goalie would save a football. Then came the Naan bread and our boy Fergus was on the ball again. What a mighty save! The Naan bread went flying, Fergus leaped at it, and all I could see was his big fist flatten the Naan bread down on the table like he had just used a mallet to stun a bull. We had such a laugh.
The whole trip was great crack with the greatest characters and good friends. We sailed into Galway docks around 10pm that night – Paddy, Noel and Fergus had their families there to welcome them back. The Motley Crew are now looking for a new adventure.
May 12, 2009
12th May 2009 Portnafrankagh to Inishbofin
We were all up at 8:30 and had a cooked breakfast before setting sail; the forecast was for 20 knots of wind from the East. We departed Portnafrankagh at 10:00 under full sail in a 20knot Easterly wind with a flat sea. We had a wonderful sail along the coast in good visibility averaging 8 to 9 knots boat speed. I let all the crew take the helm for one hour shifts and the all enjoyed the experience. Near the approach to Inishbofin we put one reef in the main and had a nice beat towards the Island.
We arrived at the anchorage at 18:00 and set the anchor.. The Inishbofin harbour is set a beautiful protected bay with an old Cromwellian fort at the entrance. We launched the dinghy all headed for the hotel on shore were we had a great meal consisting of seafood chowder and steaks. The bar closed at 1:00 and we returned to the boat suitably fed and watered.
Brendan Breen’s log 12 May 2009 We awoke in the morning bright and early. The good captain Johnny was cooking a monster fry up breakfast. What a treat, just what the doctor ordered, well, for all the rest of us except the doctor himself, who seemed to be suffering from a hangover, perhaps because sailing on a yacht like this was not a novelty to Paddy, but for Fergus, Noel and me it definitely was, and our adrenalin was running high with excitement. I think that was the antidote for our hangovers. We got stuck in. It didn’t take long to munch up our breakfast and boy was it good. As soon as we cleaned up the dishes Johnny set to work on setting a course for our destination we gathered around to watched listening and try to learn something. At the helm there was a GPS satellite navigation system and on it we could see the route that Johnny was plotting for us. This hi-tech piece of equipment showed a color graphic map of the coast line and any rocks that were in the water, as well as other important information. Paddy kept drawing my attention to this rock that was on the map right in our path and we were getting closer to it by the minute. Later that evening, we moored up in Inish Boffin where we went a-shore in the inflatable.
We went up on deck where Johnny attempted to teach us about the different ropes used on the sails. It didn’t take long to get the gist of what was to be expected of us, and as the day went on we became more familiar with the chores on board such a beautiful yacht;
scrubbing the deck, polishing the mast, ironing the main sail etc. the usual stuff that sailors have to go through on a daily basis. While we were upstairs sailing Santana, Johnny was down below deck plotting our course from Mayo, heading south to the Aran Islands then heading east into Galway Bay, as far as Galway docks. That left Paddy the most experienced sailor amongst us up on deck running the show. The other lads were tightening the sails, reeling in the cleats, cranking the ratchets. I was put on the helm.
What a buzz to be steering Santana into the wind! It was a beautiful, warm, sunny morning onboard a luxury yacht. Looking around me, I watched Broad haven fade in our wake as we tipped along at around 9 knots. Feeling the power of the Atlantic Ocean vibrate through the wheel as I watched the wind direction needle on the boat’s navigation instruments and kept and eye on the sail clues, I was in control of this beautiful boat, breathing lungful after lungful of fresh air… man, what a feeling! I could have stayed there for the rest of my life – that was until Paddy wrecked buzz.
I knew that Johnny was down below deck plotting and charting, so if there was any immediate danger he would have spotted it and I would be hearing from him. Besides that rock could be well under water. Our first mate Paddy was persistent and was not happy with that rock. I looked over at Noel and Fergus to see what their reaction would be. Noel started to laugh. He has this deep down laugh that resonates and reflects his personality – something devilish. Fergus had this expression that without words said out loud, ‘I am sure that drowning was not how I was supposed to die but I am in the company of fine people’. Johnny came up on deck and immediately Paddy drew his attention to the matter of this rock. Johnny took a look at the GPS screen, looked up ahead at the sea and realized that Paddy had a point. Johnny grabbed the wheel and pulled us off course immediately to avoid the rock. We passed the rock, went back on course, and ha il went on our way.
As we stretched our way down the coast we took turns at the helm. I don’t think I will nor will any of the lads ever forget the first time at the helm on a boat like that. Things went from good to excellent sailing that day, we had good winds, sunshine, calm seas, all the ingredients were there. We even encountered Dolphins. They swam effortlessly along side the boat, rising out of the water, reaching in front of us, quenching their curiosity on the boat. Our new friends kept us company for quite a while.
On the Island there was a Hotel and a pub both. The Hotel served food and boy, were we hungry. We got stuck into some seafood chowder and steaks after that we had pints of Guinness and pints of Guinness and more pints! This process continued until the Hotel closed. They informed us that the other pub would still be serving and would be till late if we wished to continue drinking and exchanging stories of heroism and death defying feats. We decided that we probably had enough and should be in some kind of half decent form the next day so we headed back to the yacht.
When we first got off the yacht around 5pm to go ashore, we were quite safety conscious.
To avoid the inflatable dinghy being overloaded, we made two trips ashore. After we staggered out of the Hotel at around 2am, pitch black and full of Guinness, we happily piled into the inflatable dinghy and made our way back to the yacht. At that stage we probably wouldn’t have been able to pronounce ‘health and safety’ between us.
Brendan Breen’s log
12 May 2009
We awoke in the morning bright and early. The good captain Johnny was cooking a monster fry up breakfast. What a treat, just what the doctor ordered, well, for all the rest of us except the doctor himself, who seemed to be suffering from a hangover, perhaps because sailing on a yacht like this was not a novelty to Paddy, but for Fergus, Noel and me it definitely was, and our adrenalin was running high with excitement. I think that was the antidote for our hangovers. We got stuck in. It didn’t take long to munch up our breakfast and boy was it good. As soon as we cleaned up the dishes Johnny set to work on setting a course for our destination we gathered around to watched listening and try to learn something.
At the helm there was a GPS satellite navigation system and on it we could see the route that Johnny was plotting for us. This hi-tech piece of equipment showed a color graphic map of the coast line and any rocks that were in the water, as well as other important information. Paddy kept drawing my attention to this rock that was on the map right in our path and we were getting closer to it by the minute.
Later that evening, we moored up in Inish Boffin where we went a-shore in the inflatable.
May 11, 2009
Monday 11 May 2009. We had a full cooked breakfast before heading for Broad Haven at the south west tip of Donegal Bay. In glorious sunshine and a light easterly breeze we departed Teelin at 10:00. We sailed for a few hours and then had to motor-sail for a few hours as the wind was dead aft and light. A shoal of seven or more small dolphins swam with the boat for about an hour. James took great photos and Video footage. The VHF was warning boats to avoid Broad Haven because of work boats and floating rigs assembling to lay a gas pipeline. We sighted several large vessels towing large platforms and more shipping appeared on the AIS. We were making good time so we decided to avoid Broad Haven and head for Portnafrankagh a small anchorage five miles south from Broad Haven Bay.
We arrived at French Port at about 8pm and laid the anchor. Paddy Magher, Fergus Dill, Brendan Breen and Noel Rhattigan were to join us here and we were expecting them about 9 o’clock . We got the boat ready to receive guests and had dinner on deck in a glorious sunset. We put Champaign on ice and launched the dinghy. After numerous telephone contacts Paddy and friends finally found the bay where we were anchored and we met on the pier at 11 o’clock like smugglers with torches flashing recognition signals.
THEARRIVAL OF THEMOTELYCREW Written by Brendan Breen Background Paddy Meagher was the only sailor amongst us. During our conversation he suggested that we go sailing one day. It was agreed that we would take a trip to Loch Derg on the River Shannon to a little village called Dromineer, where we could hire out a small sailing boat. On Tuesday 2/9/08 Paddy Meagher drove Fergus, Noel and I to Mount Shannon. There we hired a small sailing boat. It was a Tirion 17, 17 feet in length. The first thing Paddy set about teaching us was how to tack. That was a laugh as we had no idea as to what we were supposed to be doing. After some perseverance on Paddy’s behalf we finally got it together and as the day went on we learned the basics of how to sail. From this brief outing we caught what they call in the sailing world the sailing bug and we decided between the 5 of us, Paddy, Noel, Fergus, Hand myself to chip in and buy a Yacht. Paddy and I kept an eye on the various web sites on the Internet. We found a Yacht but with one thing or another we didn’t buy, mostly for financial reasons. 11th May 2009 Johnny phoned Paddy. If we were still interested we could board the yacht on Monday night the 11th where he would be docking in Port Na Franca Broad haven Bay Co Mayo. On Monday evening after work Paul H drove us up in his car. That was something of a prep course for sailing in itself for it was a bit like tacking. Big H is rather fond of looking out the side windows at the countryside as he drives along the road and doesn’t spend as much time watching the road. This personal hobby of his results in sudden maneuvers across the road to get him back on course: (that would be the right side of the road of course). We set off on Monday evening after work around 6:30 or 7pm ish. It was pitch dark when we arrived in Broad haven. Johnny met us at a little pier called Port Na Franca. On a little inflatable dingy (pontoon) with a little engine on the transom, he came in from the yacht to collect us. He had a shipmate with him, James Kelly. We loaded our on board and in two runs he brought us out to the yacht.
It has become a regular occurrence to meet a few friends for a pint on Tuesday nights in the local pub Tom Sheridan’s located in Knocknacarra where Fergus Dill, Noel Rhatigan, Paul H, Paddy Meagher, Dave Delaney and myself live. This has become known amongst ourselves as The Tuesday Club. The Tuesday Club can converse in any subject whether we actually know about it or not, we seem to be quite good at somebody knows something about something that will usually trigger someone’s memory, and hey presto we have a fact to build on. It’s the best of crack. We got around to discussing the Volvo Ocean Race, which was due to arrive in Galway in a few months. The fleet were due to arrive in on Saturday the 23 May and depart on the 6th of June. During our discussion we realized that we shared an interest in sailing. We also discovered that only one of us had any actual experience in sailing let alone ever set foot on a Yacht
A month or two had passed and the Volvo Ocean Race was almost upon us. The Motley Crew was still stuck on dry land, that is until Paddy told us about a friend of his, John Harkin, who owned a yacht in Derry, and had plans to sail it to Galway for the Volvo Ocean Race. There was nothing else to discuss. The Motley Crew volunteered instantly and had a new goal to aim for. Paddy stayed in touch with John Harkin looking for a suitable time to sail the yacht down to Galway. The bank holiday weekend Friday the 8/5/09 was looking promising so we put our plans in place, weather permitting.
Unfortunately that weekend the weather was CRAP so it had to be cancelled.
However on Sunday the 10th the weather eased up and John Harkin made a break for it.
He grabbed a window of opportunity that was available to him at that time and set sail.
This was our first time setting eyes on the good ship SANTANA, a Dufour 425,42 feet in length a beautiful luxury yacht Johnny bought from new and we had the privilege to have it as our home for a few days. Paddy Meagher introduced The Motley Crew to Johnny and his shipmate James. Johnny was a friendly, good crack type of character and James was a quite lad: he didn’t say much but a nice lad. We were welcomed with a glass of Champagne. It didn’t take long for us to settle in, before we knew it the hot whiskeys were coming one after the other hot and fast. That relaxed us and gave us a chance to get to know each other a little, it also loosened up our tongues.
Down below deck there is a Samson post. It is directly below the main mast for the main sail, it is there to support its weight. I won’t say who, but there were a few attempts to do a spot of pole dancing, not that anyone was removing any of their clothes! It was still a crazy sight watching drunk men attempt to pole dance. We had a great laugh and before we knew it was 3 in the morning.
We went off to bed as drunk as lords.
THEARRIVAL OF THEMOTELYCREW
Written by Brendan Breen
Paddy Meagher was the only sailor amongst us. During our conversation he suggested that we go sailing one day. It was agreed that we would take a trip to Loch Derg on the River Shannon to a little village called Dromineer, where we could hire out a small sailing boat. On Tuesday 2/9/08 Paddy Meagher drove Fergus, Noel and I to Mount Shannon. There we hired a small sailing boat. It was a Tirion 17, 17 feet in length. The first thing Paddy set about teaching us was how to tack. That was a laugh as we had no idea as to what we were supposed to be doing. After some perseverance on Paddy’s behalf we finally got it together and as the day went on we learned the basics of how to sail. From this brief outing we caught what they call in the sailing world the sailing bug and we decided between the 5 of us, Paddy, Noel, Fergus, Hand myself to chip in and buy a Yacht. Paddy and I kept an eye on the various web sites on the Internet. We found a Yacht but with one thing or another we didn’t buy, mostly for financial reasons.
11th May 2009
Johnny phoned Paddy. If we were still interested we could board the yacht on Monday night the 11th where he would be docking in Port Na Franca Broad haven Bay Co Mayo. On Monday evening after work Paul H drove us up in his car. That was something of a prep course for sailing in itself for it was a bit like tacking. Big H is rather fond of looking out the side windows at the countryside as he drives along the road and doesn’t spend as much time watching the road. This personal hobby of his results in sudden maneuvers across the road to get him back on course: (that would be the right side of the road of course). We set off on Monday evening after work around 6:30 or 7pm ish. It was pitch dark when we arrived in Broad haven. Johnny met us at a little pier called Port Na Franca. On a little inflatable dingy (pontoon) with a little engine on the transom, he came in from the yacht to collect us. He had a shipmate with him, James Kelly. We loaded our on board and in two runs he brought us out to the yacht.
May 10, 2009
On Sunday 10 May 2009, Santana set sailed from Fahan in Lough Swilly for Galway Bay, the first stopover on her long journey south to seek warmer climates.
I decided I needed to sail south for guaranteed sunshine after last years Round Ireland Cruise in which we had nothing but bad weather, gales and rain.
The plan was to be in Galway for the Volvo Ocean Race stopover and then head for Cork before departing Ireland for the French coast.
The only crew for the first leg was James Kelly. This would be James’s first offshore adventure and he was nervous and excited in equal measure.
I found out later in the day that he had filled himself with sea sickness tablets and he was feeling a bit queasy even before he stepped on the boat.
We left Fahan Marina at 11:00 with a forecast of light to moderate easterly winds with sunshine.
By the time we reached Dunree Head there was a large swell due to the constant unsettled weather and gales over the past 2 weeks.
Before we reached the mouth of Lough Swilly James was seasick but we pressed on and my intention was to stop for the night on Tory or Aran Island if his condition deteriorated.
When we reached Bloody Foreland James was sleeping on the deck (the seasickness tablets had kicked in and tumbled him). He seemed comfortable so I sailed on for Aran More Island off the Donegal coast in bright sunshine and a 20knot breeze on the beam. This was dream sailing conditions for this coast and the boat loved it. The boat was averaging 9 knots with some 10knot surfs. I thought about opening a bottle of champagne when the boat rounded Bloody Foreland and started heading south but as James wasn’t up to drinking I decided not to drink alone, there would be other opportunities. We were making excellent time and at 3:00pm we were close to Aran island I checked with James to see if he was up to heading on for Teelin in Donegal bay. He was feeling better and the sea swell was settling so we sailed for Teelin. We made good time in the excellent sailing conditions and arrived in Teelin at 8:00. We moored at the peer in front of the fishing charter boat. As I expected, within 5 minutes of securing the boat the fishing boat owner arrived down to check us out. He informed us that there was an all-night music session in the pub and we told him we would call up for a few drinks after we had a some food. We had a lovely beef stew which I had prepared earlier and had been heating in the oven. We washed it down with a superb white wine and a few beers and James was back to his cheary best. We headed up to the local pub and I had a few drinks and enjoyed the crack and music. We strolled back to the boat at about 1 o ‘clock shattered and slept like logs.