Santana's epic Journey

N 54° 38' W 08° 46'

Teelin to Portnafrankagh

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.



Written by Brendan Breen

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

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.
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.


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.
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.



previous entrynext entry


Please sign-in to post a comment.

If you are not yet registered please Register Now.