Dingle, Ireland to Iceland and back

Dingle, Iceland and back home going around Ireland on the way; stopping Dublin and Waterford.

On Sunday the 15th July 2021; I departed Dingle in my Golden Globe Race / GGR boat, a Saltram Saga 36. I was two weeks later than planned, as I was working on a related project, that can’t be talked about for now. It was great to finally get away sailing, solo sailing is so restful for the mind.

I had light head winds 12 to 15 knots, sailing out Dingle Bay, up the Blasket sound and North heading for the Arctic. When I got a bit north of the Blaskets, I decided to go on the starboard tack, which would take me west of the rum line. I was expecting the wind to back to the West, and it did 12hrs later.

Then I headed North. After two and a half more days of nice sailing in mostly 10 – 15 knots of W x NW wind, I started to plan where would be the best place to try and get to. My Brother Peter is sailing around the world, starting on the third weekend in August, this would be the 15th and I wanted to be there to wish him well on his departure. That meant that I had a little over a week of sailing north to be sure that I can be back in time. My target was Jan Mayen 400+ nm North of Iceland, this did not seem likely now, nor did this bother me, as this sail is all about finding out what will work best in the GGR22.

I decided to sail to Heimaey harbour, on the Vestmannaeyjar islands. I had been there about 27 years before. It was a close reach for the first day, but as the wind veered it freshened. I had three days of a fetch on a port tack, with only a short 9hr starboard tack to make the island. I arrived a week after leaving Dingle on the 18th, I saw a big change in the town, but the harbour was more or less the same. On 23rd of January 1973 lava started to pour out of the ground in Heimaey harbour on the island. The lava was starting to close the harbour. Sea water was used to cool it with the help of pumps. This method was successful.

Today, the harbour, is considered better than ever. Lovely to see the old cliffs to the north and the new lava to the south on my way in, and out. I decided to sail home from there, by going down the East coast of Ireland. Was nice to sail around Ireland. Last time I did that was in 1988 on the round Ireland race. I only stayed there about 24hrs, as usual it was mighty to get back out to sea. I had a fair wind for the first two days. then as the wind backed it got light. The rest of my sail to Ratlin Island were in light head winds, This is not the most enjoyable sailing, but mighty sail-training for the GGR22.

I sailed into Ratlin Island in thick fog early on the morning of the 26th July. I anchored there for 4hrs to let the tide turn. then headed back south. Next stop was Skerries, where I also anchored for 4hrs. early in the morning of the 27th. It was nice to look in at the town as it came to life. I then moved South again to Malahide Marina. This was a lovely stop. My brother-in-law David was in Dublin, and treated me to lunch. Next day I had a great chat with one of my heroes, Gregor from the GGR18. He was so helpful and kind. Looking forward to chatting with him again. The Malahide Marina were also really good to me, offered me any help needed for my GGR campaign, including free berth and lift out anytime I wanted. People are so Good. Next stop was Poolbeg Yacht Club , in Dublin City centre.

My Murphy cousins brought me to their home where we had nice food and a great catch up. It was great to see my mother’s sister Celia there, also looking so well and in great form. When I came back to the boat, there was a book left for me, “The LOG of the MOLLY B”. Thank you Pete Hogan, Hope we meet when the time is right.

Had a few other callers. Left that evening, had mixed weather, but all good, still getting mostly head-winds. After passing Hook Head, I had a nice sail up to the city. Had the tide with me, 3 knots + I arrived in Waterford city at 2000hrs on the 30 July. Next morning my Cousin Joanne and Sean Mulvaney came for a visit on the boat. Then brought me to their restaurant for a mighty fine feed. It is fantastic to catch up with cousins and family.

Waterford is a interesting Viking town to spend a day looking around, Next day I had a visit from Michael Flynn, of The FLI Group, such an interesting person, gave me great helpful advice. After that at 1500hrs on the 1st August, myself and a friend from Waterford sailed down the river, there was a light Northerly wind that would carry us to the Fastnet. For the rest of the way it was light head winds to bring us home to Dingle. Arriving on the 3rd August at 0500hrs in the morning, 23 days of great sailing.

 On this trip one of the main things, I wanted to find out, was what sails would work best for me on the race. We can have ten on the boat for the race. I had two furling, and three hank-on jibs on board. I had purchased some second hand sails over the winter for this purpose. My rig setup will most likely be a furling jib out front, with a stay just inside for hank-on sails. I may make the inside stay furling also ???

The staysail will be furling, and the mainsail will most likely have four reef points and two full battens. I am planning on using four spinnakers. After this trip was over, I had a fair idea of what sails would work best, but still have some time to work on it, as I am sailing to Les Sables d’Ollone in France, for the end of August and home early September. Then I will order my sails. I have five sail lofts that I will ask for advice and a price.

I was delighted with how my food worked out for the trip. Freeze dried meals are handy, but not as nice as what I would make myself. I will bring fresh vegetables, some last well. Pasta is nice and goes with so many things. Packet soup is tasty, and handy. Tinned food works so well and is easy. One thing I found, I only want to cook what I need for that meal, as I do not look forward to re-heating the same dinner for the next day. Instant mash is nicer than I expected, and handy. I would not make a full package, but divide it up. I have freeze-dried carrots, they work so well, can add to any meal. I intend to get more vegetables and meat in separate containers from a freeze-dried company. That way I can add what I want to a soup, like meat and vegetables, then it becomes a nice dinner.

Most mornings I have a cereal, like cornflakes. the long-life milk is fine, also powered milk works well. about 1500hrs I have dinner. This is my main meal of the day. Supper is about 2100hrs. For this I will have either homemade bread, that I make in a special pot for the job, or crackers. I have a tupperware box for this meal. There is jam, cheese, sandwich spread, and other tasty bits in it, and I pick out what works for me at the time. Taytos crisps are tasty at this time also. After a few days at sea, I find a lovely peace, and the food pattern is a part of this.

Sleep is something that is important. After supper, I tidy up, make sure all is ok on deck, and get my first 20min nap. Weather and boat traffic permitting, this will go on for the night. When a ship, or ships come along, I will stay up and keep an eye on them, most likely with a cup of tea from time to time. During the day I will take an odd 20min nap as required. I would be resting more than sleeping most of the time.

The wood burning stove worked so well. It’s a comfort thing, a treat, maybe only use it once a week, when needed.

My water is precious, as we can’t use water-makers during the race, I will not be able to use water to wash clothing. It is so important to not let my clothes get wet with salt water. for the last three days before I got to Vestmannaeyjar islands in Iceland, I had a fetch in 30 to 40 knots. During this time, there was large quantities of water flying over the deck, at a force that would drive it down my neck, wetting my clothes. This can’t happen during the GGR, so I am going to look for a dry-suit that is easy to put on, without a hood. I will also have good foul weather gear for days when the weather is not so bad.

During the trip, I made a list of jobs to be done on the boat before the start of the race, it came to 122 for a finish. Some are small, like get a visitor’s book. Others are bigger, the work on my mast will take a month at least.

Time is ticking away, but I know that I can do them all in the way they need to be done. I have friends that are helping me set up my committee, Thanks Kieran Ryan, for all his help since the start. Without people like him, things would be kicked down the road.

Love Light and thanks to all that have helped me so far.

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