|13th Aug 2021|
Departed Dingle 15.30 on the 11 July 2021 for a sail-training trip.
Sailing out Dingle Bay on the start of this adventure gives the body a nice buzz. There is a tranquil feeling that I can find sailing solo in a good safe little boat like my Saltram Saga 36, even though I have quite a list of jobs to do before the GGR22 she is in great shape now.
I bought a fishing boat, "BYLGJA" in Akureyri, Iceland in 1992. She was a Westman islands boat originally. I like connections. The Icelandic people have a lot of Irish blood in them, as the wives of the first families to settle there were Irish Slaves. There are plenty of Irish words in Icelandic language from them.
After sailing up the Blasket Sound with head winds in messy seas, I took starboard tack, to the West. I came across two Hump-backed Whales, moving North. After a short time, I saw a few Minke Whales a bit away. When the sea is fine it is easier to see wild life. In tossed messy seas like that day, it is harder to see the whales as they break the surface. They did not seem to be feeding, but traveling. Dolphins turned up from time to time also. Early in the year when the sand-eels are off the Dingle Peninsula and after that when the sprat are there, all kinds of wild-life feed. It was still early for the herring and mackerel, so, move they will. The next whales I came across were 60 nautical miles from the Westman Islands, I was below resting in 25-30 knot head winds, when I smelt whales. it is a strong but good smell. After whales hold their breath for a long time, under the water, they exhale quick, sending their scent up into the air. When I went on deck, I saw two fine big spouts North of me, don't know the species, but I think quite big mammals, from the height of the spray with their breath.
Ten minutes later. I saw my first pod of pilot whales ever. A special and spectacular sight. The first time is always magic for most things. They followed me for a few minutes, breaking the water's surface with power, close to the boat.
The thing that amazed me the most were the birds. They seem to live out in the North Atlantic without going to land. They were over 300 nautical miles from land. When I threw out scraps of bread, they did not go for it. That told me they were not used to feeding from trawlers or ships. There were different species, not sure what type of sea birds they were, but flew close to the water like the stormy petral, but bigger. I will have to get a book about birds that live out on the sea. I have searched on-line and think they may have been; ARTIC JAEGE / PARASPIC JAEGER, SKUA, SHEARWATERS and FULMARS, but not sure.
I look forward to learning more about the birds over the next few years.
|5th Aug 2021|
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.
|21st May 2021|
Working hard on getting the boat ready for the GGR22 and my sail-training to the Arctic this summer.
Thanks to O'Cathain Iasc Teo - Dingle Seafood Shop & Wholesaler for supplying the deck hardware that is now fitted, I can reef and work the sails from the cockpit.
My friend Kieran Ryan will make more videos to show the progress and plans over the next few weeks.
This time next week I may be ready to get back out sailing on the Wild Atlantic on my doorstep.
Love that Ocean.
|15th Apr 2021|
I am delighted to team up with Marine Connection and share any information obtained while sailing to the Arctic as part of my Golden Globe Race sail training and also over next few years during the Golden Globe Race in 2022.
|15th Mar 2021|
Some time ago, I started looking into Hydro generators, to charge the batteries when solar was not strong enough. The one that stood out for me as being the best was OCEAN POWER. Great German company, with great German design and engineering. Good electrical power is so important for safety.
|26th Feb 2021|
I am doing whatever it takes to just survive this lockdown and come out the other side. Without putting pressure on myself. Miss not been able to work on the boat. It hasn’t been easy for any of us.
In this post, I want to talk about the little things I’ve done to keep going, despite having to stay within my 5K. I hope sharing my experience with you about my GGR campaign, at present, might give you some idea of my days.
Also, I spend so much time on the computer studying Celestial and RDF Navigation, the weather and things I will need for the race. Then there is looking for people that will benefit from the Sponsoring me in the GGR.
So many people followed the GGR 18. The Independent Media analysis value was $183 million, after the race. That is still rising. The GGR 22 should be way larger. Kennedy's Bar in Dingle are my seventh Platinum sponsor to come on board by purchasing a new feathering prop from Darglow Engineering who were fantastic to deal with. West Kerry Brewery are getting me the Eckomax Radar Transponder. As I said, people are so kind.
I am looking forward to getting back to working on the boat. I have materials ready to go, solar panels, controller boxes, electrical switches, battery boxes, crash bulkheads, SSB radio, ground plate and the Mighty JRC Weather Fax that John Michael Grahem, a great Fisherman in Dingle gave me.
I am looking to find a good Hydro Generator. It goes on the back of the boat like an outboard engine. When dropped into the water the propeller turning will charge the batteries as the boat moves forward. I am liking the German made Ocean Power one about 2k + vat.
My next Raffle will start soon.
First prize: A Luxurious break for two in the Dingle Skellig Hotel, including a trip for two with The Dingle Sea Safari ; a €100 voucher for the Fish Box Sea Food Bar ; and a €50 voucher for the Coach House in Dingle.
2nd Prize is a Beautiful Painting by Helen Stritch.
3rd prize is a Bracelet by Paul Spurgeon, an Award-Winning Jewellery Designer, in a Lawless carved timber box.
4th Prize : A Beautiful framed gift by Sarah McKenna Ceramics.
5th Prize A Lawless Furniture Barometer.
|4th Jan 2021|
In 2018 after entering the GGR22 I decided the best boat for the race would be a Saga 36, the search began. There were two North of Amsterdam, built by K.R. Skentelbery & Sons. One with a 16 meter mast of which 16 were made and one with a 14meter mast and a bowsprit of which many more were made. (phots att) I decided on the one with the tall rig, but did expect to apply to the GGR to change the mast to 14 mitres and add a bowsprit. After sailing from Amsterdam to Les Sables delonne and home, I knew the taller rig had a better chance of winning the race, so tall it will be.
|13th Nov 2020|
When the Golden Globe Race started in 2018, I never thought that I would be lucky enough to be a part of the 2022 race, but here I am. I am also lucky to have access to my boat during the pandemic here in Ireland if needed, and Covid 19 is not bad where I live. But we can't work on boats for now, found it hard at first as I had planned to lift her out for the winter. I got over it after a day or two, am working at home on hand grips, a door for inside the companion-way, and in the cockpit, a support for two new Harken 40 self-tailing winches that are ordered. Hopefully at the end of November, things will open up so I can lift out in Dingle. If so, can fit the two Harkin 40 winches for the spinnaker, the inside jib, a new feathering prop, a new floor in the cockpit lockers in case water gets in. Could happen during a knock down or a 360, it would drain into the cockpit, which is self-draining. Solar panels, and two extra deep-cycle battery's in a box under new floor in cockpit lockers. The deck lines have to be led aft to the cockpit, I am in the proses of ordering the hardware from Mast & Rigging Ireland, who are great to deal with. They are getting the winches for me also. Inside jobs include a SSB radio, Paper Weather Fax, AIS Transponder to GGR standards, a Ham Radio receiver, and a crash bulkhead in the fore-peak. During my sail- training last year I found damp, and salty spray got in the companion way, so I will fit a door inside and a flap outside the existing storm boards, that should do the job in heavy weather. It is important to be comfortable and dry when living in a small space for nine months. I would also like to change the setup of the running back-stays on the mast and fit a Radar Reflector to GGR standards. Be great to get these jobs finished before the spring. As part of my sail-training in 2021, I will sail form Dingle around the south coast of Ireland, up the Irish Sea, stopping in here and there. Then it's off up to Iceland. When I get there, I will look to see if there is a weather window to sail to the NE of Greenland and/or a volcanic island 400 miles North of Iceland called Jan Mayen. It's a hard life thanks be to goodness!
|31st Jul 2020|
Befort putting the mast back up, I did my Jury rig trial with two spinnaker poles over two days. I sailed around 15 nautical miles in total. On the second day had little wind to start, but it came up ok after a while.
|24th Jun 2020|
I hope this pandemic will come to an end soon, and people all over the world will be safe and free again, where possible. It has been so hard on so many.
|27th Dec 2019|
It’s been a very good year and I’m truly grateful for all the support I’ve received since I decided to enter the Golden Globe Race in 2022. People are so Kind.
|9th Nov 2019|
In Monnickendam (NL) North of Amsterdam on the 29-3-2019 the Saltram Saga 36 "FULMAR" belonged to me for the first time. It was a lovely place to stay for the first few days going over the boat to make sure she will be seaworthy and shipshape for a trip down the English Channel, then down the Bay of Biscay to Les Sables d'Olonne. I was delighted with her condition.
During the summer, I put down a mooring in Dingle Harbour, did some sanding and varnish work, fitted a wood-burning stove for the cold weather and some small woodwork jobs. I sailed around the lovely West Kerry with friends and family from time to time.