As Easter approached, Anne and I were tired and much in need of getting out on the water. We considered a trip to the Isle of Man but the permutations of tide times and weather conspired against us. So instead we went where the winds let us sail. On the Thursday afternoon we left on a falling tide for a slow sail to Skerries in 8 knots of breeze. I was expecting to motor, especially since the hull was dirty, having not been antifouled since last summer. But we had a pleasant spin on calm seas, and sailed the whole way. We anchored off and didnt even bother going ashore. We had some lovely grub and an early night. The following morning we had light westerly winds and headed off with the tide to Wicklow.
Initially the seas and winds were easy but past Lambay Island the winds rose a bit. We had winds on the beam and smooth seas. Crossing Dublin Bay we had up to 28 knots of wind in dry conditions. We could clearly see rain showers on the Dublin Hills dissipating when they reached the water but still carrying breeze. In between the dark clouds we had pleasant sailing and Anne was in her element at the helm. Passing Greystones, the winds eased a bit and the cloud lifted for the last hour into Wicklow, where Anne moored us after a varied 6 hour sail. Cracking stuff!!
It was Good Friday and Wicklow was quiet as we went for a stroll. We had a chance to discover the walks around town and along the shore which was the relaxation Anne and I needed after having a busy few weeks in the run up to Easter.
Saturday was sunny as we set off for the short hop to Greystones. We stayed close to the coast, admiring the beachfront properties up to Six Mile Point sailing close hauled in 10-15 knots of breeze. Approaching Greystones we found the tide and wind going against us as we tacked out and found we could make no progress so motored in. As we approached, we saw a boat or two manoeuvring inside and going in we found a hive of activity as boats were preparing for racing. Anne was presented with a real challenge to try to reverse into a berth in a moderate breeze with lots of boats moving and people watching. All pretty intimidating but she handled it well. The regular sailing we had done over the winter really paid off. Well done Anne !!!!
We had a sunny day in Greystones, ideal for watching the racers parading closer to the shore as we walked along the seafront. The village was as usual very busy, especially with tourists. The housing development beside the marina was coming along as well and you could get a feel what it would look like when finished. But it looks so extensive that it is sure to add to further traffic in the area. The village is a place Anne and I love sailing to, but living there would be another matter.
We had a good breeze all day with a forecast for stronger the next day for our spin up to Dublin. After the skipper screwed up with tide timings the previous day, we left a little earlier in pleasant sunshine. The wind was around 10 knots at first but passing Bray head we saw the wind settling stronger and closer to a close reach. Approaching Dalkey Island we found the wind strengthening in gusts of close to 30 knots. By this stage we were on a double reef and the staysail with half a Yankee. Anne had quite a job laying course to Dublin as we were close hauled but she felt the staysail allowed us to pinch a little closer to the wind. We approached the river just outside the channel, avoiding all the shipping traffic and motored up to Poolbeg Marina after a fun and varied sail. Well done Anne again for her helmsmanship.
We then had a couple of nights in Dublin being tourists before Anne had to leave and Tom joined us with 2 of his brood for the short spin back to Malahide. We had lightish winds and so motorsailed into an Easterly chop back home. Overall it was a good break which gave us a good chance to switch off. The sailing was great, lots of variety and a great chance to learn.