We set sail from the Scillies at midnight into a starlit night, the sea full of foam from the swell breaking heavily on the rocks. The wind was southerly 17-25 knots and we made good speed under main and genoa, driving through a sea of phosphorescent stars. A few ships passed heading for Liverpool, and I had to call one at 5 miles to check that he had seen us, as we were on a collision course. He obligingly turned to starboard to give us a mile clear astern. Dawn came and the day passed with few excitements and little wildlife, until we approached Ireland, when gannets and gulls appeared,and dolphins came to play.
A small land bird crash-landed on board for a rest, but was soon off again. Then as evening fell, the weather went grey and mizzly as we entered Cork harbour, passing The Roches lighthouse to starboard. In the river the tide was ebbing hard, creating overfalls.
We moored at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and went ashore to a well earned pint of Murphys, and a club curry supper joining jovial race crews who had just been out for the first time this season.
Thursday 5th May
Ben Russell visited us and we enjoyed catching up and admiring his amazing photos. Then over to look over Nick Russell's boat, Rogue Trader, looking great in her new dark blue paint. On deck her 54 feet gives a huge deck space,and below is spacious. Nicks craftsmanship is evident in beautiful oak doors , but there's a huge amount of work to to before she is ready to set sail to the Canaries to join the ARC in September! We lunched in Conors, a very picturesque pub full of a fascinating jumble of artefacts, and then bade farewell to Ben.
At 5pm we slipped our mooring to catch the last favourable wind, and set off north towards Waterford. The wind was perfect for the Parasailor and we were delighted to be making 6 knots in 9-10knots of wind. The sun set and the wind went round, and by midnight we were making 8-9 knots under full sail.
Having assessed the 12 miles upstream to Waterford, I altered course for Kilmore Quay which was just 15 miles further on. We arrived at 04:30, inside the Saltee Islands and lined up the leading lights for the harbour entrance, crabbing across the tide to keep them in line. Then into a narrow entrance and a hard turn to starboard past fishing vessels to find an easy berth. We were all made fast by 05:00 and hit the sack for a long sleep.
Once up and around we walked the coast path to the Memorial Garden, where many lives lost at sea are inscribed. Further along the road we were drawn by a ruined castle, but on getting there it was clear that a farmhouse had grown up to incorporate it. Back in the village, the few thatched houses are reputed to give it a chocolate box air, but this eluded us. The Kehoe Inn delivered Guinness and sailing memorabilia, and The Little Saltee provided fish and chips. Mark after produced a green Thai curry which we enjoyed before spending the rest of the evening poring over charts and almanacs trying to plan ahead.