12 May – Milford Haven to Arklow

By | May 13, 2012

We were stormbound in Milford Haven for two days before the wind and the rain finally ceased. Milford Dock marina has a lock as it is strongly tidal. Locking out times were not good for an immediate, and overnight, departure for Ireland so we moved to Dale to spend the night on a mooring buoy. Dale is a small sheltered bay at the entrance of the Milford Haven estuary. A very civilised evening was spent in the Griffin Inn at Dale where we were rejoined by Peter who, living nearby, had sensibly left for the comfort of his own bed, whilst we were stormbound in Milford docks.

The plan was to leave at 06:00 the following morning and make Arklow on the East Coast of Ireland; we should arrive by late evening after a passage of 80NM. We duly set off next day and were treated to gloriously sunny morning; the air temperature though was only 10 deg C.

The passage to Ireland took us through Jack Sound, which separates the Welsh mainland from Skomer Island. A tiny 0.1NM gap which has rocks to be avoided using transits. We had Peter George on board who provided local knowledge for this tricky passage. I had been through Jack Sound before with Peter and was quite comfortable with his pilotage. We then headed for yet another time saving shortcut by cutting through Ramsey Sound at the north west end of Saint Bride's bay. Ramsay Sound has the notorious Bitches rock which sits out into the channel and the water 'boils' around it. We saved hours by using the sounds as well as gaining extra experience. I am sure we would not have done so had it been just David and myself.

Jack Sound, Wales

Jack Sound, Wales

Once out into the Irish sea we saw hardly any traffic and started sailing once the wind shifted. Sailed for 4 hrs before having to motor sail.

As we closed the Irish coast the Arklow bank windfarm appeared; the tide turned against us so we had a tedious last 10 miles to close Arklow before sunset. Arklow, in County Wicklow, is a small town with a tiny marina. The town used to be known for its fishing and ship-building industries but nowadays is dependent on the chemical industry.

Approaching Arklow

Approaching Arklow

It was time to hoist the Irish curtesy flag but the flag halyard was missing! A temporary attachment did us until next day when Joe was hoisted half way up the mast to set up a new halyard.

Dawn Treader in the tiny Arklow Marina

Dawn Treader in the tiny Arklow Marina

We squeezed into a berth in what must be the smallest marina we have ever been into, and having had supper before we arrived quickly set off in search of a pint of Guinness. A brisk walk into the town found us in a pub which was jam packed with a party for the new landlord. We were made welcome and celebrated our arrival.

The weather had turned against us, with rain squalls and thunderstorms, so the next day was spent exploring Arklow. Peter had to return home a day early than planned so from now until Oban, on the West Coast of Scotland, it would be just David and myself.

Next stop will be Dun Laoghaire just south of Dublin on Monday.

Passage Stats

Distance run: 81nm

Time: 15hrs

Sailed: 4hrs / Motored: 11hrs

Total distance since start: 297nm


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1 Comment

Heather Coombs on May 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm.

skin your eyes for Noonan Boat Yard vehicle…. either in Arklow or DunLaoire…. ( my brother Graeme’s) and watch the Stenaline in Dun Laoire, she doesn’t give way to yachts… have a lovely sail past my home lads, sending most excellent vibes to you! love and hugs to Dave, from Heather.


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