23rd June 2015 – Escape from Bangor


Richard Fixes Yanny


It’s easy when you know how and Richard the engineer, buried deep inside Yanny’s innards, made fitting a new water pump look like a cinch.  By tea time he had finished, I had arranged a bank loan, Yanny was skipping like a lamb and even grumpy Barry the barometer had cheered up a bit as the sunshine arrived, so the omens were good.

Relaxing later with a cuppa on the poop deck, I was hailed by an incoming Skipper giving the ‘thumb’s up’; “What Ho A-Jay!  Saw your bit in Practical Boat Owner!!!”  How positive and cheerful that little article about Team A-Jay seemed all those weeks ago and how much has befallen us since then!  Character building stuff, much of it, so I reckoned we were due a visit from Lady Luck who I hoped would bring sunshine, fair winds and no breakdowns.  If that was too much to ask, I’d settle for fair winds – and if she wanted to award a bonus, a decent haggis.

Reveille is never cheerful at ‘0-sparrow-fart’, but at least I can describe the dawn as other than “cold, grey…” a description that has fitted so many dawns since we left Guernsey.  Refuelled, we sat quietly in the loch as the skipper switched to Saga mode to prepare Team A-Jay for sea and raise the main sail in salute to the new dawn sky, whilst the kettle boiled for a second half pint of tea.

As we crossed Belfast Loch to leave The Briggs & Cloghan Jetty buoys to port, ships slept at anchor, ‘noses’ pointed towards Belfast Docks in anticipation of journey’s end.  15,000 tons of Stenna Lines finest bore down on us out of the rising sun at 20 knots; discretion is the better part of valour and thinking also that ‘might has right’ on its side, whatever the rules of the road, we bore away and around her stern.  Her sister ship passed to the North as a large freighter loomed close and once clear, we scarpered North up the Loch like a cat across a road.

Despite the bright infant sun, Belfast wore its seemingly permanent cap of grey cloud like a grey woollen muffler, draped carelessly across the shoulders of the mountains.  Brightly painted houses on the water’s edge like Opal Fruits, lazily turning wind turbines and soft greenery graced the headland.  The light on Black Head led us towards the Maidens atop their reefs, past the bailey-bridge pathway that links the caves below The Gobbins for the brave hiker, as Team A-Jay rode the tide Northwards.  I didn’t care that what little wind there was came out of the North; after 3 days delay we were heading in the right direction at last.

By now the Isle of Muck stood clear with Carnlough Headland a grey background shadow and distant smudgy land clearly visible across the North Channel to the East.  Glenarm Marina, so insignificant from the sea you’ll miss it if you blink, is such a sweet, charming spot that even the bovine smells off the hills can’t mar it.  Lock on to the yellow Peak Head Buoy, 23 nautical miles out from Bangor and head on in – ‘seemples’.  Billy will probably be there to welcome you.


Flowers in Glenarm


Glenarm Church & River

Passage planning in rare sunshine later, I overhead three skippers who had fled South from where Team A-Jay is going because of the weather and the cold.   Oh well, Lady Luck owes us a favour!  Team A-Jay will leave at dawn, bound for Gigha in the Sound of Jura.



Toot toot

By ajay290

5 comments on “23rd June 2015 – Escape from Bangor

    • Much appreciated as always Paul. At anchor in Ardminish Bay off Gigha, Jura Sound.

      Amazing to find my MyFi set up works here!!

      Best to you both


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