In Irish Rain Again

As a dear friend has just reminded me, I have yet to mention Herbie the Heads, but that’s really because he has been temporarily replaced by Chuck, the Bucket. Needless to say Herbie remains a valuable member …. Er where was I?

Ah yes, chasing down the diamond road in the early morning, senses dangerously dulled, so the skipper had to get a grip as the temptation to go for’ard to sort fenders and warps whilst Harry drove was overwhelming, something that HAD to be resisted. One slip would be enough, so back into trusty Saga Mode; “pause ..2 .. 3 .. Think .. 2 .. 3 .. Slow down .. 2 .. 3 .. Don’t cut corners ..2. .. 3 etc.”

Terns exploded into the sea in Dalkey Sound as a VHF Small Craft Warning promised a tedious trip. Fisherman on the dark rocks, their tent like a black limpet, the sun a weak halo above the Island’s ruined church, goodwill tide through the Sound, now behind, deja vu.

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Ah Espresso!

I am not great at self restraint, but do try to hold back so treats don’t all come at once. Take the most important morning galley ritual, whether in port or at sea, the preparation of Espresso. Get the percolator sorted the night before but DON’T put the coffee in until morning. Prepare for sea and settle Team A-Jay en route. Resist the temptation for as long as possible – 15 minutes, 2 hours, whatever – then set to and await the rich, heady aroma announced by chortling steam and enjoy. Yes, I have become very attached to the little percolator and whilst he is no life saver, he is right up their with Binny the Binos.

Porridge with dried fruit is supposed to be a slow release food, but I am not a slow burn skipper, as thoughts of snackettes pestered barely an hour later.

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Maelstrom 15 minutes later

The day’s master plan was to get to the Avoca River by little Arklow before the worst of the weather moved in from the South, bringing strong winds and torrential rain. Close to the coast to get the view; the Dublin train chugged South, through Bray Head like a bright green caterpillar in and out of the ground. The sea was shallow, never more than 15 metres beneath the keel, sometimes 2.

Ahead the front crept North bringing predictable, tedious, familiar weather. A-Jay was alone, but for a couple of steamers ploughing North, as she had been since leaving Craobh. She had been the only visitor in huge Dun Laoghaire Marina.

0950 and the front arrived, rather like sitting waiting for a filling at the the dentist – nice magazine in the waiting room then that needle ….. From oily calm pewter sea, to boiling white horses off Wicklow Head with gusts of 26 knots fighting tide, all inside 20 minutes. Don’t believe those who say their yacht doesn’t slam – in such short steep seas as those, ALL yachts slam as A-Jay did, ever so politely. The sun laughed and played peek a boo through holes in the dirty grey sky, as the wind sang mournfully in the rigging of better days.

Dipping deep into the back of a wave, A-Jay would toss her head like a stallion, sweeping foamy sea water up and over the boat, leaving three inches of water sluicing through the leeward scuppers. At times like these the skipper has a simple mantra: “clip on and hang on!”

Three miles out from Arklow, carried on the dying remains of the ebb tide, the wind eased a little in the lee to a steady 19 knots  as the rain commenced its torrential solo, just as Ray the Radar went blank, all memory of where we were gone. Time for Binny theBinos, who quickly found the pier heads, behind which the skipper prepared for port in the dark brown sea of the local outfall.

A-Jay swept on in, remembering to avoid the groynes to port, on past the Fish Dock in which 3 ocean heavyweights sheltered, downstream to turn in the Narrows, to crash land alongside pushed awkwardly by the ebb tide. It was pouring, real Irish stuff – not cats and dogs, but elephants.

Mature stew sharpened with chorizo and beans pole axed the skipper as he pondered lessons learned. The most important were;

Don’t leave the skylight open when in seas that sweep over the boat.

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Pillow dries on engine block

Yanny is very good at drying bedding.

Electronics, particularly old and temperamental Electronics don’t like water. I fear Ray may only ever be half the man he once was, which will make the final legs a little more challenging.

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By ajay290

One comment on “In Irish Rain Again

  1. My dear friend, I never cease to be surprised at how well you parry the really hard punches that the weather throws at you day after day, leg after leg with rarely a pause in the flurry of blows.Yet somehow you climb back through the ropes, still calm and determined as ever. Such an abundance of sang-droid I find both enviable and admirable. The good Lord is quite obviously in your corner in the dual role of both Head Coach and Second. A comforting situation to be sure. You deserve a period of calm seas under a blue, tropic like sky with just enough breeze to keep you and ajay290 happy. But then, you always seem to look on the bright side wherever you are irrespective of prevailing conditions. What a guy; what a friend; what a sailor

    As ever, E.

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