Cork 2

Mike Collins, a Jester Challenger and trans Atlantic solo sailor, was towed into Cork whilst returning from Baltimore, with engine trouble.  Like me he likes iced buns and tea and we chatted aboard Pippin (though he ate too many of my buns).  It is the second time he has been towed in to Cork.  On the first occasion, his boat caught a lobster pot rope around the prop.  He informed the Coast Guard who told him to remain there overnight.  Next day the lifeboat was despatched, as Mike’s boat was too close to the ship channel.  It transpired that a very sheepish lifeboat Coxswain admitted that the pot was his!!  Not only that, he had brought his brother, a diver, to cut Mike’s boat free and retrieve the Coxswain’s pot!!

Later we headed for a Chinese meal with David.  During the  conversation,  I discovered that wind turbines, many of which turned lazily on nearby hillsides, are often damaged by birds hitting their fibreglass blades.  People are employed to repair the damage, whilst the blades are stopped at 45 degrees, climbing up inside with fibreglass repair kits.  I really did wonder if someone had been pulling someone’s leg, but you never know.

Heading back to Pippin, I was stopped by a British registered motorhome, the older female passenger lounging with bare feet on the dashboard (no painted toe nails).  The florid male driver asked me the way to somewhere, to which I could only reply that I knew the way to nowhere and then he said; “Well I see you are also an old git!”  I sensed an insult, but before I could pull him out of the cab and thump him I looked at where he was pointing, for I was proudly sporting my Old Git badge on my jumper, presented by my daughter Sarah, a perceptive judge of character.

I explored the term git earlier, a label I am happy to bear, so will comment further, though if you are easily offended, please look away now.   It is said that as a mild oath usually uttered by someone dear to you, the term git is roughly on a par with prat and marginally less pejorative than berk.  Typically a good-natured admonition, git is more severe than twit or idiot but less severe than wanker, arsehole or twat when offence is intended.  I presume in my case it wasn’t, so I’m not one of those.  Got that?

Rain and Ireland, they are like Siamese twins.  In 2015, as I turned my boat A-Jay South into a yachtsman’s gale having crossed the North Channel, the dividing line between the Atlantic and the top of the Irish Sea, the heavens opened.  Looking up at the sky, blinded by fat drops of rain, I swore that no-one did rain like the Irish and awarded them the Willis Gold award for the stuff.  Indeed, they say in Ireland you seek cover by standing bedside a stone wall as the rain drives horizontally over it.

Today I have listened to a symphony of Irish rain loud on the cabin roof since reveille, and I have decided that the Willis rain award henceforth will remain awarded to the Irish, in perpetuity.  So grotty is the weather, even the bar at the yacht club is empty, and no one has launched a dinghy from the slipway all day.  Indeed no one has done anything, if indeed there is anyone here.  Oh, and of course the gas ran out just when I was gasping for tea, so on with a full set of waterproofs and a grumpy 20 minutes on hands and knees in pouring rain, changing the cylinder.  The tea was good though.

Sailing plans should never be rigid with deadlines and destinations and mine certainly are not, though the original Willis master plan for 2019 has become wildly over ambitious, for my foredeck tussle with anchor chain in Baltimore has brought on pain from my spinal injuries.  To set forth further from home is to risk rescue and defeat.  So, whilst the rain exhausted itself on boats and pontoons I pondered and have decided to rest here a few days, before heading home direct from Cork, once a suitable weather window arrives of course.  Thereafter I hope I hope to cruise gently nearer to home with Angie and Sarah.

Of course I am disappointed, but you cannot muck about at sea and to sail distances repeatedly solo with a major handicap is irresponsible.  Period.

I have no photographs for anyone reading this today – I wouldn’t want to depress you and my camera is not waterproof.  Meanwhile I have decided to treat the crew, so a lovely sirloin steak is breathing in the galley and I will open my first bottle of Rioja since I left Guernsey.



By ajay290

17 comments on “Cork 2

  1. It is good seamanship to turn back when it is prudent to do so, so don’t fret.

    Resting for a few days, eh. Well you are only a couple of hours away from Kinsale, the Food Capital of Ireland. And a good rest would be theraputic. Think of it as broadening your mind, rather than your waistline. It rains there too, so you won’t miss anything.

    Enjoy the trip back a bit more than you enjoyed the outbound one.

    Best wishes


  2. It is worth an hours motoring up to Cork past Cobh. There is free mooring just below the bridge where the river forks at Cork. The English Market is worth a visit. Cafes and great food. Peter

  3. So sad to hear about your spinal problems. But you take the right decision. If you sail back to Guernsey, we might meet as we are leaving Cherbourg not earlier than next Sunday. We are not quite sure if we stop in Guernsey. In any case I will let you know, of course. But maybe things are getting better – rain and spinal – and you can sail on. I cross my fingers. Take care. Ronald

  4. Hello John

    Just wanted to thank you again for your engaging blogs

    You have 30 hands on deck with you every time I read to all!

    Still missing you


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