Tuesday, 22 September 2020

A weekend to remember

 As those who know me, this weekend gone is a MOTOGP weekend, so for me to leave a weekend of couch potato and watching motorcycles is rare. But with the weather promising to get worse, I made the decision to watch the MOTOGP later and head out.

The week had been good and I had visited Bilbo several times to do the odd few jobs, get water and generally just drink coffee and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Little Killary. It is an amazing mooring, that my cousin lent me for the summer. You can see out into the bay, but is blocked from the westerlys. 

So Saturday, as usual, checks done on the tides and weather. Weather was promising to be good with light winds and high temperatures. So food was made the night before, early to bed and up at the crack of dawn to walk and feed the dogs and head off.

It takes me about an hour to get Bilbo ready. I don't rush. Outboard is filled with petrol and kettle boiled, main sail stuck up but not powered. I use SailTRX so my ground contacts know my route and if I am late, contact the Coast Guard. I also have AIS and a Delorme (now Garmin) inReach which also acts as a tracker and technically an EPIRB.

I headed out on the outboard, and as soon as I cleared the point, out with the head sail and powered the main, and a day of sailing. Bilbo does well in most winds, except running with the wind. Maybe she needs a lighter sail up front, Close Haul or broad reach, she is happy.

The plan was to head towards Renvyle, cut in in front of Cramp Island and then up slightly towards InishTurk, then head back. All was going well until I turned back towards the mooring and the winds dropped to almost nothing. This was not the plan, so motored back, a long stretch. 

Tied Bilbo back up for the evening and cleaned the cabin. I still have not made the base for the v berth up front so that is a job for the winter. Coffee and watched the tide slowly climb. The problem with where the tender is stored, is there is a lip of rocks. If the tide is almost out, then it is a hard job to get tender back in. 

So Sunday. The weather was almost the same, very hot, clear skies, but a little more wind. In fact it was gusting quite strong as I prepared Bilbo that I ended up reefing the main twice. That means I had the smallest sail area possible. And with the winds coming, unusually, from the east, I was able to sail off the mooring , I did have the outboard running just in case. 

The plan was to head to InishTurk, have a coffee and food, then turn back. However the winds were to decide that that was not going to happen. They died away and I was sat for an hour slowly moving at about 1-2 knots. So kettle on and food was eaten. I cannot say how beautiful the scenery was. The whole bay glistened. And Bilbo bobbed on the waves. Life is good when you are away from the hustle of life.

So expecting to have to motor back and less than 2 nautical miles from InishTurk, I turned and headed back. At this the wind freshened and was hit with a steady wind of 10 knots gusting to 15 - 18 knots. Bilbo was a very close reach and sped off like a scalded cat. I tacked my way back until I was about an hour from the mooring, at which point, I knew the evening was setting in, so the outboard was fired up and in we went.

An hour listening to the outboard and watching the beautiful Connemara landscape and in the Little Killary we were. Tied up, main was flaked and covered, coffee and generally tidied up. Looks like this maybe the last sail, but we will see.

I sit back and wonder where the last year has gone. With Covid, I did more work on Bilbo than I had initially planned, and sadly less sailing than I had hoped for. 

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