Sailing Today

Cruising BELFAST to Milford Haven

Belfast to Dublin

Belfast was the decision point in our voyage. Return north up the Antrim coast and then west round the whole of Ireland? Or play safe and sail south down the Irish Sea?

I love remote places, and the west coast was my dream. We had tasted the southwest corner once before: round Mizzen Head and across Bantry Bay in blazing sunshine accompanied by whales and gannets, to within sight of the mystical Skellig Islands. Could we go further and explore the whole west coast?

Navigationally we were well prepared. We had charts and guides, anchorages researched and waypoints marked. I had studied and imagined the shelter of Elly Bay in County Mayo and the white sands of Gurteen (Goirtín) in Galway. The boat - a GT35 - and our equipment were up to the task, but were we? The west is exposed to everything the Atlantic can conjure.

I grew up with plentiful respect for the sea. Mainly that was from my grandfather, who taught me to sail in the days when navigation involved wobbly compass bearings and a cocked hat. Less talked-about in our family was the tragic

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