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Old 10 September 2016, 16:17   #1
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Race against Time - Isle of Man microcruise

I got a call on Sunday last from donegaldan. He informed me that there was a "3 day weather window for the Isle of Man beginning Tuesday". He had a wee notion about visiting Peel and explained that this was his last free week for boating in 2016. No pressure then

So I had a few things to sort out. The IOM is 150Nm away. I've never been to Peel (it's tricky). The 3 day weather window was really 36hrs.

Luckily Brian (RIBnet founder generation) is based in Peel, so I sent an SOS. Wheels turned and a plan was formulated - Brian and Cypman would keep us right.
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Old 12 September 2016, 16:38   #2
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Peel marina is accessed via a flap gate (and swing bridge). The tides dictated that the marina would close at 1643. We left Lough Swilly, Donegal at around 0900 and rocked up in Cushendall, Antrim (77Nm later) at about 1130. The plan got kinda wrecked then as the craic was good. The mad petrolhead sister of the willkcraft was being prepped for the boatshow and we wanted a look at her. Then of course, the new Corryvreckan needed a looksee - and the new Vessel Assembly Hall (see photo).... and lunch, we have very strict rules about lunch! At the heel of the hunt we departed at 1320, dropping Brian a message so he wouldn't worry about us.
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Old 12 September 2016, 17:06   #3
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The IOM is about another 73Nm and we figured it would be a quick zip down the channel. Not so much! We hit a very lively "wind over tide" off the Copelands that slowed us from our preferred 30kts down to mid-twenties. After an hour of that nonsense we were both doing nervous mental arithmetic that hinted at a night locked outside Peel. That would have really interfered with Dinner so when conditions eased a touch, we pushed her to the limits of safety and cracked on, arriving at 35kts to find a nice yellow Scorpion (c/w Brian) waiting offshore to guide us into a very snug berth indeed - just before the flapgate slammed behind us! Cheers Brian
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Old 12 September 2016, 17:25   #4
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Arriving on the pontoon we spotted Cypman waiting to take a line and get us sorted out. We had all met up years ago on a RIBnet Cruise to IOM so retired to the Creek for a couple of pints and a catchup. Brian very kindly offered to guide us around the island the next day so we met up and drove around the TT circuit - a great mix of history and racing anecdotes, combined with a close up look at the island's ports and refuges.

Back at the boat we were limited by the first gate drop of the day at 1330. However, the swing bridge opening held us until 1400 when we waved goodbye and turned for home. The time concern was now the imminent arrival of a very fresh and wet southeasterly - that and darkness. We had 150Nm to do and six hours to do it in. We decided to break the trip in Ballycastle and went for it - good Fish & Chips spurs a man on. We rolled into Ballycastle at 1700, departing fed and watered at 1740. We made a good start across the north coast but we could see the following clouds catching up. 15 miles off Malin Head it all started to fall apart and we began to catch a lot of spray that was being lifted and thrown back into the boat by the wind. A brief stretch of calm around Malin gave us a spurt of speed and we skipped SW to the Swilly. Generally we get a calm final 12 miles but that night the Swilly was kicking up and the wind began to whistle. It darkened and we hit the nav lights. We made our mooring at 1940hrs - 150Nm, five hours of steaming and a dinner after we had departed IOM. We made a wet dinghy transfer and beached to a backdrop of people securing boats and a bit of lightning! I was well pleased to be off the water.

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Old 12 September 2016, 17:37   #5
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Brian had asked me an interesting question: "What is the purpose of your visit?" and that got me thinking... Why had we done it? Obviously it was a bit of craic but it was also just a touch outside my comfort zone. I think I was curious whether the boat and I were good for it. I've seen her go here and there before but this time I hadn't intended to refuel and the legs were longer than usual. I've often described her as a 30kt/300Nm boat but I hadn't actually done it in one bite. This time we did (carrying extra fuel in cans that we discovered we didn't need) and making the trip against an unforgiving clock in mixed conditions! In the event, the boat shrugged it off, but I needed two days to recover...




P.S. Thanks again to donegaldan, Brian, Cypman and Team Redbay
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Old 12 September 2016, 18:04   #6
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Sounds a good adventure!
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Old 12 September 2016, 18:04   #7
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Brian had asked me an interesting question: "What is the purpose of your visit?" and that got me thinking... Why had we done it? Obviously it was a bit of craic but it was also just a touch outside my comfort zone. I think I was curious whether the boat and I were good for it. I've seen her go here and there before but this time I hadn't intended to refuel and the legs were longer than usual. I've often described her as a 30kt/300Nm boat but I hadn't actually done it in one bite. This time we did (carrying extra fuel in cans that we discovered we didn't need) and making the trip against an unforgiving clock in mixed conditions! In the event, the boat shrugged it off, but I needed two days to recover...




P.S. Thanks again to donegaldan, Brian, Cypman and Team Redbay

Nice write up Mr Willk sir ..well done sounds a great trip, Peel and the IOM are a fantastic place well worth a visit
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Old 13 September 2016, 02:37   #8
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great write up willk great place worked there for 8 months some years ago took my boat out most weekends favorite place the calf of man launched from port st Mary & peel.

cheers
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Old 18 October 2016, 04:52   #9
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Willk and Dan in the Wilkraft in Peel.
Dan photographing me, photographing him
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Old 18 October 2016, 04:55   #10
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Willk and Dan in the Wilkraft in Peel.
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Good idea to keep the patio set undercover at this time of year?
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