(Much of the information about this trip belongs to the organisers and the charity objectives…so not my place to do a full report.. My official status was Missus Back Up Plan as I was on the subs bench till the last minute. )
Part 1. Non-stop around Ireland with Fiona Nicholas...are you up for it?
Thanks for asking me to crew and support Fiona, Alan. Thanks for putting The Jolly Sailor up for this event and for managing and motivating us to do the job.
Fiona I know your bro will report this thread to you….the last few days have been amazing. I’ll never forget the experiences we’ve just had and I hope the outcomes for the charity will be excellent.
As for the trip we knew it would be short notice because of weather and the fact The Jolly Sailor leaves Pompey for good soon to take up a new life in Canada.
Tuesday the call came and Wednesday I was in Belfast .
May I introduce Fiona
At the airport I was met by a gorgeous girl who apologised for the state of her hands as she had spent the day before antifouling the boat. Incredible character…vivacious, funny , multi-talented and passionate about boats. She had sorted the fuel out, cleaned down the boat and had all the gear we needed. So lazy oul Missus had nothing to do. The lifeboat coxswain signed us out and we began the first night passage. We waved at Donaghadee and headed south. We were due back Friday lunchtime.
The idea was for an Irish woman Crew do the trip non-stop …if it wasn’t for that impossible rope off the North Coast the engine would have run the whole way around well offshore and we wouldn’t have approached land or another human!!!! once. As it was…the boat was only stopped and tied up for repair one time on the round trip.
Alan has explained about the weather….I couldn’t believe how we spent so much of the trip in wild conditions…the entire south coast a heavy head sea, endless beam seas from Kerry to Donegal… and Galway Bay to Tory a cauldron of grey mountainous waves and gathering darkness. Swginn and Cork Rib…believe me we would have loved to meet up and indeed with all any Irish ribsters/boaters (was sort of hoping we’d see Tim and Gavin surfing the ferry wakes off Dublin) but we were very much offshore…I couldn’t even make out any familiar landmarks around Cork…Roches Point, Youghal, Crosser…I think we glimpsed The Old Head…we were pushing on through as best we could. ( It was like being at St Catherine’s forever Anto and Martin.)
Alan’s right. The Jolly Sailor is a fantastic boat. Having taken it on the chin for hours the day before along the south coast she kept her poise beautifully in the heavy rollers coming at us all the way from America…and she just made use of the big following waves to keep her speed up. She never once lost her footing and while we had a few stuffs …(once while Fiona was refuelling from the spare cans out the back !!!!!!!!) she never gave up.