Week 29 15 – 21 July 2019 Inishbofin – Killybegs, Ireland 196 nm, three lay days.
15 July Monday Inishbofin 11 km hike
Woke up after a good nights sleep and to a grey summer morning. No hurry as we were waiting for the wind to turn and the day was supposed to be spent ashore walking. Slow breakfast waiting for the sun to clear the clouds.
We walked the western part of the island, very dramatic cliffs and steep right into the sea. Hoped to see some sea birds, but there were almost none. Only some nesting fulmars where we could see chicks in various stage, non ready to fly.
Summer weather and sunshine contributed to a very pleasant walk. Back in the little village we had dinner at the restaurant in the harbour before a short dinghy ride back to Moon, anchored in centre of the little harbour bay.
16 July Tuesday Inishbofin – Kilkronan on Inishmore, Aran Islands 43 nm
Up with the roaster and weigh anchor at half past six. The wind was still not west enough and we had to motor sail to get past the first islands. At Slyne Head we could bear of and shut down the engine on a close reach all the way to Aran Islands. Now we had sunshine and full speed all the way to Kilkronan, the only harbour in Aran Islands. Furled the headsail and engaged the engine to steer right into the wind and into the harbour, very convenient to be able to lower the mainsail while staying on course.
Yellow visitor moorings not marked with any load was not our choice. Found a narrow, shallow space between shore and the buoys where we dropped the hook.
Aran is somewhat a tourist magnet and offers everything a tourist is looking for, including horse ride, shops with the famous Aran sweaters and much more that can be bought. Of course several hotels and pubs to serve the crowd. But it’s a nice and interesting place although not very genuine anymore.
As we had arrived early and the weather was not looking good for tomorrow we took the dinghy ashore for a walk, a pint and to visit the grocery shop.
Back in Moon we treated ourselves with a salad dinner.
17 July Wednesday Kilkronan/Inishmore Lay day waiting for the weather to change in our favour.
The gale from south west started as forecasted after midnight, one reason not to use a buoy, and while we had breakfast it was blowing full gale. The rain came after breakfast and we had drizzle the whole morning. After noon the wind almost died changing to north west and later increased again. The rain unfortunately increased from a sky that during late morning had become quite bright but became dark grey again in the afternoon.
All nine boats in the anchorage stayed until after noon when three left in the direction of the new wind.
We stayed indoors the whole day making us useful with various work that had been put aside while sailing and walking all days.
We have now started to rethink our winter work with Moon. Previously the plan was to winter in Portugal, but we are now thinking of Gothenburg in late August instead. August/September because we need the temperature for epoxy work and Gothenburg because we are longing for fall/winter and spring cruising in the Swedish archipelago.
So now we are looking at the weather forecasts with another goal. Looks like there is a possibility to go north on Friday, but a bit too strong wind from south Sunday till Tuesday.
18 July Thursday Aran Island Inishmore another lay day but now added with a 8 km walk
The wind is persistently strong from west, making it almost impossible to get north west in rough sea.
After breakfast our friends in Mary arrived from south west. We joined them ashore where they rented bikes to ride to the ruins on the middle of the island, 8km one way.
We opted for a hike to the south ruins, only 4km one way. Very nice walk and not many tourists, especially compared to the other ruin where they even charged a fee to look at the stones!
The fort was very interesting and build on a narrow peninsula, using the steep cliff facing the sea as one of the “walls”.
Back in the village we visited the grocery store and bought the necessary items to keep us happy for the next three days. We are hoping to get to the little town Killybegs before Sunday noon to get protection from the gale/storm and there moor at a pontoon to have shore facilities. Important in strong wind when you don’t want to launch the dinghy.
Back in Moon we put all our findings away and had a thorough study of the wind forecasts.
Looks like the wind dies tonight and then comes back from south east tomorrow, perfect for us sailing north west. Unfortunately it seems to wear northeast after noon, but an early start should solve that problem.
The crew from Mary came by for an anchor dram. After two hours we decided there will be more nights together and they drove back to Mary to cook dinner.
We had a delicious cod dinner and after that the wind died completely. Because we had anchored on shallow water, not allowing us to swing for an easterly wind, we weigh anchor and took a mooring for the windless night.
19 July Friday Inishmore – Inishbofin 42 nm
Early start. As our alarm went off we heard Mary leaving. Five minutes later we were on route having breakfast under way. It takes almost no time to start if everything is prepared the day before when sitting on a mooring. Main and motor sailing for the first hour in almost no wind. We needed charging after three nights at anchor with no charging.
After another half hour we changed course more northerly and could unfurl the headsails and shut down the engine. With full sails, even the reefed main was now full, Moon did great speed on flat water. Even the tide was with us, very good as we were in a hurry to get to Inishbofin before the wind became north easterly. Not far from the harbour entrance we furled the headsails and steered towards the harbour and again we had the wind perfect over the bow to be able to lower the main with no extra manoeuvres.
Inside the harbour our old spot was free so we just dropped our hook without the normal control circle.
Lunch and then Mary entered the harbour and put her hook ten meters behind Moon. The harbour basin is very narrow and boats anchor in a row not to disturb the ferries.
Now we had to wait for the wind to go over north and come back tomorrow morning from south west and sail to Killybegs, a big fishing harbour in the north east corner of Donegal Bay, to get protection from the strong gale approaching on Sunday afternoon.
Stayed in the boat rest of the day, except for coffee and a newly baked cake in Mary during the afternoon.
20 July Saturday Inishbofin – Inishkea 35 nm
The predicted wind shift was in place and the morning sky looked rely well. Using the tidal chart we tried to get the current with us at least around Archill Head and Erris Head, the two capes we had to pass today. Not actually possible without having a short stop before Erris Head.
We sailed in good wind the 27 nm across to Achill Head and managed to have following current with great whirlpools in the sound between Archill Head and a little islet west of Archill Head.
Even the eight miles to Inishkea we got following current and we anchored shortly before three.
The Island was abandon 1930 and only a few houses are used for summer purpose today. Took a long walk ashore overlooking the ocean from the peak, before we had dinner in Moon.
Suddenly we saw a customs boat approaching and soon we had a visit from the Ireland Customs who only asked about data for the boat and if we had anything to declare. Being a EU member in an EU country there is not much to declare, so they just put us in their statistics and whished us a safe journey.
According to our time table for the tide we were to be going again around six o’clock and we weigh anchor to sail north again.
Just as we left Mary came and anchored with the same idea as us, but three hours later. We passed close by and hoped for a safe passage and see you tomorrowâ¦
We have been used to mostly counter current in Ireland so far, but today and the whole night we were lucky to have following current.
Coming around Erris Head we could steer 70 degrees across Donegal Bay towards Killybegs with a fresh breeze 120 degrees across Moon and the swell decreasing as we got in leeward of Erris Head.
21 July Sunday Inishkea – Killybegs 76 nm
One of our most comfortable night sails. Just one short rain shower and the rest of the night moonshine behind thin clouds. The wind kept its perfect strength and direction all night. On top of that the temperature was quite ok. We managed to do 76 miles in 11 hours, quite ok as we had no strong wind.
Sixish we arrived at the entrance of Killybegs approach and were moored at the pontoon an hour later.
Mary arrived just before noon after a not so nice passage due to increasing wind, swell and counter current…
After our arrival we had breakfast and then a two hours nap.
Before noon we were up again and had a well needed shower before we took the lines of Mary mooring on the opposite side of the Pontoon. Now there were two big Swedish flags in the marina with almost only local boats.
After the rain we took a two km walk to the supermarket, we hadn’t been to a big one since Oban, four weeks ago.
Tried to find a local pub, but all three we found had loud music or loud TV-football.
Back in Moon a constant rain started together with more wind for the rest of the night.
Linda and Ludvig from Mary came after dinner for some cheese and wine. The kids enjoyed a movie down in Mary.
Annika & BjÃ¶rn