By: Noah D.
We’ve almost sailed 1,000 miles aboard Proteus. Most of that was coming from Ipswich. And we’ve sailed a little around the east coast of Ireland as far north as Greystones just a few miles outside Dublin.
But now we’re headed home.
Ah, but where is home? As we were driving a rental car from a day trip to downtown Cork the other day, Lynn said that she felt as if she is going back home every time we walk or drive or ride back to Proteus. It is as normal to walk or drive in obscure lands (even after a mere six months aboard) as others might drive through the same subdivision in which they grew up and now have families of their own. We might be in a random marina or boat yard, but those are just the changing scenery – like a scene from “Inception” in which the world is able to be folded back on itself or flicked through with each tumble down the rabbit hole. We land in a place and it immediately becomes “the street where we live” and the dock is the sidewalk to our front door. We step onto Proteus and down the companionway and we are suddenly home.
In a few short weeks, we will likely be in tropical climes and dealing with five or six layers of sunscreen instead of five or six layers of clothes to go out and watch for crab pots. And then that will be our home, all hot and sweaty, our beds draped with mosquito nets.
Without as much as a flutter of wind, we departed Kilmore Quay in the wee hours before dawn on 10 March. The earlier the better because a slight gale was forecasted for the northwest and we wanted to be in Cork before it got messy. There was about 2-3m swell coming from the Atlantic, so motoring was a little hurk-worthy until we got the sail up a few hours later. It doesn’t take much wind to get Proteus moving nicely, but 2-3kts is aggravating.
All in all it was a great first sail down to Crosshaven. We sailed into Cork harbour almost perfectly downwind just as a big rain cloud appeared on the horizon obscuring an otherwise great sunset.
Now, why Crosshaven? Why didn’t we just cross directly from Kilmore Quay down south to France? It is almost exactly the same distance from Cork to Sevenstones or Scilly as it is from Kilmore Quay. The difference is the motion of the ocean and the prevailing winds. Coming 70-80 miles farther west will put the (occasionally significant) Atlantic swell on our quarter rather than on our beam. Also, the winds, if directly from the south, would force us to tack back and forth into and out of the Bristol Channel… and all the crazy tidal currents that entails. Hopefully, from Cork the wind will be more favorable, and, even if it is directly on our nose, we will be able to tack less and/or simply let the wind be our guide and suck us across the English Channel to Brittany.
As always, the weather is extraordinary. I cannot believe how random it is! Just the other day, since we’ve been watching for this upcoming crossing, there was a huge weather system that was going to push 8m seas and 50kts wind into the Celtic Sea on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week… then, I checked it yesterday and it was completely gone, not a stitch of wind increase for the next week. It must be that time of year.
Ireland has been good to us, but, if all goes well, our next update will be from France. Stay tuned…
[UPDATE: We aborted our first attempt crossing to France after the sea state worsened to 3 and 4 meter swells on our beam and a crossing wind on our nose. Beating upwind and heeling into major swell is miserable, slow going: for every step forward, we were taking two steps sideways. We’re still in Crosshaven for another few days waiting on the conditions to improve… I’m okay with that!]
Of course, you know Lynn…
…but our new crew and travel companion is Philip. More on him at a later date. 😉