We really needed to start moving as we had many miles to go to get to Northern Ireland and not much time. So off we went to Crosshaven and the oldest know yacht club in the world, the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Besides the nostalgia of it being an old yacht club and a convenient place for us to stop, there was no real draw to it.
The town was kind of boring and the club was, well, nothing more than another yacht club. We left the next morning for a long day hop to Rosslare. We had good wind and current behind us for a long part of the way. It was not until we finally got to the very southeastern portion of Ireland, coming around the headlands did we have significant seas build with adverse current. It was very bumpy until we rounded the headlands and then anchored up in a big bay next to the ferry terminal. We arrived with the sunset. The next morning we would take off again to head further north to Dun Laogharire Marina, just outside Dublin. Being that we have already visited Dublin twice this year, we didn’t want to make our way into the city but stayed in the suburbs of the marina just outside. We enjoyed a couple of days in the town while yet another gale passed through. We were able to use the Royal Irish Yacht Club as transients of the marina. The town was a nice stopover but we needed to make tracks as Jessica has a flight from Belfast to New York on August 20th. Once the storms were gone we made our way further north to Ardglass Marina. This is a little marina tucked up well inside a protected small fishing harbor. There was a top class golf resort right along the water on the way in that was getting me excited for the
upcoming trip I would have in a few weeks with my father. I broke out the clubs here again and hitchhiked up the way to a practice facility apparently built by Rory McLLroy, the famous golfer from Northern Ireland. We really liked this small little sleepy town. Its our first stop in Northern Ireland and you definitely notice it being more English than Irish. From Ardglass we still has some 30 plus miles to go to get to Belfast Lough. We had 20-30 knots on a close reach until we rounded the corner toward Belfast and then it was directly on the nose. Fortunately we had 3 knots of positive current and we motored our way into Bangor Marina where we would rest our bones for one night and then make our way right into city center Belfast. In city center Belfast we tied up next to the Titanic ship yards in a small marina that you pay the vending machine 16 pounds a night for your berth. I would stay here for almost a week while Jess got herself packed up and would fly out and my old time high school/college buddies, Chris Ashley and Rich Herald would join for a few days to head to Scotland.
In Ireland we have used the website EOceanic, http://eoceanic.com for much of our piloting needs. One example of what they have to offer were the passage making directions they use to hop along the coast. They have waypoints and give you tidal tips to make the fastest passage. This was very useful and took alot of the navigation work out of the equation. Here is a link to one set of sailing directions we used http://eoceanic.com/sailing/routes/19/southern_ireland_coastal_description_-_rosslare_harbour_to_cork_harbour
We have found this website very useful for Ireland. Every harbor and passage direction is provided with great detail and links to everything from tides and weather to google images of the harbors and Navionics charts of the area. The passage directions saved us some serious mileage as we weaved our way in between little islands to shorten the route and take advantage of the currents. We have also used the Irish Cruising Clubs pilot guide which was helpful, however it lacks the information you want to know as a tourist. You get very little feel as to what besides piloting information that the place has for visitors. We find this to be an issue in most pilot guides. It would be nice if there were links or excerpts from other travel guides to let you know if a place is worth visiting or not. All of these “in print” pilot guides cost a lot of money and somehow they always seem to make it so you need two different books. The big advantage however with hard copy is that you have it all the time and don't need connectivity. The web based guide only works with a web connection.