About us and the boat

About us and the boat:

We were lucky enough to retire early at the start of 2013 so we could head off and "live the dream" on board our Nordhavn 47 Trawler Yacht. The idea is to see some of the planet, at a slow 6 - 7 knots pace. There are no fixed goals or timings, we just had a plan to visit Scotland and then probably the Baltic before heading south.

The Baltic has been postponed as we didn't manage to see everything we wanted to in Scotland during our first year owing to family issues. The idea is to visit the nicer areas in these latitudes before heading south for warmer weather. If we like somewhere, we will stay for a while. If not, we will just move on. So, for the people who love forward planning and targets, this might seem a little relaxed!

If anyone else is contemplating a trawler yacht life, maybe our experiences will be enough to make you think again, or maybe do it sooner then you intended!

The boat is called Rockland and she is built for long distance cruising and a comfortable life on board too. If you want to see more about trawler yachts and the Nordhavn 47 in particular, there is a link to the manufacturers website in our "useful stuff" section. For the technically minded, there is a little info and pictures of the boat and equipment in the same section


Richard and June

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Kinsale to Greystones

We decided that a run up the west coast of Ireland wasn't going to happen this year, despite getting some great information on where to go and anchor from a local boatowner. This was mainly because we had dawdled our way over here and probably missed the nice weather earlier in the summer. Also because we intended to meet up with some friends who were flying over to Dublin and perhaps take them for a few days boating. So, our plan was a run to Greystones on the east coast. Andrew and Linda in Zephyros planned to go further, up to Howth, so they were close to Dublin airport and ready for a later invasion by their daughter and two grandchildren. Brave folks (very very young grandchildren coming on board!)

The trip for us is around 140 miles plus the river bit getting out of Kinsale. Because of the way the tides work around the Irish coast, a trip that is difficult to optimise if you want to leave and arrive in daylight and also be in the areas that are known for pot marker infestations when you have some light too. As there were strong spring tides around, the timing got even trickier (as an example, we were down to 2.1 knots fighting it at times around the Tuskar rock area). You can see our route below:

We kept well off the coast around "the corner" near Tuskar rock as it would be dark then and we wanted to stay in the deeper water and try to clear the inevitable pot markers inshore.

Departure after a little shopping trip in Kinsale was almost sad. We'd come to feel at home there and we had a farewell from the neighbouring boat owners and help with our lines too - it was a tight tricky turn to get out of the berth between two pontoons in the stream and breeze.

The run along the south coast was idyllic. Sun, very very calm and quite relaxed. We had Zephyros' bum to admire en route:

and she has quite a substantial one. Not any Nordhavn's most photogenic angle really. We got quite used to it over time though.

Darkness fell as we were approaching "the corner" and as we turned on the navigation lights, so the bulb in the starboard side light decided to pop. A new one was duly fitted. Actually, we consume far too many navigation bulbs. They seem to fry quite quickly - perhaps because they are 24 volt bulbs and the AGM batteries whilst under charge from the main engine run at "27.something" volts most of the time. Might go mad and find some encapsulated LED bulbs and see if the hours / £ equation works better with them.  Bear in mind that one blown navigation bulb (incandescent type) is the equivalent cost of the diesel we use in an hour and a half running at sea!

Giving Tuskar rock a wide berth to try and miss the pot markers meant adding a little distance to the trip but made for a lower heart rate at night. Here is the view that the on watch person has at night time:

and the other side of the pilothouse:

Plenty of screens and buttons to play with which helps distract your thoughts of what could happen if we picked up a pot marker / hit a lost semi- floating shipping container etc etc. Ignorance is truly bliss sometimes.

Our view of Zephyros' bottom changes somewhat at night. She looked more like this:

As planned, the sun was rising when we approached the worst of the fishing marker infestation - this time off the Wexford area. It was still beautifully calm and so as the crew wriggled the boat past the markers, the captain snored happily. Ignorance and bliss again perhaps? The tide then turned strongly with us and we had rocket assistance up the side of the Arklow Bank:

9.2 knots over the ground with a  boat speed of about 6.3 through the water was a nice bonus. The things that look like little yellow butterflies on the plotter picture above are the wind turbines fixed into the bank itself (only 1 metre depth of water in many places there despite it being well offshore).

In the early morning light they look quite unappealing:

and as always seems to be the way, only 3 of the 7 were actually working. A support boat came out to one of them as we were passing. as Andrew said on the radio "They will need a big socket set to get that going"

The wind was picking up a little and on the starboard bow so the wave motion had changed and built a little. We centred the stabilisers (previously the waves had been under 1m high on the stern quarter) and instantly picked up around 0.1 knots of speed. That is serious stuff in a displacement trawler yacht! So much so that our standard view of Zephyros' bottom became her side:

with a waving Andrew and then as we raced past at our 0.1 knot speed advantage, nose on:

We peeled off to Greystones as Zephyros carried on to Howth. We were given a nice berth alongside the walkway in Greystones and happily topped up with water, got clean and fell onto lunch. For the numerically inclined the trip took 25 and three quarter hours with a tidal advantage of around 2.5% (like the "around" bit?) The track through the water once out to sea was 137 miles or so.

Maintenance news:

Well, you know about the blown navigation bulb. Guess what, a 24v bulb in one of the engine room lights also went pop. So, this trip will be known for the high expenditure in bulbs. All replaced from our spares stock though so we are good to go again. The main engine had a longish wide open throttle run before we arrived to clean out the bores, rings and exhaust stack. That got it hotter than it has been since the recent coolant change and it spat out a cup full of coolant into the little overflow bottle we fitted. It has been disposed of. So much stress.

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