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

Monday, 7 August 2017

Dun Laoghaire to Bangor

The tidal effects on this coast are interesting. You can leave the Dublin area at low water and effectively take 12 hours of tide with you when heading north. Kind of handy really. The trip from Dun Laoghaire to Bangor is around 96 nautical miles and so needs more than 12 hours at our cruise speed which means we wanted to leave a little before low water to avoid having the tide running strongly against us when we reach the coast near Donaghadee and the Copeland Islands. Better to push a gentler tide at the Dublin end of the trip for a while than the vicious stuff running hard around the coast "up north". However, the infestation of pot markers off the Dun Laoghaire entrance meant leaving at first light to try and avoid them rather than an hour or so earlier to optimise the trip...

Infestation? Wonder if that is another collective noun suggestion. As you were all so inventive with collective names for Nordhavns, what do you suggest for pot markers?

Leaving at first light was preferred to late afternoon as the coastline has many spots with loads of pot markers so an overnight run would not be sensible. Here is our route, around 95 nautical miles, courtesy of Marinetraffic:

In summary, after avoiding two early morning ferries in the shipping lanes, it was just one long run towards the north-east until reaching South Rock when we followed the coast around to Bangor, keeping various rocks at an appropriate distance.

Leaving Dun Laoghaire at first light we had to dodge anchored ships:

and a couple of inbound ferries:

Passing Howth we got to see Ireland's Eye - the little island just to the north of it:

For more info, should you be so inclined, see Wikipedia.

The wind was a force 4/5 westerly veering to south westerly and so as we headed further offshore the waves picked up a little and gave the stabilisers a workout. Waves on the stern quarter make the autopilot and stabilisers earn their keep.  These were a couple of metres high at their peak so nothing too dramatic though and as expected they died right down during the trip as we got closer to the land and the wind eased too.

Then we enjoyed sun, showers and a little dolphin sighting together with plenty of fishing boat dodging as we headed up the Northern Ireland coast passing nicely named rocks like "Skullmartin".

Our timing wasn't bad - we ran a little harder then normal to try and do the trip before the tide turned hard against us and it more or less worked, just a small contra tide passing inside the Copeland Islands. We duly called Bangor and were given what now seems like "our berth", one that we have used each year sine 2013! We must be visiting here too often - the marina man said "I recognised you as you backed onto the berth, you've been in there before". It did feel a little like home. Even the local black guillemot population came to squark hello:

Maintenance news:

Not a lot really.

We didn't blow any more navigation bulbs (luckily) so nothing to replace on the way. The speed log impeller must have been gunged up from our week in Dun Laoghaire as our speed through the water slowly increased during the trip despite the same rpm and sea state. It recovered to about the right reading after a couple of hours. It seems that no matter how carefully you antifoul the paddlewheel, it always gets weeded up. Oh for the old days when antifouling actually worked (although it wasn't very nice for the fish of course).

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Thanks for your ideas / cheek / corrections / whatever! They should hit the blog shortly after the system checks them to make sure they will not put us or you in jail.....