Thursday, 26 June 2014

A warm welcome in Wexford

A note on Wexford. The harbour is clearly very shallow indeed with ever changing sandbanks which create a 'fear factor' and deter all but the brave...or foolish. However, once you have completely disregarded your chat plotter, however recent, downloaded the chartlet from the harbourmaster and/or Wexford Harbour boat and tennis club, you just need to take your courage in your hands and follow the marked buoys attentively, watching the PHMs and your depth like a hawk.

Yesterday and today we arrived/left at  local HW of 1.8m, -5 neaps, and the range was HW 1.8/LW0.6m. We had a least depth of 0.7m and the buoys were difficult to see at times, but well marked from the chartlet. We found that switching the depth alarm off to avoid its hysterical distraction and having one person reading out the data from it, the second person helming a particular course using XTE to identify COG shifts caused by the strong tides, and the third person searching with compass binoculars for and identifying the next buoys worked very well. My huge thanks to Alastair and Mark for brilliant teamwork.

Once in the harbour we tied up against the town quay very well fendered but of course with a very small tidal range. We were called on by the local harbourmaster to ensure all was well and ask if we needed help or info, and I have just taken a follow up call from the excellent Phil Murphy, marine officer who laid the crucial buoys himself to confirm that we had a good night. As such, you could not ask for a more welcoming and proactive approach. Contact Phil Murphy 053 912 2300. Green acres restaurant was rather good too. 

So, if you have a shoal keel boat, be one of the few and explore Wexford harbour. But ignore the pilot and printed charts which will be out of date. The 'rocks' on a sand bank very close to our path were in fact about fifty seals all watching the excitement. Sadly no pictures as we were otherwise preoccupied.

The photo of the chart plotter shows the divergence of our track versus the stale Navionics chart.
The chartlet is also attached separately.

Today we continue our journey towards Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, ETA 1800. We have something off an embarras de richesses as our progress has been too fast, and we have new friends joining us. So there will be a small change to our schedule to allow for airports etc. We shall be in Dun Laoghaire tonight with wind and tide behind us until midday. The low lying Irish countryside of sandy beaches and gentle hills and low mountains in the background is currently sailing by at 8 knots. All rather pleasant. 

Mark, Alastair and I intend to have a day off in Dublin tomorrow for R&R, then our friend Graeme will arrive tomorrow evening, and we will move to Carrickfergus on 28th without detouring to the Isle of Man as planned. Alastair and Mark can then leave directly from Belfast and Graeme and I will explore the coast around Belfast of which there is much of interest. Andy will join us within a short radius of Belfast on the evening of 29th and Charles the same on the evening of 30th. Peel, Isle of Man then beckons. The rest is a function of wind and weather. It's sailing!

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