Monday, June 18, 2007

Briongloid Sails In

Briongloid left Kilmacsimon at high water, carrying myself, C, and our teenage pilot (on loan from the yard). Mast lashed to the deck to clear the bridge just above Kinsale, motoring was our only option; the Bandon river looks broad enough at this point, but the part of the channel deep enough for a fin-keeled yacht is narrow enough to make for tricky sailing, even for a bilge-keeled boat (which Briongloid is not).

We putted steadily down river, passing herons every hundred metres or so - I noticed that birds even thirty metres from shore were barely knee-deep, and was very glad of our pilot's help. Green fields sloping into trees along the shoreline slipped past; we passed a beautiful riverside tower-house (mini-castle), and dodged the submerged pontoons of a ruined bridge.

Just above the road bridge at Kinsale, our old engine faded, then expired altogether. We hung for a while on our main anchor while the ebb surged past; then a skiff from the yard towed us into the marina at Kinsale, before snatching our pilot and racing the sunset back up the river. After a false start or two locating sufficient bottleneck screws, we rigged our main sheet to raise the mast, assisted by David of Four Bells. And so to bed...


On a Saturday afternoon, around low water, we slipping our moorings in Kinsale, main and genoa already set, and ghosted out into the middle harbour on a breeze almost too light to feel. Lots of boats about, including a rather larger visitor, the enormous white ketch Parlay. The gentlest of north winds carried us down the channel, beneath the empty gun ports of the old fortresses. In the outer harbour, we gybed our way past a little armada of kids in Optimists, then a small flotilla of Lasers.

Clearing the approaches at last, a low swell announced our arrival in open water. A few miles to the south, the light at the Old Head blink slowly against the gunmetal-grey of the overcast. As we drew away from the shore, the wind picked up a little at last - Beaufort 3? - and we turned east, sailing on a beam reach for Big Sovereign, the rock which marks the entrance to Oysterhaven. Coming abreast of the entrance, we began to tack in, but the wind fell till we barely had steerage way; with a little cajoling, our rickety old engine carried us the final kilometre. Cut the throttle, dipped the boat hook, and Briongloid was home at last, hanging for the first time on our own mooring.

Adventure awaits...

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