Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sea Anchor trials

The  weather in Ireland was not the best for where we were heading for. We had crew that had agreed to meet us in Baltimore but it soon became apparent that there was no way that we were going to make it for when we had said so in the end it was Waterford that we set off from.  George arrived as the first of the crew and the other guys made it over the weekend. The long range weather forecast was still not the best and the low that we were hoping would pass by just decided to hang around a little longer.However come Tuesday John made the decision to go for it the next low coming in looked as if it would pass to the North so the boys set off for Porto Sin hoping to make it there for Friday 17th. Every thing seemed fine and dandy or so I thought until on the Friday I received a phone call at work from a Spanish vessel that had been contacted by John and he asked if they would phone me to let me know that he had deployed the sea anchor and were now hoping to make it into Coruna some time on the Saturday. It was a bit difficult to understand exactly what the message was but Jo one of the office staff said I knew the call was for you as you 're the only person I know who owns a sea anchor!! The video shows the sea state though it doesn't do it justice and you can see the lines. The para anchor is a Southern Ocean 24 and John would now not leave port without it!
It appears that the low did not move as far North as we had hoped and realizing that there was no way that he would outrun the F10/11 winds John decided to sit tight and let the winds blow past . As we had owned the sea anchor for about two weeks it was a bit of a steep learning curve for John but he used mooring lines as pick up lines (it should be floating line) together with  the 100m of octoplait line that we had bought for the purpose but had been unable to prepare in advance.We also had to improvise when it came to the pick up but the crew were fantastic and after an uncomfortable 24 hours bobbing about 50/60 miles North of Finnesterre. John picked up the sea anchor and went on his way to La Coruna. We had chosen Porto Sin as it can be quite difficult getting around the the top corner if you go to La Coruna but by this time John was knackered and the crew deserved a rest. They had been checking lines every 15 - 30 minutes and deserved a pint!

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Irish weather has a habit of being contrary. As we sailed The St. Georges Channel we had an eclectic mix of no wind, great wind and strong winds from the wrong direction. We had to motor most of the way to Arklow having anchored off Dulas Bay Anglesey for a short while waiting for the tide to turn. We were moored rafted up against the catamaran WindcatII which goes out to service the wind farms... a big sturdy beast which gave us good support. We stayed in Arklow overnight before setting sail for Kilmore Quay. This was a great days sailing. We hardly had to revert to the engine at all. There was one incident of note. As we made our way into harbour, looking to turn at the appropriate point after St Patricks Bridge, a fishing boat decided that it would race up behind us and then alongside us with no need to come anywhere near us.We gave him 5 long blasts on the horn and he passed in front of us. As we went along our way we noticed that he did exactly the same to a yacht in front. Obviously a fishing boat with attitude!
Kilmore Quay was packed and the welcome from fellow sailors could perhaps have been warmer. We eventually moored alongside a Halberg Rassy.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Next stop Ireland

We put up our main almost as soon as we got through the lock gates and within minutes of making our way down the Mersey the benefits of having AIS became apparent when the coastguard contacted us to negotiate going starboard to starboard with a rather large cable laying vessel making its way down the opposite way but wanting to turn to port into Gladstone Dock! There was little to no wind so we were under motor but it still we were out of the Marina and on our way after such a long time in the Marina and having completed a list of jobs as long as your arm!

Leaving of Liverpool

Finally a few days later than anticipated due to an alternator failure on the starter battery supply we got away on Thursday 2nd June. Our chief engineer Mr David Cruikshank together with the crew Geraldine and Dermot  had very patiently been helping us in Liverpool having arrived on the Sunday and their help was invaluable. George came to see us off and our friends John and Mandy threw us down a bottle of Port as we waited in the lock for the water to fill. I have to say that both John and I were a little emotional when those gates finally opened and we were out once again on the water. Our journey had started....

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Nearly on our way back

Orion is currently on the hard awaiting new anodes and just generally checking over her hull which looks good. The coppercoat has done its job and we are free of growth which is heartening. It has been along time coming but I think that we are nearly ready to go back to the sun!
Orion has been in Liverpool for 20 months and you tend to forget how much work we have done since our arrival.

  • replace all the roof linings
  • refurbish both heads
  • fit new solar panels
  • fit wind generator
  • re design and upgrade the chart table
  • Fit new radar/AIS
  • Refurbish the stern cabin
  • new sail bags
Just a few more purchases to be made such as new life raft, a sea anchor and a new dinghy... but they should be sorted before the end of May

We have made a rough itinerary for anyone interested in crewing but this is just as far as Gib

Leave Liverpool 30th May (HT 10.00 local time)
Liverpool to Arklow via Holyhead ( approx 140 mls)

Leave Arklow Wed 1st June (HT 09.00 local time)

Arklow to Kilmore Quay (60 miles approx)

Leave Kilmore Quay Friday June 3rd

Will travel along the Southern Irish Coast stopping at various ports

Aiming to be in Baltimore by the 9th June

Leave Baltimore for Porto Sin ( South of La Corunna Spain ) - 550 miles approx 5 days

Leave Porto Sin 19th June
Down coast of Spain / Portugal – 340 miles to Cape St. Vincent
Possible stops on the way at either Nazare or Peniche

Arrive Lagos 24th June
3 days stop off in Lagos - leave 27th June

Onward to Gibraltar via Faro and Cadiz possibly Morrocco
Arrive Gibraltar 4th July LEG 2 Gib to Greece to follow.

I have now resolved that I am going to update this page and our new Facebook page on a regular basis