The Home Stretch

2015 UTC

We have 75 nm to go to the Old Head of Kinsale. The plan is to pull in to Kinsale for some sleep, showers, and a good meal. Then on Sunday morning we’ll sail the last 20nm or so to Cobh, to pass the Holy Ground and continue up in front of the town at about 15.00.

But first things first… When I last posted we were approaching the continental shelf, with a nasty forecast for the night ahead. The shelf brought the expected nasty seas, with mountainous seas rumbling past, but thankfully we got onto the area with less than 1,000m depth before the conditions really deteriorated. I don’t know whether it was related to the rapid reduction in depth or not, but the phosphorescence last night was the best we have seen to date. I know I must sound like a broken record with new tales each day of strange lights of varying origin visible by night, but last night we had a new one to top the lot! Phosphorescent dolphins!

Pod after pod of dolphins came to play around the bow of the boat after dark, and amazingly as they swam they disturbed the plankton causing it to glow. The result was that despite the night being pitch black you could perfectly make out the shape of each dolphin glowing under the water, and they left a glowing neon type trail for about 20ft behind them marking their tracks as they weaved through the waves. It reminded me of the movie “Tron”. Both myself and Andy sacrificed a lot of sleep to watch them in awe for hours, neither of us having seen such an amazing sight before. That’s the last of the nighttime illuminations stories I promise!

Later in the night the promised gale hit us as expected. It was a tough night given the windy conditions on top of the already huge swell. We got thrown around a lot, took a lot of waves into the cockpit, and the incessant rain made it very cold. Such conditions are much more bearable though when they are helping you reach your goal, and the fact that we were averaging over 10 kts towards Kinsale for the night meant that neither of us really complained. It was this afternoon before the gale blew itself out. One big last squall in torrential rain, and suddenly we could see blue sky! The breeze dropped back to a pedestrian 15knts, and we hung our oilskins out to dry in the welcome warmth of the sun just in time to enjoy our “100nm to go” beer!

That 15knts Westerly breeze is perfect for us to make easy fast progress tonight, and we’re due to reach Kinsale in time for breakfast. 1180nm from Horta to Kinsale in 7.5 days is no easy feat, and I’m looking forward to celebrating Andy’s first transat with him in the early hours of the morning. Of course it will mean the second full transat for myself and Dinah, but I think like any of these achievements it’s the first time that’s really important.

If any of you are around Cobh on Sunday then please come say hello on the seafront at 15.00. I honestly can’t wait for the big homecoming. It’s been a long time coming. For now, we are heading into the last evening on the water, coastal sailing with a clear sky and a good forecast, so it’s time to go on deck and enjoy one last sunset.