15thAugust.  The wind is in the west today – great for a fast, flat reach down the coast. There’s a gale forecast from the south west overnight and for the next couple of days, so we have a window in which to get south to Dublin where we will meet our next crew members at the weekend.  We left Carlingford at 11am with fairly strong winds as forecast, and sailed down-wind against the last of the flood tide under jib only. That allowed us to follow the turns of the channel safely without the need to gybe (a complicated procedure if we have a ‘preventer’ on the boom).  We reached the entrance and turned south by noon.  It was a lovely sunny day and the westerly wind moderated during the day and turned south west, still enabling us to sail at between 6.5 and 7 knots for most of the journey.  

It was a journey of lighthouses with intriguing names: first the Haulbowline light at the entrance to Carlingford, then Rockabill, off the Skerries islands then the Baily of Howth light as we rounded the Ben of Howth into Dublin bay.  In the distance to the south we could see the Kish bank light, built on tonnes of concrete poured onto the end of a sandbank.

The Baily of Howth

The wind had gone round to the south east by the time we reached Dublin Bay, so we used the motor to give us a bit of help rounding the Baily lighthouse and then had a comfortable final reach across the bay towards the harbour entrance.  Dublin is a busy port so as usual we radioed the port authority who, in between organising pilots for incoming and outgoing boats, gave us clear instruction on when to cross the entrance channel.  We motored through the harbour, past a power station and container port on our left and huge ships – ferries, cruise ships, cargo ships – moored on the opposite side. 

We arrived at Poolbeg marina and tied up on the one remaining berth (phew). Further upriver we can see the bridges and buildings of central Dublin inviting exploration.  But that is for another day; it was 10pm before we sat down for supper after a drink in the bar was extended by lots of chatting with locals – we are of course in friendly Ireland. The land of good craic!

  • Distance: 55 nm. Motored 2h, sailed 6.5h
  • Wind: W 3-5 backing S


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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