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The practice of sailing

November '99

Paddy's Weekend

Force 7




The theory , the planning

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Weekend Cruiser Course
Late March 2000

These are some images from a weekend cruiser course I attended in late March, 2000. The main feature of this one was the wind. Force 5 on day 2 and force 7 on day 3.


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Boat: Oceanis 380
Roller-furling genoa, Lazyjack reefing

Crew: 5 Experienced and 1 instructor

Oceanis 380


Friday March 24th, 2000 - Kinsale Harbour

The night sail, after a briefing/planning session, is a standard opener for these cruises. This time the smaller boat (38') and the different section of the marina gave variety.



Saturday, March 25th - Kinsale to Cork Harbour

The wimd started out as a Westerly force 5. We took in one reef and ran before the wind.

We gybed a few times (on purpose). We had one unintentional gybe. I missed the excitement. I had gone below to change film in a camera. Things went sideway for a second, and I popped up to find that we had gone through 180 degrees (in the horizontal plane).

We anchored in the relative shelter of Graball Bay at the mouth of Cork Harbour for lunch. The refreshment was needed as the next item on the menu was a session of beating up the narrow channel off Cobh.

I sang the lee-oh song as the others frantically worked the sails. Meanwhile the instructor explained very politely that unless we got about a bit sharper, then we weren't going to make any ....... headway. Luckily for the tired muscles, the winds off Cobh go all over the place when they get Northish. What started as a beat soon became a reach on the same heading.

Then it was off towards East Ferry to tie up at the marina for the night.
As we approached East Ferry, we could see a particularly nasty-looking piece of blackness heading our way. We had nearly won the race to get the mainsail down when the thing hit us like an express train. The crew just hunkered down to shelter, but muggins here had to face into a horizontal down/side-pour trying to keep us head to wind.

Once tied up , it was off to the sailing centre for showers and a meal in the bistro - then over to the pub across the way for live music and liquid refreshment.



Sunday March 26th, 2000 - Cork Harbour to Kinsale

During the night, I was awoken by the sound of a downpour hammering on the deck. That and the wind.

The next morning, the rain had cleared. Looks blissful, doesn't it?

A leisurly breakfast had everyone nicely relaxed and perhaps thinking of coffee over Sunday papers. Then she-who-must-be-obeyed said "I'm going for a walk. Have each of the crew bring it alongside and then go and pick up a mooring." No problemo ?? Simply starting the engine saved a ton of motivational-type conversation with the bunch below, but we still were not fast enough. It seems that I have to work on my 'be-a-bastard' techniques.

The wind was picking up and strong gusts blowing us off the pontoon made the docking exercises challenging.

Then it was westwards to Kinsale into a steady 25 knots gusting to 32.
We started with a single reef but soon took in the second. The second reef took a great bite out of the main, so the sailing was a little less lively than might be possible.
Watching for weather Here it is Spil wind
It still required us pay careful attention to the weather ahead and to hold the sheets with just a few turns on the winches - ready to spill wind when the big gusts hit.

Ye'll have a drink? Ah ye will, ye will, ye will. G'won, g'won, g'won.

weather over the Soverigns Asgard II off
Approaching the Sovereigns (where we had to start a lot of beating due to a shift in the wind) we saw the Asgard II heading East outside us.

Two on board were a couple that were going to do a Caribbean charter as a honeymoon. The rest of us sat on our hands for a while to allow to them take a few tacks all on their own. They managed very well in conditions more severe than they would expect to meet on the holiday - but one never knows.

That ended a superb weekend. The only bit of rain that we suffered was the brief deluge off East Ferry. The winds were strong but no so much that anybody wanted to run for shelter.



Counting the beans

  • 50 miles
  • 3 night hours
  • Handling under power
  • Handling under sail - force 7
  • Reefing - out of necessity
  • 10 x coming alongside
  • Mooring pickup
  • 1 x anchoring
  • Pilotage
  • Navigation
  • Motivational Anglo-Saxon


The course was run by International Sailing in Cobh, Ireland.