How important is it for a cruising boat that she will sail well upwind? We've all heard the old adage that gentlemen don't go to weather but then, in reality, even gentlemen don't have unlimited time. Over the last few years, we've gone upwind a lot. All the way up the coast of Spain and Portugal in 2019, half the way from Gibraltar to Madeira in 2021, half the way from Madeira to the Azores and half way from the Azores to La Rochelle that same year. This year hasn't been much different and here in Ireland, it's more than ½ the time that we find ourselves going upwind! This is because the SW coast consists of a number of fjord like "rivers" or "bays" with the harbors a fair number of miles inside the river or bay. So every morning, it's upwind against the Westerly wind to round the next headland and then in the afternoons, downwind to go into the next one for the next harbor. Next day, same procedure. Add to that that the tides are such here at the moment, it's flooding in the morning and ebbing in the afternoon so it's upwind against the tide each morning and downwind against the outgoing tide in the afternoons!

Well, Kincsem goes upwind pretty well and comfortably even in relatively big swells here in Ireland.

In Baltimore, Achim left us and Eberhard and Nina joined Christoph and me for the sail to Kilrush. We had one nice day in Baltimore with the sun - sort of - out where we could enjoy the Baltimore Fiddle Festival with fiddlers and banjo players from around Ireland and even farther afield making nice Irish music outside. We also met up with John Wyles and his wife Sally, who live on the water in Glandore a few kilometers down the road. John has sold the 505 and is racing an International Dragon now - times are changing!

Impromptu fiddling going on

Our first sail from Baltimore was - upwind all the way - to Crookhaven around Fastnet Rock again. In a fresh breeze and sunshine, this was even more enjoyable and spectacular than the first time.

Crookhaven turned out to be full of moorings that were too small for Kincsem's 24 tons so we ended up anchoring in the channel by the entrance. So foulies on to take the dinghy ashore to the pub in the chop and rain!

Crookhaven in the rain and sunshine the next morning

Next stop was - upwind around Mizen Head and Three Castle Head - Adrigole, a lovely anchorage in Bantry Bay. We tried to hike the closest hill but chain link fence prevented us from reaching the top. There are cows and sheep everywhere and they get the summits to themselves here! We chased a herd of sheep on the way down and met the shephard - he was pushing a combo baby carriage/cart with a baby and a toddler on it to get his sheep to the next grazing field.

Sneem Harbor in the Kenmare river was our next stop. Yes, upwind around the next cape called Dursey, winding our way around a chain of the islands just to the West of it. They are called Calf, Cow and Bull in order of increasing size. Raining almost but not quite and always in a fresh breeze. We saw very little of Sneem in the almost rain - just a bunch of boats on moorings all of which seemed unoccupied. But the scenery was very attractive - or would have been in the sunshine.

The Calf, the Bull and the Cow left to right

Dursey Point

Today, another upwind sail around Lamb's Head led us to this place, Darrynane. The handbook calls it spectacular but warns of difficult entry in Westerly swell and I had already given up on it when I had difficulty finding the two bearing markers you have to line up to get in clear of the rocks with breakers on both sides. But then I saw the entrance from a different angle, located the sights and decided that it was feasible inspite of the swell. So we lined up in the 34 degree bearing of the two beacons and gave it a shot. As we got closer, the swell subsided because it was being blocked by the rocky ledge on the NW side of the entrance and we slipped in easily - albeit for the skipper, at an elevated heart rate! The rocks on both sides of Kincsem were not much farther than 15 meters away ....

Once inside, the anchorage was totally protected and we found a snug spot clear of the many mooring balls. A nice walk around the anchorage was a perfect ending to a great day!


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