Ferry gliding

Well we had got to Portaferry and I had helmed Salty Lass into the slip and completley nailed the ferry gliding that we had to do to get into Portaferry.

The pilotage notes for Portaferry mentioned that you would need to Ferry glide into Portaferry and I would have to totally agree with that statement as the tide that runa across the entrance was quite high. However with Beverley's help, I completely nailed the Ferry glide so I was very chuffed that we decided to treat ourselves to a night out in Portaferry.

As we had got every single fender out, so that we could come into Portaferry, Beverley decided that she would have a route around in the starboard locker, so while I watched the main compass, she moved every single object in the locker. When she moved a brush handle of all things, I shouted that's it. So she brought up the handle and we did the whole process again, this time finding the decorators pole on Me Swifty. Beverley had another route, but this time the compass remained still, so hopefully that was the cause of the problem to do with our flux compass going astray too many times. Once we had got the brush handle up on deck, we experimented with the handle and the brush handle was able to deflect the compass by as much as 50° which is a lot. The handle that we had on Mr Switfy was 20° which is not as bad as the brush handle, but is still a lot. Once we had found these handles they were removed from Salty Lass as quick as we could.

That night we had a meal out in Portaferry, not the best meal I have eaten by a long chalk but it was great to eat out. It has been such a long time since we have eaten out, so it was great to just to get out and socialise.

The next day, I explored Portaferry which has all the essentials a yacht person needs, in that it had a well stocked supermarket where I managed to buy some gluten free cornflakes, which for me was essential, it also had some other essentials like an off licence and pub.

While I got the shopping in, Beverley filled up the front water tank, then she hosed down the anchor, there was certainly a lot of mud that came off the anchor as e had anchored where there was a muddy bottom. Great for holding, but don't expect to keep your anchor clean.

That afternoon, we decided to take a trip over to Strangford by ferry. There was not a lot to see in Strangford, as we only had enough time for a short walk around Strangford, buying an ice cream as we walked and seeing a really quirky telephone box which had been converted to a small library, which is the kind of crazy thing that I love.

When we came back to Salty Lass Beverley and I discussed the ferry gliding so that I could understand the principles involved.

Ferry gliding

In the example I looked at in depth there was a strong tide going down Strangford narrows, while the ferry wanted to cross the narrows, so the ferry steered upstream but at an angle to the tide, taking the current on one side. This tide pushed the ferry across the narrows. towards a stick which was at the end if the pier. Behind the stick was a set of houses which were stationary behind the stick. So the place where an object in the foreground is stationary against the background, is where you are going. If you want to go towards an object, say the end of a jetty then as you look at it, if the background is changing direction then you are travelling in the opposite direction to the movement of the background. If you want to go towards the stationary object you may need to change the angle of attack or the power that you are delivering to your engines, until you have the powers in equilibrium. The other thing that you need to be aware of is that you constantly need to be making small adjustments because the tide is not constant, so as you move the tide will be changing so you need to adjust for it.

Leaving Strangford Lough

As we were going North after we would be leaving Strangford Narrows, the pilotage recommends going at high water slack as you would be leaving and entering a North going tide. The problem with this exit is two fold, if the North sea is bad, you have no fall back position. There is nowhere for you to go, however, if you go at low water slack, then you can always return into the straight, because the tide would of turned and entering the narrows is a possibility. In addition to this Copeland narrows will be in your favour, because by the time you are there then the tide has turned and is now going North. So it really is a case of what you are doing, if for instance you want to go in to Belfast Lough then how the narrows is set could well be a deciding factor, but if you are going further North then this is not an issue. Also the speed of your boat could well come into it, for us we knew that the tide would reverse for us, but for a faster boat, they might be able to make it, while we knew we couldn't. Also time of the passage, we knew we would be travelling at night, but we are fine with that while if we had gone earlier we would of been in the light. As we travelled down the narrows we filmed some of the buoyage, so you can see what you are looking for if you ever come this way.