Passage Planning - Douglas to Whitehaven

Storm Hector had battered Salty Lass during the night, so much so that at one time she was healed over. Beverley commented that she didn't think that it was possible, but it was. It meant for an uncomfortable night, but I was so tired from a full on day, that I still managed eight hours sleep. It was just ten o'clock when I finally managed to get out of my pit.

During the day, the storm abated, but afterwards our fenders had rubbed the pontoon so much, that the fender had actually left a mark in the wood. During the storm Beverley and I had time to look at the weather forcast and set our plans.

When passage planning Beverley and I look at several factors:-

  • Weather - The weather was set to improve but because of storm Hector, the sea state was to be a bit lumpy to start with improving conditions
  • Tide - The tide on the East coast of the Isle of Man generally comes towards the island at high tide and leaves the island at low tide. It might not be marked on any map, but when you have atide coming towards land, then close to the land you will get a counter current and the Isle of Man is no different with the counter current running generally towards Ramsey, once you get North of Douglas
  • Times - High tide and low tide change every day and you plan so that you are coming in to your destination in the light. We have come into places in the dark, but we find it harder to do so

In this passage we decided to leave that night and get to Ramsey pier where we had seen some mooring balls, the day before. We would be arriving at the mooring balls at night, but we knew where they were so we could cope. Then once on the mooring balls we would leave at low tide which would be at 5 o'clock in the morming, thus getting to Whitehaven in the light.

So we paid, the harbour master our bill, which for our yacht was 2/3 of the price of the cheepest hotel in the area. No idea, what the cheepest hotel in the area is like, but we were very confortable.

We took one last walk up to the local lighthouse to see the sea state and take some more local bearings.

The first bridge lift that night was at 10:45pm and Beverley expertly manouvred Salty Lass out of the slip, which was a good thing because Matt from Sailing Creo, helped us with the lines.

Once out of the harbour, we set the sails and we actually switched the engine off. I love it when we can sail, it is so peaceful. We initially started with the sail reefed, but the wind were such that we felt confident enouth to put out all the sails.

As we sailed past the island, I could see why the island is a dark shy hot spot. In between the towns of Douglas, Laxy and eventually Ramsey, there were very few houses with their lights on. On a completly cloudless night it must be spectacular.

I was on the helm as we aproached the point, just before Ramsey, but our line was such, that we would be running into the lighthouse that marked the end of the point, so we tacked away from the shore, to get onto a line further out. Everything went smoothly then within minutes, instead of the good sailing winds we had been experiencing, we were in force 7 to 8 winds, as we came out of the lee of the island. It is at these points that I am undecided about what to do, never a good plan when you are on a sailboat, so Beverley took the helm and we dropped the sails. Beverley, then motored around the point as close to as she dated so that we were still in the lee of the island.

However, as soon as we rounded the point, there was nothing to protect Salty Lass, so we were in a howling gale. By this time it was 2o'clock in the morning and seeing Ramsey in the dark, is quite a different view from in the daylight. We could see the lights that marked the entrance of Ramsey Marina, so we headed straingt for that. I could see another light which is near the end of Ramsey Pier, but it looked a lot further away than the 600m that was stated in the pilotage notes.

However, we knew that the mooring balls were on a set of pilons close to the end of the pier, so we motored towards it. I have to tell you that looking for a mooring that is close to the water in the dark is really difficult, I used a tource, scanning the sea until we saw one. Once we located the mooring, it took three times before we finally managed to get a rope through the strop, I dropping the strop on the second approach, they can be really slippy with all the weed that grows on them.

By the time we were safely moored, it was 2:30 in the morning, both Beverley and I was shattered, all the adrenalin that pumps through your veins at these timesreally takes it out of you.

Once I put my head down, I was asleep in minutes while Beverley cat napped through the night. I awoke at 5:45am and Beverley asked for me to stand a watch while she slept for half an hour. With Beverley being a worry wart, I could see why, she was concerned about our mooring as we were only 30meters away from the pier. I am much more blarsay, I could noy get the boat sorted in 30meters so I might as well rest and leave it that.

Dawn is just beautiful with the sun shinning from behind the pilons. Now I had some time on my own so I decided that I would have a go at fishing with our newly purchased fishing rod. It was at this point that I realised that I had not got a clue, about how to sort out the rod. Not knowing what to do has never stopped me before and it certainly was not going to stop me now.

Needless to say, when I woke Beverley up at 6:30am, she found me in a total tangle. I had put bait onto a feathered trace, something that you do not do, and I had wrapped the line at least 100 times around the reel. Beverley just looked at me and laughed, so we just had to store the rod below, so that we could slip the mooring and get moving onto our next destination which was Whitehaven.

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Raising money for the RNLI

We were only on our third sail in our brand new boat to us and we had to call the coast guard for assistance. That assistance came in the shape of a RNLI boat from Portpatrick, so we have decided to raise money for the RNLI through our Damsels in distress page on just giving, that way you know that any money goes straight to them. We have set ourselves a target of £500 and we would like to honour our pledge, so if you like our videos then please give a little to those who rescue people in the seas around the UK.

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