Rookie mistakes

Well we were sailing to Strangford Lough, a place that I had wanted to go for ages, but because we were so rusty, we made loads of Rookie mistakes

We were at last out of Carrickfergus on the start of our first adventure which was to Strangford Lough, we had left Carrickfergus, with some friends on Shaula timing our departure to use the short cut through Copeland Sound. While we were in the Lough, we decided to motor as the wind was right behind us and to sail safely, we would of needed to sail a much longer course. Once we were through the sound however, it was time for the sails to go up and the motor to go off. It is such a great feeling to be sailing, just you and the water. The wind was a little bit fluky, sometimes very light while other times quite strong. As changing you sail plan a lot can be quite exhausting, we decided to sail conservativity with a reef in the main and a reef in the Genoa. The boys on Shaula were not so conservative which meant that they were soon overtaking us. They sailed quite close, which worries me but it did mean we got some great footage of them sailing.

After Shaula had passed we were passed by a larger yacht called Luna. According to AIS they were travelling at their theoretical hull speed which is

Waterline length(feet)  x 1.3

Even with a couple of reefs we two were travelling at our theoretical hull speed. Technically we could of gone faster as we did have a tidal component as well in the mix, but it was still a good thing to talk about and figure out as we sailed down the Ards peninsular.

As we were nearing the entrance of Strangford Lough, we decided to put the sails away, just so we could concentrate more on our navigation, well for a few minutes just as we had dropped the sail and before we had secured the boom, the boom swung wildly and gave me a glancing blow. Luckily it was only glancing but I knew that I would get a right rise from it. Once the boom was secure, I took the helm and steered us into Strangford Lough. Beverley was on navigation as we had forgotten to put the waypoints it, so it was a lot of compass work and looking at the leading line that was marked on the electronic chart. There are points that are at the end of the leading lines going in but these are quite small so Beverley was looking at these and directing me either to port or starboard. Once through the narrows we went over to Killyleagh and dropped the Anchor, we had just dropped the anchor when somebody offered us a mooring ball for free, so we raised the anchor and took up the mooring line. It was a long day, so we wnt inside to have some tea and a bit of a rest.

The next day we fessed up to our mistakes and Beverley got all the way points needed for the narrows as well as the way points needed to navigate the Lough. As well as not having our way points on the chart plotter, the other big mistake we made was not looking at our depth as we came in to the mooring ball. Some moorings are in shallower water than others, so we should of checked it.

After we had settled in, we dropped Salty Sausage into the water and went exploring Killyleagh, which is a small town that had a few shops a castle and some really pretty houses with lots of pots outside. After our little explore, we came back to Salty Lass and went out on deck to put in all our way points. As usual we both do a batch, so I added all the waypoints for Strangford Narrows then made a route for them, I have to say, the route I cam in and the route on the chart were fairly close so I was really happy with that. Then Beverley put in the way points for the Lough, and made a route. She got it wrong on her first attempt but not everyone is perfect and to be honest a mistake is more watchable than being perfect.

Raising money for the RNLI

The RNLI turned 200 years old on 4th March 2024. So as sailors and people who promote the joy of sailing, we thought that we would like to raise just £200. What we hope is that other people take up the shout and raise their own £200. In the last 200 years the RNLI have saved over 144,000 lives and yet they are funded entirely by people like you. They are not government funded.

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