Sea State - Moderate

We had at last left Belfast Lough, it had seemed liked ages that we had been there. We had, had a great time but our itchy feet was moving us on. As usual, the weather had been too rough to get out of the lough for ages, and now it was flat calm. It did however mean that the short passage between Northern Ireland and Copeland Islands was fairly straight forward. Once we had navigated the small passage we were able to get the sails up and head for the Isle of Man. As usual when sailing you never get a perfect point of sail, so we were heading for the North of the island, but we were sailing. We did consider going around the North of the island, but because the North of the island is pointing away from Ireland, its an extra two hour sail, by which time the currents that go around the island are all wrong for the passage, so we just kept pointing Salty Lass as best as we could for Peel. In and around sunset, the winds died so we motored over a very languid sea, which was clearly smooth.

We got to Peel just as the flap was falling, so we had no issues getting in and going to the allocated berth. The next day, the wind got up and the sea state was described as moderate, so at high tide we went for a walk to look at the sea. The waves along the front was fantastic, with huge amounts of spray coming in over the road. Of course, I got a little bit too close with my filming, so I got absolutely drenched, but I had a smile on my face, because, it was so invigorating. Looking at the sea, which was described as moderate by the met office, although it might be moderate for a large vessel, but for Beverley and I, moderate is a little bit too frisky for us with its 1.25m to 2.5m waves, so in terms of Salty Lass, that is the height of our free board to twice the height of our free board. If you get caught out in those waves then you really have to pick your course through them, but to Beverley and I, it is just plain silly to go out in them.

After our bracing walk, we returned to the Lass to do some prototyping. This time we were thinking about having a solar arch. Our basic idea is to have a 60° strut running from the hard point at the back, to about 1.5m, then have another strut running vertically from the back transom. Between these two struts we would have cross braces 50cm wide. Once we had gone through the plan together, Beverley went on to the detailed prototype which she made out of match sticks. How she could laugh at me while I made a prototype out of a shower curtain and not see the ridiculous nature of her making a prototype out of matchsticks and sellotape, I do not know. At least use blu tack, which makes better prototypes. Once we had gone through the plans, it was just a case of drawing out the plan and buying the bits.

The next day, the weather had calmed and we were good to go. We had found a really good tidal diagram for the Isle of Man on the governments web site ( Tidal Chart) which showed us that the best time to go through calf of sound was at HW +3,45 and HW-1.45, so we left Peel after high water and gave ourselves plenty of time to get to the straights on time. It worked out really well. Once through we took a rest at Port St. Mary on the buoys as we wanted to be going in with the tide, especially with the river Mersey.

We had to motor through the night, but it was a fascinating run as the bioluminescence was beautiful, the stars were fantastic too. The next day we were still motoring but all of a sudden I saw a dolphin. It was truly great to see a dolphin at last. We saw quite a few and we were actually able to film them which was even better, so I awarded myself a dolphin badge.

After the dolphins it was the queens channel and we had timed it perfectly so that we could come up the channel with on issues.