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It's Vince and Malcolm

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Ardglass to Port Erin Isle of Man 28 June 2007

 Yesterdays weather report for today was poor, and I was expecting to spend the day in port, but this mornings weather report was for winds up to F6 later in the day, so as I have sailed in F/6 often during this voyage, I will leave Ardglass, and head for the Isle of Man. I had a good nights sleep, and with breakfast cleared away, I took a walk into the port to get some milk, and bread before returning to Anita to prepare for the voyage.

10:30 with engine on I cast off, and slowly make my way out into open water. Its about 30 miles to the IOM which should take me about 8 hrs from port to port. The wind is SW F4/5, and if it stays like this I may arrive sooner than expected. Once clear of the harbour, I raise the main sail, but keep the genoa part reefed to keep the boat balanced. by midday the wind remains constant, the tiller pilot is holding the course, and I decide to take the opportunity to have some lunch and a hot drink. By 14:00 I notice the wind instrument show F/6 a couple of times with the gusts, so I will have to be ready to reef the main if the wind force continues to rise, after another hour of sailing, and the wind backing, and with gusts more often F/6,  I go on deck to reef the main. I let go the main halyard and proceed to drop the main but the sail refuses to lower enough to let me attach the second reef, I raise the main and try again but to no avail, a third attempt still sees the main jammed which is worrying. I decide to lash the main down as far as possible, and to roll in the genoa some more.

The wind backs and increases still more, with the cloud base so close to sea level, and the rain lashing down, I re-appraise my destination. Port St Mary will be on a lee shore so I change my destination to the nearest port, which is Port Erin on the south west corner of the Isle of Man. Anita is still handling well under the tiller pilot, but the see is rough, so I turn head to wind again, and go back on deck to see if I can solve the problem with the main. I attach another safety line so I can clip on to the mast as well as the Jackstay. I lay on my back on deck trying to see up the mast while heaving at the reefing line, but  the main won't budge and I can't see anything wrong. Its not funny but, the waves are dumping on to the deck, and me, which makes me laugh somewhat, and I am enjoying the experience. I'm not worried too much by the situation, and I can see the SOLAS rated Life raft, which I received from Norwest Marine a week before I left Hull. I can certainly recommend Norwest Marine who are based in Liverpool, for safety equipment, and their very friendly and helpful staff are second to none.

18:00 and the wind is F/8 with 38kn on the wind instrument. I have the main well out spilling the wind, which is causing the sail to flog, but better that than something breaking. The GPS has come into its own as the visibility is down to a cable or two. I have placed the waypoint far enough offshore for safety, but as I approach the waypoint, and with the wind still howling I cant see land, and by 18:50 I am at the waypoint with nothing in view. I start the engine and proceed with extreme caution towards what should be Port Erin, and just catch a glimpse of Milner's tower on Bradda Head, and then the green buoy off the rocks to the south side of the entrance. I enter the calm waters of Port Erin and pick up one of the mooring buoys in the deep water off Raglan Pier. I struggle to release main to find one of the sliders broken and  twisted, jamming the track, I tie down the main and tidy the boat  before sighting Dave Curry waving on shore. I phoned Dave earlier to let him know I had arrived. Dave an electrician  emigrated to the IOM to get away from all the crime in the UK, where it is a constant battle to keep the thieves from stealing tools and equipment from your van or workshop, Dave has bought a house with land and some outbuildings which he is converting into holiday accommodation. Click on link  Upperscard Holiday Accomodation 

 The wind has veered all the way round again, and is now blowing straight in to Port Erin together with a big swell. I launched the dingy and rowed ashore to a warm welcome. I am very wet, so we deflated the dingy and throw it into the back of Dave's 4 x4 and head off to his new home, where Dawn makes a drink and snack. After a shower we all went to the pub for a drink and hearty meal

The weather was too bad to take any pictures today.


PS Check out the Martin House link for Draon Boat Racing May 2008 Just click on the logo for details.