Adventure sailing holiday from Ireland to England
Starting in the beautiful city of Dublin and heading south down the coast of Ireland, we wind our way through or around the Isles of Scilly en route for Portsmouth in the Solent, home of English sailing. Late season weather makes this a hard itinerary to predict, but we may head across the Channel to France or explore the south west coast of England with beautiful towns such as Falmouth and Dartmouth. Whichever route we take, you are all but guaranteed great sailing!
This is a typical itinerary for the route from Ireland to England. What makes an adventure sailing holiday so special however is that there can be no fixed itinerary and the wind and the weather ultimately shape what’s possible each day, especially with late season sailing.
Day 1: Joining day
Join the boat by 1200hrs. Get your belongings packed away and relax. There’s plenty of things to do in the future but right now it’s about relaxing, finding your way around the boat and enjoying the surroundings. In the afternoon, we’ll issue waterproofs and lifejackets, do lots of boat familiarisation and go through the safety drills. That evening we’ll have a lovely dinner on board and maybe a pint of beer in a local Scottish hostelry!
Day 2: Training day and sail to Jura
Today is all about getting up to speed with the boat. Whether you are a complete novice or more experienced sailor, everyone benefits from detailed introductions, safety briefings and training sessions. You will have two highly experienced instructors guide you through every aspect that you need to know to have a great sailing holiday. By lunchtime we should be casting off the lines, hoisting the sails and working through all the key sailing manoeuvres such as tacking and gybing, reefing and knot tying. By the end of the day everyone on board should feel comfortable with the basics – even though there’s more to learn and practice every day. We will probably get to the gorgeous island of Jura. We have the choice of anchoring in Lowlandman’s Bay on the eastern side of the island as it offers shelter from most wind directions; or there’s the perennial favourite of Loch Tarbert on the west side. Seclusion is usually guaranteed, together with stunning sunsets and the opportunity to see the deer come down to the water’s edge in the evening as well as otters hunting along the rocky shoreline.
Day 3: Short sail to Islay and a whisky distillery or three
A short sail next, bound for the gorgeous Port Ellen on the island of Islay. This island is the epicentre of the Scottish single malt whisky world, with no fewer than eight different distilleries. Once we’ve arrived, we’ll hope to have a lunch of hot smokies then visit the distilleries of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig.
Days 4-5: Full day of sailing to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Next day exploring
It’s a much fuller day of sailing today as we head the 70nm south to the city of Belfast, capital of Northern Ireland. We will have to negotiate the tides that start to become a big factor in these waters but it’s a lovely passage and a really good opportunity to try some more navigation and see what these 60′ yachts can do on the open water. We’ll arrive late, so most likely a poke of fish and chips in the harbour before a good night’s sleep. The next day we can wander around town, making sure to visit the Titanic museum with its incredible story.
Day 6-7: Sail to the Isle of Man. Next day exploring
It’s another full day of sailing as we head south east into the Irish Sea bound for the Isle of Man. This mountainous, cliff-fringed island is one of the most beautiful spots in Britain and so we’ll hopefully be able to stay for a full 24 hours. There is so much to see here and crew often come together to hire a van and head off to see King Orry’s Grave, the Point of Ayre, Blue Point, Peel Castle, and the Meayll Hill stone circle.
Day 8: Sail to Dublin
An early start today as it’s a good 70nm to Dublin. It’s another superb sail and, so long as the weather has been kind to us, a great last day of sailing. With a fresh breeze a 60′ yacht can scream along and after around 12-14 hours we should be pulling in to Dublin, capital of Ireland. If we got a good early start, we should be just in time to head into town for a pint of Guinness and to see a little of this wonderful city.
Day 9: Debrief and clean up
It’s always amazing how quickly everyone has become firm friends and the boat and its routines seem so familiar. Yet it’s time to wrap it all up and head home. We’ll get the boat back to how we found it, sign logbooks, exchange emails and disembark by 1200hrs.