Having left Poolbeg, Dublin, the majority of the Round Britain Cruise fleet took berths at Howth and then departed north on passage to Scotland on Tuesday morning. By the evening some were spotted entering Carlingford Lough. Members of the fleet include: ’Barbarossa’, Susan J’, ‘Indian Runner’, ‘Letty, ‘Lahloo’, ’Moon River’, ‘Minstrel’, ‘Recipe’ and ‘Hilda’. ‘Onward of Ito’ remained in Dublin, awaiting crew, intending to depart tomorrow. A new member, ‘Oystercatcher of Glenarm’, left her home port in Carrikfergus last week to join the Round Britain Cruise in Dublin Bay and is now sailing northwards again with them. The three smallest boats in the OGA60 fleet decided not to cross to Ireland after the party in Neyland, South Wales. They sailed in company up the coast of Wales, recorded in the blog of ’Step Back in Time’
21 – 29 May: The wind wasn’t going to be favourable so ‘Step Back in time’, ‘Charlotte Elizabeth’ and ‘Swift II’ went further up the river to Lawrenny, returning to shelter in Milford Haven when gales were forecast. Due to wind direction and conditions, we left Milford Haven to anchor overnight in Dale before leaving at dawn to go through Jack Sound at slack water to reach Porthlysgi, where we anchored overnight to shelter from northerly winds yet again. We left Porthlysgi around 0800 to go through Ramsey Sound at slack water, hoping to head further north. The forecasted light winds become a stronger 22 knots, northerly yet again! It was like being inside a washing machine drum on a rinse cycle! We tacked inshore and after twelve hours of sailing, finally anchored in New Quay. However, the restful night I was hoping for didn’t happen. We were rocking and rolling all night (not to music). Worst day so far! The wind was much lighter today but still northerly and we motor sailed to Pwllheli until the wind turned north-westerly, which allowed us to sail for a while. The journey took 8 hours but at least we didn’t get wet and the Welsh coastline was stunning. We moored up alongside ‘Swift II’ in Pwllheli Marina, leaving around 0700 to go through Bardsey Sound at slack water. We had a really lovely sail with an easterly wind, until it died as we were going through the Sound. The wind came back, but from the north this time! We had 15 miles of wind against tide with the wind steadily increasing. ‘Swift II’ recorded gusts of 32 knots, which was nothing like the easterly 6 to 8 knots that had been predicted. We furled the headsails and continued with just the mainsail to steady us. After a while, the main was just flogging so we took it down. We still had 11 miles to go! We eventually arrived at the entrance to the Menai Strait around 18:30, by which time the tide had turned against us. We entered Caernarfon Harbour at approx 2030, very wet and very cold!Sally Kiddle, ‘Step Back in Time’
A highlight of the gathering in Dublin was the Asgard Trophy Race. 14 gaff-rigged boats competed in this annual, prestigious event from a total fleet of 40 yachts and dinghies gathered in Poolbeg to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the OGA. The winning boat was ‘Blát na hÓige’, a Galway hooker transported overland to compete, launched into the River Liffey with her mast re-stepped and the boat re-rigged all in time for the race. Also competing were ‘Master Frank’ the Manx half-deck fishing longliner and ‘Letty’, a Bristol Channel pilot cutter built in 1905 and one of the OGA60 Round Britain Cruise fleet. Another member of the OGA60 fleet, ‘Onward of Ito’ came second in the Small Gaffers class.
As the fleet moves north, after their excellent welcome and party hosted by the Dublin Bay OGA, look back to 2013 in this report by Winkie Nixon, when the OGA50 celebrated their Golden Jubilee at Poolbeg. Afloat.ie is an excellent online publication and has a collection of reports covering the 2023 event in Dublin Bay, read more about the Diamond Jubilee celebrations here.