Smooth passage for a change, August 1937

Kinsale Harbour
Kinsale Harbour

George and Joan Naish were given the Linton Hope designed yacht ‘Polestar’ as a wedding gift. They honeymooned on her by sailing from the Solent to Ireland.

We join them for the trip across the Celtic Sea from the Scillies to Kinsale.

Sailing in the 1930s could be idyllic, and, as today, yachtmen’s wives could be sailors in their own right. Joan took the helm whilst George boarded a trawler, returning with fresh fish. George’s log was originally published in The Royal Cruising Club Journal of 1937.

Monday 2nd August

The water was very phosphorescent in the early morning and you could trace the whole length of a mackerel line we had astern. The ‘Polestar’ was now sailing herself a little off her course. At 09.25 there was a light breeze from the S.S.E and we set the spinnaker and streamed the log again, estimating our position to be 20 miles N.N.W. of the Scillies. At 10.45 we came up with three trawlers. I got into the dinghy and boarded the ‘Thomas Hankins’, of London, watched her haul aboard her trawl and went off with a large present of fish: cod, whiting, mackerel, turbot and sole! Meanwhile Joan was sailing round us with the best breeze of the day. Once we were on course again this soon died away! The noon sight made our position 50°, 25 min., a run of about 30 miles N.N.W. from the Scillies. The weather appeared so settled that we intended making for the Old Head of Kinsale, this being the nearest point on the Irish coast. To-day we had mackerel and sole for lunch and mackerel and plaice for supper. I took sight of the ‘Polestar’ for latitude after supper with the help of Arnold the chronometer, but did not think much of the result. There was a misty horizon.

Tuesday 3rd August

We ran slowly through the night and at daybreak I hove the ship to so that we could both sleep for an hour or so. At noon sight gave our latitude as 51°, which placed us 70 miles N.N.W of the Scillies. There was no excitement to distract us until 14.00 when we sighted a sail astern. During the afternoon a large schooner yacht slowly overhauled us and then hung becalmed hull down over the horizon ahead of us.

Wednesday 4th August

The morning was dull, grey and dirty, and quite a fresh breeze showed every sign of veering through S. to S.W. We picked up the Daunt Rock Light, outside Cork Harbour, on our starboard bow at 06.00, in fact some while after daylight. I turned the spinnaker into a reaching staysail and stood along the land for the Old Head of Kinsale. The mist disguised the land, but we made out the Sovereign Rocks and decided to make for Kinsale. We were off the entrance of the river at 09.00 and made a splendid breakfast of fishcakes, after which I jettisoned the rest of the rather odiferous fish which we had towed astern in the dinghy. We anchored off the town close to the ketch ‘Beaver,’ Brig.-Gen. Dorman, who hospitably gave us lunch. Ashore, the Harbourmaster and Customs officer opened up their offices for the morning in honour of our arrival. The town of Kinsale is ancient and attractive but terribly dirty and tumbledown. The Townsmen are as kind and friendly as anyone could be.

The Royal Cruising Club Journal, 1937

The Royal Cruising Club