Practical Boat Owner

A month round Ireland

Soon after I started sailing, I realised I wanted to circumnavigate Ireland. Not owning a boat, I considered the options: I could buy a boat, crew on the Round Ireland Race or charter a yacht for the trip. I decided on the latter and formed a coalition with three friends, who were fellow sailors from our club, Sailing In Dublin (SID).

June and the first two weeks of July are considered the best time weather-wise to circumnavigate Ireland, but due to personal commitments and the availability of our preferred charter – a 43ft Jeanneau Sun Odyssey – we agreed to hire the boat from 30 April through to 29 May.

Garvan, Peter, Paddy and I set about planning our trip. While our objective was to complete the circumnavigation, we particularly wanted to explore the west and northern coast of Ireland and to spend some time on the offshore islands, visiting places you’d normally only get to by boat. Although we’d clocked up many sea miles on various week-long cruises we didn’t want to sail overnight unless absolutely necessary. This would be a challenge and an adventure, and I was grateful to have the support of my family, especially my wife Bernie.

We picked up our boat, Inishceim, from Baltimore Yacht Charters in Cork and turned right out of Baltimore Harbour. Our great adventure had begun.

Following overnight stopovers in Crookhaven and Knightstown on Valentia Island, we arrived in Dingle. The next morning we discovered an issue with the regulator on our gas pipe that needed to be repaired by a certified gas fitter. This took some time to organise so we stayed in Dingle another night. There are worse places to be delayed and we enjoyed the food, drink and music that is in plentiful supply there.

Rather than sail directly to Inishmaan we decided to overnight at Carrigaholt in the Shannon estuary and were

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