Leaving Ireland was difficult. I wanted to seek out more evidence of my heritage; my mother is 100 percent Irish. But further travels were beckoning. At first, we wanted to head to the western coast of Scotland, some of the finest cruising grounds in the world, but the winds didn’t cooperate, sending us further south, to Wales. This was a rough nine hour trip, with winds cranking up from less than ten knots the first hour to well into the thirties. The fishing vessels , crazy currents, and drenching rains added to the challenges. Then, the marina at Holyhead was gone, demolished in a recent storm.
One dock was installed to allow about six boats where nearly 100 had sunk a few months prior. Fog, wind, and drizzle continued but we managed some amazing cliff walks anyway. The medieval church, St Cybil, still stands where a monastery was built in the sixth century.
Less than two days later, we left Holyhead with new friends, heading into the eddies and winds again. Lisken sailed for Ireland as we turned south for a 24 hour run to Milford Haven, Wales. More castles and history here, then another 24 hour run to Falmouth, England.
Pleasantly surprised at our good timing, we joined the OCC, Ocean Cruising Club, for a dinner at the Royal Cornish Yacht Club.
Formal dinner and speeches one night was followed by a casual lunch in the Marquee the next day. Six OCC boats headed up the river to continue festivities. Happy hour and dinner aboard Peter Flutter’s steel Saga 45, Tyrian of Truro, then breakfast on Alembic gave us plenty of time to listen to other cruisers’ stories, including the round the world adventures of Sea Bunny, with Susan and Richard Kidd.
Next ports were a public pontoon at Fowey, anchoring at Salcombe, and another pontoon in Dartmouth. Here we navigated through several classes of sailing races trying to gain entrance to the harbor, and enjoyed the regatta of a variety of rowing boats once inside.
Weymouth was our next port, and we tied up right behind the famous Gypsy Moth and were welcomed to a free tour.
Our mooring in Poole was far from town, but there was a convenient launch, which was followed by a bus and train to Lulworth. It seemed like we should have taken Alembic to this idyllic harbor, but many had warned us that the rolling in the harbor could damage any boat.
Winds to Lymington never materialized, so we motored there, but sailed up the river to a town Quay. We were missing family terribly at this point, and expecting a new grand baby to be born any day. At this point, she was late for her arrival!
We headed toward Portsmouth where we planned to meet cruising friends Suzanne and David, leaders of our Suzie Too Rally in the Western Caribbean two years prior, and fellow rally members Jeff and Mary from Echo. As we detoured up the River Medina, at Cowes, we learned of Sadie’s grand entrance! She was born an hour before, and all was perfect in our world.
Sharing our fabulous news with old friends was a gift. I’m sure they couldn’t peel us off our cloud during dinner, even if they tried!
Last stop, Wicor Marine, had a dock in the middle of the river waiting for us to tie to so we could leave Alembic and fly home to meet our new little Angel. Boat? What boat? I had a grand baby to meet! I’m sure I was a basket case packing up for this magical trip.