The Skellig Islands: Our Sailing Journey Continues

Laura Taylor provides a final update on their South West coast sailing trip, as they leave Dingle and continue on their journey to Kinsale in Co. Cork. Passing famous landmarks such as the majestic Skellig Islands and Fastnet Rock, it makes a brilliant read!


01/04/16 (Day 5):
Today’s leg, a short hop across Dingle Bay to Knightstown, started at 5pm due to weather delay in the morning. As we left Dingle, Fungie the dolphin came to see us off. We sailed 12 nm across the bay and were accompanied by pod of playful porpoises for a least an hour. The entrance to Doulus Bay is quite narrow, so as a precaution we turned on the motor as back up. We then motored 4 nm up to Knightstown marina, navigating by the harbour cardinal lights. We had the whole marina to ourselves bar one other boat. Once we were securely tied to the dock, we finished off the day with a couple of well deserved pints in the local hotel.

02/04/16 (Day 6):
Day 6 Knightstown to Baltimore 65nm Easterly to South Easterly F1-3

In a bid to make up for time lost yesterday, we left Knightstown at 8.30am and motor sailed out of Dingle Bay, accompanied by the playful pod of porpoises we met the night before. Then we headed south keeping the famous Skelligs to our starboard. The Skelligs have been recently made famous for a scene in a Star Wars movie, however the islands have a very long monastic history dating back to the 6th century. The monks used to live in stone beehive huts, which are still standing today, and they survived by eating sea birds and their eggs. The Skelligs is an Eco UNESCO site as well and is home to one of the largest sea bird colonies with over 20,000 gannets as well as fulmar, kittiwake, guillemot and puffin. As we passed the Skelligs, we were met by another large pod of porpoises who stayed with us for at least an hour.

Over the course of the day, Mike, our instructor, made great use of our time on board by honing our navigational skills. We were taking bearings, back bearings, three-point fixes, transit lines, plotting way points using hand held GPS and transferring GPS information back onto the chart. Mike then tested our night navigational skill by asking us to take the boat into Baltimore via the North Sound. This was quite a challenging approach at night.

We arrived in Baltimore, Co Cork at 10 pm, after 14 hours at sea. It was high time now for some pizza and a pint in the local pub.

03/04/16 (Day 7):
Baltimore to Kinsale, 60nm, SE 1-3 and 9 hours at sea.

We left Baltimore just before dawn at 6.15 am with Clair on the helm. The swell was still quite big, up to 4m, and we had little wind, so we had to motor a good part of this leg. It was a pleasant day and everybody on board was in a reflective mood as our trip was coming to an end. To pass the time we had an hour of bad jokes to lighten the mood (and man were those jokes bad, lol). As we approached Kinsale, the local sailors were out, in what looked like a regatta. These were the only sailing boats we came across since leaving Westport seven days ago. Although it was very early in Ireland’s sailing season, we had a fantastic trip. We think the Wild Atlantic Way has enormous potential for experienced sailors looking for an uncommon offshore cruising experience.

images left to right: Fastnet Rock, the view from Baltimore Beacon and the coastline of Kinsale


We organise regular trips sailing around the spectacular coastline of West Cork and South West Ireland. If you like the idea of taking a more adventurous holiday then why not join us. With highly qualified and experienced skippers on board, our sailing trips are perfect for anyone looking to gain some valuable sailing experience as well. Talk to James on 00 353 (0)87 617 2555 or make an enquiry here.

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