Thursday, March 04, 2010

'Pinto's' Summer Cruise, part 6

Old Head of Kinsale

Tuesday, 5th August

Unknown to me this would be an outstanding day that would for ever remain in the hard drive of my memory. We made a leisurely departure from Kinsale while proudly flying a brand-new Red Ensign at the stern. Geoff had bought it at the chandler’s the day before. In the offing, while heading for the tip of the Old Head of Kinsale, we nearly sailed into drift nets, which were only visible by the presence of small cork floats indicating the top of the nets. I’m sure ‘Pinto’ would have been snarled in them, had we not been warned by an anxious fisherman who came at speed in his boat to make us aware of the danger. White fluffy clouds from the southwest skipped across the sky as the yacht made good speed to windward. Bright sunshine accentuated the red and white lighthouse making it stand out against the grassy green slopes above grey granite cliffs below. Crested waves foamed around their spray-soaked base and the invigorating wind-blown tangy smell of the sea heightened our senses.

Galley Head

South of the Old Head of Kinsale ‘Pinto’ true to her name leaped for joy from one wave to the next. Short-tacking, she powered her way to windward at an incredible speed. She was really overpowered, but we were enjoying the fun, and didn’t want to take the wind out of her sails by reefing down. We believed she could manage the motion for as long as we could hold on. A larger yacht was at our heels, but try as she may, she could not overtake. By 1640 we were south of Galley Head, having sailed twenty-four miles by the log, while on the wind, in four-hours-and-forty minutes. That was one of the most exhilarating sails of my life, particularly as the cliff scenery, when passing Seven Heads, was breathtakingly beautiful. You need only glance at Google Earth to see how green the Emerald Isle is, and you’ll know what I mean. Focus-in on the amazing patchwork quilt of fields to see how industrious the Irish farmers are.


Glandore, looking out to Adam Island

From Galley Head we altered course for Glandore, but an unexpected sea mist soon shrouded Adam Island which marked the entrance to the creek. The wind backed to the south and increased to force 6. An hour later, visibility improved and we found ourselves abreast of Adam Island where we headed northeast and ran goose-winged helter-skelter towards the pretty village of Glandore. There the wind petered out, leaving us anchored in a peaceful haven surrounded by a tranquil landscape of curvaceous wooded hills. A more idyllic setting we could not have desired. Half-an-hour later a classic ‘Tamarisk’ yacht joined us at anchor. She had been the vessel in pursuit when were south of the Old Head of Kinsale. Busy as ever, Geoff, put a patch on the floor of the Avon dinghy as I cooked the evening meal. It had been a most satisfying day.

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