Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cruise aboard an Achilles 24

'Penelope', Geoff's Achilles

Today is New Year’s Eve and I have just come across a photo of my friend Geoff aboard his Achilles 24. The photo was tucked under a pile of clothes in a drawer. I was immediately reminded of when I took the photo at Baltimore, a small port on the southwest corner of Southern Ireland/Eire. I had been cruising with my friend Geoff, and Baltimore was the last port of call before our return to Plymouth. The cruise was memorable because of the exceptionally stormy weather. We experienced two nasty gales: the first was on the outward crossing from Falmouth to Kinsale and the second was between Baltimore and the Scillies but closer to the latter.

Geoff had never experienced being at sea in a full Force 8 and understandably he was anxious. Had we been aware of an approaching weather front we would not have set sail. The barometer gave no indication that there would be such a rapid fall of pressure, and the ship’s radio used for the shipping forecast went on the blink. By that time the sea had become so rough we had the heave to; it was dark and we were somewhere north of the Scilly Isles. At least in that position we were not likely to be in the track of shipping because the separation channels were way behind us. Visibility was very poor and there was driving rain. Needless to say, we had a very uncomfortable night.

Me shortly after seeing the whales

Next morning the wind decreased so that we were able to make good progress towards Kinsale. About twenty miles off the coast we had a fabulous encounter with a very active pod of Minke whales that encircled us, but we were not in the least frightened by their curiosity. That was the highlight of the cruise. We had two days at Kinsale before sailing to Glandore, then on to Baltimore. The coastal scenery was second to none. At Baltimore we had to delay our departure for the Scillies because of gale force winds.

Geoff steering after leaving Baltimore for the Scillies

After monitoring the weather forecasts we believed there would be a calmer spell. We set off, but twenty-four hours later we found ourselves in yet another gale at night, in almost the same spot as the previous one. The seas were more vicious, necessitating the yacht to lie-a-hull.

At dawn the wind had decreased sufficiently for us to continue towards the Scillies and our arrival was spectacular with waves breaking on the high rocks of Shipman Head to starboard and Kettle Point to port. As soon as we were in New Grimsby Harbour there was almost a dead calm, and the sun broke through the thinning clouds.

Our return to Plymouth was uneventful, except when fishing for mackerel we caught a garfish in St Mary’s Sound. We also caught more than enough mackerel for a hearty meal.


I have included links to information about Achilles 24 yachts. They are remarkably fast and able yachts.

Text for the Day

Proverbs 29:25 ‘The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.’


Achilles Yachts Owners Association

1976 Achilles 24 Fin Keel Yacht for Sale £2,500

1973 Achilles 24 Triple Keel Yacht for Sale £4,000

1979 Achilles 24 Fin Keel Yacht for Sale £4,450

Several Achilles 24 Yachts for Sale

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