Seascout-Net Mail Archive for September of 1999: Summer cruises
Bruce Chr. Johnson
Tue, 07 Sep 1999 18:51:43 -0400
Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 23:35:34 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eoghan Lavelle)
Subject: Summer cruises
Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race 1999
Seven Sea Scouts from our Group crewed in a British Scout yacht, "Ocean
Scout" in the 1998 Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race from Vigo in Spain to Dublin.
As a result of the interest created, two Scouts, at the time 15 year olds,
thought about a possible Group entry for the 1999 Race from Saint Malo in
France to Greenock in Scotland. They consulted with others and drew up
preliminary plans, costings, etc and presented this to the Group Council
Although we were taken by surprise, we realised that the plan was feasible
and was worth pursuing. When a few difficulties were pointed out they said
that would be for the boat's skipper to deal with, and then asked me to be
the skipper! That is how we came to charter a 50 ft Beneteau Oceanis 510
called "Pidgeon" from Kinsale, on the south coast of Ireland, and to make a
formal application to participate in the race.
Participants in the Tall Ships Races are classified as follows -
CLASS A - square rig over 120 feet or fore-and-aft rig over 160 feet in
length. (Class A II is for square rig under 120 feet in length)
CLASS B - fore-and-aft rig between 100 and 160 feet in length.
CLASS C - fore-and-aft rig less than 100 feet in length. Div I - gaff rig,
Div II - bermudan rig without spinnaker, Div III - bermudan rig with
spinnaker. Our boat was entered in Class C II.
The minimum size of vessel allowed to compete is 30 feet LWL. Kinsale is
180 miles by road from Dublin and two visits had to be made there during
preparation, for inspection, planning and taking measurements,
provisioning, etc. A lot of paperwork was involved, and to satisfy the
safety rules of the International Sail Training Association we had to
arrange for provision of equipment not normally carried on the boat. The
ISTA allocated a sail number - TS IR 585. Our total complement was 16 -
four afterguard and 12 crew, 3 girls and 9 boys.
We left Kinsale at midday on 18 July, sailing across the Celtic Sea and the
western English Channel, passing close to Lands End in Cornwall on the way,
covering 315 sea miles in 53 hours - average 6 knots. The wind remained
mainly southwesterly throughout, varying between force 4 and force 6. The
sea was rough at times and most of us got seasick at some time on the
passage! We reached Saint Malo on the evening of 20 July, passed through
the lock into the large basins and tied up at our allocated place in the
Tall Ships fleet. It was a magnificent sight - 28 square riggers and large
schooners, and 51 other craft from 18 countries, all dressed overall.
The Irish brigantine "Asgard" was there, and another of our Scouts was in
her crew. We were the only two Irish flag vessels in the race this year. A
Safety Officer of the ISTA inspected the boat and the coveted yellow
pennant was then issued. We had a wonderful couple of days in Saint Malo -
the whole place was in carnival mood. The crew met crews from other
vessels, found plenty of parties to attend and joined in badminton,
volleyball and rowing competitions. Our volleyball players performed quite
well, one member earning the title of "The Flying Leprechaun" from
opponents. They beat teams from Jolie Brise, Eye of the Wind and Black
Diamond but lost the 4th round to Corsaro (Italian Navy). All the crews
paraded with flags and banners through the narrow streets of the old walled
town, accompanied by Breton bagpipe bands. The weather was fine throughout.
There is only one lock out of the basins of Saint Malo and this cannot
operate at low tide. It was a major operation to get the entire fleet to
sea and took most of 23 July to complete. Our boat cleared the lock at 0400
hrs and we spent a leisurely day sailing westward, exploring the coastline
and some of the intricate channels in the approaches to Paimpol and
Lezardrieux. We anchored for the night south-east of Ile de Brehat. We
found the tidal range and the associated strong tidal streams in this part
of the world very interesting! In the Saint Malo area the maximum spring
range is about 13 meters (42 feet) and the minimum neap range about 4.5
meters. Our maximum spring range in Dublin is 4.1 meters.
The race to Greenock started on 24 July. We weighed anchor at 0430 and
motored out to the start line, a few miles north of Ile de Brehat. We
watched the square-riggers start first and then came our own start at 0650.
The weather was fine and clear but the wind was very light - force 1-2,
easterly. With roller reefing jib and mainsail our boat was undercanvassed
and very slow in such light conditions. We averaged just under 2 knots for
the first few hours and watched all the other participants slowly disappear
over the horizon to the north-west! However, the day was warm and sunny,
spirits were high and we had plenty of sun-block cream. Gradually the wind
backed north-east, became steady force 2, increased F 3-4 overnight and
then F 6 in the evening of 25 July, by which time we were making 8 knots.
We reached the compulsory waypoint south-west of the Bishop Rock Light off
the Isles of Scilly at 2100 on 25 July.Our course now lay towards the
southeast corner of Ireland, but with the wind between NNE and NE, we had
to tack towards St Georges Channel. It took 45 hours to reach the Tuskar
Rock Light, about 1800 hrs on 27 July. We sailed along the east coast of
Ireland helped by the flood tide.
Unfortunately at this point the steering control wires came off the rudder
quadrant and we had to rely on the emergency tiller steering, which
required two crew to manage. By midnight the wind was getting very light
and the tide turning against us. We anchored on one of the offlying
sandbanks, the Glasgorman Bank, to wait for the tide to turn or the wind to
increase, and the 3rd Mate and one of the Watch Leaders sorted out the
Under way again by 0400 on 28 July helped by wind E to SE, F 3-4. Another
very fine day, but with a diminishing wind. Off Dublin Bay, about 5 miles
from our own base in Dunlaoghaire, the wind died, the tide turned and we
started going backwards! We dropped the anchor on the edge of the Burford
bank and spent the next 6 hours cleaning and tidying ship, sunbathing and
reading. At 1730 the wind appeared again, NE, F 2, and the tide turned.
Anchor up and under way again.
29 July was the last day of the race. The wind had been ESE F4 during the
early morning, but by 0900 was down to F 1.The finish time for Class II
vessels was 1245 UT - at this time we were in the North Channel between
Scotland and Northern Ireland, off Belfast Lough - 50 miles short of the
finish line. We reported our position as required by the rules and were
allocated an elapsed time based on our average progress. We motored into
the Firth of Clyde, passed Ailsa Craig and dropped anchor in the anchorage
of Lamlash, Isle of Arran, with a group of other race participants.
The following day, 30 July, we weighed anchor at 0610 and motored the final
33 miles in a flat calm to Greenock Docks, on the River Clyde. Saint Malo
to Greenock - 7 days, 740 sea miles. The official results of the race
showed that we came 13th in our class, which we considered to be a very
In Greenock we had another 3 days carnival and surprisingly (according to
the locals) fine and hot weather. The parade of crews again took place. Two
of the girls in our crew had a supply of face paint - green, white and
orange - and decorated us with face stripes for the parade. However they
then ran amok and started painting anyone elses face that they could -
crews of other nationalities, children watching the parade and even the
President of the International Sail Training Association, Brigadier Robin
Duschene. Admittedly they didnt know who he was when they "captured" him,
but he took it very well and walked around for the rest of the afternoon
with the Irish colours on his face!
The fleet left Greenock on 2 August, with a "Parade of Sail" down the
Clyde, each section being led by a Square rigger - our section was led by
the "Danmark". We then had to leave the Tall Ships as they set off for a
cruise in company through the Western Isles to Shetland and the second race
to Aalborg in Denmark. We still had another 360 miles to go to return our
chartered craft. We returned southwards down the Irish Sea, reaching our
home port of Dunlaoghaire on evening of 3 August to present ourselves to
parents and friends! We called in to Arklow for the night of 4 August and
had the only rain of the whole journey. We left Arklow early in the morning
of 5 August motoring southwards, rounding Carnsore Point to the south
coast. We motored or motor-sailed most of the day because of light wind,
but had a good sail for the last 2 - 3 hours to Youghal, where we anchored
for the night.
For the last day's journey to Kinsale, 6 August, we had SE to SW winds, F
2-3, and sailed most of the way, tying up to Kinsale Marina at 1800 hrs.The
total journey was 21 days, 1400 sea miles.
Skipper, "Pidgeon", TSIR585
Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race 1999
Asst. Group Leader
8 Port of Dublin Sea Scout Group,
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