“Eala Bhan” Sails Home, Part III

"Eala Bhan" storming home to Scotland.
"Eala Bhan" storming home to Scotland.

This far north, the days are shorter still, and the temperatures far lower, than at Tréguier, where the passage started, especially this late in the year. So it was a well wrapped-up crew who set off from Dun Laoghaire at first light to make the passage up to our next planned overnight stop at Strangford Lough.

The wind had now settled into the west and we had obtained the very latest web-based weather updates, which gave us plenty to think about, to say the least!

As we still had a good way to go, we knew we had to time our run to perfection to reach our final goal of Ardfern, or we’d have to leave Eala Bhan somewhere safe for the voyage to be completed when the weather allowed. Big boat or not, she was still very new, and we were well aware that we didn’t want to take any serious chances with her until she was a far better-known quantity.

Colin, European Correspondent here at AAC, is a deeply experienced offshore sailor who holds a Yachtmaster licence, and a gifted photographer and talented writer who has added a whole new dimension to Attainable Adventure Cruising. In addition, since Colin and Louise are from England and had their OVNI 435, Pèlerin built in France, they bring a European perspective to our site. You can read more about Colin and Louise and their business at their website.

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Stein Varjord

Hi Colin,

It’s been nice following this trip. Also, the impression of the Boreal 55 makes me almost wish I could have one. That’s quite an achievement, as I’ve spent some decades as a multihull fanatic, as you might have noticed. 🙂
The Boreal wharf seems to be a very good one, with the right attitudes!

Colin Speedie

Hi Stein
Glad you’re enjoying the series.
I think one of the things that sets these boats apart is that both of the guys in charge are high latitude sailors. Jean-Francois Delvoye the designer was in South Georgia a year or so ago (as reported here at AAC) and Jean-Francois Eeman has just returned from Antarctica. Both voyages were made in a Boreal 44 with their respective families. As such they build the boats that they use themselves…..and we benefit.
Oh, and when he’s not sailing their Boreal 44, J-F Eeman sails – a trimaran!
Best wishes
Colin

Marc Dacey

Colin, excellent reportage and I look forward to Part IV.

I do have one comment, however: Genteel as the piano soundtrack is to your footage of Force 8 aboard, I’m sure I’m not alone in a preference for hearing the wind and sea sounds…yes, even the sailor talk, as it happened aboard. Please consider, if it exists, going “au natural”. Thanks.

John Harries

Hi Marc

I edited the video and added the sound track. Reason being that all you could hear was wind noise. To get good and usable sound Colin would have had to set up an external mike and then cover it with a “dead cat” muffler. For usable sailor talk he would have needed to mike everyone with wireless gear, each with a “dead cat” and feed all of that into an external recorder.

He would also need to monitor sound levels with earphones.

Then I would have needed to sync, edit, and mix all of that audio in post.

As I have said before, we have decided that as a policy we are not going to get into producing pro type video or even pro-am. The point is that all of us writers only have a finite amount of time to put into this and time spent messing with such things in video would mean less content and less sailing, it’s a zero sum game.

Colin Speedie

Hi Marc

John is absolutely right. As he knows (he heard it) the original sound was terrible, not just wind noise (which I agree would have been atmospheric), but also noises from stiff oilskins crackling etc. as I vainly tried to protect the little camera (Canon S110) I was using. The tiny mikes in those compact cameras aren’t much cop even on a good day, so I’m afraid the soundtrack sounding like someone frying rocks for breakfast!
Best wishes
Colin

Marc Dacey

Fair enough, gentlemen! I realize that the image capture of even consumer cameras is far in advance of their audio recording capacities, and if it sounded as if a bag of Rice Krispies was being chucked in a top-loader, even I would prefer piano noodlings. I appreciate just seeing the roll of the boat underway.

Rob Gill

Very enjoyable read Colin – so satisfying for you to just make it all the way too! Had you always expected to go through the canal? or was this a weather dependent decision?
Rob

Colin Speedie

Hi Rob
We had never anticipated going through the canal. As I mentioned in Part I deadlines are your enemy when on delivery, and we were falling behind the deadline to leave even when we arrived. We all had commitments that meant we had to get off the boat by the weekend, and our main aim had always been to get to Ardfern if possible, but that was looking less and less likely as the weather worsened. Due to our late departure from Treguier that was always going to be a long shot. As so often happens in such circumstances we simply ran out of time.
And, as I mentioned in the article, we had thought to leave the boat in the canal until Patrick and Linda could return to move her. That we made it through in one day was only due to a friend’s kind assistance and the help of the canal staff. It’s hard work to do it in one day at the best of times, but in winter with only three of you aboard, nigh on impossible.
Best wishes
Colin

Rob Gill

Thanks Colin,
Having cruised in the Irish Sea and the Hebrides (in different yachts) but never made the passage between, I was interested in the decision and trade-off. One last question, when running or reaching off, did you lift the centreboard up, especially with the daggerboards down?
Rob

Colin Speedie

Hi Rob
I’d always choose the Kintyre passage if the weather and (just as importantly in some ways) the tides are right. Wind against tide can get pretty nasty there. But the Canal can be hard work!
From memory we had the board part way up for that last leg from Belfast to Tarbert. With our Ovni we would have had it fully raised, as she handles best that way, but we were learning the ropes with this very new boat. In principle, though, as the wind comes further aft so the board comes up, although a lot of Ovni/Boreal owners leave some board down at all times.
Best wishes
Colin

Patrick Genovese

Hi Colin,

Do you consider the bow & / or the stern thrusters a necessity on the B55, what is she like maneuvering in tight spaces ?

Regards
Patrick

Colin Speedie

Hi Patrick
It all depends what you want to do with the boat, and where she will be kept. A boat specifically built for a world cruise with very rare visits to marinas might not need either!

But for a short handed crew in todays tight marinas (especially in Europe) a bow thruster is almost a necessity for any boat of her size. Bear in mind that it’s not just a case of protecting your own boat – you have a responsibility to safeguard other’s property, too.

And, if, like Patrick and Linda, you love getting into the tightest anchorages, then having both makes sense.

And of course you don’t have to use them all the time – only when necessary.

Best wishes
Colin