The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Coastal Passages, Part 5—On To The Finish

[At the end of Part 4, we left Colin and his crew taking a well-deserved rest over a pint in the pub at Glenarm. Still on the Northern Ireland coast, but with the looming presence of the Mull of Kintyre in sight. One more push should see them complete their delivery passage from Falmouth in Cornwall to Oban in Scotland.]

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Ernest E Vogelsinger

Colin, thanks for this wonderful series.
Allow me a question that still keeps me wondering – if one is not knowledgeable about a specific area such as the one you are describing here, where would you go to obtain knowledge where to expect eddies, races etc? Looking at the charts and the bathymetrics you might be able to anticipate some effects such as the Venturi you mention above, but a lot of knowledge you present is simply local, and I doubt the usual port almanachs would be of a lot of help here.
Where would one go to obtain knowledge?

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
Good run, nice articles, great territory.
A couple of thoughts:
I agree that it is wise to check and double check tidal calculations. In addition, Ginger also independently works the data to come up with tidal gates timing as another check. It is too easy to fall for the same mistake if you do it together (like miss a Daylight Savings adjustment).
And pertaining to the writing of notes: doing so has always been helpful, partly to just organize thinking. As I get older, I am more guided by the thought: “If it is not written down, it doesn’t exist.”
Finally, I find the paper sources of information (Reeds for ex) more accurate and stable than electronic. In this day where we can have multiple sources of tidal information (chart plotter, phone app, internet etc.), I found variability I could not always account for.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Richard Elder

Hi Dick
Deception Pass at the north end of Whidby Island flows at 11 knots max and is about as wide as a football field. Amazing how many pirouettes you can do with a full keel boat when you forget to set your watch to Daylight Savings time!

John Harries

Hi Ernest,

I did that run some 20 years ago for the first and only time. As I remember I had a cruising guide from Imray and had no trouble at all. Generally I have found that these days there are excellent cruising guides available for pretty much everywhere that will give the careful reader the information they need. That said, there are a few places in the Arctic where I have had to revert to relevant government sailing directions. Said sailing directions do need a bit of interpretation since they are generally for commercial vessels, but they have served me well.

Db //

Hello Colin,
just a note to say well done on this series, and thanks for writing it.

Db //

I just wanted to ask– am in the process of revitalizing an older, blue water cruising boat (1969). I realize that all gear is important, but is there any one area where you might say, Dont skimp! One area where you thank yourself time and again that you bought the best, the heaviest, the simplest — perhaps in terms of engine, electronics, etc.
Thanks again.

Edward Clucas

John , Collin ,
One Item , I don’t think I saw mentioned , FERRY’s . AND they do sneak up on you . CAL MAC has car ferry’s going to all the islands in most weather . The major hub is OBAN . If they do appear in your review mirror , I usually do a 360 away and come around in behind them . This in close quarters, it eases the roll factor. Further notes : It has to be some of the most beautiful cruising Grounds in the world , MANXMAN ‘s crossing from Bangor Ire to Campbell town Scotland : a mill pond . We tipped our hat to Poseidon.
Cheers from the Chesapeake
Ted Clucas

John Harries

Hi Colin,

I’m with you on the cats in the Irish sea. One of my crew christened them The Gaping Maw after seeing one come up over the horizon heading straight for us (long before AIS).