Sally, Noel, and Diane described their cruising around the coast of Ireland in a 35' sailboat, beginning with outfitting the boat. The initial crew was Sally and Noel, and they described points along the way, including the Barrow Bridge, Waterford (Wexford), a mooring ball hangup at Youghal in a 5 kt tide, Cork, Cobh Cathedral, transit from Crosshaven to Oyster Haven, Kinsale (35 miles from Fastnet Rock), Charles Fort (where they saw a graveyard with victims of the Lusitania), and Castletownsend. The photos were beautiful.
Sally joined the cruise at Baltimore, and they visited the restored Sun Na Sead Castle, now a beautiful home. Skibbereen, Shirkin Island, Schull. and Crookhaven were stops on route, which was sprinkled with ancient signalling towers along the coast,
The striking Mizzen Head bridge at Bere Island was built to span a piece of the rugged shoreline, which was everywhere a stunning display of .the Irish coast. Final stops included Glengarriff, Skellig (its monastery being a world heritage site), Knightstown on Valentia Island, and a visit from the famous Fungie the dolphin who greets visitors to Dingle.
Wednesday's Shellbacks meeting fell on Robbie Burns Day, and as a special treat we were served a haggis along with the regular lunch. Richard Birchell performed Burns's "Address to a Haggis", with the appropriate stabbing.
For those interested in the Address, here's a link:
Janet and Al spent six years voyaging around the world in Solara, their Cabo Rico 42 foot sloop. It took another seven years for Janet to record their travels in her book, The Reluctant Sailor: An Incredible Journey of a Lifetime.
Starting in 2001 by spending their first year in the Caribbean learning the ropes, Janet and Al travelled through the Caribbean to Gran Sabana, Venezuela, then through the Panama Canal, to the Galapagos, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, the Marquesas, Samoa (the site of the Robert Louis Stevenson house), New Zealand (6 months and America's Cup viewing), Australia, Timor, Komodo, Bali, the south China Sea, Borneo, Thailand, Sri Lanka (cows and navy), the Maldives, Oman, the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, through the Suez canal, to Turkey, Greece, and Italy. From Italy the Peters broke for a period of a few months in North America.
They returned to travel, seeing sights like the Corinth canal, Sardinia, the Amalfi coast, Ibiza, Gibraltar, the Canary islands, the Turks and Caicos, and finally finishing in the Bahamas.
Janet brought fascinating pictures and anecdotes to complete her travelogue.
ABOUT JANET PETERS
Janet spent most of her married and working life in Toronto, teaching various grades for the Toronto District School Board, Branksome Hall, and for the Department of Defense in Germany. She graduated from U of T while teaching. Janet has three children.
She and her husband, Al, have travelled extensively when possible. Mainly, their vacations included trekking, hiking, or skiing and sometimes sailing, rafting and canoeing. They had a winter home in Collingwood where their family enjoyed skiing at Alpine Ski Club. It was here that they decided to retire.
When Janet decided to write her book, she took a creative writing course at U of T and became involved with a writing group in Collingwood. It took many years to finally complete.
Writing and promoting her book has become a new pattern to her busy life in Collingwood.
In a presentation that made a nice complement to the topic of a week before (Cape Horn), Richard Hudson spoke on the portion of his travels that took him from Vancouver to Patagonia. His ship, the Issuma, is a 50 foot steel staysail schooner with a drop keel, drawing 10.5 feet with the keel lowered and a scant 4 feet with keel raised. Aboard the Issuma, Richard has circumnavigated the Americas and sailed parts of Europe and Africa.
Richard left Vancouver in September 2014 and travelled south, spending time in the Sea of Cortez off Mexico before eschewing the coastal route and instead heading straight south, arriving at Easter Island. His route was designed to use the currents optimally and to avoid the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ, aka "The Doldrums").
Easter Island (or "Rapa Nui", or "Isla de Pascua"), with its population of about 5800, lacks a good harbour and to get from the anchorage to the shore requires a climb up a ladder on the seawall. The key apparently is to time the transition from dinghy to ladder with the motion of the waves, assuming they are not too large.
After Easter Island, over to Patagonia, where stops along the coast and in the fiords included Puerto Montt, the town of Castro on the island of Chiloe, and many unnamed anchorages along the way south. Anchoring involved both setting anchor, and usually running land lines as well, as waters were deep close to shore and winds were often strong. The route was blessed with stunning natural geography, glaciers, and rugged barrenness. Care needed to be taken with the occasional williwaws descending from the mountains.
Southward travel eventually led to the Strait of Magellan, and then on to the Beagle Channel, and the port of Ishuaia. That was the end of the talk, but not the end of Richard Hudson's voyage. Perhaps the Shellbacks will hear more at another time!
ABOUT RICHARD HUDSON
• Richard has over 75,000 miles of sailing experience
• Last year (2016), he finished circumnavigating the Americas
• He is originally from Toronto. At 13, he began sailing via free sailing lessons for kids offered by Harborfront in lug-rigged, converted lifeboats. He followed this venture up by going through the Toronto Brigantine program (he was a Watch Officer on Pathfinder).
• He lived for five years in Yukon & NWT, fifteen years in New York City
• Richard is a true sailing ‘handiman’:
-- He refitted and sailed a 12m/35' steel gaff-rigged schooner, Orbit II, along eastern US, Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Iceland.
-- He restored a classic gaff rigged schooner, Rosemary Ruth, and sailed along eastern US.
-- Flew to France, bought a 15m/50' steel staysail schooner, Issuma, refitted and sailed her over 50,000 miles from France to Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, to USA, Canada, Greenland, through the Northwest Passage then south to British Columbia, Mexico and Chile, then to Antarctica, South Africa, St Helena, and New York.
• Currently he lives aboard Issuma, so "home" is generally where the boat is *
• Between trips, Richard works in the computer industry to pay for his sailing habit
Documentary film maker Peter Rowe spoke to the Shellbacks on rounding Cape Horn as producer and director of a documentary segment for the Angry Planet series. He paired his talk with a showing of the "Fin Del Mundo" episode of his Angry Planet series.
The film expedition travelled to the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, at the extreme southern end of Argentina, then took air travel some 50 km east on small aircraft to Puerto Williams, Chile, and thence to the Drake Passage.
The area is among the most inhospitable in the world; the flag at Cape Horn Island is so ravaged by winds it needs replacement every two or three days!
In Puerto Williams, the crew boarded the 54' ketch steel Northanger, an expedition-equipped ship that took them around the Cape and to the Holanda Glacier in the Beagle Channel. Navigating through stormy weather and waters littered with shipwrecks, the expedition explored the glacier, unfortunately showing the depletion caused by climate change.
Peter's presentation made for a deeper appreciation for both the fragility of even this hardened part of the world, and for the remarkable transits of Cape Horn made by mariners over the years, including Francis Drake on The Golden Hind (1798) and Charles Darwin on the Beagle (1831). Captain Bligh, on the notorious Bounty, gave up the effort to round the Horn in 1788, having made a mere 85 miles of headway in 31 days.
The Shellback Club will make occasional posts on this blog. If you want something added in a blog post. let us know.