Tuesday 14th May – Our first passage on ÉALÚ

Well, it’s been a long time between updates, and so much happened in the meantime! I’ve done a quick summary of each key event during those few weeks….

We did our first “proper” passage on the boat over the Easter weekend – we’d planned for a few weeks to head over to the Isle of Man, however unfavourable tides and a declining forecast saw us shift our plans, and we made the 80 mile passage from Greystones down to Kilmore Quay, in Co. Wexford. We left at 6am on the Saturday morning, and spent a lovely day sailing and motoring down the coast. The sun shone all day, but the wind was light, and we needed the engine to help us make a couple of important tidal gates. We arrived on Saturday evening, and after a quick walk around the village, used the oven onboard for the first time to cook our first proper meal aboard – lasagne! 

First cruiser lesson learnt that night – don’t sleep onboard with all the doors and windows closed…. I woke in the night to something dripping on my face, and soaked bedding….. The condensation was out of control! After a quick mop up, and opening the cabin door and a hatch, it was back to bed, followed a short while later by breakfast onboard. 

The next day, the O’Leary clan descended on us, Marty’s Dad Brian, brother Damien and his family were all enjoying Easter in Courtown just up the coast, so they popped down for the day. After a full tour of the boat, and a picnic in the cockpit, we headed off for a walk and an ice cream. Later that evening once the family had retreated, we got fish and chips from Saltees (highly recommended) and by chance met some friends from Dublin in the local pub for a few drinks. We cast off again early on Monday morning, and the strong southerly  that had been promised to blow us quickly back to Greystones never materialised, and we motor sailed into a light northerly all the way back home – doh. 

The boat work continued on, and many of the larger projects at this stage were either completed, or well under way. The autopilot was fitted and fully operational, and we had installed the bars to fit our solar panels. Perhaps most significantly – she was officially renamed! We finally got the new stickers on the stern (2nd time lucky…!)

Over the May Bank Holiday, we had another family outting, with brother number 2 Ross and his family, Damien’s youngest Ethan (who is thoroughly taken with the whole idea of  boat life), and our friend Simon and his daughter. This trip had a special significance for Simon, who was taking his daughter sailing for the first time. We bimbled around for a couple of hours until the children (and Ross) got bored, and then headed back to Greystones for a picnic, where we were joined by Simon’s wife Caroline and their youngest for lunch. 

Once everyone had departed, we had to strip the rig, and get everything ready for the mast to be lifted out. Marty then went down early the next morning with our buddy Shane from North Sails, to crane out the rig, and get all the measurements for the new standing rigging. Once all the stays were measured and removed, the new halyards were run, and once the new wiring arrived, this was all put onto the rig and craned back in to the boat. 

Also during this time, we had now told work that we’re going on the trip, and was probably the most significant shift (so far) for me in terms of the mindset and stress levels in preparing for the trip. My employers in Publicis couldn’t have been more supportive, understanding and encouraging – they really were thrilled for me, and asked me to keep in touch and give them an update before we come home. Having the weight off my mind of keeping the trip to ourselves, and worrying about how work would handle the news has been a huge relief, and it now felt very real – and I could really start to get excited about going away. Having a finish date confirmed also helped to focus the mind on how much we still needed to do before we set off!

The next project was find someone to rent out the house. We did our first run over to Marty’s ever patient parents Brian and Dolores, who had kindly cleared space in their attic for our boxes of stuff. So the house was slowly emptying, and the clear out continued daily.

So it was a busy couple of months, next up was our Sea Survival course, which we’re looking forward to….

Until next time….

R&M xx

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