Dark Mode On / Off

We arrived in Belfast – Northern Ireland

Belfast marina at night

7th February 2024

After coming back from London, we had planned a few days of organising and shopping before sailing to Ireland (Yes we were lucky to try the outdoor laundry one more time). We ended up having to spend a few more days in Greenock than expected as the wind just didn’t seem to want to slow down and the passage window seemed to always suggest a few days in the future. This however gave Steve a chance to spend at whole day on a train to England to pick up his passport, that had been delivered to his daughter by the American Embassy with a visa in it. Now we are halfway ready to sail across the Atlantic.

It did start to look like we had a chance to sail to Ireland on the Tuesday, but we had to get up early (here we are talking 8 am’ish) as we would have to catch the end of the storm before the wind completely died.

Monday evening was dramatic as it now looked like it could be a good idea to wait to Thursday to cross and Sarah (after many days with rain in Greenock that offers little entertainment) was starting to feel like a bag of fleas. (A Danish Saying!)

But when we got up the wind was brisk but the sun was out and all the forecast looked to be matching. We were finally ready to go! Quickly we signed out of the marina and got ready to cast off.

A windy and sunny sail to Ireland

The first hour sailing while near Greenock, we had the wind our face and had to motor, but as soon as we came past the headland of Gourock and headed more to the south we could take out the sails. We were really sailing for the first time in months!

But in that moment we also realised that we were a little rusty as there were still some strong (30Knot) gusts tipping the boat and everything inside we had forgot to pack away. When cooking lunch a glass also came flying out the cupboard as Sarah had completely forgotten how to cook on a moving boat.
This however didn’t take off the excitement of sailing again as the day was beautiful and the landscape of Scotland magnificent.

The trip would take approximately 15 hours and this would also give us some night sailing. When the sun went down we almost already felt ready to go to bed but realised it was only 6 pm.
At 2.30 AM we anchored near Bangor keeping outside the busiy entrance to Belfast as we had already gotten a taste of how trafficked this channel was by looking at the plotter and listening to the VHF. It was not a thing we wanted to do at night.

Entering the Channel

We had a good 5 hours sleep in a very open anchorage, so the waves had been lulling us to a deep sleep (except for Steve who kept waking up and feeling the boat, but Sarah slept well). When we got up we could feel the tiredness of having been on the water the day before and the body getting used to a constantly moving ground. We were quickly on the move towards the entrance of the channel where we had to ask permission to enter. Sarah was practising using the VHF and that is about as scary for her as sending out an email to a large number of recipients, but there is no way around using it.

We were told to sailing to red channel mark number 12 and wait for further instructions. Now we really were happy we didn’t to this at night. The water around us was very shallow and we had to stay outside the marked shipping channel as we had to give room to the big boats coming in and out.

We ended up waiting for a good hour before being allowed to go to the next bouy and wait again until the ferry had left and then we could enter the historic harbour.

It was a fantastic to see how active the place still is and all along the channel we could see big boat being worked on and ferries being filled with passengers, cars and lorries.

Suddenly we got the sight of a beautiful building in front of the leftovers of at ship building dock. This was the place the historic Titanic was build and sailed off from and the building is a quite new museum about the historic ship. It was a very touching moment.

We came to the marina which is very close to the center of the city and which is based in the new Titanic Quater. That is how we like marina life to be.

Please leave a comment, we love to get your feedback...