Passage 28, Isle of Gigha to Glenarm

This was a spectacular passage. I'd had my eye on this weather system since several days ago and now I was poised to take advantage. I had winds behind me (but at an angle which is the best) and strong tides with me.

Having set off in the morning double reefed in expectation for vigorous winds, I was a little disappointed and pootled along at a mere 4 to 5 knots for a couple of hours. I considered dereefing but then I remembered my lessons - only dereef when I'm sure the winds are going stay down. Sure enough, the wind picked up. 6 knots. Then the tide started to kick in. 7 knots. Then the wind stiffened. 8 knots. Then the tide really got going. 9 knots. I hit 10 knots on several occasions. I was going like the clappers. The wind was the perfect direction for maximum speed and my boat can do 7, maybe 8 knots in such conditions. I could not have gone faster. The miles flew by. As I crossed the North Channel, I slowed because I was at right angles to the tide for a while. But as I got across the tide went more in my direction and I was up to 9 knots again. Yee-ha.

I got in after 6.5 hours which makes an average speed of 6.5 knots. Which is a personal best for me and my boat for a 43 mile passage. Kick arse.

Glenarm, Northern Ireland, looked quite inviting - nice little village with a church and spire. Billy the harbour master gave me a warm welcome and the marina was lovely. Billy suggested a walk round Glenarm forest which was nearby saying it only took him 45 minutes to walk round. So off I went on my bike (walking still a difficulty for me due to bum/leg problem) and started on the forest walk. All very nice but after a couple of miles of quite steep hill climbing I was beginning to admire Billy for his tenacious walking capabilities as I had yet to detect any variation in path direction. I was going deeper and higher into the forest. I kept going and continued to marvel at the speed at which Billy purported to walk, especially as he didn't have the air of one who engaged in competitive walking. I then came across a sign saying strictly no admittance, path for commercial use only. Eh? this is my forest walk n'est-ce-pas? I reversed back and saw the error. Not far from where I started I now saw a U-bend fork in the path that had been quite invisible when coming from the other way. I took that fork and was soon back out of the forest. Billy's walking prowess was brought back down to earth with a jolt.

I took a meander through the village and, well, it' a little rough and ready to be honest. I tried to buy some provisions at the shop but it was no tesco metro. And the pub's wifi (proudly advertised by a scrawl on a bit of ripped off cardboard stuck in the window with sellotape) was, I was warned by a customer, a mifi that simply wifi'd a mobile phone's 2G connection!

So I thought I'd seen enough of Glenarm and determined to set forth in the morning.


A rocket ride covering 43 miles in 6.5 hours with good strong winds (F5/6) and favourable tides bringing me into Glenarm at 3:30 - 1.5 hours before ETA.

Passage 29, Glenarm to Belfast